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10 Outdoor Toys & Resources for Promoting STEM Learning

Taking the STEM learning adventure outdoors is child’s play with these key resources.

By Lani Aquino

With longer daylight hours and nicer weather, teachers and parents want to encourage kids to spend more time outdoors. For some kids, it can be hard to simply head into the backyard and make adventure happen. This can be even more difficult when there aren’t an abundance of neighborhood friends to add to the mix.

While time to run wild and free is an excellent learning opportunity, having a few go-to resources for adding some more structure to outdoor play can also be beneficial. With toys and resources that encourage STEM learning, parents also have a way to head outside with their kids and join the learning fun. Adding a few of these resources to the recess rotation or backyard fun at home offers kids a STEM lens for outdoor learning!

  1. Gardening Tools & Accessories- This affordable kit offers a little bit of everything to encourage the development of a green thumb. The gloves, smock, tools, and carrying case will make young gardeners feel like pros. With an easy-to-read gardening guide, pots, and plant tags, a garden filled with learning will soon be blooming!
  2. DIY Drone Building Blocks- Kids can do the building indoors or outdoors and then have hours of fun flying their creations. This 54-piece kit even has LED lights for night flying.
  3. Octopus Kite- This easy-to-assemble and easy-to-fly kite is a perfect summer pastime. With over 300 feet of string, kids (and adults) will be amazed at the flying power of this durable kite with no breakable frame or sticks that even comes with a handy storage bag.
  4. Stomp Rocket Stunt Planes- Kids can use their problem solving and critical thinking skills as they prepare to launch these 3 different stunt planes. The adjustable launch stand makes for lots of possibilities as kids explore aerodynamics in their own backyards.
  5. Scientific Explorer Backyard Kit- Budding scientists can observe, analyze, measure, record, and classify with this affordable kit. There are lots of different experiments and learning opportunities to get kids outdoors and interacting with nature. Kids can make a sundial, design a worm hotel, view bugs up close and personal with the included viewer, and more.
  6. Telescope- Bring a love of astronomy to life with a closer look at the moon and stars! This kid’s telescope comes with two eye pieces and a moon mirror. With a mounted compass and included stars and moon maps, there will be lots to explore in the evenings!
  7. Oversized Outdoor Games- Sometimes the fun of the outdoors can be had when indoor games become supersized. Kids can test their critical thinning with Connect Four, maintain a teetering edifice with Giant Tumbling Timbers, or take the dynamics of bowling to a whole new level with a Giant inflatable Bowling Set.
  8. Weather Lab- A few experiments in the backyard may be all it takes to generate an interest in meteorology. This kit comes with a thermometer, weather gauge, compass, anemometer, weather vane, and more. With a host of experiments, kids will be experts at determining the weather and knowing the best days for outings and outdoor play.
  9. Sticks & Stones: A Kid’s Guide to Building and Exploring in the Great Outdoors- Sometimes that creative spark needs a little flame. This June 2019 book release offers lots of small and large scale outdoor projects that can be completed with many materials found in nature. Constructing a teepee, making paint, and carving fishing poles are just a few of the STEAM ideas included in this new resource.
  10. Playground Engineering & Design Set- Sometimes the outdoors may not be a possibility, but this mini playground set can have kids feeling a taste of it. Learning Resources has created an affordable building set with 104 pieces and 10 building challenge cards.

STEM learning heads to the great outdoors with these 10 toys and resources. From flying high to digging in the dirt, a wide variety of interests will be well served by this list. When kids need a little extra nudge to head outdoors, these fun and affordable learning tools will make great go-to choices for hours of learning adventures.

If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.


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