Outdoor Math Games for Kids

summer outdoor math activities find scavenger hunt

We are proud to publish this guest post about fun outdoor math activities by Ellen Castro, Math/Science teacher at BASIS San Antonio Northeast, to help kids keep their math skills sharp during the summer.

Splish Splash! Summer is here, and it’s all about playing outside, having fun in the sun, and learning some math. Yes, you heard right. Who said math and summer couldn’t get along? As a math teacher and mother of two grade-schoolers, I know how important it is for our kids to maintain those math skills sharp during the summer. So get your kids back in the groove to improve with these outdoor math games, and don’t let that summer slide make your kids fall behind.

Find more fun learning activities in our guide, Charter a Voyage of Learning.

Outdoor Math Games for Preschoolers: Get Out and Do Some Exploration!

Building a solid math foundation early on is essential for your child’s success, so nurture it with nature. I know how much our little ones love to be outdoors, so what better way to learn math than to take them for a nature walk? Help your kids count all the awesome things they see with this free nature walk printable checklist. Just attach it to a clipboard and watch them count away all the marvelous things nature has to offer.

summer outdoor math activities outdoor checklist

summer math activities outdoor walk

Read more in “Nature Walk & Count—Gross Motor Math Activity (and Free Printable),” No Time for Flash Cards, May 9, 2018.

Outdoor Math Games for Grade Schoolers: Get Your Rock On with Multiplication Arrays!

Watch your kids rock-n-roll back to school with a concrete understanding of how multiplication works. With this easy and fun rock activity, your kiddos will be able to see those commutative properties in action. They can learn their times tables by creating rows and columns with rocks representing a multiplication equation. Arrays are also a great way to introduce area and perimeters. Rock out in the sun with this multiplication activity I know your kids will enjoy.

summer outdoor math activities multiplication arrays

Read more in “Outdoor Arrays for Multiplication Practice,” Line Upon Line Learning, April 14, 2016.

Outdoor Math Games for Upper Schoolers: Graph Adventure / Plot Scavenger Hunt

If you want an outdoor math activity for the whole family, young and old, this is it! This activity makes excellent interconnections between art and analytic geometry. Cartesian coordinates are critical mathematical concepts for most applied disciplines that deal with geometry, such as astronomy, physics, and engineering.

For this activity, all you need is graphing paper, colored pencils, sticky notes, and a notecard for each child. Here are some quick steps to get started:

1️⃣ Draw a map of the area the scavenger hunt will take place.

2️⃣ Draw the XY axis lines over the drawing.

3️⃣ Make copies of the maps for each of your kiddos to color.

summer math activities graph adventure

4️⃣ Go hide your sticky notes in specific locations.

summer outdoor math activities plot scavenger hunt

5️⃣ Write down the XY coordinates you want them to go to in a notecard.

summer math activities graph notecard

6️⃣ Send them on the mission!

summer math activities scavenger hunt

I sent my kids out on a scavenger hunt to specific locations on the map where they would find sticky notes I left for them. The mission was to find all three sticky notes in order to get a surprise from me. Each sticky had a small message of encouragement as they each had their own coordinates to find.

Switch the sticky notes with treasure hunt surprises instead, and your kids will go wild! My son had a terrific idea to plot the whole neighborhood for our next adventure. You can also try your local park, hiking trail, amusement park, or the local zoo. Hide secret gems in different locations for the whole family to discover. With this hands-on learning activity, your kids are bound to learn plot graphs in no time.

Read more in “Fun Math Games: Plot Points on a Map Scavenger Hunt,” Jacquie Fisher, Edventures with Kids, August 10, 2015.

summer outdoor math activities plot graph outdoors

Find more fun learning activities in our guide, Charter a Voyage of Learning.

Local Connection for This Activity

For over 20 years, BASIS Charter Schools has been helping students reach their highest potential in academics. Our overall mission is to continuously serve our students through innovation and discovery learning. BASIS.ed is the epitome of American charter schools. We offer in-person classes this 2021–22school year. For more information, visit BASIS.ed, and read the SA Charter Moms enrollment guide blog post.

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Ellen Castro, Math/Science teacher at BASIS San Antonio Northeast, share about outdoor math activities with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on July 22, 2020 at 4:00 PM Central on Facebook and YouTube.

Ellen Castro teacher BASIS San Antonio Northeast

Ellen Castro

Ellen Castro is the Subject Expert Teacher for 1st and 2nd grade Math and Science at BASIS San Antonio Northeast Campus. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies K–8 and has worked in the education field for over 7 years.

Having also worked departments ranging from Early Childhood to Middle School, including Special Education and Life Skills, Mrs. Castro carries a wide range of experience under her belt.

Mrs. Castro enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, and visiting new places. Her two children, Abigail and Harvey, are BASIS Wildcats at BASIS Northeast. She is looking forward to the 2021–2022 school year and can’t wait to see her students back in class.

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