You and your students have engaged in Outdoor Explorer activities on a weekly basis, but with a look ahead at the next week’s weather, you don’t think it will be possible to make it outdoors.  No worries – here are some ideas to bring the outdoors inside!

Idea 1: Weather Reporters

Using the Daily Weather Tracker page from the Outdoor Explorer Nature Journal, have students team up and research weather sites, then have students use an app, such as Do Inks, to give a weather report of the day’s activity along with a weather forecast for the upcoming days.  Have a group challenge to see what group’s forecast was most accurate.


Idea 2: Rock Hounds

Using the rock characteristic page found in the Outdoor Explorer Nature Journal, give students a rock study collection, like the one pictured from Home Science Tools, to have them identify the rocks.  If students are having a hard time distinguishing the rock characteristics, you can help them by using a digital microscope, such as this eFlex digital handheld microscope to display magnified images and point out colors, textures, and patterns.

Idea 3: Loan Shark

Note: This will need to be arranged in advance – but SO worth it!

Department of Natural Resources for several states have a division (Division of Wildlife or Division of Education) that offers educational kits that you can borrow for a limited time for your classroom for a minimal cost or even sometimes FREE.  Many kits, like the examples in the below images, include things such as pelts, skulls, feathers, leaf identification, animal track molds, poster sets, aquatic materials, and much more!

The following link is a growing list of resources that I’ve begun to organize by state.  If you have a link or an email that you feel should be added, please email me at so that I may share it with other teachers in your area.

For the link click here: Outdoor Explorer Resource Guide

 Idea 4: The Collector

Start personal collections of items in nature from your own travels, from friends, or from fellow teachers to create your own study kits. Collections can include the following:

  • Flower and leaves – using a flower/plant press, LIike the one pictured from Home Science Tools, you can constantly add flora to your collection. Once the press process is complete, you can put your pressed flower in a laminator sheet and seal it closed.  If you want, add a small tag next to it with date collected, name of flower or leaf, and where collected.
  • Sand – I LOVE sand, especially under a microscope. One of the myths about sand collecting is that once you have collected a sample from a given area, there is no need to look further as all sand will be exactly the same – not true. Students will discover sand is made up of animal skeletons, quartz, feldspar, mica, glass, broken shells, and coral.
  • Feathers – this one is tricky. Make sure you know laws when collecting feathers.
  • Eggshells – the variety of eggs is beautiful, but this would be a very fragile collection, so student handling would need to be taught
  • Seeds – seeds are dispersed by wind, water, animals, and even by rocket themselves from their pods. Start a collection to see if students can place seeds in categories of dispersal.


Have more ideas?? I’d love to hear them – leave them in the comments below!!

Until next time,


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