As safe as it can feel inside your classroom teaching your class, there is something said for heading outside the classroom walls. Taking a lesson outside to explore and learn beneath the open sky can just be what you and your class need!
Engaging in math activities outdoors breathes fresh air into the learning experience, igniting curiosity and excitement. The combination of movement, sensory engagement, and the vastness of nature provides an ideal setting for young minds to thrive.
All you need to add to the outdoor space is the box of broken chalk that haven’t been used longer than you’d like to admit.
Spice up your next Maths lesson by heading outdoors with these activities:
Divide the children into teams and give them all the same starting number. Using a 6-sided dice, they roll and take turns counting on from the last number. For example, the starting number is 24 and player 1 rolled a 5. They would write in chalk from 24 – 25,26,27,28,29. Then the next player would continue counting on from 29. The first team to reach the highest number after 5 minutes wins.
- Students count on by numbers other than 1.
- The first team to reach a target number
- Start with a 3-digit or 4-digit number
- Count backwards
- Skip count using the die number to indicate what to count by
Use chalk to set up a target board on the pavement with different numbers or mathematical symbols. Students take turns tossing bean bags or small objects onto the board, and whichever number or symbol it lands on becomes the target. Children must then come up with equations or math problems that equal the target number or involve the target symbol.
- Create different versions for students to rotate through
- Students create their own versions of a target board
- Teams rotate through the different target boards
Get students started by drawing a series of different-length lines using chalk. Divide the students into pairs, and they go around using a measuring tape and record each line’s measurement (we love the Ikea measuring tapes for this… shhhhh don’t tell anyone that we grab a stash every time we visit).
- Students create lines for peers to measure
- Advance to students creating shapes and measuring the perimeter
- Create smaller lines for early years to use informal measurement tools
- Make it a race, and the first team to measure all the lines accurately in the shortest time wins
- Transform measuring lines into number lines
Students draw a flower with 3, 4 or 5 petals. They are given a number or equations which are recorded in the middle of the flower, and in the petals, students record different ways to represent or solve that equation.
- Provide different visual representations to use.
- Encourage students to use jump strategy, split strategy, ten-frame and so on.
- Break students into teams. The first team to complete the flower is the winner.
We have a complete series of indoor flower activities you can do with your class. Find them here.
When teaching multiplication, grab some chalk and get students outside to solve the answer using arrays. Start with students creating three multiplication equations on recording each on a small piece of paper. Outside, in pairs, students take an equation and solve it by drawing an array.
- Give students a range when creating the equations. For example, only 2,4,6 times tables.
- Break groups into four teams. The first to complete their equation cards correctly are the winners.
- Students record the division equations too
Take students on a shape hunt, but instead of recording on a sheet of paper, have students draw the shapes they can see. Give the students 5 minutes, and at the end of the time students tally up all the different shapes they found as a class.
- Go to the playground and encourage looking from different angles
- Go beyond formal shapes and look for informal shapes too.
- What 2D shapes can be found in 3D objects
Spray the answer
Chalk and water – a winning combo for kids! (You might want to tackle this one in small groups).
We record answers with chalk and students need identify the answer to q question by spraying it with water.
For example: Write all the answers for the 5 times tables on the pavement (I would even ask the students to do this as their first task). Then randomly ask x5 questions for them to find and squirt the answer.
- Identify numbers
- Friends to 10 (➕&➖)
- Division skills
- Identifying factors
- Identifying prime and composite numbers
Side note: The spraying action is great for little fine motor skills as well.
With chalk as your secret tool, these outdoor math adventures will bring joy and excitement to learning, making math concepts come alive in the outdoors.
If you’re looking for more outdoor Maths ideas, check out this blog post: 5 Outdoor Maths activities that kids love.
Before you go, you NEED to get your hands on this FREEBIE!