Outdoor Literacy-Based Learning Activities

Take learning outside with literacy-based learning adventures full of movement, fun, and educational opportunities.


Create an interactive outdoor search activity using letters of the alphabet, sight words, or vocabulary words. If students are searching for letters, use wooden alphabet blocks. If students are searching for sight words or vocabulary words, write the words on clothespins. Within a natural space, park, or playground with determined boundaries, place the alphabet blocks or clothespins throughout the area. 

Pair students for their search. As they collect each letter or word, have students return to a designated area to place the letters or words into a class collection. To extend the academic connections as students turn in letters or words, consider the following.


  • Ask students to say a word that begins with the letter they found.
  • Ask students to say a word that begins with the letter they found and fits into a category such as animals, adjectives, proper or common nouns, cities or states, etc. 

Sight Words and Vocabulary Words

  • Ask students to say and spell the word they found. 
  • Ask students to say an example, definition, description, synonym, or antonym for the word they found.

After each alphabet block is turned in, place the blocks in alphabetical order. That way, students know they’ve found all the blocks when the alphabet is complete. After each clothespin is turned in, clip them to a yardstick or piece of ribbon in alphabetical order. Continue the search until all blocks and clothespins are found!


Before beginning the word families relay, write different ways students should move during the relay on slips of paper. Movements may include the following. 

Bear crawl Long strides
Crab walk March
Carry an object (egg and spoon) Pass an object (baton)
Jump Run
Hop on one foot Skip
Glide Waddle
Frog jump Walk backward
Jump Walk sideways

Fill a basket with the movement ideas. Then, fill another basket with slips of paper listing common word family suffixes (such as -at) that students will use to name words in the family (such as cat, hat, mat, sat, that). On a grass, dirt, or paved area outside, mark a start/finish line and a turning point with rope, string, sidewalk chalk, etc. If desired, assign a student to record the words to ensure no words are repeated.

To begin the relay, select a movement and a word family and announce them to the class. During their turn, each student should shout a word that fits into the word family, move in the named way to the turning point and back to the start/finish line, and tag the next student. Before starting the movement, each student should shout a different word, being careful not to repeat one a student has already said. After students complete their turns, they should squat at the end of the line. 

The relay is complete when all students have completed their turn and are squatting. If desired, keep the relay going by choosing a new movement and word family. 


Story Elements Movement Stations boost reading comprehension by making story review more interactive and fun. Feature a short story or book that the class has recently read. On a paved surface, create numbered stations. Number the stations with sidewalk chalk, flags, colored tape, etc. Include information sheets on clipboards or present the information on a display board, small whiteboard, poster board, etc. 

Determine the amount of time groups should spend at the station. Divide the class into seven teams. If desired, ask a volunteer in each group to read the task and present the information to their teammates or lead the discussion at each station. Tell each group where they should begin. Before beginning the activity, shout out a movement for students to complete. Quick exercise ideas include arm circles, criss-cross feet, jumping jacks, lunges, marching or running in place, and squats. Tell students when to start and stop the movement, when to begin the activity at each station, and when to move to the next station.

  • Station One: Review the title and author. Provide a brief biography of the author and introduce some other titles the author has written.
  • Station Two: Review the setting. Describe the day/date, time, place, and/or weather. 
  • Station Three: Review the characters. Recall the characters and their significance in the story. 
  • Station Four: Review the narrator. Determine whether the narrator is someone in the story (first-person narrator) or outside the story (third-person narrator). 
  • Station Five: Review the conflict. Describe the main problem or challenge in the story. 
  • Station Six: Review the sequence. Correctly order the events of the story. 
  • Station Seven: Review the theme. Recall the message of the story. 

For active academics both inside and out of the classroom, check out Walkabouts, on-demand adventures that transform any space into a movement-rich environment where students engage in physical activity while they practice reading, language arts, and math content. Ready to see Walkabouts in action? Request a free trial today!