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An Outdoor Summer Guide to Exploring Utah for Kids

The focus of our Lower School’s Outdoor Environmental Education (OEE) is a place-based program that helps students make connections, wonder, and deeply notice our natural environment and how we interact with it.


School is out and summer is a great time to continue to encourage children to explore the world around them. By letting their curiosities guide the experience, you can provide opportunities for children to investigate on their own, encouraging them to think deeply about what they are observing and in ways they have never thought before.  


Here are some fun summer activities to explore with your children this summer:


  • Sit outside in silence for 10 minutes and create a sound map.
  • Observe a bird and create a data collection sheet of behaviors.
  • Go on a walk and find animal habitats then, create a habitat of your own.
  • Go on a micro hike and choose a 12” X 12” section of land and spend 10 minutes drawing what you observe.
  • Grab some gloves and a trash bag and pick up trash around your neighborhood.
  • Join The Natural History Museum of Utah and scientists at BYU to find and track firefly populations in Utah.
  • Make mud faces on trees use natural objects like sticks and berries to create the face.
  • Discover and celebrate Utah’s remarkable natural history by visiting uniquely Utah locations throughout the state by joining NHMU’s Explorer Corps.
  • Gather plants (take only what you need) and smash them together to make paint using plants, sticks. or rocks as a paintbrush.
  • Experiment with creating mud from different types of soil.
  • Trace shadows on the sidewalk with chalk.
  • Experiment with food waste like carrot tops, avocado pits, and the bottom of celery stocks and see if they sprout in water. 
  • Choose a color and go on a walk to locate objects that have that same color.
  • Check out the McGillis Summer Reading Lists.


Are you looking for more outdoor activities this summer? Check out this fun list from Heidi McNaughton, our Outdoor Environmental Education Coordinator. 

To learn more about the Outdoor Environmental Education program at McGillis, schedule a visit.


“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”

― Rachel Carson