In today's world, it is more important than ever to encourage middle school students to put their devices down and enjoy the great outdoors. However, middle school students probably will not want to just go outside and play without an organized activity or event going on. There are many activities that can be planned for this age group to explore problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking. These activities are fun, and enjoyable, and will have your students socializing with peers.
1. Chasey Loo
The game Chasey Loo is sure to keep your young teen active. The goal is to run from your opponents and catch them before they make it to their home base. This is a fun game that is sure to get the heart pumping.
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Spikeball is a thrilling game that is a mix between volleyball and foursquare. It comes with a hula hoop-sized net and is portable to take with you anywhere you'd like to play.
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3. Balloon Down
Balloon Down is a fun backyard game that consists of aiming footballs at different valued balloons to get the highest score. Middle School students will love this game if they are competitive and like to have fun.
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4. Soda Bottle Toss
This fun game of soda bottle toss is exactly how it sounds. You will just need a few rings and some plastic bottles to set up. The kids will toss the rings to try to catch the soda bottles. The one who hooks the most rings on the bottles wins!
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5. Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
Middle school students will have a blast with an outdoor scavenger hunt. The kids could work together in teams and compete against one another to complete all the assigned tasks. This activity will promote teamwork while having fun and solving clues.
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6. Rainbow Ice Tower Excavation
Ice excavation is one of my favorite science games for kids of all ages. It is so much fun to freeze all types of objects and then carve them out. This will keep middle schoolers curious and occupied for hours. The bigger the tower, the better!
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7. Solar S'mores
Making solar s'mores can be a tasty outdoor science activity. Simply follow these steps to make your own natural oven to bake delicious s'mores. Just make sure the weather is warm and perfect for baking!
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Another awesome outdoor experiment is making a sundial. This fun activity could be a science and social studies lesson in one. You can even do this on school grounds with step-by-step instructions for kids to follow.
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9. Red Light, Green Light
Red Light, Green Light is a basic game that has been popular for decades. This outdoor game can be played in a big yard or baseball field where there is plenty of open space. Kids will get a good workout with this game as there will be plenty of running.
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10. Five Dollars
The game Five Dollars, or "500" to some, uses many different types of balls. You can use a volleyball, tennis ball, soccer ball, or any other types of assorted balls. You can incorporate math by having the students add up the values for some mental math practice.
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11. Kick the Can
Kickball is one of my favorite competitive games. Middle school students will love to play kickball at recess or with their neighborhood friends after school. By playing kickball, students will learn about teamwork and making quick decisions. You can also play this activity indoors in an open gymnasium.
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13. Wiffle Ball
14. Water Balloon Science Project
If you are looking for a science project that middle school students can do outside, you may want to try this water balloon science project. It is an outdoor activity that students will enjoy. You will just need a bucket of water balloons, a marker, various liquids, and a syringe.
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15. Basketball Games
Did you know there are many different games to play with a basketball? Check out these basketball games. All you need is a basketball, a basketball hoop, and a court or playing area. I was surprised to learn there are so many fun versions of basketball. Try them all!
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16. Egg and Spoon Race
An egg and spoon race just might be the competitive game your students will love. It can count as a science game, too! The kids will quickly develop a strategy and learn from their mistakes along the way.
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17. Jump Rope Games
If your middle schooler loves jump rope games, they are in luck! There are endless amounts of activities you can play with a jump rope. With this outdoor game, you can play with friends or on your own. All you need is a jump rope!
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18. Paper Plate Art
If your middle schooler is into crafting and art projects, they will love this paper plate flower craft. I absolutely love these bright and beautiful art pieces. You would never know it is made out of a paper plate just by looking at it.
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19. Hide and Seek
There are many different variations of playing hide and seek. These variations include object hide-and-seek, water gun hide-and-seek, hide the teddy, and so many more. If your middle schooler thinks they are too old for hide-and-seek, tell them to guess again!
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20. Backyard Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are an excellent way for kids to practice their gross motor skills, as well as mental and physical determination. They will learn to push themselves to accomplish a goal and the importance of not giving up. Successful completion of an obstacle course also gives a boost of confidence.
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Cornhole is a great outdoor game for middle school students. It is one of the best cooperative activities to teach students about teamwork. You can't win this game solo, and it is important to cheer on your teammate and work together.
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22. Frisbee Tic-Tac-Toe
Frisbee tic-tac-toe is a fun game for middle school kids. They can play this outside or in a gymnasium with open space. You simply lay the tape down to create a tic-tac-toe board and then aim the frisbee accordingly. The first person to get three in a row wins!
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23. Toilet Paper Toss
Who knew you could have so much fun with a roll of toilet paper? To play toilet paper toss, simply aim the toilet paper roll in the box. The person who throws the most rolls in successfully wins the game.
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24. Backyard Bowling
Backyard bowling is a great way to relieve stress at home. After a long day of school, your middle school student will love to let off some steam by knocking down the bowling pins. I love the idea of making your own backyard bowling alley.
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25. Reading Time
Getting students to set aside time for reading can be a struggle. Giving the kids outdoor reading time and switching up the seating possibilities is a great way to help them enjoy their reading time a bit more. While it may not be feasible to have a hammock for each student or even a space for all the hammocks, it's a great flexible seating option.
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As adults, we know that gardening can be a great stress reliever and mood booster. When we give our students the space to garden, we provide them with these opportunities as well as a chance to work on their math and science skills.
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27. Weather Station
In this outdoor science project, kids put together a weather station with a wind sock, a rain gauge, a thermometer, and a wind vane. They'll want to check out the station every day in class!
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28. Ball Run Bonanza
What do you get when you give middle school students PVC pipes and assorted balls? An awesome opportunity for them to build a ball run! This is one of the activities students love and it will really bring out their competitive side!
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29. Measurement Lesson
Want to help your students grasp some variances in size? Take them outside and let them model. I did this with the size of different whales and the kids were absolutely blown away! Have two students walk a certain amount of steps away from each other to show the different sizes.
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30. Solar System
Another fun thing to model is the solar system and the distance between the planets. Berkeley put together a lesson plan for students to first create the planets and then space themselves out to show the distance between planets on a scale.
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31. Sparkle Basketball
My students love to play Sparkle. To make this a more exciting outdoor game, add a basketball hoop and two basketballs. In this fun version, instead of yelling Sparkle, the two students after the final letter have to attempt to make a basket with the basketball. The first one to make the shot knocks the other student out of the game.
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32. Outside Observations
A fun activity for middle schoolers is an outdoor science activity. Students observe objects outside, make inferences about them, and then create a visual. This is a fun and creative way to assess your students.
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33. Bats and Moths
Want an educational outdoor game? Try the Bat and Moth game. It's similar to Marco Polo, but students are bats and moths. This is the perfect game to lead into a discussion on the senses or the bat's sonar.
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34. Compass Scavenger Hunt
Do you have a compass lesson coming up in your geography class? Have your students make their own compass and then take them outside for a compass scavenger hunt! Give them clues like "look under the slide north of the swing set" or "head east 20 steps". You're teaching life skills in an activity they'll always remember!
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35. Tree Identifying Walk
While studying plants and trees, take the students on a tree-identifying walk. There's an awesome app that allows you to take pictures of tree leaves and then the app identifies the type of tree or plant. This activity is perfect for any grade level.
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36. Alphabet Game
A fun game that helps with your students' literacy is the Alphabet Game. Take your students outside and let them wander. They have to identify an object for every letter of the alphabet. Expand their vocabulary and work on their observation skills.
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37. Figurative Language Fun
Another way to engage your middle school students is by integrating outside time with figurative language. The students will write observations while they're outside and then turn those into different forms of figurative language.
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38. Language Lesson
Are you teaching your students a foreign language? Take them out in the wild! Giving them the opportunity to see a tree and learn the vocabulary word with it will help both your visual and kinesthetic learners!
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39. Ultimate Frisbee
My personal favorite outdoor game in junior high/high school was an ultimate frisbee. It's a great team-building game with a competitive edge.
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40. Capture the Flag
41. Flag Football
Flag football has been a popular and fun outdoor game since 1940. Even if you have students who don't physically enjoy the game of football, they'll probably like the idea of stealing an opponent's flag!
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42. Video Scavenger Hunt
A video scavenger hunt is a cooperative activity that could be an activity indoors but is much more fun outdoors. Put a twist on a normal scavenger hunt by requiring videos such as "sing happy birthday with a stranger" or "dance in front of the town statue".
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Taking a hike with your students is one of the easiest ways to get them outside. You don't have to have an educational goal; it can simply be about getting out in nature or hiking to a great viewpoint. Middle school students are the perfect age for this to be enjoyable.
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44. Paper Airplane Contest
I don't know what it is about tossing a piece of paper into the air that provides an endless amount of entertainment for middle schoolers, but it does. My students of all age ranges love it when I give them time to make paper airplanes and test how far they will go.
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Geocaching is another fun way to get your students out of the classroom. While you can use the actual app and send them out on an adventure to find hidden treasures in your neighborhood, you could also create your own caches using boxes or plastic bottles.
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