Forest Activity Pack for Kids: Fun & Free!

photo of a family hiking in the woods

Planning a trip or hike in the forest and want to keep the kids learning before, during, and after? Our free forest activity pack printables could be just what you’ve been looking for!

Over here, we’re all about learning through experiences, especially when they allow for a bit of educational travel! Whether we’re traveling down the street or across the sea, there are plenty of learning experiences to take advantage of…and going for an adventure in the forest is no different!

Learning in the Forest

Whether you’re adventuring as a family or with some of your homeschool co-op friends, there’s plenty to learn and experience in the forest. When I take my kids on (very mild) hikes in the woods, we’re always on the lookout for interesting foliage, camouflaged animals, animal footprints, evidence of bugs in fallen trees, and more.

While we’re learning from our surroundings, I’m also making sure my kids are practicing the Leave No Trace principles. It’s important that we leave the beauty of the forest as untouched as possible so it’s around for future generations to enjoy, right?

There are many learning opportunities available before, during, and after your visit to the forest!

photo of 2 adults hiking in the woods with 2 children

Learning Before Visiting the Forest

When a forest adventure is on the horizon, the kids can help to prepare by:

  • checking the weather forecast: they’ll learn the essential life skill of dressing for the weather as well as a bit of meteorology!
  • figuring out a timeline: they can use a GPS app to determine how much travel time is needed to to arrive at your adventure “on time.” The Waze app has a “later” option that’s great for planning travel at a later time.
  • packing food and water: this, of course, will depend on the length of your forest adventure (are you going for a hike or camping overnight?). If you’re adventure will at least one day, I bet the kids could research some tasty camping recipes!
  • selecting appropriate clothing, footwear, etc.: this will depend on the time of day and even the time of year! Maybe they’ll need to wear winter boots on their feet? Maybe they need to wear some water-friendly hiking sandals?
  • researching any entry fees: utilize search engines to research the adventure beforehand! If your child happens to be in the 4th grade, and you’re visiting a National Park, make sure to sign up for the Every Kid Outdoors National Parks Pass!
  • packing identification books or downloading apps: unless they’ve memorized every animal, bug, flower, etc. that they might see in the forest, I definitely suggest bringing along lightweight reference books and/or downloading apps.
  • preparing for encounters with animals: have the kids research how to best evade a (potentially) dangerous animals like snakes, bears, coyotes, and more! Yes, it may be scary, but it’s a life-saving skill worth knowing!
image of a tent set up on the ground near a lake

Learning While in the Forest

There are many things to learn while in the forest like:

  • identifying animal footprints: what animals walk through the woods? Footprints can help you (and the kids) figure this out!
  • identifying direction: learn how to use a compass and put that skill to use in the woods!
  • identifying foliage, insects, animals, etc.
  • identifying sounds heard in the forest: birds chirping, animals walking (or running!), and more!
  • identifying any natural foliage disease or cause of death: did that tree fall over naturally or can you see termite damage? Maybe it was cut with a manmade item? The kids can put their detective skills to use!
  • identifying edible plants: knowing the difference between a safe and harmful plant could be life or death knowledge! Many plants have medicinal uses, too! Being able to identify helpful (and dangerous) plants is a great way to encourage living in harmony with the land.
photo of three children crouched down in the woods looking at something interesting

Learning After your Forest Adventure

Think the learning stops after you leave the woods? Nope! After adventure, the kids could learn things like:

  • tick safety: if you visited the forest during the warmer weather, there’s always a chance a tick (or two) may have hitched a ride on your body. Take this as an opportunity to practice tick checks on each other. While you’re at it, take some time to learn why we want to avoid ticks.
  • how to share experiences: encourage the kids to share their forest adventure by creating a poem, short story, or even a slideshow presentation
  • how to plan for a better experience: maybe something didn’t go quite right? Let the kids figure out what they should do differently next time.
forest printables from the in the woods freebie set from that homeschool family

Forest Activity Set

But wait, there’s more!

Did you say that like one of those late night infomercials? Because I totally did.

Anyways, back to our regularly scheduled program. Our “In the Woods” set of forest printables was designed to encourage learning before, during, and after your adventure! Designed with upper elementary-age kids in mind, this set of free printables includes:

  • 20 forest-themed vocabulary words. Have the kids define the words BEFORE your forest adventure so they’re already familiar with things they may see and experience
  • An “In the Woods” word search. The kids can complete this BEFORE or AFTER your forest activity – your choice! It includes words from the vocabulary word list.
  • A forest scavenger hunt. Bring along a clip board and pen/pencil so the kids can complete this fun scavenger hunt DURING your hike through the woods!
  • 5 forest writing prompts. With one of each option: Descriptive Writing, Persuasive Writing, Narrative Writing, Informational Writing, and Reflective Writing, have the kids complete these AFTER visiting the forest.

To get the freebie packet, just fill out the form below and it’ll get sent right to your inbox. If you’re bringing along a homeschool friend or two, go ahead and send them this article so they can get their own forest activity packet sent to their inbox, too!

Have a Great Time!

You guys are going to have so much fun on your adventure! I’d love to hear all about it. What you saw, what you heard, how you incorporated the printables into your activities…all of it! Leave a comment below or, better yet, join my free Facebook Group, That Homeschool Family Hangout, and let us know all the deets!

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,

- Elizabeth (and the kids. and the husband. even the dog.)

Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.

Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.

When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!

Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!

click find your new homeschooling community in our FREE Facebook Group! That Homeschool Family Hangout. homeschooling our kids, one adventure at at time

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