Scientific discoveries are as close as your backyard! As the weather warms up, the opportunities to explore and learn outside abound, bringing science to life. From insects and worms, to the composition of dirt and compost, to plants and flowers beginning to blossom and bloom, every square inch of backyards, gardens and neighborhoods are home to hundreds of interesting things just waiting to be discovered.

Using the Outdoor Discovery Set and the Sand and Water Fine Motor Tool Set, my three daughters aged two, four and six and I set out on a mission to uncover the mysteries and treasures in our backyard. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that even in a small space there are plenty of things to unearth.

Insect Investigation

What will you find when you dig in the dirt or the compost?

backyard science discovery

With dozens of organisms living underground, what will kids find when they start digging? After a few minutes working through the dirt in the garden, the girls found plenty of worms and an insect they’d never seen before.

Using the handy scooper, my eldest daughter carefully placed the bug in the Bug View jar.

With its handy twist top, the Bug View jar gives kids freedom and control to independently inspect their discoveries. The Bug View jar also has a built-in magnifying glass which means kids can examine and analyze what they’ve discovered up close and personal.

We talked about what kind of insect we thought it was – most likely a Click Beetle larvae – and how it is different than other bugs we are familiar with. We also discussed the bug’s unique features and characteristics. Did it have eyes and legs? What other distinctive traits could we see?

backyard science discovery 

Creating and Experimenting with Gardening

The Outdoor Discovery Set includes guided activity cards for experiments, tests and observations. We used the Growing Garlic activity card as a launching point. How fun to make the connection that some of the very things we eat and cook in our kitchen can be planted just as they are in our backyard and produce new food.

For this experiment, we used garlic cloves from our kitchen!

backyard science garlic

First, we filled one of the plant pots with soil.

backyard science garlic

Next, we made a hole in the dirt larger enough to fit a clove of garlic. Then, we planted the garlic in the plant pot, making sure to pop the clove in the right way up.

backyard science

After planting the garlic, we covered it up with fresh soil, then watered it.

Voila! The last step is to wait see what happens. How long will it take for the garlic to sprout?

Exploring the World of Water

For toddlers and children in the younger preschool years who may be less interested in gardening experiments and investigating insects, exploring outside with water and testing fine motor skills might be right up their alley. The Sand and Water Fine Motor Tool Set is a fun starting point to challenge a child’s dexterity while having fun.

water and sand backyard science experiment

First, we filled a big bucket of water in the backyard. Then we used the droppers and scoops to squeeze, squirt and spurt water. The toys can be used with sand too! Do sand and water squish and spray differently?

backyard science experiment

We found more than meets the eye as we explored our backyard. What new scientific discoveries will you capture, observe and create as you head outdoors?

Looking for more screen-free science? Click here for some more activities!