Best STEAM Outdoor Learning Program in Southern California

One of the biggest trends we’ve seen with the creation of technology is that kids spend way more time inside. Just a generation ago, we spent most of our free time outside, or at least, that’s how we remember it.

And while there’s no harm in a reasonable amount of screen time, kids are truly missing out on the outdoors. Did you know that the health benefits of playing outside and spending time in nature are alike to those of meditating?

But what if your school is in a big city or there’s some other reason it’s hard for your kids to get outdoors? We’ve got you covered.  We can give you some solid academic reasons to visit Pali Institute for outdoor learning camp.

We serve our outdoor adventures with a solid helping of fun and science.  Learn why Pali Institute is the best STEAM Outdoor Learning in Southern California!

The Benefits of Being Outside

We said that being and playing outside has health benefits like meditating – and it’s true. If you didn’t know it, meditation is pretty much one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.

Like meditation, spending time outside can help preserve and strengthen your short-term memory. With all that kids have to remember in school nowadays, that’s a huge benefit.

In a study, participants who took a nature walk vs a city before being re-tested did 20% better on a memory test.

And that’s not all. We all want our children to be happy and relatively carefree, right? But we’re seeing a rise in childhood depression and anxiety. Spending time outdoors won’t fix a current problem, but it could help treat it or prevent a future one.

A study found that every type of “green environment improved both self-esteem and mood” in participants.  That’s a pretty powerful thing for a walk in the woods to do!

Finally, the last benefit (that we’ll mention, there are more!) is that being outside could protect your eyesight. If you want your child’s eyes to get a break from staring at textbooks and bright screens – outside time could improve their vision.

Children in an Asian school study improved their eyesight over time by playing outside more.

Ready to bring your class into the (supervised) wilderness? Here’s how our camp will keep them outside and ignite a love of nature, in just three, four or five days!

Pali Institute STEAM Outdoor Learning

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. You usually hear it as STEM, but we think it’s important to keep the art in the mix. Why?

When you mix traditional creative types with more science thinkers, you get a more well-rounded experience. We teach campers to see art and creativity in nature.

Outdoor Learning Classes

Wondering what your class will be doing all day, out on our 250-acre campus in the gorgeous San Bernardino mountains? We have a set-up of five classes per day, each 90 minutes long, with a break for lunch.

After classes, kids have time to reflect and write about their experiences before dinner.  Evening activities allow your group to wind down from the day can build on their science experience or encourage social interaction.

During the day,  teachers select from 30 class modules.  Some examples:

Art in Nature

As we said, we believe in keeping the A in STEAM, and this class they create their own work of art. The twist? They’ll only be able to make out of natural materials, including their paint and binding materials.

Students will take inspiration by studying and looking at works of art by British nature artist Andy Goldsworthy. They can take these works of art home, but remember they’re made of organic materials, so they may not keep over time.


While most of us would have to have something to really, really, wrong to get lost in the woods, it’d be good to know what to do, right? Kids will learn how to read a compass and how to look at coordinates on a map in this class.

Our goal is to help them understand how to get from point A to point B without the help of GPS or mobile phone. It sounds simple, but not a skill many kids have these days.

Animal Survivor

What does your child know about food chains? Maybe they’ve studied them a little bit at school, but have they act ed them out (safely)?

In this class, kids will learn about carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. They’ll play-act a survival scenario, where each group of kids has to seek out or avoid another animal type.

It’s like a game of tag, but with learning involved. Your child will have a bigger appreciation for the complexities of the animal kingdom after this fun and fast-paced activity.


Forget the nerf guns, kids get to use real (but safe!) arrows in this archery class. They’ll learn the basic physics of why bows and arrows work and why they’re peppered all over history (they’re quite an efficient tool).

Then, they’ll go out to our target range and practice shooting some bows and arrows on their own. Don’t worry, instructors are on site and children are given clear instructions so that no one gets hurt.

Hikes Galore

Each day, your children will spend time outside. They’ll also have the opportunity to do a short class hike, along with a longer, 3-hour hike. Spending time in nature and exercising? Check!

Getting Started

Does the best STEAM outdoor learning program sound like a match for your students?  We’re ready to help you plan a great learning enrichment activity!

Connect with us to talk about making these outdoor dreams a reality!