Have you ever wondered how to incorporate outdoor learning at home? Well look no further!
Here are a few easy ideas to encourage your children to learn and play outdoors!
– Nature walk/Scavenger Hunt: Make your daily walks more exciting by turning them into a
nature walk! Ask your child what they see or have them collect nature items in a baggie/basket
that they can use for nature art! Take nature collecting one step further by having your child find
different colored items to make a nature rainbow! You can also create an easy scavenger hunt
for your kiddos to mark off what they see while on a walk or playing in the backyard. You’ll be
surprised how entertained they’ll be!
– Nature Art: Use nature items like sticks, leaves or flowers to paint with or make a nature
collage with paper and glue! As mentioned above, you can have your children collect various
nature items that make up the colors of the rainbow and create a fun and colorful art piece. You
can also use leaves to make new shapes or animals, like the ones in Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert.
Make letters out of sticks or use flowers to stamp with. Make leaf rubbings with crayons and
paper or use clay to make nature impressions. The options are endless!
– Sensory Play: Take your sensory experiences outside! You can make it as simple as filling a
plastic container with water, dirt or sand or you can experiment with other materials like beans,
rice, seeds or even shaving cream! Add measuring tools like cups, bowls or funnels which will
help your children with their hand-eye coordination as well as their fine motor skills. You can
also add in plastic animals or other toys to encourage imaginative play. Sensory play allows
children to explore various textures they may not have been exposed to before. An added
bonus to exploring outside is that clean up should be a breeze!
– Gardening: Whether it’s a small potted plant inside your house or a large garden bed in your
backyard, gardening is a great way to introduce children to caring for the earth while giving them
a sense of responsibility. It also allows them to learn about life cycles, what plants need to grow
and how pollination works. If you’re able to grow plants like tomatoes or herbs, you can
incorporate them into family dinner one night! If you plant some milkweed, chances are you’ll
have some caterpillars or butterflies visit your garden. What a neat experience it is to see the full
life cycle of a butterfly right in your backyard!
– Explore Public Parks: Do you have a favorite park that you frequent in your area? Have you
tried out a brand new park recently? I would encourage you to explore various parks around
your city because chances are there are more than you realize! By allowing your children to
climb and explore at different parks, it encourages physical activity and improves their gross
motor skills. They could even meet a new friend while they’re playing which can improve their
social skills. Some parks even have splash pads and other water features which are great for
cooling off after a hot park day and incorporating some water play into your day!
There are so many ways to incorporate learning outside! Get creative or keep it simple! Your
kiddos will have fun and learn so much no matter what you think up!
If you are looking for more information about creating your own Outdoor Classroom at home, join us for our 1st Annual Slavia Village Institute! This conference is dedicated to furthering the education of Outdoor Learning for Early Childhood. Whether you are a parent, early childhood educator or administrator. There is something for everyone! We even have children’s author Sandra Markle as a special guest! Register today at svol.org