5 OUTDOOR LEARNING ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
The natural world provides so many different learning opportunities for children as well as being a great way to keep them entertained without spending a penny. Getting outside in the fresh air will keep them physically and mentally well and allow them to learn about various aspects of life in a way which complements their classroom-based learning. Read on for some tips from a UK international school on 5 great outdoor learning activities you can explore with your child.
Kids love getting their hands dirty and they’ll be learning in the process when you get them involved in gardening activities. You can teach them about sustainability by letting them take responsibility for a vegetable patch and planting and growing their own food. They can then help you harvest the crop and cook meals using the fresh ingredients they’ve helped to nurture. This is also a great way for them to learn about only growing and using what you need and not wasting food. While they’re planting and watering, they’ll learn about what plants need to survive and grow and about the natural cycle of life, something which will help bring to life their science learning at school. Your child will also develop their gross and fine motor skills and manual dexterity through using a variety of different tools for planting, digging and harvesting.
Bird watching is a great opportunity for children to learn about different bird species and practise their scientific identification skills. Challenge them to find a library or school book about birds and spend some time in the garden (or even just looking out the window) trying to spot the different species from their book. They could then take this further by researching the birds they’ve seen on the internet or drawing a picture of them. Leaving out some seeds or breadcrumbs might help to attract different kinds of birds.
Going on a bug hunt in the woods or a field can be both exciting and educational for your child. Bring along a book about different kinds of bugs and challenge your child to spot them in the grass or mud. Through this they’ll learn about ecosystems and how bugs contribute to them, and what they need to survive in the natural cycle of life. Ask your child to draw a diagram of where bugs fit into different ecosystems and how they help maintain them, and of where they sit in the food chain. This will be a great opportunity for them to see their school-based learning in action.
If your child enjoys creative activities, they’ll probably love taking this outside and sourcing natural objects to use in their art. They could use them as models to draw or paint, or actively include them by making a collage of different shaped leaves or designing a sculpture out of sticks and stones. If your child prefers photography, they could take their camera outside and photograph natural objects from a variety of angles and in different lights. They might also like to make a flower press or create some jewellery from shells collected from the beach. During these activities they’ll learn about different materials and textures, and the principles of engineering when making and building things.
Building a den from logs and foliage is a fun activity for children of all ages. They’ll learn to work as part of a team to design a structure that will hold up, and then they can enjoy sitting in it after all their hard work. This will also teach them resourcefulness while giving them some valuable physical activity.
The world really is your child’s oyster and they’ll learn so much from being outside in nature and just enjoying everything it has to offer.
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