How to get my kids learning in the outdoors
When we think of the words: learning and education, we naturally think of our children sitting inside their classroom with a pen in hand. However, learning doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom or home. Learning can occur anywhere at any time - even in the great outdoors!
What are the benefits of outdoor learning for your kids?
Giving children the opportunity to participate in learning activities outside the classroom or home can teach our children about the importance of nature and the environment. Providing education and learning opportunities in the outdoors helps our children:
- Build resilience to adapt to different environments and stimuli around them
- Identify risks and hazards in the outdoors and navigate around them
- Develop an understanding of how to care for and protect our environment
- Gain many health benefits, such as Vitamin D from the sun, oxygen from the trees, and physical activity from moving their bodies.
- Physical activity improves a child's mood and helps them cope better with stress and anxiety
5 ways to get your kids learning in the outdoors:
Hit your backyard, footpath or park
Walk, run, scoot or bike ride. Kicking and throwing a ball is also the perfect way for your kids to use up energy, while helping them develop those important gross motor and hand eye coordination skills. Many people believe that sport is all about physical activity. However, team sports use spatial reasoning skills while developing important social and communication skills.
The Outdoor Activity Set
Does your child love exploring nature when they are outdoors like The Sensory Specialist's kids do? The Outdoor Activity Set - Back in Nature is a unique STEAM activity set by Tiger Tribe and incudes everything you need to get your little explorer outside learning in nature!
The Outdoor Activity Set - Back to Nature is an activity-based introduction to mindfulness designed to get children outside, unplugged and outside exploring nature. The Outdoor Activity Set includes a handy magnifying glass, coloured chalk, a note-taking pencil, and an awesome activity book filled to the brim with engaging activities and hands-on fun.
Designed to encourage observation and interaction with the environment, junior outdoor explorers can document cloud shapes, create mermaids out of found natural materials, complete kindness exercises, play backyard olympics, and block bingo just to name a few! The magnifying glass also encourages active outdoor play where children are given the independence to investigate elements of nature such as bugs, leaves and flowers.
Take your kids on a nature scavenger hunt outside.
Have you noticed that your kids go stir crazy when indoors for too long, but become more relaxed and calm when outside in nature? Write up a "Scavanger Hunt"- a list of things they can look for and collect when you are outside, such as 6 different flowers, 3 different types of pebbles, 5 different types of leaves. You can do this anywhere, from a walk down the street or a visit to the local park. You can turn this into a scientific classification sorting activity when you get back home, or you could get out the paper and glue and create a nature art work.
Beat the clock Stopwatch Set
The Beat the Clock Stopwatch Set by Tiger Tribe is jam-packed with fun and constructive activities that you can do outside. Get your child interested in exploring time - and beating it! From keeping balloons in the air, to running around the block, these fun time-based activities will delight and entertain your children for hours. Great for solo play or with friends, test your skills and reflexes against time with this innovative activity set that is perfect for outdoor learning.
Help your children grow some vegetable or herbs and make an edible garden
Kids thrive with real life, hands on learning experiences. Teach your kids how to grow vegetables, including planting vegies, watering and picking the fresh produce. This hands on educational experience teaches your kids so many important life skills, including sustainability and the role of the water cycle. It also encourages responsibility - where children must take ownership for nurturing their vegetables to help them grow. Add on to this valuable learning experience by getting the kids to cook with you in the kitchen and get your kids to eat their home grown produce. This is especially useful for fussy eating children and toddlers.
photo credit: Covington's Nursery
This article was written by Sarah James, owner of The Sensory Specialist – a Registered NDIS Provider based in Melbourne and stockist of Tiger Tribe toys. Sarah is a qualified psychology teacher and mother of two boys. Sarah has spent over a decade teaching in several of Melbourne’s best government schools. Through her experiences, Sarah has learnt lots of tips and tricks to help kids thrive with their learning. Check out The Sensory Specialist on Facebook and Instagram.