Posted on 04/23/2014 at 07:36 AM by Global Reach

Wow! Spring has finally arrived (let’s hope we are done with snowstorms)! What are you doing to engage your students in outdoor experiences? Recently, I was reading a blog from the “Children & Nature Network” and they had a nice piece on “6 Family Activities to Get Your Kids Excited for Spring”! (blogger: Heather Manning) These are not only great activities for families, but they would also greatly compliment any “outdoor learning” you want to do in your classroom, such as:
    
    -Go on nature walks! This is a great way to point out things in the world
    (flowers, new buds on trees, changing ground, etc.) and build vocabulary.    
    -Celebrate Earth Day everyday (or every month)! Talk about nature and
    what you and your children can do to take care of the earth. Great chance
    to get to know the plants, animals, etc. as well as the growth cycle of the
    environment.
    -Talk about “outdoor homes”. Where do the animals live? Have you gone on
    a walk to discover the different places that animals live? Can also see what is
    or might be happening in those homes, such as eggs hatching, etc.
    -Keep a nature journal! Draw pictures and write stories about what children
    see outside.  Draw pictures in fall and winter as well so you can look for
    changes in the outside as you compare pictures.

In addition to these items above, outdoor experiences should be unique to their locations, like growing gardens, digging and playing in the sand/dirt, etc. Most indoor activities can be completed outside, such as creating arts, building with blocks (get someone to share blocks made from trees to build), read stories under the shade of trees, and many other things as well.

Enjoy the outdoor time because it gives children a chance to experience “old learning” in a “new way”! Even though there are walls that separate your indoor and outdoor space, do not let those walls limit the opportunities to explore and learn from the great outdoors! A great resource for you is your “local nature center” or a “master gardener”.

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