As the weather gets nicer and spring shows her beautiful, sunny face, there’s no better time to get outdoors – provided that you don’t socialize with people outside of your household family and if you live in a less dense area where it’s still deemed safe to spend time outdoors.
1. Play an outdoor game
How long has it been since you joined in on an outdoor game? Well, now is a great time to join your children in one. They may teach you a new game or you can show them one from your childhood. Games are great, not only for family connections, but for those ever-so-necessary social skills, including how to be a humble winner, how to be a gracious loser, and how to play fair! So, get outdoors and play!
2. Go on a nature walk
Get to a park or trail if they’re still open in your area and you can safely practice social distancing. Or, set this activity up in your own yard.
- Collect leaves to compare color, size, and shape
- Take white paper and crayons to do bark rubbings on trees
- Log animals and insects that you see
- Illustrate clouds and cloud patterns that you see
- Check your shadow every hour and trace it with chalk on your driveway to notice how the sun’s movement changes the shadow’s position, length, etc.
3. Make your fence or driveway a work of art
If you’re on social media, you may have seen people taking painter’s tape or masking tape and creating patterns that you can color in with sidewalk chalk. Whole neighborhoods have created these works of art, so that other families can admire them as they’re taking socially distant walks.
4. Use your sidewalk as a math game!
If you have a sidewalk, use chalk or masking tape to create additional boxes, like a giant board game! Create a start and a finish and write equations on paper or flash cards. When children get an answer right, they can move forward one space. If children are incorrect, they can move back one space. The first child to the finish wins! One of the best things about this game is that kids of different skill sets and learning levels can easily play. When writing the problems, make them specific for each child’s skill that they are working on in math!
5. Get outside with a book
Every child should spend at least 20 minutes a day reading. Even if they can only look at the pictures, it’s vital for children to continue to have silent reading to keep up their skills and their stamina. Going outdoors is the perfect place to spend this reading time. Whether it’s under a tree or on the porch, the fresh air and sunshine is a nice change of pace for children.
A final word on getting outside
If you’re able, taking learning outside will help break up your day-to-day routine and give you and your children a change of scenery. Even going on a short walk with your kids will improve your mood, give you some exercise, and most importantly, improve everyone’s relationship and communication skills. Take advantage of this time with your child. Frustration can easily set in, so try something new and take learning outdoors!
PS – For those teachers who are recording stories for your students, try reading a nature book while you are outside! If you can find a nest or a chrysalis – that is the prime opportunity to help students make a connection!
By Angela French
Angela French is the Senior Product Development and Content Manager at Really Good Stuff. She has worked for the company for nearly seven years and has created hundreds of resources for the classroom. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Her classroom experiences include teaching grade levels K–5 and inclusion, special education, literacy intervention, and gifted and talented programs in three different states.