by Kelly on August 1, 2016

Why take learning outdoors?

School isn't the only place for kids to learn.  After school or on the weekend, refuel with some Tampico juice and bring the kids outside for fun (and shhhh, don't tell them, learning)!

Learning while playing games and outside in fresh air and sunshine has unique benefits:

  • Kids remember things they learn while having fun better and longer than by simply reading facts.
  • Fresh air and sunshine are good for kids, improving physical and mental health.
  • Indoor screen-time is increasing for kids as outdoor time decreases. Fight the trend by taking learning outdoors!
  • The outdoors is perfect for learning math and science, often neglected areas in today's schools.

How do you take learning outdoors?

Here are five games or activities that can be tailored to the abilities of your children, depending on their age and grade.  Go outside and have fun!

Nature Scavenger Hunt

We play three different variations of this game:  color, shape, and a-b-c.  All of them are fun, see which your kids will like best.  For color, I used sidewalk chalk to make color blocks then the kids had to search for natural items that were shades of the different colors.  I also drew shapes which is more challenging to find.  The third variation is even more difficult, participants are challenged to find natural items that start with the letters of the alphabet.  For example, a = acorn; b = bark; c = clouds.  Kids can either gather the items, or write them down (works best for clouds, hehehe!).

Collection Stick

Have you taken your kids on a hike and felt like it was difficult to inspire them to notice things around them?  My daughter, my mom and I went on a hike today and created "collection sticks".  It was so fun!  We all paid much more attention to the plants, flowers, rocks... well, everything around us.

To make a Collection Stick, you need a paint stir stick, 1-inch double-sided tape and a marker.  Place the tape along the stick, leaving the top free to write the date and place of your hike.  Stick on fun things you find along your hike.  Easy and fun!  Reminder:  in a public location, only take items from the ground.  Follow any local rules.

When we got home, I put our sticks into a planter on our deck.  I love having the memory and can't wait to go different places in different seasons and see how those collection sticks turn out!  I'll be sipping a Tampico punch and remembering our fun hikes.

Sight Word Hopscotch

Instead of numbers, put your child's spelling or sight words in the hopscotch square.  Throw a spotter onto each square, as you progress through the rounds.  When you reach "home" at top, you must spell the word where your spotter lies, before you can turn around and go back to the start.  First one to get through all the words and squares, wins!  Celebrate with a cold glass of Tampico punch!

Find Letters in Nature

This game helps with alphabet for younger kids, shapes for older kids, and general perceptive skills.  Search for different letters that occur naturally in the world around us.  We found "F", "U", "N" pretty easily to describe our day!

Word Game

Again, this is a game that can be adjusted to different abilities, ages, and grades.  Write vowels on a set of natural items, I used pieces of wood mulch.  On a different natural item, I used rocks, write common consonants and consonant blends.  Using a set amount of time, see how many words you can make.  Who can make the longest words?  Who can add-on to a word to make a longer or different word?  Possibilities are endless.  Don't forget the Tampico juice to keep you refreshed as you play!

I hope I've inspired you to go outside to play and learn!  Don't forget the Tampico!

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