Enjoying the Outdoors with Kids

  • How to Make the Most of Outdoor Learning

The summer goes by fast. I like to encourage families to get as much outdoor time each summer as possible. Kids grow up so fast and the summer is one of the best times to make memories. I would like to share a letter that is perfect to send home with students to encourage families to get outside. There are so many benefits of getting and spending time outside! Did you know that studies have shown that we reduce our negative thoughts and improve our memory just by being in nature? Encourage your class to restore their families mental energy reserves this summer by getting out into their backyard or visiting a local park. Incorporating learning with nature is so easy. Here are some tips:

observe nature

Sit in silence and just feel the majestic environment around you. Use your senses to feel, listen, touch, hear, and see what the world around you is like. Sometimes you can even taste the air. Observe the same area at different times – and visit again in the fall and winter and see how it has changed.

How about getting a blank notebook and sketching your observations. Don’t forget to have your kids date where and when they observed nature.

QUESTIONS TO GET THEM THINKING:
What are you looking at?
What is it doing?
How does it look, smell, sound, feel (sometimes taste)?

curiosity

Once you are in the habit of just observing nature – get curious about it. What about those clouds? That rock formation? The birds? Ants? The smell in the air? Take the time to ask questions about your world.Your child can use their notebook to form questions and guess

Your child can use their notebook to form questions and guess the answer by forming a hypothesis.

QUESTIONS TO GET THEM THINKING
Why is this animal/plant/rock formation here?
What else is nearby?
How can it be living here?
How did it get here?

research the outdoors

Once at home, jump online and research more information.

QUESTIONS TO GET THEM THINKING
What can we learn from this?
How does it relate to our world?
What more would you like to learn about this?

Encourage your students to explore, read, and learn this summer by getting them outside. I hope this letter will help students and their families connect nature to learning. You can get together a resource area filled with books and websites of local day trips, local animals, explorers, history of your area, etc. Students can journal about what nature they find daily. You can even have them write poetry or stories. Students that like art can improve their observation, drawing and painting skills outside while observing. JUST GET THEM OUTSIDE!!!