The World is Their Classroom
Taking our classroom outdoors by Nicola
I home educate my five children ages 15, 12, 10,7 & 4 who have never been to school. They learn through fun, practical activities to spark their interests in various topics. Between the ages of 0-7 they learn through play and reading lots of books.
We take our classroom outdoors as much as possible. High-quality outdoor learning experiences are great for developing key life skills such as problem solving, communication skills and building self-esteem as well as instilling a love and appreciation for nature. Learning outdoors in the fresh air also has great health benefits, both physically and mentally as well as giving young children the opportunity to practise their fine and gross motor skills.
Here are some of our favourite outdoor activities:
Nature Ice Decorations
This is a great early science activity to explore which pieces of nature absorb water. Provide bun trays to the children to collect their ‘nature treasures’ in, then allow them to pour water over them to see what happens. They can easily see that the water is absorbed by some of their findings. You could also freeze their nature collection in this tray, with string attached at the top of each circle shape, and then hang up the ice decorations to watch them melt
Simple, fun activity to explore nature. Glue a strip of paper, tape it around your child’s wrist and allow them to collect pieces of nature they find by adding it to their bracelet.
Making Nature Postcards
Painting with nature is simple and a great way to take your classroom outdoors. You could try making your own paintbrushes with flowers, leaves, etc. tied to twigs or the children can use whatever materials they find such as dandelions. Leave their artwork to dry and they make great cards/postcards to send to friends and family.
A lovely outdoor art class exploring natural materials around them. Cut out any shape (butterfly, rainbow, etc.) from cardboard, tape onto a stick and place securely into the ground. The children can then decorate however they wish from their nature ‘treasures’ they find around them.
Learning the alphabet whilst sieving soil
This is a great sensory activity to try out with preschoolers whilst learning the alphabet. My daughter added glue over the letters she was learning and then used a sieve to sift soil of the top to reveal their letter. This activity can be adapted to learn words or numbers.
Nature Ice Block excavation
For this ice block activity, pieces of nature need to be placed in a tub of water and frozen overnight. The following day the ice block will be ready to explore using salt to melt the ice and different items to tap away at it to reveal the contents. Anything can be frozen into a block for preschoolers to explore such as dinosaurs or items with the same sound they are learning.
For more teaching ideas and resources or Nicola's Home Education Journey: