The outdoors is abundant in learning opportunities. Some of these opportunities are so common that they pass us by. However, for children, the outdoors is one of the greatest sources of learning, both about the world around them and for developing their senses, awareness, speech and social skills.
Consider any outdoor space, this could be a park, wood, beach or an outdoor space in your setting. There are lots of resources in those areas that children can interact with and learn from. Sticks, grass, pine cones, leaves, etc. are just some of the items they might find.
These can be used to help develop children’s awareness of their surroundings and for experiencing different textures. For instance, a stick can be rough while a leaf might be smooth. There are also different types of sticks and leaves that can have different textures.
Making It A Treasure Hunt
You can encourage multi-level learning through treasure hunts. Teams of children with an adult can be given a list of objects to find in an outdoor setting and the children must work together to find the items.
The children could also be asked to describe each item they find and talk about how each item is different from other objects they’ve found.
You can plan several treasure hunts a year, asking the children about the differences they find between a spring and summer hunt, or a summer and autumn hunt.
Adding Other Activities To The Sessions
To enhance these sessions, you can mix other lessons into the activity. A reading of Stickman might be a great way to connect a story session to the outdoor activity. Alternatively, you can teach about frog/butterfly lifecycles or encourage a growing session.
These only enhance the outdoor experience of children and encourage them to be more aware of their surroundings.
And if you ask children to collect some items from outside, why not put them to good use? The children could use them to produce artwork. This art can be displayed on a wall in your setting, so the children can feel proud of their accomplishments.
Do you run treasure hunts outside in your setting? Do you connect these with other lessons?
Let us know in the comments below.