Children are more engaged in a hands-on experience such as outdoors where they can use all of their senses to explore. A classroom environment can be hard to stay focused in, for example, reading a book outdoors where they can see, smell and hear about objects they are learning about, is a lot more enjoyable an experience for children.
Roleplay builds a child's confidence, imagination, and creativity, making it an important part of their development. Encouraging role play outdoors gives children the freedom and space to express themselves and offers them new experiences that they can't get inside. Easy to store items such as pegs, blankets, boxes, and bean poles make excellent props to use for outdoor play.
Spending time outdoors has been proven to lift your mood and lower anxiety in both children and adults. Children naturally love the freedom of being outside and will move around much more than when inside. Setting activities outside also allow children to discover their strengths and weaknesses in an unpressured, enjoyable environment.
Outdoor learning can teach children to be understanding of and care for the environment; something that is not an easily taught inside a classroom. A child can see the negative impact certain actions such as littering has on the outdoors. Children who are environmentally conscious grow up to be adults that can make a difference.
The outdoors also provides many opportunities to help a child develop their self-awareness, independence, and confidence by giving children learning activities where they can take ownership. These activities are often not possible in the restrictions of a classroom and give children the freedom to grow at their own pace.
You can find endless learning opportunities outside. Children love being outdoors and have so much fun that they do not even realize that they are learning. This week is National Children’s Gardening week, the perfect time to get outdoors and explore the fun and wonders of the garden with little ones. Which brings us to our first outdoor activity to try:
Gardening has an abundance of benefits for children; it’s an exciting, educational, sensory experience. Gardening such as planting fruit and vegetables teaches children the importance of a balanced, healthy diet. Growing fruit and vegetables is also a fun way to enhance sensory development and teach responsibility.
Encourage children to point out the shapes and images they see in the sky. Clouds can be great inspiration for a story and can help spark a child's imagination. Watching the clouds is also a fun way to connect with nature and learn about the environment.
Children love dens. Constructing a den using items found outside is excellent for children's physical development, problem-solving, and social skills. Children will also learn how to work as part of a team.
Children love making shadows. When it's sunny, place some toys on a large piece of paper outdoors and ask the child to trace the shadow. Shadow art is great for developing necessary pen control skills and teaching science.
Enjoy the outdoors and have fun with it; outdoor learning doesn't need to follow a timetable or structure. The best kind of outdoor learning is simple and spontaneous, such as a walk-in in a new area to see what you can discover.