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Learning outdoors

Learning outdoors

Using lessons to get children outside can provide an imaginative and fun way of teaching them about the world around us. Here are two ideas on how you can use outdoors to offer new ways of teaching.

1-Create a Class Garden

A good way of getting kids to see how things grow is by creating a class garden. Many teachers have often asked their class to plant seeds, such as cress, to show how plants grow and talk about germination. However, going one step further and having a class garden can help youngsters to learn about and grow different plants, as well as getting them to care and appreciate what they have achieved. Planting vegetables can also be a good way of helping children to identify what they eat, as well as eventually showing how it can make healthy meals. They can even present their products to their families in a market show.

To run through this activity, you need:​

  • Garden spot 
  • Child-sized garden tools (find them at home, use toys and give them a second life)
  • Seeds
  • Watering cans or spray bottles (they can be DIY as in the picture)

How can we do it?

  1. Select a spot for the garden, then help the students till it. (Use landscape timbers or rocks to outline the area.)
  2. Let the children decide which vegetables they would like to grow, then purchase the seeds.
  3. Read the directions on the seed packets and make a diagram of the garden to outline where to plant different seeds.
  4. Several days before planting, encourage the children to dig in the dirt with their tools and shovels.
  5. Let the children make the rows, plant the seeds, and water their garden. (Label each row.)
  6. Have the children care for their plants by pulling weeds and watering them throughout the year.
  7. Encourage students to "harvest" their vegetables and prepare them for snack or lunch.
  8. Make a scarecrow for your garden. Stuff an old hose with leaves and straw for the arms and legs, then dress it in old clothes. Make a head from a grocery sack and stick on a funny hat.

2-Fall Nature Scavenger Hunt Activity

  1. Draw a map in which you include items such as: pine cone, cloud, bird, yellow leaf, red leaf, orange leaf, brown leaf,  moss, acorns, stick, seeds, spider, squirrel, big rock, tall tree, mushroom, something smooth, something soft.  You can simply write as many ideas as you’d like on a sheet of paper and use that as your guide.
  2. Gather your supplies and head outside.
  3. Try to find as many items on the sheet as possible.  Be sure to mark them off as you discover them! 
  4. When you’ve had your fill of hunting, find a nice spot (outside or at home) and color your guide.