Children learn much through their senses. Outside there are many different and wonderful things for them to see (animals, birds, and green leafy plants), to hear (the wind rustling through the leaves, a robin’s song), to smell (fragrant flowers and the rain-soaked ground), to touch (a fuzzy caterpillar or the bark of a tree), and even to taste (a raindrop on the tongue).
What better place than the outdoors for children to be loud, messy and boisterous? Outside they can run, jump, yell and expend some of the energy that is usually inappropriate indoors.
Children usually share the values of the important adults in their lives. When we show an appreciation for the great outdoors, the children in our lives will follow our lead.
Some fun outdoor activities to participate in this season…..
- Mellow out: Rest in the shade lie on your back and watch the clouds, what shapes do you see? Roll over on your tummy and discover the creepy crawlers and follow their path. Discover the many shades of green. What are the tallest plants you see? The shortest, the widest?
- Go on a “listening” walk: a wonderful sound discrimination activity. As you walk with the children, point out the sounds of birds, passing cars, whistling wind, even your footsteps on the sidewalk. What sounds can the children identify on their own? Which are loud and which are soft? Which are high and which are low? What are their favorite sounds?
- Bubble chasing: Chasing bubbles gives children a chance to run!
- Get dirty: Take your shoes off, walk in water and make patterns on the pavement. Get your feet, hands and body dirty – it all washes off easily! Make some mud pies, sand castles, goopy messes with sand/dirt and water.
- Outdoor Dance Party: Play upbeat, funky fun, child-appropriate music and just dance.
- Trikes, Bikes, and Riding Toys: Create obstacle courses, drive on bubble wrap, drive through paint and capture amazing art on a canvas/large mural paper. Always wear an appropriate helmet when riding trikes, bikes and riding toys.
- Creative Art: Have arts and craft time outdoors.
- Paint that old chair, bench, or trellis with pinks, purples, or blues.
- Blow dandelion seeds on to dark coloured paper brushed with glue and see the art appear!
- Using chalk, trace children’s bodies or their shadows on the pavement.
- Try “water painting,” in which children paint the side of a building with a brush and a bucket of water. It exercises arms and upper torso while also teaching about wet and dry, light and dark, and evaporation.
“Play is the highest form of research. “ – Albert Einstein