Summer weather is ideal for fun outdoor learning opportunities. Making education enjoyable can help your child form positive associations with learning that’ll last for a lifetime. Also, spending time outdoors will build your child’s gross motor skills and environmental awareness, and will improve their health.
Here are 7 ideas for outdoor learning you and your child can have fun with this summer.
- Use water for a sensory experience: Even on a rainy day, you can go outside and encourage your child to use their senses to learn. How does the rain feel on their hands? What does it sound like on their umbrella? You can even create a sensory bin with water, experimenting which common objects float and which ones sink.
- Rescue earthworms: Children can learn about nature and develop empathy by looking for worms on the sidewalk after it rains, and carefully moving them to the grass or soil. Remind your child that worms need the moisture in the soil to help them breathe, and it can be dangerous for the worm to be held for too long.
- Look for birds: Go for a walk in your neighborhood together and point out different birds you see, or create a checklist of common birds in your area for your child to watch for
- Skip stones: Skipping stones is not only a fun activity for older children, but it helps to build STEAM skills as well. By trial and error, your child can figure out which stones skip the best, and why. Encourage your child to ask questions and experiment. Does the stone’s weight make a difference? What throwing angle or speed works best?
- Create a nature sculpture: The great outdoors offers many great natural sculpture materials. Encourage your child’s creativity, but continue to teach them about being gentle and respectful of nature.
- Practice letters and numbers: This is an ideal activity to do on a beach. Your child can use a stick to draw numbers, or spell a word or a phrase in the sand. Alternatively, rocks and seashells can also be used to form letters and numbers.
- Hold an outdoor scavenger hunt: A scavenger hunt is a fun way for your child learn about classifying and sorting objects, which are foundational STEAM skills. Try having your child find common outdoor objects of particular colors, textures, sizes, or shapes.
As always, ensure your entire family practices safe sun exposure when enjoying outdoor learning with your child: apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside, look for sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, avoid the sun during peak hours, and choose appropriate clothing to further protect your child’s skin.