Friday, July 17, 2015

Enjoying the Outside with Kids

Hello Friends,

It's Fun Friday and I thought I would share with you some  outside/garden activities that you can do with your students. If you are a parent looking for a few outdoor activities to do with your kids, these ideas can work for you, too!

First of all, I adore sharing the outdoors with kids! There is just something about kids and the outside. When I was a kid, we LIVED outside. Coming inside the house meant food, sleep, and baths; that's it. The rest of the day consisted of dragging toys outside, building forts for plastic animals with sticks and grass, and chasing my brothers around the yard. We even brought our meals outside!  Now, of course, life has changed and kids spend more time inside than outside. Life changes, but I STILL feel that kids need to be outside and whenever I can make the outdoors my classroom, I try to do it!

An easy and no prep activity that you can do with your kids is to simply give them a plastic storage bag. Their job is to find one item for every color of the rainbow and place it in the bag. The rules are dependent upon you! If you are comfortable with letting your kids pick things off the ground, trees, or bushes, then just set boundaries and let them go. Sometimes I will give my kids a storage bag and a pair of scissors. Rather than tearing off an entire leaf or flower from a tree/plant, they simply snip a piece off with scissors. If you do this and you have a large amount of kids, you might want to set some rules about how many kids can cut from a plant or how big of a piece they are to cut. If you don't do this, you might have some pretty naked plants! :)

When they have found their items, give them a roll of scotch tape and a piece of card stock. They use the tape to affix their items to the card stock; then label.

If you are not comfortable with  asking your kiddos to touch or take items from nature, you can give them a digital camera or iPad and have them take pictures of the items they find instead.

If you use digital pictures, the items they find do not even have to be alive. They could find be non-living things, too!

Another idea is taken from this wonderful book called LOOK WHAT I DID WITH A LEAF.

Kids search the yard looking for interesting leaf shapes and colors as well as other items they find laying on the ground. They use these items to create a picture using scotch tape, crayons, markers..... Add some paper and let the creativity begin!

If you are lucky enough to have a school garden as I am, there are so many fun things you can do with it. You can search for insects, look for differences in leaves, search for parts of the plant, search for vines and stems.... Arm your kids with clipboards and pencils and have them make drawings of what they see.

Another fun activity that I do with my students is a Garden Discovery scavenger hunt. First, I pair the children up. Each pair receives a clip board and a bag filled with a pencil and a box of colored pencils. Attached to their clip board is a recording sheet. The teacher picks a task card and shows the children the number on the card.

 The children write the number in the little box on their recording sheet.

Then the teacher reads the task and children search the yard or school garden for the answers. The entire group can be working on the same task card or individual pairs of kids can be working on different tasks.

 If you would like a set of these garden task cards, you can find them for free by clicking the link below. Enjoy!

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