Sunday, September 7, 2008

Nature: Our Outdoor Classroom!


Yesterday, Peanut came home excited to tell us all about the "sticky" walk she took at Preschool. Sticky walk? We never heard of such a thing. She proceeded to tell us what a sticky walk is-
"put tape on your wrist, then go outside and pick up stuff like yellow leaves and red leaves...."
She then told us that she found bark, flowers, and a prickly thing.
"What a neat idea," I thought.
This is where I got my inspiration for today's post- using nature as our outdoor classroom! My girls love taking nature walks and it gives us the opportunity to observe, explore, and learn about God's amazing creation! Next time you take a walk with the kids, try one of the activities below.

Sticky Walk
After taking your "sticky" walk, share what you've found. Look in books or online to learn about new discoveries.

Bug Walk
Have fun looking for little critters! Be sure to take along a magnifying glass so that your child can get an up close look at the bugs found. (Actually, I saw the cartoon characters doing this on the new PBS show- Sid the Science Kid. They were exploring pill bugs and they were using a magnifying glass to count the number of legs on the bug. Next, they drew a picture of the bugs in a bug journal.) If taking a walk in the woods, be sure to take along a piece of white poster board. Scatter dirt and leaves from the top of the ground onto the paper. You will be surprised at the plethora of life living there!

A few "buggy" book suggestions:
Little Miss Spider by David Kirk
Five Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth
Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!
by Bob Barner
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle

Fall leaf creations

This was one of my favorite fall creative thinking activities when I was teaching. Take a walk with the kiddos and collect a variety of fall leaves. Brainstorm with your child different pictures that they can create with the leaf. Do they see a dog, a person, a volcano? Encourage them to use their imagination. Choose a leaf to glue on white construction paper. Next, have your child use markers(love washable for our younger artists!) to draw a creation by adding details to their leaf. (also known as elaboration- creative thinking skill)

Fall leaf rubbings
Save a couple leaves from your leaf walk above to make leaf rubbings. Put the leaf under a piece of white paper. Using crayons, have your child rub over the leaf. Use more that one leaf and different colored crayons to make a beautiful poster!

Other Nature Activities
adapted from Preschool/Kindergarten Instant Lessons For Little Learners- The Mailbox 1997

1. Nature collage:
glue items from nature on poster board. Hey, why not use the items found on the "sticky" walk!!

2. Pebbles and Rocks: collect different sizes of pebbles and rocks. Have child drop the pebbles and rocks into a plastic bin of water. What are the differences in the splashes made by each rock? How long did the ripples last? Count and Compare. My girls love collecting rocks. Let your child pick out a few of their favorites for a rock collection.

3. Sand/Dirt Writing: Using a stick, let your child practice their writing in sand or just plain old dirt in the backyard.

4.Texture walk: Feel and compare the different textures found in nature. What feels soft? What feels rough? Extensions: Put the different objects in categories. (Rough, Soft, by Color, or Size.) Play which object doesn't belong.

5. Animal Homes: Next time you take a walk in the woods or around the neighborhood, search for animal homes. Where do ants live? Where do birds live? Spiders? etc.

Other resources for outdoor learning:

My First Nature Book- A life size guide to discovering the world around you by Angela Wilkes

http://www.naturenet.com/coolkidwebSites.htm

4 comments:

MommySurvivalGuide said...

Great blog!! I recently took my 18 month old girl out for a nature walk. She is too young for your activities of course, but we had a great time collecting sticks, rocks, leaves and flowers in her plastic bucket! Then we took them home and looked at the closer. :)

Alicia
www.mommysurvivalguide.com

pattyalmasy said...

The sticky bracelet is a great activity for all ages. I do this in my program even with my one's. Just a LOT of supervision for those who are still mouthing lots. :)

M. Smith said...

I love all of the tips you put on your blog. It's nice to have a variety of creative ideas and activities to use outdoors. Especially for my bunch, there always complianing that there bored or have nothing to do. This gives me lots of ideas! Thanks!!

Jen said...

Yeah! I'm glad that you found some fun activities to do with your bunch! Another idea that I thought was just too adorable- I think I read it in Family Fun mag. the other day. Have your kids build little fairy houses with sticks and stones. My four year old thought it was just great. My six year old was just a bit negative about a fairy actually coming to live in the house we built. I'm still working on her!! Thanks for visiting! Jen

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