This is a question all teachers have undoubtedly heard and usually veto. The outdoors seems like a distracting and unorganized terrain; an unnecessary obstruction to the lesson plan. How could children possibly concentrate outside the walls of the classroom? Well, there is actually an abundance of research indicating that learning outdoors increases academic performance, health, and childhood development. Taking your class outside from time to time will enhance your student’s learning experience. Here are a few ways you can apply the lesson plan outside:
Journal! – Have your students sit outside with a notebook and pen and encourage them to write a sensory piece based on what they hear, smell, taste, feel, and see. This exercise will connect them to their surroundings and help them practice descriptive vocabulary and self-expression.
Grow plants! – Use this opportunity to answer questions like why plants need sunlight or what makes them green. Have kids plant seeds and care for them as they observe the process of a seed slowly but surely become a plant.
Find Shapes! – Create a scavenger hunt (like this one) in which your students have to find different shapes in nature. For example, the sun could be a circle, a tree trunk could be a rectangle, etc. Have them record their findings in a worksheet and have a discussion about them afterward.
Nature collage! – Have your students collect leaves, pine cones, twigs, flowers, and anything else they can find and turn it into a work of art. Encourage them to build a collage from the nature around them. Challenge them to only use resources they find outside. Remind them not to harm nature in any way (ex: use flowers/leaves that are already on the ground don’t break them off from the plants).