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Outdoor learning activities and games are trendy among children, especially during the summer holidays. Children benefit a great deal from spending time outside exploring and adventuring in the green outdoors.
Getting kids outside and active is important, and luckily nature offers a wealth of fun activities for them to enjoy. Hiking trails, observational scavenger hunts, and camping trips are all great ways to get kids outside and teach them about the environment.
For younger children, consider exploring local parks to search for different types of leaves, rocks, and insects. Children can also participate in planting their own garden, bird watching, or building a fort. Additionally, activities like bug catching, fishing, and doing nature-related arts and crafts can be both educational and enjoyable.
There are endless possibilities for fun hands-on activities in nature for kids. Some ideas include building a fort using branches and leaves, creating a nature scavenger hunt, making mud pies or sculptures, creating leaf rubbings, planting a garden, collecting and identifying rocks and shells, learning to tie knots with rope, building a birdhouse or bird feeder, going on a nature photography scavenger hunt, and making outdoor art with found materials like sticks, pinecones, and leaves. The options are endless, and getting outside and exploring nature can provide a great opportunity for kids to learn and have fun at the same time.
Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori Method, believed in the importance of nature for a child’s development. She once said, “The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” Montessori also believed that nature can foster a child’s curiosity and love for learning, stating, “The study of the science of nature at once awakens this feeling of reverence and provides an outlet for it.” She emphasized the need for children to be connected to the natural world, as it can inspire creativity, imagination, and a sense of wonder.
The Montessori approach believes that nature and outdoor experiences are essential for children’s development. It fosters children’s connection with their environment, providing opportunities for exploration, observation, and appreciation of natural phenomena. The outdoor setting allows children to experience a sense of wonder, awe, and curiosity, which in turn stimulates their cognitive, emotional, and spiritual growth.
Montessori schools incorporate nature-based activities, such as gardening, hiking, and camping, as part of their curriculum, helping children develop a sense of responsibility for the planet and a positive attitude towards sustainability. Overall, nature is seen as a rich source of learning and inspiration for children in Montessori education.
Montessori schools emphasize nature-based activities that foster children’s love and respect for the environment. These activities include exploring the woods, gardening, hiking, bird-watching, and observing insects. Children learn about animal habitats, plant growth, natural cycles, and the importance of conservation. Children also participate in activities that encourage them to use their senses, such as smelling flowers, touching leaves, and listening to bird calls. These activities promote children’s physical, intellectual, and emotional development, and help them connect with the natural world. Through nature-based activities in Montessori schools, children become responsible and knowledgeable citizens.
Nature’s classroom is fascinating and incredibly diverse. These ideas will inspire you to spend some fun and meaningful time with your child outdoors.
Fine motor activities – supply threads, a needle, and nature objects (dry berries, chestnuts, flower buds) and invite the children to thread them to make garlands or natural decorations for the child’s playroom or classroom.
Gather leaves and other natural loose parts to create a craft.
Magic wands with sticks and woolen threads. Gather different color woolen threads. Invite the children to cut strings and wrap sticks in different color woolen threads.
Leaf art. Gather acrylic paints, threads, a needle, and brushes. Invite the children to gather leaves and paint creating various patterns. After drying, invite the child to thread leaves to make garlands.
Building fortress with sticks. Invite the child to gather sticks and build a fortress.
Help the environment. Gather garbage bags and rubber gloves. Head to the popular public outdoor spaces and invite the child to hunt for loose papers and plastic bottles to help clean up.
Gather old pans and pots along with measuring cups and scooping tools. Allow access to mud and water. Invite the children to dig and make their hands dirty to have sensory play outdoors.
On a windy day, gather kites for the children to run kites outdoors.
Deciduous trees & Coniferous trees Sort
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I’ve made a fun printable scavenger hunt + instructions that can actually be turned into a sort of “scavenger satchel” (don’t worry, you’ll get it when you see the pictures!) so that the nest process is fun for everyone involved.
Making your own DIY paintbrush is easy, fun, and free! It will get you and your kids out in nature and kids will have a blast collecting natural materials - And pine needles make fantastic homemade paintbrushes!
Making sun prints is a perfect outdoor art activity for summer. My kids found the process fascinating and there is lots to learn while experimenting, about how photography works and how we can replicate this with sun light.
If you’re homeschooling at the moment – you’ll love this Mud Nature Science Experiment that’s easy to do at home in your garden or any outside space. We’ve had a lot of fun with the kids making these mud exploding monster!
Many of these nature play ideas can be “built” on one home and when you can add a dab of paint or a piece of string or glue. But, all of these ideas work “just as they are”, nothing but nature needed for lots of different play ideas.
This color matching game is very easy set up and lets you explore lots of different natural materials for some sensory learning. Begin by using chalk to draw some color blocks on the floor. We made a kind of hopscotch grid, but circles or a rainbow are good too.
Childhood is a time of imagination. Every child needs to be given time and space to play out what they envision in their minds. Children’s literature is full of woodland folk – dwarves, elves, fairies, pixies and gnomes. Take these imaginary creatures into your outdoor play and allow children uninterrupted time to build fairy gardens for woodland folk using natural materials. Building a fairy garden will absorb a child’s whole being, maximizing his or her attention span, imagination and creative skills.
Taking Montessori classroom outside creates great opportunities for hands-on learning using minimum materials and effort. Sun, fresh salty air, the sound of crashing waves – what a perfect setup for fun explorations for kids. We headed to the beach to do fun Montessori activities as a part of the preschool homeschool program.
This Rain Cloud in a Jar Experiment is a great way to engage your children aged 3-6 in conducting a simple science experiment before heading outdoors. Looking up in the sky on an overcast day can be quite relaxing and entertaining.
There are some great advantages to using leaves, bark, flowers and other natural items in your children’s art and craft activities. Not only will you save money on craft supplies, but you’ll end up with beautiful, unique creations every time. There’s another reason, though, that’s less about craft and more about the fundamentals of your child’s development.
We turned a recent walk in the forest into a lesson on symmetry- such a fun, hands-on way for kids to learn math! We searched for symmetry outside and even created our own symmetry art using nature we had found on our walk!
This series of photographs is a tribute to my students of the PCV course: this year they were asked to work on alphabets. Since childhood I have always felt profoundly unfair that the teachers assigned tasks that they have never played in person.
Over the last few months I have been exploring creating art with a circle formation or mandala art. Creating mandalas is a delightful, beautiful and easy activity which you can do almost anywhere and at anytime. All you need is a small collection of materials – I prefer natural found objects such as shells, pine cones, driftwood and sea glass. You can use any collection you have be it coins, sticky notes, hair clips, or cutlery!
This post includes 75 fun and intriguing activities for the Montessori Outdoor Classroom. Dr. Montessori believed that the outdoors is a natural extension of the classroom, that there should be harmony between the indoor and outdoor learning environments. The outdoors is the ideal sensorial experience.
Our casual, frequent walks in nature provide fun adventures, promote healthy habits, and help me to create a stronger bond with my child. We enjoy using our imagination to create gross motor challenges together using whatever natural materials we find. In the past, when I was working with preschool children, I learnt that regular gross motor exercises are essential for child’s development and contribute to many aspects of their well-being.
When I took Emily to the book store the other night, we looked for some field guides to add to her backpack for nature hikes, but they were very expensive. I found a great way to make a more child-friendly version. It is simple and easy to make yourself. To make your own bird field guide, you will need cardstock, a binder ring, and some clear contact paper.
Stomping in the Mud Play Group is a rich, natural outdoor play environment where children have the opportunity to play outside, rain or shine ... a chance for preschoolers to 'live in the moment' while learning through play.
This Outdoor Classroom has a meeting place where the children are introduced to Botany, Zoology, Ecology, Natural History, Language Arts...just to mention a few of the curriculum areas offered for exploration. The Outdoor Classroom Circle time is an important opportunity for the teachers to enrich the experience of the children even more by presenting them with the latest activities being offered.
During the day it was easy to keep the kiddos entertained on our vacation last week. There was the shore, the beach, busy bags, and so much more. At night I knew it would be a little more difficult. In preparation for the trip I came up with a few activities to have on hand just in case. They proved to be fabulous!
Taking care of the outdoor environment, whether gardening, raking, or pulling weeds, is a valuable activity in which children love to participate—and the rewards can be bountiful!
Gardening projects can easily become family projects. Simply scale the tasks to children’s abilities and you’ll be amazed at how much gets done. Learning to care for living things will help children develop a sense of appreciation for nature and our connection to it.
Would you like to learn practical ways to incorporate the forest learning approach? Would you like your students to reap all the incredible benefits of spending time in nature and learning outdoors?
Allow us to show you how to start implementing principles of learning in the natural environment with an expert and accredited Nature Pedagogue, the founding Director of Natureweavers, an award-winning forest school in Australia.
Living right next to the water gives us a great advantage of using natural resources to learn about the outside world. Simple activities turn into child-driven adventures. Learning about land and water forms on the beach seemed like a fun activity to do as a part of our Montessori Outdoor Weekly Explorations.
We began an outdoor nature colour hunt by brainstorming possible colours we might find along the way and made the chart. My role was to remind what colours were on our list to help the child to stay on task. Attention to detail is a great skill to teach young children. The magnifying glass does a great job when it comes to that. Looking at different colours of blooming trees and flowers was a perfect opportunity to reflect on the previous week’s topic – parts of the flower.
On a gorgeous sunny day, we took a trip to a local park to do sensorial explorations using hands and learn more about touch. It was a great way to extend preschooler’s vocabulary knowledge and experience textures using natural materials.
In this post, I share learning activities children can do outdoors in nature. I explain what to bring and write about practical ways you can implement learning in nature. Learning outdoors undoubtedly has many benefits. There are plenty of instances of deep hands-on exploration that take place outdoors when children simultaneously can engage in practical experiences gaining broader knowledge and enjoy their playtime.
Riveting photos and simple language and will entice emergent and early readers alike! Follow up experience with various types of weather with these books that use riveting photos and simple language to describe various types of weather.
Busy parents can enrich dinnertime, bath time, or bedtime with Tangy Tongue, Making Waves, or What's on the Wall? Full of intriguing ways to explore the senses and the world of sound, sight, taste, touch, and smell, this accessible book will teach your children skills of inquiry that will last a lifetime.
I have to admit, it is not always easy to come up with engaging hands-on ideas children would enjoy doing outdoors that complement and extend their learning about the outside world. I’ve got a solution I hope will make educators’ and parents’ task of taking learning in nature a lot easier – my seven-day planner with outdoor explorations.
As a start, water cycles are best experienced, rather than read about. There is no worksheet that can fully capture the water cycle phenomenon, like being out in the rain in your community can. Encourage your class to dress like a scientist, and gear up for outdoor learning when you are starting your water cycle inquiry.
Summer is the perfect time for kids to spend all day outdoors and make explorations in nature. Joe of Nature Rated definitely knows how to bring adventure into everyday life. Joe created a great infographic as a handy reminder of all the meaningful and fun things active children can do using their hands and imagination in nature.
We found a quiet natural outdoor setting that was perfect for sitting quietly without getting distracted. I invited the child to look around and tell me what she could see, hear and feel.
Then I said that we are going to sit without making a sound and listen to sounds around for as long as it takes all sand grains to drop from top to the bottom. I encouraged her to think of something that helps her feel “happy“. After 3 minutes I asked her if she would like to whisper things that make her happy. Here is what I heard: smiles, hugs, kisses, and cuddles.
Choose a couple of pictures of outlines to make frames to fill them in with exciting things, nature “parts” found along the way. Experiment with different shapes and outlines. We picked a couple of Montessori Metal Inset Frames. These we very practical and easy to carry around.
We took turns spotting peculiar and especially beautiful things we found.
Nature is never boring. It is so much fun to be able to combine Montessori materials with outdoor experience and make it more versatile.
Hummingbird-themed learning activities for preschool students can be easily incorporated into the preschool bird unit. Also, these printables will be a helpful addition to your resource library when teaching about North America or South America.
Children aged 3-5 years old can benefit greatly from learning about snails, their parts, and their life cycle. They love learning about invertebrate creatures. This resource can be a helpful addition to your Minibeasts unit, spring and summer hands-on activities for your preschool classroom.