Encourage learning with these outdoor activities

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Fun ways for your student to learn, no chair or desk required.

By Editorial

Think about the time you and your children typically spend indoors, in front of a computer or whiteboard. Now think about how many extra hours you spent doing this during the pandemic, breathing stale air, and admiring the same scenery.

Also think about how much time your kids are watching TV, compared to how much time you probably spent a generation ago. In the United States, children between the ages of 8 and 12 spend four to six hours a day in front of screens, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Meanwhile, a chorus of experts agree that children no longer spend enough time outdoors: green time has been replaced by screen time.

So what should a parent do? Here are some ways your kids can learn while enjoying the great outdoors.

Take story time outdoors.

Start by asking everyone to walk barefoot for a minute or two – the feel of the grass tends to reduce stress and negativity. Then travel together through a new story as you smell the crisp air and admire the leaves on the ground.

children looking at leaves
© Jacob Lund / adobestock.com

View the reports.

Older students can take advantage of the outdoors to understand the concept of ratios. Give your children measurements, such as the distances between planets in our solar system, and have them draw scale models in chalk. Or count the blades of grass in a small quadrant, then use that number to estimate the number of blades in the entire field.

Do some traveling geometry.

Have your children identify triangles, circles, and other geometric shapes in what they find while walking in the yard or park. Measure the angles you come across and let your students draw what they see.

Get messy with your science experiments.

Maybe it’s the classic do-it-yourself volcano or the old-fashioned egg drop experience. The outdoors is the perfect place to go crazy with them.

Look for patterns in nature.

Challenge your students to look for symmetry, spirals, waves, and other patterns in plants or in the landscaping of a playground.

children digging in the garden
© Rawpixel.com / adobestock.com

Start a garden.

Even just a patch. Your kids will learn about the biology and life cycle of plants and have something to show at the end.

This story first appeared in our October issue. For more stories like this subscribe to our monthly magazine.


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