Inside, Outside, Upside Down!
100 Outdoor Learning Activities
What do children like best about school?
Ask children what they like best about school, and you’ll hear a unanimous, “Playing outside!” Indeed, when you look back on your own childhood, probably many happy times playing outside will come to mind. Your playground is a “natural” learning environment where you and your children can play, work, learn, and have fun. Let’s think about how “playing” can contribute to a child’s total development:
Physically – large and small motor development, endurance, strength, coordination, health, body awareness
Emotionally – confidence, independence, self-image, stress release
Socially – cooperation, problem-solving, sharing, trust, friendships
Intellectually – sensory stimulation, creativity, language development, math concepts, curiosity about nature
I recently read a book by Richard Louv called Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. Louv emphasizes the powerful effect that nature can have on children and argues that the outdoors is as essential to children’s health as good nutrition and plenty of sleep. Adults as well as children require regular contact with nature to maintain physical and emotional health.
You can’t beat just “being” outside and giving children time for “messing around” and using their imaginations. But you can also take learning “outside” by creating learning centers and other opportunities. This month you’ll find over 100 ideas for having fun outside this summer. You can do these with your students at school throughout the year, or with your own children in your backyard. Adapt them for scouts, family reunions, Bible school, birthday parties, and children of all ages.
Downloads for Summer - You will find four files for downloading this month. One is a PowerPoint titled, "The Way We Exercise" from Better Bodies and Brains. The second PowerPoint is titled, "Sports Around the Year," from a song by Dr. Jean and Dr. Holly on the same CD. The other two are pdf files for a book and a two-sided booklet of "Sports Around the Year." Just use the Downloads button in the menu to the left.
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