Discovery Walks –
Go on a walk and have children touch various objects. “How does it feel?”
Have them close their eyes and try to identify objects by their sense of touch.
*Take a listening walk where children close their eyes and try to identify different sounds in the environment.
“Kinder” Garden -
Old tires filled with soil make an easy “kinder” garden. (Of course, if you could get a parent or community volunteer to help you till a garden plot that would be even better.) Let the children play in the dirt with child size garden tools. Buy bedding plants or let children start plants from seeds indoors. Label the plants and take turns weeding and watering.
*If you plant vegetables the children can harvest, wash, cook, and then eat their produce.
Class Tree -
Let the children “adopt” a special tree on the playground. Vote on a name for your tree and then take photos of it in different seasons. Read stories or sing songs in the shade of your tree.
*Draw pictures of your tree or write descriptions. (Great for non-fiction writing.)
Singing Tree - Ask children to bring in old wind chimes and bells. Tie them to the branches of a tree and listen to the tree “sing” when the wind blows.
Seedy Socks -
Let one child take an old pair of socks and put them on over her shoes. Walk through a grassy area or some weeds. Put the socks in a zip bag and dampen with water. Seal and then punch a few holes in the bag. Observe and see what grows.
Human Sun Dial -
Have one child face north at 9:00 in the morning. Mark where they are standing and draw their shadow with chalk. Have the child stand in the same spot and record their shadow at various times in the school day.
*Play shadow tag where children try to step on each other’s shadows.
Cloud Watch -
When there are cumulus clouds in the sky, have the children lay on their backs and look for animals and other objects in the sky.
*Let them draw pictures of clouds with white chalk on blue paper.
Hang a large outdoor thermometer on your playground. Before going outside have children predict what the temperature will be. Read the thermometer when you go outside.
*Keep a monthly graph of the temperature each day.
Rain Gauge -
To make a rain gauge, mark inches on a clear, plastic jar with a permanent marker. Place the jar in an open area. Measure and record rainfall.
Melt Down -
Give each child a paper cup with an ice cube in it. Who can make their ice cube melt fastest?
*Color the ice cubes with food coloring.
*Draw with ice cubes on the sidewalk.