‘Bring the outdoors in’ is a common home decorating approach, but why not ‘bring the indoors out’? There is much to gain from children have large periods of time outdoors and learning. The health benefits of outdoor play is well-researched and documented, but connecting children with nature is also of great importance. A well-known quote by David Suzuki reads, “Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world, we can’t expect them to care for it and protect it”. Many educators are now understanding the urgency and responsibility we have in this and are trying to do something about it. Below are some simple ways we have ‘brought the indoors out’ in an attempt to benefit the well-being of our early learners and their connection to the world we live. This is something we can do in urban centres too. We don’t always need a forest to connect our learners to the outdoors.
We brought the parachute and a big ball outside for some gross motor and cooperative games. We also brought some coloured paper plates out to play an enormous game of Twister. The more plates the better.
We brought the water table outside and provided open-ended materials to build boats (i.e. Popsicle sticks, foam, paper, writing utensils, string, scissors, recycled bottles, recycled containers, pipe cleaners, etc.).
Mural paper is always a fun and collaborative way to get creative. We used mud paint here. Mud paint is simply mud and paint mixed together. Add a little water if it’s too thick.
We often bring out easels for some nature painting and creative expression.
Sensory tubs outdoors seem quite inviting to me. Is it because they look like they should be inside? Is it because they are calming and outdoors is also calming? Is it because the materials in the tub are often from the earth?
We enjoy bringing science experiments outside. We also bring our Outdoor Learning Toolbox so we can document our learning journey.
We have found this Outdoor Learning Toolbox very helpful for our outdoor inquiries that are often spontaneous when someone finds something to investigate and wonder about like a caterpillar or plant. Having this ready by the door we have everything we need to collect bugs, measure, write about, etc. I will have to write a post about this Toolbox soon. It’s always at the ready for learning adventures and we can capture authentic learning as it happens and our learners can partake in authentic writing tasks.
How do you bring the indoors out? We’d love to hear your awesome ideas.