Outdoor Learning

Collection by Community Playthings • Last updated 7 hours ago

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This is a collection of ideas for outdoor learning spaces and outdoor learning activities; articles on learning outdoors by educators of young children, and more inspirations for teaching and learning in nature.

Community Playthings
Facing risks is an unavoidable part of life for most adults. The ability for adults to take calculated risks has its roots in early childhood. Yet we are in an era of limiting risk taking by children...Read the full article.

Encouraging Risk Taking

Facing risks is an unavoidable part of life for most adults. The ability for adults to take calculated risks has its roots in early childhood. Yet we are in an era of limiting risk taking by children...Read the full article.

Gardening with children is like most sensory experiences with three and four year-olds. It’s messy, it’s chaotic, and the more children you add to the scenario, the more instruction goes out the window and you just hope something is getting through! The amazing thing is that something always does. —Tap through to read this very realistic, helpful piece on the benefits of gardening with groups of young children. Outdoor Learning, Kids Learning, Benefits Of Gardening, Sensory Experience, Early Childhood Education, Young Children, Natural Wonders, Teacher Resources, Booklet

Gardening with Children

Gardening with children is like most sensory experiences with three and four year-olds. It’s messy, it’s chaotic, and the more children you add to the scenario, the more instruction goes out the window and you just hope something is getting through! The amazing thing is that something always does. —Tap through to read this very realistic, helpful piece on the benefits of gardening with groups of young children.

It’s obvious from the many questions children ask and from their eagerness to explore and experiment that they are curious about nature and the way it works. We recognize such expressions of curiosity as being important to early science learning. But it’s more than that. Tap through to read the full article. Preschool Playground, Outdoor Learning, Early Childhood Education, Teacher Resources, The Great Outdoors, Science, Teaching, This Or That Questions, Curiosity

Beyond Science: Connecting Children to Nature

It’s obvious from the many questions children ask and from their eagerness to explore and experiment that they are curious about nature and the way it works. We recognize such expressions of curiosity as being important to early science learning. But it’s more than that. Tap through to read the full article.

As educators we are often asked about kindergarten readiness by nervous parents, looking to give their children the best in an early childhood program. It is important that parents understand the vast amount of learning that is available when children are connected to nature. Young children learn primarily through their senses...Read the full article.

Natural Sensory Learning

As educators we are often asked about kindergarten readiness by nervous parents, looking to give their children the best in an early childhood program. It is important that parents understand the vast amount of learning that is available when children are connected to nature. Young children learn primarily through their senses...Read the full article.

30 Fun Ways to Prevent Nature-Deficit Disorder in Children - One Time Through

30 Fun Ways to Prevent Nature-Deficit Disorder in Children

It is important to me that my son grows up to appreciate and protect our natural environment. Here are 30 ways to avoid nature-deficit disorder!

Recently I saw four boys, ages eight or nine, playing outdoors at dusk on a small street in Baltimore. It was wonderful to experience again the sights and sounds of children freely playing. Most astonishing was that there were no adults visible. In my childhood this would have been such a common sight that no one would have commented on it. Now, I felt like a birdwatcher that had spotted a rare—but fortunately not extinct—species. Read the full article...

The Return of Play

Recently I saw four boys, ages eight or nine, playing outdoors at dusk on a small street in Baltimore. It was wonderful to experience again the sights and sounds of children freely playing. Most astonishing was that there were no adults visible. In my childhood this would have been such a common sight that no one would have commented on it. Now, I felt like a birdwatcher that had spotted a rare—but fortunately not extinct—species. Read the full article...

In this article, play practitioner and researcher Caileigh Flannigan writes about the importance of outdoor free play and the learning opportunities in nature loose parts. She includes helpful inforgraphics to help you visualize your own natural outdoor learning space. Read the full article here.

Let Kids Be Kids! Using Adventure and Nature to Bring Back Children’s Play

In this article, play practitioner and researcher Caileigh Flannigan writes about the importance of outdoor free play and the learning opportunities in nature loose parts. She includes helpful inforgraphics to help you visualize your own natural outdoor learning space. Read the full article here.

In this article, author Michelle Rupiper explains how unstuctured outdoor activity in natural settings helps develop executive functioning for young children. Read the full article here.

Learning Naturally: How Spending Time in Nature Supports Executive Functioning

In this article, author Michelle Rupiper explains how unstuctured outdoor activity in natural settings helps develop executive functioning for young children. Read the full article here.

What would childhood look like if children spent as much time outdoors as they do in front of screens? If kids spend, on average, 1,200 hours a year on screens, then spending 1,000 hours outdoors seems like a reasonable challenge. The 1000 Hours Outside Challenge is the brainchild of homeschooling mom, Ginny Yurich. Read about it here.

1000 Hours Outside: Helping Children Succeed Academically

What would childhood look like if children spent as much time outdoors as they do in front of screens? If kids spend, on average, 1,200 hours a year on screens, then spending 1,000 hours outdoors seems like a reasonable challenge. The 1000 Hours Outside Challenge is the brainchild of homeschooling mom, Ginny Yurich. Read about it here.

Well-designed and nature-filled outdoor classrooms are ideal, even magical, places for play and learning. In our study of creativity in the preschool years, we found that children’s creativity and imagination was evident when the following factors were in place: a thoughtfully designed natural outdoor classroom; large blocks of uninterrupted time; an abundance of natural and open-ended materials consistently available; and the presence of caring, supportive adults.

Laboratory for Learning: The Power of Outdoor Classrooms to Fuel Creativity

Well-designed and nature-filled outdoor classrooms are ideal, even magical, places for play and learning. In our study of creativity in the preschool years, we found that children’s creativity and imagination was evident when the following factors were in place: a thoughtfully designed natural outdoor classroom; large blocks of uninterrupted time; an abundance of natural and open-ended materials consistently available; and the presence of caring, supportive adults.

Traditionally the sand area has provided opportunities for manipulation, construction, and discovery as children experiment with pouring, digging, and mixing sand with water. Last year we enriched our sand area with the introduction of plastic rain gutters. By our providing this simple but engaging medium to expand upon learning, a whole curriculum emerged, stimulating cognitive development as well as fostering cooperation, communication, and dramatic play. Read more...

Playing in the Gutters: Enhancing Children’s Cognitive and Social Play

Traditionally the sand area has provided opportunities for manipulation, construction, and discovery as children experiment with pouring, digging, and mixing sand with water. Last year we enriched our sand area with the introduction of plastic rain gutters. By our providing this simple but engaging medium to expand upon learning, a whole curriculum emerged, stimulating cognitive development as well as fostering cooperation, communication, and dramatic play. Read more...

The beauty of sand is that it's one of the few manipulatives that truly allow children to explore their imaginations, it’s a material found almost everywhere on earth, and children love playing in it. But look at all the others things they learn on their own, without a teacher, just by playing in a pile of sand! Read more...

Playing in the Sand—Naturally

The beauty of sand is that it's one of the few manipulatives that truly allow children to explore their imaginations, it’s a material found almost everywhere on earth, and children love playing in it. But look at all the others things they learn on their own, without a teacher, just by playing in a pile of sand! Read more...

Sand and water hold a tremendous attraction for young children, but as time for play is increasingly threatened by standards and curriculum driven activities, how can teachers validate the educational value and necessity of sand play in the classroom? Read more...

Exploring Sand Play by Dr. F. Joyce Gerber

Sand and water hold a tremendous attraction for young children, but as time for play is increasingly threatened by standards and curriculum driven activities, how can teachers validate the educational value and necessity of sand play in the classroom? Read more...

Sun Hats & Wellie Boots: DIY Storytelling Tree with Story Baskets

DIY Storytelling Tree with Story Baskets

A while ago we shared our Jack & the Beanstalk Story Basket, since then we've created several more to explore. These Story Baskets are a neat way to investigate familiar (& new) stories using a selection of props. They're great for encouraging recall skills, sequencing, language, storytelling, creativity, imagination, & so much more. Here are a few story baskets we've created recently with props from around our house The Three Little Pigs Story Basket 3 toy pigs Lego bricks Lolly sticks…

In the early childhood classroom or outdoors, a water center can by the catalyst for building concepts, developing language, and promoting social skills. Water play is developmentally appropriate regardless of the child’s physical condition, age, language, gender, culture, or exceptionality. Because water is naturally fascinating, the thoughtful teacher can structure the environment and materials in the water center to make the most of water play. Read more...

Making the Most of Water Play

In the early childhood classroom or outdoors, a water center can by the catalyst for building concepts, developing language, and promoting social skills. Water play is developmentally appropriate regardless of the child’s physical condition, age, language, gender, culture, or exceptionality. Because water is naturally fascinating, the thoughtful teacher can structure the environment and materials in the water center to make the most of water play. Read more...