Extending Your Child’s Learning to Outdoor Play
As the weather starts to warm up, your family may begin to spend more time outdoors exploring. Outdoor play offers many benefits and children can continue to learn while having fun. Outdoor play can be messy, which provides great sensory experiences for children that are very beneficial to them. Your child can practice a variety of skills that cover all domains of their learning, including social-emotional skills, physical skills, language skills, and cognitive skills. Through your child’s natural interests, you can easily expand their learning through conversations and inquiries. Below are simple ways to incorporate all domains of learning with your child as they play.
- Expand your child’s vocabulary and language by asking questions and stating observations
- Use jump rope rhymes and clapping games to promote phonological awareness
- Help your child learn about print and letters through signs and words in the community
- Create drawings with chalk to work on emerging handwriting skills
- Promote problem solving while playing games such as “I Spy” or building using outdoor materials
- Find patterns in nature
- Measure and graph things found in the environment
- Develop your child’s process skills through asking open-ended questions
- Introduction of physical science using balls, ramps, tubes, etc.
- Encourage your child to learn about life science and the environment by observing insects, animals or wildlife
- Experience the weather using multiple senses, like feeling the raindrops or smelling what it smells like after it rains
- Talk about your neighborhood
- Model taking care of the Earth by taking care of your yard and any areas, such as parks, that you use
- Discuss the distance between things you can see from your yard or how far of a walk it is to get places
- Promote dance and movement outdoors where your child can move their bodies freely
- Allow your child to bring messy art outside
- Have your child draw their observations of nature
- Encourage your child to move and dance while popping bubbles
- Use tools such as magnifying glasses, thermometers or binoculars to make observations
- Raise awareness of machines and technology that are used outdoors, such as garbage trucks, phone lines, or cranes through conversations and observations
Take advantage of the good weather and take your child’s learning to the next level!