June 2024 Newsletter – Outdoor Explorations: Tips for Creating Meaningful Outdoor Experiences for Preschoolers

Tips for Creating Meaningful Outdoor Experiences for Preschoolers

As we have seen there are numerous benefits to outdoor learning. Outdoor explorations and learning with preschoolers is a valuable way to support their physical, cognitive, and emotional development. Providing meaningful outdoor experiences for our students can be challenging. Time, weather and space constraints can be overcome to provide a valuable learning experience to our children in the outdoors. What are ways that we can provide these meaningful experiences for our class?

As with most things and lessons we want to teach our preschoolers consistency is key. Make it a regular part of the routine. Incorporate outdoor time into the daily routine so that children come to expect and look forward to it. This could be a daily nature walk, outdoor playtime, or even an outdoor snack time. Letting the children lead the way during outdoor explorations will raise their level of interest. Follow their interests and encourage them to ask questions and make observations. Encouraging hands on activities and providing opportunities for children to touch, smell, and interact with nature can provide meaningful experiences. Sensory bins, gardening, and nature art projects are great ways to provide these opportunities. Outdoor explorations can easily incorporate math and science lessons and many other parts of the curriculum. Educators can have children count the flowers during a nature walk, or discuss how clouds are formed while looking at the sky. These experiences will help children recall the information of the lesson given and helps keep them engaged during learning. It is important to remember that children need time to explore and discover on their own. Providing unstructured play time in a natural setting is important during outdoor explorations. As with everything we do with our preschooler preparation and safety are critical to our outdoor lessons. Having a well thought out lesson plan and ensuring the children are appropriately prepared for the weather, having water available, are keys to providing a meaningful experience. Safety is the top priority when working with preschoolers, so with any outdoor exploration, emphasize safety. Make sure children understand the rules and boundaries for outdoor play before hand and always supervise them closely.

Nature explorations and outdoor learning can incorporate every aspect of the curriculum. Providing well thought out lessons in a natural setting in science, math, art, writing, can be achieved and highly effective outdoors. There are many activities that our preschoolers will love that will touch on numerous parts of our curriculum. Early childhood educators can for example provide nature scavenger hunts, nature art, gardening, sensory bin play, and a vast array of games. Use of our outdoor settings and spaces creatively and purposefully, following and encouraging our student’s interests will be of tremendous value to all. There is a myriad of activities and lessons that can be done to enhance our children’s education, and a great number of resources with activities are always available.

 

For the main article Outdoor Explorations, CLICK HERE

For the article What are the Benefits of Outdoor Learning and Explorations?, CLICK HERE

For the article Maximizing the Learning Potential of Your Outdoor Space, CLICK HERE

For the article The Importance of Outdoor Explorations, CLICK HERE