Learning is everywhere! There are so many opportunities for your child to learn, regardless of the setting. Every experience can be a learning experience in one way or another. This may sound overwhelming, but learning does not always have to be formal and structured. Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children releases yearly calendars with a new learning theme each month. This month, we’re going to talk about learning outside!
Here are some ways you can help your child learn outside at any age!
- Let your baby touch items that exist outside; for example leaves, tree bark, and grass.
- Use words to describe what your baby sees and hears. For example, “Do you feel the crunchy leaf? Do you feel the rough tree bark? Do you feel the smooth blades of grass?”
- If your child cannot touch or grasp things, do it for them; for example, touch their hand to the tree and talk about it to them
- Compare what the outside looks and feels like compared to the last season and use new vocabulary words to describe it.
- Encourage your baby to look at moving things, and explain their presence. For example, “The leaves are blowing in the wind!”
- Take your child on a walk and describe the sights, sounds, and smells you experience.
- Go on a scavenger hunt for things like leaves, pine cones, acorns, and rocks. As your child collects items, talk about what they are, where they are from, and what they feel like.
- Throw, kick, or roll a ball back and forth with your toddler. As you teach them how, explore which way they like to play with the ball the most.
- Collect items from outside together, such as leaves, rocks, pinecones, and sticks. Sort and discuss these items by encouraging your preschooler to compare them. Ask things such as, “Which item is larger? Which item is smoother?”
- Use a magnifying glass to discover and study different objects. As your child finds different objects, ask them questions such as, “Do you see anything with the magnifying glass that you could not see without it? What items are you finding with the magnifying glass that you may not have found without using it?”
Spending time with your child outdoors while encouraging them to explore the world around them is a great learning tool. It is natural for children to be curious about their world, so taking time to explore and discuss with them is a great way to learn about changing seasons, help children learn to respect their planet, and to get some fresh air!