This year, more than ever, the world is ready to celebrate Great Outdoors Month, a reminder for all of us to get outside and enjoy nature’s offerings. It may not be possible to travel to the beach, the parks, or to outdoor museums, but it is possible to enjoy the outdoors in a safe setting such as your driveway or yard.
It is heartening to see how teachers and students have adapted to life during the coronavirus outbreak. I’ve seen beautiful images of messages written in driveways, beautiful chalk drawings, and inspired math activities that allow students to learn while enjoying the outdoors. These displays demonstrate students’ and teachers’ ability to adapt to new learning routines using creativity and imagination.
Unfortunately, many typical activities are unavailable this year. Summer camps are closed, sports are canceled, and even some pools may remain unopened. Finding exciting and engaging activities that encourage students to get outside and stay active is a bit more complicated but not impossible.
As you share ideas for summer learning, consider adding some of those belows to get your students (and families) outdoors:
Outdoor Activities to Share with Parents and Caregivers
Ideas for elementary school students:
- KidsGardening (TeachersFirst review) – This site shares many suggestions for gardening activities at home. Try the scavenger hunt or photo fun ideas to start your garden adventures.
- Game Ideas for Kids Outdoor Games (TeachersFirst review) – Do you remember playing Red Light, Green Light or Red Rover? Find the rules for those games and others to get everyone playing outdoors.
Ideas for middle and high school students:
- Beach Chair Scientist Exploring Pouch (TeachersFirst review) – Use ideas from the Exploring Pouch to create a neighborhood or backyard scavenger hunt. Be sure to follow social distancing guidelines as you look for bird nests, fungus, feathers, or any other items from nature you want to add.
- iNaturalist (TeachersFirst review) – Become a citizen scientist by recording and sharing your nature observations with the scientific community. Follow the link to Projects and join one of the ongoing projects available to the worldwide community.
Just add chalk:
- Clever Ways for Kids to Play Hopscotch
- Chalk drawings capture the coronavirus mood for cooped-up kids and social commentators
- 10 Awesomely Fun Sidewalk Activities
- Fill a Summer of Fun with Sidewalk Chalk Activities
- Pinterest board with ideas for learning and having fun outdoors with chalk
Share Memories with Friends and Family
Encourage families to share their at-home activities with families and friends using these ideas:
- Facetime with relatives.
- Create and share picture albums using Google Photos (TeachersFirst review), Flickr (TeachersFirst review), or another photo-sharing site.
- Upload pictures and create a photo book as a keepsake for summer memories with Smilebox (TeachersFirst review), which is easy to use and provides many templates for personalizing books.
- Adobe Spark in K12 (TeachersFirst review) to create and share a web page with activities or a short video.
Just Get Outside!
With a little bit of imagination, the outdoors offers many opportunities for learning through play and investigation, even while staying home and staying safe.
Find all the links on this blog and some extras at this Wakelet Collection (TeachersFirst Wakelet review). Just copy the collection, add your own ideas, and share with parents and caregivers to use throughout the summer.
Do you have an idea for celebrating Great Outdoors Month? Tell us about it in the comments.