Thursday, 1 August 2013

Let's go outside!

Isn't it great that so many Nurseries are getting on board with using NATURE in children's learning?
When there is so much to investigate and explore, so much to make us wonder and marvel - who needs plastic toys and TV screens?!
Here's a couple of ideas to get your creative juices flowing in the great outdoors:

Nature Bracelets

I was delighted with how this activity worked out! 
It was popular with both boys and girls, it was completely the children's own work and they got SO much learning out of it, including... 
  • Investigating different kinds of plants and flowers
  • Comparing sizes of leaves, flowers and our hands as we tried to fit them through the bracelet
  • Noticing colours
  • What happens to a plant/ flower once it has been picked
  • That we all have our own likes and dislikes, and that I can find something beautiful even if others think it is ugly

 The best part is, you only really need 3 things:
  1. Toilet roll tubes, cut into bands
  2. doubles sided tape
  3. An outdoor area full of natural treasures (a dry day is preferable as wet leaves etc don't tend to stick quite as well)


This one takes me back to my childhood! Did anyone else spend hours making flower potions and petal perfumes? It was so much fun!

All you need is:

  1. A range of flowers, plants, herbs, mud and other interesting ingredients
  2. A few bottles or jugs of water
  3. A large bowl/ bucket for mixing or lots of bowls for individual potions
  4. Some empty bottles or containers for finished potions
  5. Spoons for mixing
  6. (optional) pipettes, funnels, food colouring, glitter
 I love the way that this activity has no rules and can be totally different every time.
"But what are they learning?" I hear you ask. Well...
  • Textures, smells, sights and (sometimes) tastes of plants and herbs
  • Language that describes (smelly, slimy, squishy, soft, wet, dry)
  • Problem solving, trying things out and predicting (for example - "what will happen if I add more water?")
  • Hand, eye co-ordination through pouring, scooping, mixing
  • Imaginative play - what does your potion do? Does it make you fly? Does it make you HUGE like a giant?
  • Quantities and measurements (for example adding 2 scoops of mud)
  • We also practised teamwork and compromise by all working together to create one big potion

Again, there's so much more and you could easily extend this activity to cover more areas of the curriculum for example creating a pretend shop to sell their potions/ perfumes and learning about money and coins, or by creating a potions recipe book, involving mark making, early writing, numbers and quantities. You could read stories about witches, wizards or fairies or you could even use this activity as part of your Halloween festivities!

Get outside and have some fun with nature - and report back with lots of exciting ideas!

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