Whoever said that you have to have tonnes of fancy resources to engage and teach children?
Here's a few ideas that wont cost you a fortune:
- Make a daisy chain!
How many of us remember this one from when we were children? It allows children to use their observational skills to hunt out the daisies and also their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination while poking a hole and threading the stalk through. You can count the daisies, notice the colours and make comparisons to other flowers,
- Flower pressing. Go for a walk with your children and allow them to pick some flowers. Then, trim your flowers and, using some heavy books with absorbent pages (telephone directories etc), place them in between the pages. Unfortunately, to do this properly, you do need to leave them for some time (I've heard it can take up to 4 weeks!) but for the purposes of learning and fun, you could experiment with different amounts of time. This activity allows your children to appreciate plants and flowers as they pick the ones that they love, they learn about weight and size and can make comparisons between different books when selecting the appropriate ones to use and of course, it can lead on to some fantasticly floral Artwork using the finished product.
- Potions. One of my particular favourite activities! I have blogged about potions before...(http://piratesandprincesses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/lets-go-outside.html). You can allow the children to choose their own 'ingredients' out of anything and everything that they can get their hands on - and let the learning commence!
- Splashing in puddles. Peppa pig loves splashing in muddy puddles and so do we! Just because it's raining outside doesn't mean we should stay cooped up! Splashing and jumping helps to develop children's Gross motor skills, they begin to make connections between how high they jump and how big a splash they can make, they can learn about how water moves and changes and they can learn about depth and volume. You could also extend this to look at the different clothing that is suitable for different weathers and find out how the water can affect different materials - "would a paper raincoat keep us dry?" "What about wellies made out of wood?".
- Climbing trees. Yes! It's so important to encourage and allow your children to take risks and manage their own safety! As long as there is an adult on hand to help if they get into a bit of a sticky situation and to ensure that this risky play doesn't turn into dangerous play.
- Counting the rings on a tree stump. Around my nursery there have been a number of trees chopped down. The children noticed the stumps while we were out walking and while they were climbing on them and having all kinds of physical fun play, I asked if they knew about the rings. Surprisingly none of them did! This lead on to a wonderful discussion about the age of the trees and encouraged the children's counting skills. It also prompted them to begin wondering about the different types of trees and whether all of the big trees were old and small trees were young? (Mathematical language and comparisons.)
- Mud pies. Mud is fascinating. One minute it can be hard and solid, the next dry and crumbly, the next powdery and dusty and the next sloppy and wet! Making mud pies can encourage children to talk about these changes and experiment with some descriptive language. They can develop their hand - eye coordination while scooping and pouring and they can definitely use their imagination!
- Cloud spotting. The next time you have a nice-ish day with some fluffy clouds, take the children outside, lay down on the grass and look at the clouds (yes, you can tell the boss that you're 'working!') Encourage the children to use their imagination and language skills to describe what they see. You can make this as simple or complex as your children's needs require - for example spotting shapes or extending this into telling a story using the 'characters' that they can see in the sky. You can also take this into Art and allow the children to draw the things that they have seen
- Rolling down the hill. The children at my nursery LOVE this game. We are lucky enough to have a hill with a steeper side and a more shallow side so that the children can make decisions and assess what they feel comfortable and confident with. Again, allowing the children to manage their safety by showing them how to take turns or space themselves out appropriately is very valuable. And while the children are rolling down the hill, they are beginning to learn about gravity, and about speed and motion (and they just think that they're having fun!)
- Hide and seek. This game works best in an area where there is plenty of space, but clear boundaries. An enclosed garden perhaps (at least to begin with) or an outdoor space that the children are familiar with. This game encourages turn taking, counting skills, spatial awareness, problem solving and logical thinking skills. It's also tonnes of fun!
Next post: Out in all weathers!