Saturday, 1 February 2014

86 ideas for fabulous outdoor fun (Part 3)

Out in all weathers!

I don't want to hear any excuses! Make sure your children (and you) are dressed appropriately, whether that means wellies or sun cream, and get outside! 

First up: a couple of ideas for Sunny Weather  

  1. Have you tried shadow tracing? Get some chalk and a clean part of the path, or some big paper and encourage the children to experiment with tracing around the shadow shapes that they can see. You could let them trace each others shadow, try to trace their own (not an easy task!) or even use some construction materials to build models that will cast unusual shapes. This activity develops children's hand-eye coordination, imagination, and allows them to begin thinking about light and how it travels. You could extend this activity by creating some shadow puppets or exploring the way that shadows move and change throughout the day. What happens to the shadows on a cloudy day?
  2. Have a water fight! What better way to spend a hot and sunny afternoon than throwing and catching wet sponges (spatial awareness, coordination, gross motor skills), running past the spraying hose (gross motor skills, confidence), and finding ever more ingenious ways to soak one another (logical thinking, problem solving)? On top of this, the children are learning about how water moves and can be transported, they are also learning about evaporation as they notice their clothes becoming dry in the sun. I recommend a thorough risk assessment of this activity as wet surfaces and running can often be a dangerous combination. Oh, and don't forget to have a change of clothes for yourself as well as the children! I have made this mistake before!
  3. Sunny days are the best kind of days to go on a bug hunt! Encourage the children to think about what kind of creatures might live in the garden, then get out there and find them! Don't forget your magnifying glasses, bug books and creature catching pots to further their investigations! This activity allows children to appreciate the world around them, think about the many different creatures that share our world with us. It also develops their investigation and natural curiosity
There are so many more, but I couldn't possibly write about them all! Next, Rainy days

  1. Rain Catchers are an easy way to bring some numeracy into the outdoor environment. A very simple method to create one is to use a 2 litre pop bottle, cut it in half and insert the top end into the bottom so that it forms a little funnel. You could allow the children to use a ruler and marker pen to create markings on the side of the bottle so that they can easily measure the volume of water. A lovely experiment that you and your children can carry out is to place a few rain catchers in difference places around the garden - out in the open, underneath a tree, on top of a slide... leave them for a time and when you return, investigate which contains the most rain water. Encourage the children to think and reason "Why could this be the case?"
  2. As mentioned in my last post (No resources, No problem!) Splashing in puddles is a wonderfully fun, messy, and surprisingly educational activity! No resources? No problem!
Again, I have barely scratched the surface,  but let's think about Ice and Snow

  1. The cold weather is a perfect opportunity for your children to learn about the different forms of water through Freezing and Melting. The children at my nursery love to go on an ice hunt first thing in the morning. Any little containers or places where water might pool is possibly hiding a frozen surprise. Allow your children to hold the ice in their hands. What happens? Why does this happen? Can we stop the ice from melting? You could also involve the children in making their own ice by leaving some small containers of water overnight. Why not drop a little toy into it to see what happens? Or some sparkly glitter? Or even paint! You could extend this activity to see if other liquids freeze in the same way - for example, Does ketchup freeze? Another extension would be to allow the children to investigate the effects of salt on ice. 
  2. Building a snowman (or woman) encourages children to work together as a team. It develops problem solving and logical thinking as they work out how to move snow from one place to another, and how to build the snowman without it crumbling or toppling over. Another learning opportunity during this activity is to explore facial features and body parts
  3. Have you ever tried painting the snow? If not then I urge you to try it! The snow absorbs the paint and the paint also causes the snow to melt a little, creating beautifully weird and wonderful patterns and designs. This activity allows children to be creative, and also develops fine motor skills (or large, depending on the equipment you might use) and co-ordination.

Last of all: Windy weather!

  1. Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height! A fun and calming activity that can involve some teamwork (getting the kite into the sky) and can also be used to encourage sharing and turn taking. And of course if you want to take it further, you could ask the children to think about "What is wind?" "Can you see the wind?"
  2. Let's make our own wind chimes! Provide the children with a variety of items that will make a sound when the wind blows (spoons, keys, wooden tubes, bells, shells... you get the idea) and when the children have finished their creative, imaginative fun you can hang them around the garden, wait for the wind and listen to the wonderful sounds that they make. 
Next Post: Taking care of our environment

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