• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in nature

Posted by on in What If?

Jumping in leaves

Last year I was doing site visits, having been hired to observe PreK to second-grade classrooms and offer suggestions for more active learning. On two different occasions I walked into a room just as the class was scheduled to go outside to recess. But the teachers didn’t feel like going outside – so the kids wandered aimlessly about the classroom throughout the 20-minute period allotted to recess.

The teachers apparently considered this “indoor recess” acceptable, but I did not – for many, many reasons.

From a physical perspective, the outdoors is the very best place for children to practice and master emerging motor skills. It is in the outdoors that children can fully and freely experience such skills as running, leaping, and jumping. It is also the most appropriate area for the practice of ball-handling skills, like throwing, catching, and striking. And children can perform other such manipulative skills as pushing a swing, pulling a wagon, and lifting and carrying movable objects. Heaven knows they have too few opportunities for exercising the upper torso these days! And because development occurs from large to small body parts, children who’ve had such experiences are much better prepared for such fine-motor skills as handwriting.

Additionally, it is in the outdoors that children are likely to burn the most calories, which helps fight obesity, a heart disease risk factor that is plaguing children. With studies showing that as many as half of American children are not getting enough exercise -- and that risk factors like hypertension and arteriosclerosis are showing up at age 5! -- parents and teachers need to give serious consideration to ways in which to prevent such health problems.

Cognitive and social/emotional development are also impacted by time spent outdoors. Outside, children are more likely to invent games. As they do, they're able to express themselves and learn about the world in their own way. They feel safe and in control, which promotes autonomy, decision-making, and organizational skills. Inventing rules for games (as kids like to do) promotes an understanding of why rules are necessary. Although the children are only playing to have fun, they're learning

Last modified on

Posted by on in What If?

outdoor learning 1024x683

When we think about young children and the outdoors, we tend to associate the two with playing, or perhaps with the opportunity for kids to get the wiggles out. Maybe we even think of it in terms of break time for the teacher. But in a discussion for Studentcentricity, guests Heidi Veal and Ruth Wilson, author of Learning Is in Bloom: Cultivating Outdoor Explorations, talked with me about why and how teachers should take learning outdoors.

Following our talk, Heidi contributed these additional thoughts:

Both young and old often find inspiration when outdoors. Learning literally comes ALIVE in nature! Outdoor learning experiences spark wonder & communication, inspire students to create novel learning connections, and give children opportunities to extend their learning beyond the traditional four walls of a classroom. Multi-sensory learning experiences, understanding and respect of nature, and broadened perspectives are additional benefits of outdoor learning. I urge all educators to treat the outdoors as an extension of their classrooms if only for the single reason that learning outside provides numerous learning opportunities that simply cannot be provided inside. My advice to educators is this, don’t wait! Go outside and learn with your students today! Take a nature walk, identify sounds outside, observe the sky, grow something, hunt for natural patterns, discover organic treasures. Give your students opportunities to explore, ask, and make connections with their amazing world beyond your school’s doorsteps. Your students will thank you! If you are inspired to discover more about outdoor learning experiences in early childhood education, check out the 4/19/16 archive of #ECEchat on this exact topic.  

And Ruth offered these reasons why it’s important for children to experience nature!:

Last modified on

Posted by on in Movement and Play

Getting outside is important for children. It gets them moving and provides exercise. It encourages the use of their senses, allowing opportunities for discovery. It sparks curiosity and imagination. In a time of increasing access to technology and a more sedentary lifestyle, access to the natural world is fundamental to raising a healthy child. Here are five tips for encouraging successful nature play.


  1. Go outside all year round. Getting out in the summer is much more common than in the winter – the weather is nice, there are many opportunities for swimming, fishing, biking, etc. But there are an equal number of opportunities for outdoor play in the remaining seasons. With the right clothing and layers, nature play is fun during all seasons and in many different weather conditions.
  2. Allow children to get messy. And dirty. And wet. Be prepared with a change of clothes. With the freedom to become totally immersed in outdoor play, children will truly investigate their environment.
  3. Encourage curiosity and observations and questions. Don’t be quick to provide an answer to a question, but rather help children make their own discoveries that might lead them to the answer.
  4. Let the children be the guide. Children will feel empowered about their nature discoveries when they are involved with the planning of the adventure. Going on a nature walk? Let the children choose the trail. Doing a pond investigation and the children have questions about whether certain objects sink or float? Take a few minutes to test some materials out and let them choose the materials.
  5. Always be respectful of nature. To maintain the beauty of the natural environment, it is important to leave it as you find it. Children can explore their natural environment without damaging it by staying on trails, collecting only fallen items from the ground, and picking up any garbage they use. Encouraging this perspective early on helps it carry into adulthood.
Find more ideas from Sarah for connecting children with nature at: backyardlearning.wordpress.com
Last modified on
Hits: 5664 Comments