If you’re feeling a little stuck indoors with your kids, here is a resource to get your kids (or students) learning from the outdoors even through the colder months. Last year I picked up a copy of The Big Book of Nature Activities: A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning. I found it to be a great resource for doing some outdoor activities with my little one on a camping trip (he enjoyed knocking against different trees and imagining we were woodpeckers). There were definitely things for me as a parent, but many of the group or project activities are better suited to teachers. It has stuff for all the seasons.
The publisher gave me an excerpt that I can share with you: Check out “Basic Nature Skills” , which is really a science-process kit for younger children. I appreciated the focus on the senses and observation skills. Scroll to the bottom of this chapter for some nice concrete things you can do, good ideas to have “in your pocket” on a hike. For example:
Encourage the kids to feel and smell a leaf or bud or even a piece of mushroom.
Rub it gently between their fingers. How does it smell? You might want to share the smell with others.
Or when traveling:
Have a family scavenger hunt of nature-related things you can spot from
the car. These might include a dog, horse, cow, bird on wire, bird soaring, leaves of different colors, fake animals in people’s yards, etc.
From the publisher:
The Big Book of Nature Activities: A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning by Jacob Rodenburg and Drew Monkman has over 300 pages of nature activities for all seasons to help get children back outside. It is a comprehensive guide for parents and educators to help youth of all ages explore, appreciate and connect with the natural world. This rich, fully illustrated compendium features:
- Nature-based skills and activities such as species identification, photography, journaling and the judicious use of digital technology
- Ideas, games and activities grounded in what’s happening in nature each season
- Core concepts that promote environmental literacy, such as climate change and the mechanisms and wonder of evolution, explained using a child-friendly, engaging approach
- Lists of key species and happenings to observe throughout the year across most of North America.
Perfect for families, educators, and youth leaders, The Big Book of Nature Activities is packed with crafts, stories, information and inspiration to make outdoor learning fun!