4 Ways to Take Learning Outside
Although some homework assignments or take-home projects may require your student to sit at a desk or table, there are lots of opportunities to take learning outside. In addition to fresh air and sunlight, learning outside can open a child's world to new approaches to learning that they might not get from the confines of the indoors. Consider these 5 ways to incorporate learning through a fresh perspective—under the guidance of Mother Nature!
1. Head to a farmer's market, flea market, or someplace with outdoor vendors.
Teaching math skills that require mental tabulations instead of calculators or smartphones can start at any age. Choose a few items that your child can add up in their head (or estimate by rounding to the nearest dollar or cent). See how close they can get to the actual total when you pay for your products. Prefer not to buy anything? Simply point out items and turn them into math problems: "If we buy 3 jars of honey at $5 each, what will our total be?"
2. Get them moving ... while learning.
Studies have shown that physical activity—especially outside—improves academic readiness, verbal abilities, and mathematical abilities. Look for simple learning exercises that get the blood pumping the processing. Create a scavenger hunt of things to visually estimate and then measure or have them gather rocks or leaf samples in the neighborhood and then research them to provide tree or mineral identification.
3. Encourage journaling with observation.
Observation and writing skills are both critical to learning. Suggest that your student find three different places at a park or in your neighborhood to sit and journal about the people, animals and objects they see.
4. Do an outdoor statue tour in your city.
Learning about history isn't limited to books or the Internet! Every city (and many towns) have public outdoor statues that tell a story—sometimes on a plaque and more recently, via a self-guided audio tour. Start by checking your local chamber or visitor's bureau to get a list of options.