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As the school year wraps up and you bring in more wraparound care for older children, you’re probably planning out activities for the summer. As you do your planning, try to get as many outdoor activities in your curriculum as possible.
Outdoor activities have many benefits to both children and teachers, and in many parts of the U.S., this is the only practical time of the year to get your classroom outside.
Benefits to children
Appreciation for the environment
When you take your classroom outside, it allows your students to explore and learn more about the environment. This exploration can lead to appreciation as they learn how things grow and how to care for those living things. Teaching this appreciation in the classroom can be difficult because it’s not nearly as hands-on as it is outside.
Exploration, play and interaction with others
Outside, the swing set can be a castle and classmates can be royalty. Children learn well through active play and the outdoors are ideal for active play. They can explore new territory and learn to play together well with others through using their imagination. You can help guide this learning by creating scavenger hunts or encouraging different settings for imaginative play.
Getting children outdoors from a young age can help instill in them a lifelong love of activity. Teach a lesson on how the body uses food for fuel to play and then let the children experience this firsthand. You can teach about the food groups and how important healthy food is and then have a picnic to reinforce your lesson.
Build skills and self-awareness
Outdoor play encourages children to take risks and learn their abilities. Climbing, swinging, jumping and running all teach children what they are capable of, so they can grow and shape their own understanding of those abilities.
Benefits to teachers
It lowers stress levels
Not only is the vitamin D you get from the sun while outdoors good for you, but just being outside has been proven to lower stress levels. This can help make the day go by faster as you enjoy some time outside. It also provides the chance for you to interact with other teachers as your classrooms come together for outdoor play. This shared camaraderie can be great for lowering stress as well.
It provides teaching variety
Going outside provides new opportunities for what and how you teach. By going outside, children can move more easily, which provides teachers new and different activities. To find more classroom activities for the indoors and outdoors, check out the iCare Software Facebook page.
Get assistance through outdoor experts
Head to the zoo and allow experts to provide lessons to the kids. This can give you a break to just enjoy the zoo along with your students. This way you can enjoy a day without classroom planning. Looking for something free to do? Head to a metro park. There are often experts at these parks as well that can provide insights on the great outdoors.
No matter how you get outside this summer, document the experience with photos using iCare Software. This way parents can enjoy the activities as well. Use iCare’s journaling feature to track your students’ learning even while exploring the outdoors.