Monday, May 5, 2014

Teaching Toddlers the Outdoors

Yesterday, we spent 6 hours outdoors. Spaced out a couple hours here, a couple hours there, a trip to the store, and then back outside for more. The weather was just right. Not too hot, and not too cold. And we did not have ten activities planned to keep us busy---we simply enjoyed the outdoors. Playing. Swinging. Hitting balls. Feeding the birds. Planting gardens. Going on walks. Riding bikes. Drawing chalk. And everything else in between.
We ate lunch outside, ate every snack outside, and if we could, we would have probably went potty outside too. Kidding.

You get the idea, we lived outdoors.

But that's not the point of this post. The point is to tell you that spending all this time allowed for me to teach my kids more about the doors---more than they already know. We recently started a class for Elliana a couple of weeks ago called Park Pals and it inspired me to want to learn more. More about things like the names of flowers and the anatomy of plants, and so forth. And so I have been busy at work trying to educate myself more so that I can be a better teacher to my children.

I've never known the names of so many different kind of flowers like I do now.

It also gave me the opportunity to set some responsibilities for the kids outside. I wanted to do something that they could remember to do every day and something that they could watch change throughout the coming months. We picked out a flower and sunflower seed to plant. We let her "till" the land and then plant her items. She was so excited, and it was just really fun to be a part of this new experience for her. Graham was a bit indifferent, as expected.

We also went ahead and had the kids help us start our vegetable garden for the year. They had their own shovels and rakes and were hard at work {Elliana more than Graham really---he was trying to escape to our neighbor's yard to play with their dog}.

All of this has inspired me to make a list {the novel beforehand was probably not needed} of all the fun activities one can do with the kids to help teach them about the outdoors.

1. Scavenger Hunt: Make a list or print one from online {shown below}. Get a bag, a "map," binoculars, and a magnifying glass for the child and set them out on this hunt to find things. While you look for these things, and as they come along items, you can talk about what each one means and little facts about them.

example: {find/search more here: {souce}}

BIRD: {source}
  • Birds have feathers, wings, lay eggs and are warm blooded.
  • There are around 10000 different species of birds worldwide.
  • The Ostrich is the largest bird in the world. It also lays the largest eggs and has the fastest maximum running speed (97 kph).
  • Scientists believe that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs.
  • Birds have hollow bones which help them fly.
  • Some bird species are intelligent enough to create and use tools.
  • The chicken is the most common species of bird found in the world.
Insects: {souce}

  • The number of insect species is believed to be between six and ten million.
  • Insect bodies have three parts, the thorax, abdomen and head.
  • Insects have two antennae.
  • Insects have three pairs of legs.
  • Some insects, such as gerridae (water striders), are able to walk on the surface of water.
  • Bees, termites and ants live in well organized social colonies.
  • Only male crickets chirp.
  • Insects are cold blooded.
  • Silkworms are used as the primary producer of silk.
  • Most insects hatch from eggs.
  • Some cicadas can make sounds nearly 120 decibels loud.
  • The life cycle of a mosquito features four stages, egg, larva, pupa and adult.
    Female mosquitoes drink blood in order to obtain nutrients needed to produce eggs.
  • Spiders are not insects.
  • Bees are found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Ants leave trails and communicate with each other using pheromones as chemical signals.
 Tree Facts {souce}
  • Tree resin which has been fossilized is known as amber, it sometimes contains plant material or small animals that were trapped inside. More tree facts for kids.
  • Some plants are carnivores, gaining nutrients by eating various small insects and spiders. A well known example of a carnivorous plant is the Venus Flytrap.
  • Bamboo can be a fast growing plant, some types can grow almost a metre (3.28 feet) in just one day!
  • While using energy from sunlight, plants turn carbon dioxide into food in a process called photosynthesis.
  • Around 2000 different types of plants are used by humans to make food.
  • Onions might taste good but they can be painful to chop. A gas is released when you cut onions that irritates you eyes, the tears you produce while this happens are your body’s way of washing it from your eyes.
  • In the agricultural industry, to ensure crops of food grow well water is often added to soil in the form of irrigation.
  • Plant matter found at the bottom of areas with water such as swamps can eventually turn into coal due to a process called metamorphosis (changing form).
  • There are over 200,000 identified plant species and the list is growing all the time.
  • Poison ivy produces a skin irritant called urushiol. Touching poison ivy will cause an allergic reaction, usually in the form of an itchy rash on the skin.
  • Fertilizers are chemicals added to plants to help them grow. Important elements in fertilizers include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Manure (animal waste) is also used as a fertilizer.

Photo credit
2. Plant Flowers: Have the child/children pick out flowers to plant and help them through the process. Teach them the three things that flowers need to grow: soil, water, and sun. Give them the responsibility of having to come out to water the flowr and watch as it grows. Learn about the different kind of flowers {we made flashcards to have in our wagon as we went on walks}.

You can find the complete list here.

3. Plant Vegetables. We did this today and I loved my daughter hard at work and excited about planting vegetables that one day {soon} she will be able to eat. We talked about the vegetables that we were planting and again talked about how they needed soil, water, and sun in order to grow. Her responsibility will also be to help her mama water the plants every day to provide them the necessary resource to grow. Below are some helpful tips that I found on this website.


  • Use organic methods for fertilizing and pest control when gardening with young children.
  • Prevent cats and dogs from using your garden as a toilet.
  • Remove poisonous plants, including poison ivy and plants with toxic berries, from your vegetable garden area.
  • Teach your toddler never to pick from plants without your permission.
  • If you live in an urban area, have your soil checked for lead and other toxic substances before starting a garden. Contact your state Cooperative Extension office to find out how to get your soil tested.
  • Wash your hands and your toddler's after digging in the dirt. Cover cuts or scrapes with band-aids before working in the garden.
4. Read Outdoor Books: We checked out a few books from the library this past week to help stimulate our learning. Books on trees, on flowers, and insects and worms.

5. Trail Walk. A simple google search showed up a list of local trails for our us to walk through. This allowed us to further talk about the different things in our environment.

***Since my website was stolen, I have been trying to work hard to reach all my lost readers. If you love a post, would you mind sharing--Via facebook, twitter, and pinterest! Thank you!
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

No comments:

Post a Comment

 photo copyright.jpg
blogger template by envye