Taking Education Outdoors: How to Augment Learning on the Playground
Do you think better on your feet? Educators have known for decades that children learn best through hands-on and active exercises that engage their senses, their need for exploration, and through the natural world around them. More educators are using the playground as a tool and part of their curriculum to engage social and life skill learning, physical fitness, problem solving, and spatial reasoning skills.
In fact, many schools have designed playgrounds to incorporate outdoor learning for students as a healthy and engaging alternative to sedentary lesson plans. Teachers can use outdoor playground equipment in a number of creative ways for meaningful learning outcomes.
Spelling and word recognition was never so fun! Teachers and caregivers can prepare a weekly list of words for students to master. Rather than a traditional ‘spelling bee,’ words can be printed and taped (with removable masking tape) to playground structures inspiring children to climb, crawl or uncover hidden words throughout the playground.
Once each child has found a page with one word (or several words), they are challenged to use the word in a short composition to demonstrate comprehension and improve writing and language arts skills. The exercise outside is a welcome relief to seated lesson plans, and a great way to make reading and comprehension fun.
Gardening and the Natural Environment
Having a school garden or designated potting shed for students is a fabulous way to teach them scientific principles behind plants, vegetables and the climate. Getting their hands dirty and conducting short scientific experiments using sand and water are other engaging ways to take learning outside for students in a fun and beneficial way.
Who said that painting is more fun indoors? Take children outside to be inspired by their natural surroundings to create with a commercial quality outdoor Paint Station. Allow creative minds to soar in the open air (and worry less about the mess). Learning visual arts skills in and out of the classroom will help children to think and see outside the box.
Music and Inspiration
Children want to make noise and using musical instruments to do so outdoors, is something that is easy to incorporate into the curriculum with the right commercial playground structures. The Music Play category of our website features a number of durable musical instruments that can be added as independent or group play activities.
When it comes to learning for kids, the more adventurous the lesson the better! Children retain and learn principles quickly when hands-on learning opportunities are provided. Plan your park or playground around these learning opportunities to create an engaging curriculum of indoor and healthy outdoor learning.