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outdoors

hidden-jewels

Now that the snow has finally come, this is a great time to hunt for “jewels” in the playground.  To begin you need several ice cube trays and fill with water and add a drop of food colouring of your choice into the water.  Allow to freeze overnight.  The next day before heading outside for playtime, fill up plastic baggies and take them with you. Spread them out in designated areas or you can hide them and use them for math questions…..can you find 10?, Can you sort these by colour and count? etc. 

We called them jewels to make it exciting!

fall-scavenger-hunt

Today I saw a great idea for fall and I want to share it with a few of my own ideas.

Tie in literacy and create a chart with the word fall or autumn, ask them to use their schema to think about what they know. Record their thinking.  Give the children baggies and allow them to collect materials in the school ground, or go on a walk to find things that have to do with the outdoors.  Bring the materials into the classroom and have them sort them out.  Use the items for counting.  Give each child a paper plate to glue some of their items.  Review the chart again to see if they learned anything new.  Tap into their 5 senses too. 

Create a bulletin board display to show their creations and their literacy thinking!

rainy-day-physical-activities

Children need ample time and activities to develop their gross motor muscles.  In a school setting, there are playgrounds where children can run, jump, climb, and use several muscles during physical activity.  We also have gymnasiums where students can play sports, and games.  However, there are some days that are not easy to give children these opportunities.  There are always days that it rains, and we have indoor recess.  And, the forecast is calling for a few rainy days in my area.  I want to be prepared for those days the students won’t be able to play outside at recess.

Some simple ideas to with young students for indoor recess can be Simon Says, Yoga for Kids,  Head & Shoulders, the Hokey Pokey, Shake Your Sillies Out, or simply throw on a CD and play Freeze Dance.  As long as the children are safe, and moving, whatever you decide to play with them will help keep them healthy!

enjoying-the-sunshine

My teaching partner and I believe in using our playground as a classroom extension.  Children can learn valuable skills while playing outdoors.  For example, in the sandbox, they learn spatial awareness while building creations.  They also use creative thinking, problem solving, turn taking, sharing, and can recreate the world they know.  Children can also develop their gross motor skills outdoors.  They have room to run, jump, tumble and play co-operative games.  There is playground equipment they can climb on, swing on and hang from.  It is also an amazing time for science.  Children can find insects, caterpillars, plants, flowers, etc…and these can turn into valuable teachable moments.

Today, it was a beautiful Fall day.  So, we decided to dedicate our free play time this afternoon to the great outdoors.  We headed outside with pails, shovels, balls, scoops, skipping ropes, and cars for over an hour.  I hope we have more beautiful days like this to enjoy, and to give the children the time outdoors they need.