It’s starting to heat up outside and quite frankly, few of us can stay outdoors for long. Outdoor learning is becoming a more recognised way of helping younger children to develop, and many of the international schools in Bangkok have embraced it full heartedly. Getting outside, getting dirty and connecting with the world around us is essential for all areas of development… BUT, what do you do when it’s 40 degrees and 90% humidity out?
Well, there are several really fun outdoor activities that can be bought indoors. These don’t need to be messy, chaotic play but more exploring, creating and investigating our world around us, from the cooler conditions of the indoors. We can use elements of outdoors and bring them in to create some fantastic artwork, wonderful science projects, and even maths and English learning — all under the disguise of play.
Here are some ideas.
These are excellent ways to get children really looking at what’s going on outside, even if it’s through a window.
You can look at weather, animals, birds, insects, planes… you name it.
Get your kids to design a big observation chart looking daily at the things they are most interested in. You can use stickers or stamps to note the changes each day. For example, a weather observation chart could have a picture of a sun, a cloud, wind, rain, thunder and lightning. Every day, at different point in the day, look outside. Get the children to tell you what the weather’s doing and note it on your chart. Prompt them to think more than just ‘today it is sunny’. There’s always more to see than you think.
*Handy hint: Leave some binoculars by the door and see if the children will lead the activity.
Stick, flower and leaf art
There’s heaps of plant debris lying around. If you can head out early, there’s always twigs, fallen leaves and flowers lying around. Be careful though. If you’re not sure what something is, best to leave it be. Berries and fruit might be a problem if your child is susceptible to allergies.
Collect up anything that is of interest. Could even be empty snail shells.
The options for what to do are endless. Mosaics using different shaped leaves, painting using the flowers as paint brushed. Make a road using sticks. Decorate the dried leaves and make a beautiful mobile.
*Handy hint: Be as creative as you like. See what the children want to do and follow their ideas.
Design your own garden
This is a great way to use up old magazines. We use large boards and lots of PVA glue. This can be a little bit messy but well worth it.
Guide the children towards images of gardens and the outdoors that they like in magazines. Help them to cut out the images carefully, using their best concentration.
Then they can lay out the images as they want, to create the most wonderful garden. Anything can be included. It can be a fairy garden, or a monster truck garden.
*Handy hint: If it doesn’t end up looking like a garden it really doesn’t matter. It’s the process that counts, not the outcome.
Anything’s possible when they use their imagination.