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How to Combine Outdoor Activities with Learning

How to Combine Outdoor Activities with Learning

What can we do to continue having a fun and relaxing summer?

In the same spirit as my first blog post, here are three exciting, quick, and simple outdoor games that kids will enjoy. They also count towards homeschooling, too, of course.

Writing with Ice

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Learning how to read and write with colored ice — Source: Author

What you need

  • Food coloring (different colors)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Ice Cube tray
  • Toothpicks
  • White paper sheets or paper plates

How to play

  1. Add one drop of one color of food coloring to each compartment.
  2. Add water to the ice cube tray.
  3. Add toothpicks in the water.
  4. Pop it in the freezer for 6 hours.
  5. Select games from the list below that your child will enjoy.

Level 0: Let your children paint what they want, pushing the melting ice cubes around the paper and mixing the colors

Level 1:

  • With a pencil, pre-trace dotted lines (straight or curved lines), then have your child color in the gaps, or trace the letters, with the ice cubes.
  • Trace the outlines of letters (the most common are E, A, R, I, O, T, N, S, L, C) with big spaces inside so that they can paint inside the letter.

As described in my first blog, when they are done, the child reads, out loud, the letter and its associated sound (for example, “A, ah”).

Level 2: Write your child’s name with a pencil and have them write with the ice cubes over your letters using the different colors.

Level 3: Have them write words that resonate with them. You can help them by sounding out the words together.

Level 4: Have them write a card for their friends, neighbors, or family members.

My personal experience

We have done ice writing and painting multiple times using both paper and paper plates. The result always differs, but the freshness, fun, and excitement remain the same. The girls also enjoyed mixing the colors to observe how the color changed.

Why I like this idea

  • It teaches how water can be transformed from liquid to solid, then back liquid while practicing writing skills, and also how colors blend to form new colors.
  • It is refreshing in the summer!
  • It is personalized, easy, and fun.

Leaf print art

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Leaf prints — Source: Author

What you need

  • Markers
  • Leaves
  • White paper

How to play

  1. Color the inside of the leaf with markers.
  2. Place the leaf ink-side down on the paper.
  3. Press on the leaf gently, moving outwards from the center to each side.
  4. Remove the leaf.
  5. Repeat as necessary.
  6. Write down a few words below the leaf print. Here are some examples: “Child’s name with the date” or “Leaf (leaves) from tree X”.

My personal experience

This leaf print idea was one page of a book that my daughter created for one of her friends. In this book, she explained what she saw during a hike in the forest.

Why I like this idea

  • It combines science, sensory play, and art.
  • It helps the child observe nature more deeply. With this activity, children explore texture, patterns, and sight.
  • Going around the neighborhood or on a hike is like being in an outdoor classroom. This activity encourages children to observe nature, learn new words, and document their learning experiences.

Make a Nameplate

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Nameplate inspired by FamilyFun magazine- Source: Author

What you need

  • Whatever your children collect during a walk or a hike
  • Paper
  • Glue

How to play

  1. Optional: Have your child write his name lightly in pencil on paper.
  2. Glue whatever your children collected onto the paper over the penciled letters, or freestyle, to form their name.

My personal experience

We sometimes struggle to motivate our girls to hike. Having binoculars and a magnifying glass or doing an outdoor scavenger hunt helps significantly. Having a purpose helps even more. As adults, we felt that being outside the home, in contact with nature, recharged our batteries too.

Why I like this idea

  • It is very hands-on. It combines nature and writing skills.
  • Once we get home, we look up the items we have collected in a nature guide or a dictionary and read the descriptions. It is nice to combine biology with reading.
  • The name can be switched out with a sweet message such as “I love you,” “I miss you,” or “Thinking of you” for a person we care about.

What are your favorite outdoor activities?

If you want more ideas on personalized learning, feel free to follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

About the author: I am a mother of two girls. I had dyslexia and struggled to learn how to read. My older daughter was considered a “slow learner” at the age of three, so I transferred her to a Montessori school and started to gather ideas and tools to help her at home. A year later, my daughter read her first 12-page easy-to-read — or CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant) — book before turning four and a half years old. I am using this experience to launch MyLibook, an inspiring, personalized, easy-to-read book series.

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