The Outdoor Classroom - Eva Varga

September 23, 2013

Outdoor learning adventures are a great way to ignite passion for learning in a child’s heart. Outdoor adventures have the power to capture and hold the attention of even the most active learner. Here are some strategies for maximizing your  learning adventures in the outdoor classroom.

learning outdoorsStrategy 1 – Start in your own backyard

You don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money. Just step outside and let the adventures begin.   Take advantage of Junior Ranger programs in local, state, and national parks; where the great outdoors is the predominant classroom.

Strategy 2 – Be curious 

Use their natural curiosity to help guide their outdoor adventure. Encourage the kids to be detectives – to be curious and ask questions. Don’t fret … you don’t need to know the answers! Kids look for answers to those questions during the learning adventure – which will more than likely continue even after you come back indoors.

Strategy 3 – Hands-on research

Give kids the opportunity to explore and dig deeper into their learning adventure. Getting dirty really helps add to the fun of the adventure.  Back inside, encourage them to find answers to their unanswered questions using the internet or encyclopedias and books you have in your home library.

Strategy 4 – Write it down

Model for them the process of keeping a journal or notebook.  Have kids  record observations, identify, journal, draw, write stories, or make a video about what they see or have learned.  Doing it alongside them will help to assure they stick with it.  Eventually they will take ownership and eagerly record their observations without prompting.

Strategy 5 – Review new material

Take time later to review new learning in a fun way to make it stick! Have your adventurer come up with creative ways to teach others about what they have learned, such as a game, poster, or video.

Strategy 6 – Celebrate new learning

Share videos, pictures, and artwork with others. Posting work on Facebook and blogs is an awesome way to celebrate new learning and will encourage others to follow your example.

Now — Step outdoors and let the adventures begin!

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