Ideas for Outdoor Learning

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

By: Ashmar Mandou

Yes, the frigid temperatures and harrowing snowfall are reasons enough to stay indoors with a cup of hot chocolate in hand, but there are fun ways to take advantage of this time with your family to learn something new and make this time memorable.

Track seasonal changes
Hone kids’ observational skills by asking them to look for signs of winter. Kids can notice human-related changes, too, especially in urban settings. Do people dress or walk differently? Do vehicles look or operate differently?

Take a sensory walk
Encourage students to experience the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of winter as they walk. Back inside, use your experiences to write winter poetry or stories. Take a look at Ten Ways to Hear Snow, by Cathy Camper, for some inspiration.

Look for winter animal evidence
Hibernating isn’t the only thing animals do in winter. Document signs of winter animal activity like tracks, droppings, holes in the snow, nibbled nuts, and even feathers leftover from a predator’s meal. Or, use binoculars to search out nests in bare trees and try to identify who made them. 

Teach science with sledding
Sledding isn’t just fun; it’s full of science concepts. Use sledding to teach about potential and kinetic energy, friction, and more. If you don’t have a big hill or your school doesn’t allow kids to sled, no problem. Have kids build their own mini-sleds for stuffed animals out of recycled materials to explore the same concepts on a smaller scale.

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