We asked Nicola from HAPPY HOME LEARNING to share her top tips on getting little ones outdoors and learning along the way.
My name is Nicola and I am passionate about making learning easy, active and fun. Inspired by the lockdown challenges of supporting my child’s home learning with a little one in tow, and my discovery that teaching in the classroom is very different to teaching at home, I share twenty years of teaching expertise and stealthy tips as a busy mum.
We all know the benefits of exercising and learning outdoors. But it’s not always easy, is it? The weather may turn, the walk may be too ambitious or…heaven forbid, you run out of snacks! Make sure you have these nifty activities up your sleeve to keep everyone happy and entertained. Here's some ideas to get you started.
1. ENGAGE ALL THE SENSES
Take an empty yoghurt pot and find a little stick. Add natural items in the pot and stir to make a sniff cocktail.” This will encourage your little one to explore the world by using their senses. You could also boost their language skills by encouraging them to use the word ‘pleasant’ instead of ‘nice.
2. WONDERFUL WORDS!
Choose a code word. Perform an agreed action when someone uses that word in a conversation!” This game is sure to generate giggles and boost your child’s listening skills! Good listening skills provide the foundation for learning. They support children’s social skills too. The sillier the agreed action, the better I say!
3. ACTIVITIES THAT GROW WITH YOUR CHILD
Take a waterproof toy. Use it in hide and seek games to keep little legs moving. Find a puddle to float it in.” This activity is full of opportunities to boost your child’s scientific understanding. Try thinking out loud; ‘I wonder if all light things float and heavy things sink?’
4. NUTURE A LOVE & RESPECT FOR NATURE
Enjoy hunting for tiny treasures using a tiny matchbox (or your empty packed lunch pot), estimate how many items it will hold. Who can fill it with the most items?” This activity helps to boost mathematical understanding and problem solving. Little ones will soon learn that in order to win, they need to hunt for very small items indeed. And of course, there are lots of opportunities to count the items individually or in twos to determine who has won. Competition is healthy but little ones can find losing very tricky! They need playful opportunities to engage in competitive situations and to lose to help cope with those big emotions.
5. PROMOTE CURIOSTY
Now for my favourite tip. The ‘Walk and Wonder’ activity cards are designed to promote curiosity and a love of the outdoors too. To boost curiosity, try thinking out loud. For example, ‘I wonder why the sky is blue?’ Don’t ever worry about knowing the answers to your child’s endless list of questions. What’s important is that the questions keep flowing and that you enjoy learning together.
The perfectly portable ‘Walk and Wonder’ tin contains colour coded activity cards for younger (age 3+) and for older children too. They are guaranteed to help your child burn off energy and learn English, maths and science at the same time too. You can buy yours by clicking here: Easy Active Fun by HappyHomeLearning on Etsy
For further inspiration and guidance on infant home learning, click here:Happy Home Learning | Facebook
Do you have a child aged 3-5? Join the free, private starting nursery/primary school group for support. It’s jam-packed with live lessons to make learning to write easier and fun, live Q and A sessions in response to the membership questions and posts to promote independence, kindness and concentration. Simply click here to join and answer the membership questions so I can offer you reassurance and support:https://www.facebook.com/groups/3364648383579562/