Guide Your Child Through Outdoor Play and Learning!

May 1, 2018

Outdoor Play

Spring may have gotten lost on the way to our area, but now that it’s finally here it’s time to get the kids outside! Children are born with the need to explore the world using their senses. Making outdoor play purposeful and fun might seem challenging but when the five senses are added, a whole new world of learning activities can be opened up! Sensory play has an important role in childhood development and help children gain important skills such as: observation, critical thinking, hand-eye coordination and fine motor. All of these lay a solid foundation for future learning and development.

Here are some guided outdoor sensory activities that let children explore and learn at the same time.

  • Lead a Sensory Scavenger Hunt: You can combine many senses by going on a sensory scavenger hunt.  Have your child see, touch, and smell the world around them. For example, SEE a bird nest, SMELL the ground, FEEL a pinecone, or SEE a spider web. Using this technique children are exploring using sense rather than just finding or collecting the objects.
  • Make Digging Worth Its Weight: Fine motor skills can be promoted by creating a sensory bin using dirt. Fill a container with dirt and let your child have fun. Place cars, trucks, bowls, spoons or measuring cups in the bin and let them scoop and pour their way to developing great fine motor skills.
  • Explore With Ice: Take advantage of the warm weather by examining the characteristics of ice. Incorporate science concepts by exploring how long does it take water to freeze or how long will it take an ice cube to melt in the sun or in the shade. You can also freeze small toys and objects inside bigger ice cubes and give children tools to break the items free. Incorporate literacy into this activity by freezing small letters inside ice cubes that spell out a message.

 This article was written for the May 2018 edition of Parent Source.