Five educational moments your child can have in the backyard
15 February, 2023
With just one month left of summer, make sure your children are spending as much time in the backyard as they possibly can. But who says they can’t keep learning while they’re there? These are the top five educational moments your child can have in the backyard this summer.
An outdoor scavenger hunt
Research shows that allowing children to interact with the environment can help to stimulate their brains, which is especially helpful when it comes to STEM subjects. Organising a scavenger hunt is a great way for kids to interact with their environment, encouraging them to ask questions or give answers. Create a list of items including flora, fauna, types of rocks and bodies of water for your kids to discover, discuss and tick-off – you could even ask them to draw, sing or write about what they know about each item on the list. This is an activity that engages multiple senses and offers something for every child, which will also help you to understand how they learn. Not only does this activity introduce kids to the great outdoors, but it is also a form of exercise and will stimulate their sense of adventure.
Make pet rocks
Looking for a simple activity that’s sure to be a big hit with your children? Look no further than pet rocks. Send them out into the backyard to find some small to medium size smooth rocks. Make sure they look at each rock and see what the shape might resemble. Could the rock become a sleeping cat with a curled-up tail? Or perhaps they’ll just want to add a funny face? The world is their oyster. Paint pens are great for drawing on rocks, or you can also add other materials like felt, pom poms and foam stickers. Making pet rocks can encourage a child’s imagination and creative thinking, as well as assist in developing their fine motor skills. It’s a win-win.
Grow a plant
There are so many lessons to be learned through horticulture. Allow your child to choose their own plant and take responsibility for learning how to help it thrive. They will need to understand their plant’s requirements for survival and show responsibility and accountability to tend to that plant’s needs. That might be making sure to water their plant weekly, taking their plant outside for the weekends to give it fresh air and a boost of sunlight, or fertilising it seasonally. Then, depending on the age of your child, there are the educational lessons around photosynthesis, propagation and other science-based learning. Not to mention the beauty of a thriving plant!
Make a leaf and flower garland
Leaves, flowers and bark make for the best art materials. In the backyard, your children can collect fallen plant materials to make a beautiful garland (perfect for decorating your entryway or outdoor entertaining area). It’s simple: using a thread and twine, they can simply pierce a leaf or flower and thread the twine through the hole, then repeat. Soon enough, they will have a garland made entirely of leaves. Decorate them with paint or pens or leave (pun intended) them bare for a natural look. They’ll learn about making patterns, work on their fine motor skills and get to flex their creative muscles.
Building a fort
Your budding engineer or architect will love this fifth and final outdoor activity. There are so many ways for them to create a fort – if you live near bushland, you should be able to find large branches and leaves to make a large enough fort for them to sit in. They could use outdoor furniture, ladders and old towels or sheets as additional shelter and reinforcements if they can’t find enough resources in nature. Alternatively, they could scale down their efforts and collect smaller sticks to make a fort for dolls instead. No matter which way they choose to approach this task, your children will be learning valuable lessons about balance, force, weight and more. Their patience will be tested, but it will be so worth it.