Babies, toddlers and young children gain early education experience in a wide variety of ways. One of the ways in which they can learn valuable information about both the world around them, and how we interact with it, is through the outdoors.
Being outside in the open air is not only good for the health and development of your child, but it’s also good from the point of view of learning. In the case of babies, they can be taken outside in good weather in a pram or pushchair. Avoiding direct or hot sunshine, they will enjoy feeling the warmth of the air on their skin, or the feel of a light breeze.
If you’ve got a garden, however small, they’ll also enjoy being able to lie on a blanket outside or crawl around the blanket and explore a bit. It’s a good introduction to the earth, the grass and the world around them. As children get older, they’ll enjoy exploring the outdoor realms even more, learning about the environment, how things grow and work. It’s always a good idea to supervise what children are doing, so they don’t accidentally swallow any harmful plants.
A good way of learning about how things grow is to grow seeds or bulbs with your child. You don’t need loads of space and can grow seeds in a pot or tub. It’s a great way for children to learn how things grow – growth doesn’t immediately appear – and learn how to take care of plants. If you grow something edible, there’s the added bonus of getting to eat it at the end too!
Ways To Enhance Outdoor Learning
There are lots of ways in which you can enhance outdoor learning and make being outdoors a fun – and educational – experience.
Outdoor toys are great for keeping young children occupied, but also serve as a tool for aiding learning too. For example, there are many toys that are best used outside where there’s space to move around and play, such as balls, sit-on toys and paddling pools.
Many young children love to play in sandpits. You can either create a safe sandpit in an area of your garden, or buy a ready-made pit, that can be moved around and kept clean and dry by a lid. Children love to play and explore the sandpit on their own, although also benefit from playing joint games. They’ll enjoy learning to dig in the sand, fill a bucket, make sandcastles and knock them down again. If you don’t live near a beach, or want to ensure your child is playing in clean and safe sand, then a sandpit can be a great option. Remember, that it’s advisable to supervise any young children playing in sandpits.
Paddling pools are also a favourite with children, when the weather is suitably warm, as well as garden toys such as a slide or swing that can be played on. Being outside helps children in many ways, so make the most of your outdoor environment and help your children’s early learning experience at the same time.