Children enrolled in Montessori School have plenty of opportunities throughout the day to spend time outside. This is because playing and working outdoors has many proven benefits for people of all ages. Consider how you feel after spending an afternoon in the park or yard. Most people feel refreshed, invigorated, and more able to focus. This applies to children as well.
In addition to the benefits listed above, outside play helps kids connect with nature, and truly appreciate the beauty of our world. It also gives young people the opportunity to run, jump, and shout, all things they may not be allowed to do indoors. Dr. Maria Montessori observed these things in her studies and placed a great emphasis on allowing children time in nature and offering them nature education.
For all these reasons, it seems only logical that young people should spend as much time outside as they desire. Therefore, taking your little ones outside to play or work after school should be an everyday occurrence. Any time you can spend outside with them should be taken, as quality time spent with your children is important, and time spent in nature is good for adults too.
Finding things to do outside is always as simple as using your imagination. Here are a few of our favorite ideas. These activities will encourage bonding time while expanding on skills your children are learning in their Montessori School. As with any activity, encouraging questions and carrying on conversation with your child while engaging in these tasks and games will add value to the learning experience.
Backyard Montessori Idea #1: Gardening
Plant a vegetable garden and learn about the life cycles of plants, where food comes from, and the practical skills involved in planting and caring for a garden. Learn about measurements by measuring the growth of your plants each week. Practice counting when planting seeds. Cook together with the foods from your garden and have a discussion about nutrition.
There are hundreds of ways to use your garden as a learning tool, and gardening is an invaluable experience that kids will learn from year after year.
Backyard Montessori Idea #2: Chickens
If you are able and allowed, keeping chickens is an excellent way to teach your children all kinds of life skills. Build a coop together and show your little ones how to use tools. Give your kids the responsibility of feeding the chickens and gathering eggs. Use the eggs in your kitchen and let your kids see the many ways they can be cooked. Bring in an incubator and hatch new chicks to raise in your coop so your children can see where chickens come from.
There are countless ways to involve these productive family pets in the education of your little ones, and the benefit of fresh eggs is well worth the work involved.
Backyard Montessori Idea #3: Counting Nature
Go on a nature walk and gather as many as you can of a specific item. Pine cones, stones, and acorns are all good examples.
When you get home, have your child count the items and use them as manipulatives for doing simple math problems. Encourage your kids to feel the items they collected and describe what they feel. If they collected more than one type of thing ask them to describe the differences in shape and texture. Discuss what kids of plants the items may have come from and what the plants might use them for.
Backyard Montessori Idea #4: Sand Play
Sensory play in the sand is lots of fun, and has plenty of benefits too. Such tools as shovels, pails, wheelbarrows, and sifters make this type of play more fun. For an added challenge give your kids a specific task such as moving all of the sand from one place to another or finding items buried in the sand. This will give the children something to work toward and a sense of accomplishment when their task has been completed.
These are just a few of the many wonderful things you can do with your little ones outside. Get creative and see what you can come up with!
If you would like for your child to receive a high-quality Montessori education, please contact us at Brooksfield School. We would love to have your family join ours.