Outdoor learning is an integral part of a child’s development and is a vital part of their ability to develop new skills and core competencies. In an age of electronic diversions, where media rich games abound on every platform, from tablet computers, to smart phones and handheld gaming devices, it is not easy to encourage children to develop their learning skills outdoors. This is especially the case now that parents are ever more anxious about external threats from strangers and traffic, along with the limited resources available to those who live in a city centre. But it is important to realise that outdoor learning does something that cannot be replicated indoors, no matter how sophisticated the technical wizardry on offer.
By letting children develop their imagination and natural tendency to play without being provided with someone else’s framing narrative, they can strengthen their literacy and communication skills, as well as supporting their ability to mediate between conceptual and literal issues. Outdoor learning is also the key to starting a healthy relationship between exercise and your child, showing them the fun that can be had from outdoor games away from the type of potentially competitive activities that might be found in school.
Children learn best when they are having fun, so it is important that any outdoor activities engage them imaginatively. If they enjoy hands-on tasks such as building, then use alphabet blocks to explore shapes and numbers, whilst getting them to think about how different forms of building affect strength. If you child is really interested in the natural world, you’ll have a wealth of opportunities to examine lots of topics from physics and biology, to the weather and maths. Similarly, taking the chance to splash about in water is a great way of introducing them to ideas surrounding subjects as diverse as gravity, the colour spectrum and chemistry.
If you are looking to buy educational resources, it is a good idea to check prices online as you can find some fantastic deals and offers. With a wide range of toys, games and learning resources, you will be spoilt for choice. But just remember that anything you buy is worthless without the time and attention to ensure that your child is really engaging with the item. Nothing can equal a parent’s attention and taking the time to explain concepts and provide a starting place for play and imagination is vital. Whatever you do choose to buy, make sure that the shop (whether online or no the High Street) has a returns policy in case you find that an item is not suitable after all.