Getting Started with Outdoor Learning: Part 2 – Simple Activities

In partnership with the Nature-Based Education Consortium (NBEC), CREA produced three short videos¬† to help teachers get started with outdoor learning. The videos are available on NBEC’s website and here on CREA’s website.

Part 1: Stepping out the Door, addresses basic supplies, logistics, and routines needed when taking students outdoors. Part 2: Simple Activities, offers a number of activities that can be repeated multiple times over the course of a year. The third (coming soon) highlights a few teaching approaches unique to outdoor teaching, and tips for dealing with common issues encountered when outside.

In this video, CREA Educators Sarah Rodgers and Carey Truebe advise teachers to start with short, simple, structured activities. Don’t start with curriculum! It’s important to first build students’ endurance, set behavioral expectations, and establish routines for outdoor time. Short, structured trips outside achieve this and provide sensory breaks that enhance student focus and mood. They can also help generate writing topics.

There are three ways to use the outdoor classroom:

  1. Open air school – doing normal classroom activities outdoors (e.g. Simon Says, reading)
  2. Outdoor exploration
  3. Curriculum-connected lessons/activities

CREA Educators Sarah Rodgers and Carey Truebe advise teachers to start with short, simple, structured activities that involve outdoor exploration. Don’t start with curriculum!

It’s important to first build students’ endurance, set behavioral expectations, and establish routines for outdoor time. Short, structured trips outside achieve this and provide sensory breaks that enhance student focus and mood. They can also help generate writing topics.

In this video, Sarah and Carey introduce six simple activities that you can do repeatedly throughout the year. They require no preparation and no materials.

They also offer resources for finding activities linked to curriculum (when you’re ready for that) and tips on how to respond to the many questions and observations that arise (which you may not know the answer to!).