Nature Inspired Learning


I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “not all learning happens in the classroom”, and it really couldn’t be more true – learning can happen anywhere! Backyard exploration and neighborhood walks can lead to meaningful conversations, new vocabulary words, observations, and investigations into the world around us.

Warmer weather is upon us, and so many changes happen in the spring. Let’s take a look at some awesome nature inspired learning ideas you can try at home.

Teach about animals through local wildlife

Use books as references to help your child identify some of your local birds, insects, and plants. Get your child a journal where they can keep ongoing notes about their findings, and challenge them to see how many species of wildlife and plants you can find together during each season.

Teach astronomy through stargazing

Head outside at night and check out the sky. Do you see any planets? Are there any constellations visible from your own yard? Why is the moon a different shape each night? The amount of questions your child probably has about outer space could fill outer space itself – so spend time outside learning about the sky, the stars, the clouds, and the moon. And if you are able to get your hands on a telescope, you can have even more fun learning! Want to bring the sky inside? This website is a pretty cool way to get an up-close look into space.

Teach colors on a nature walk

As soon as the plants begin to bloom, take a nature walk teach your child more about colors. Bring a Ziploc bag and try to collect something representing each color of the rainbow, play a game of eye spy, sort colors by hue from darkest to lightest, mix up a bowl of rainbow soup (a bucket of water, flower petals, and a spoon to mix), talk about color mixing, or use duct tape to create rainbow jewelry.

Teach sight words with rocks

Write sight words with chalk on the sidewalk. Have your child copy and build the words using items found outside (rocks, sticks, etc.).

Teach the ABC’s on a nature hunt

This one may take some research, but head out and see if you can find something outside to represent each letter of the alphabet.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Apple tree, butterfly, caterpillar, daisy, egg, feather, grass, hornet, insect, june bug, kernel of corn, ladybug, moss, nest, orange butterfly, pinecone, q-shaped cloud, rose, seedling, tracks, u-shaped rock, v-shaped stick, worm, x-shaped crack in the sidewalk, yellow leaf, zinnia

Teach about how things grow and change by planting a garden

This spring, plant a garden to learn about seeds, roots, buds, proper plant care, patience, responsibility, and growth and change. Phew – there really is a lot to learn from planting a garden together! Your child can also paint rocks to make garden markers for the different types of produce you planted in your new garden space.

Teach topography through nature hikes

Find a new local hiking trail and be sure to pick up or print out a map of the paths. Use the map together to navigate your way, and teach your child directional skills and topography skills. Work on making maps at home after your day on the trail.  

Now get outside and let the learning begin!    

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