Summer is here! The temperature rises, the day stretches longer, and the natural environment offers countless opportunities for exploring. It’s the time of year when nature transforms into a vibrant playground, inviting children to venture outside and explore. In a world where screens and technology have become a dominant part of everyday life, summer serves as a refreshing opportunity to introduce outdoor learning and reignite the wonder and curiosity that lies within our children. Check out this blog for some benefits of outdoor learning in the summer, and great activities recommendations!
Product in picture: Nature to Play Double Bench
1. Physical Health and Well-being:
Summer provides an abundance of chances for children to engage in physical exercise. Whether they’re running, swimming, biking, or participating in sports, these activities promote cardiovascular fitness, muscle development, and overall physical health. The generous amount of sunlight during the summer months also helps the body produce vitamin D, which is essential for having strong bones and a healthy immune system. Additionally, outdoor play encourages children to be active, boosting their energy levels and improving sleep patterns, which benefits their general wellbeing.
Fun activities to do: Outdoor sports and games are a fantastic way to keep children active. Organize friendly games of tag, capture the flag, or hide-and-seek in a park or backyard. Set up a mini soccer field or basketball court to encourage team play and friendly competition. Take them swimming, running, or simply just strolling around the neighbourhood in this great weather. Get them on bicycles & ride ons! They help children develop gross motor skills, balance, and agility.
Winther Viking Trike has a harmonious, safe design with no sharp edges, and strong, oval-shaped tubes ensure maximum strength. It features a weather-resistant rubber seat, solid rubber handlebar grips, effective rust protection and impact-resistant powder coating that will last for many years.
Tilo Three Wheeled Scooter features high quality steel bearings, powder coated steel frame. Tilo’s quality and safety standards allow children the freedom to experience the joy of motion, the confidence of speed and the adventure of exploration.
2. Cognitive Development:
Outdoor learning greatly stimulates cognitive development. Children can touch, smell, hear, and see a multitude of elements, supporting sensory integration and cognitive processing. Outdoor environments also propose unlimited options for imaginative play, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Whether it’s building a fort, creating a nature-inspired artwork, or navigating a nature trail, children are challenged to think creatively and develop innovative solutions, enhancing cognitive flexibility and resilience.
Fun activities to do: Nature scavenger hunts are fantastic ways to engage children in exploration and observation. Create a list of items commonly found in nature, such as specific leaves, rocks, flowers, animal tracks, or natural artifacts like feathers or pinecones. Provide each child with a checklist or a small bag to collect their findings as they venture outdoors. This activity not only motivates children to explore their surroundings but also stimulates critical thinking skills as they search for and identify various elements of nature. It sparks curiosity and enriches their knowledge of the natural world, making them more observant and attentive to their environment.
Nature Feel & Find are over-sized, unrefined wood textures and nature-inspired shapes to elevate the classic discovery game. Use tactile senses to determine the hidden shapes in the canvas bag that correspond to the matching bases.
Rainbow Pebbles is ideal for developing fine motor skills and for counting, sorting and creative design. Includes 36 plastic pebbles in 6 sizes and 6 colours and 20 double-sided full-colour activity cards in a sturdy plastic container. How many pebbles can you stack before they topple over?
Great tools to use in Nature Scavenger Hunt game that helps children identify elements of nature.
3. Experiential Learning:
Summer outdoor learning presents rich, hands-on experiences that deepen children’s understanding of various subjects. By observing and interacting with the natural world, they can explore scientific ideas. Perceiving the life cycles of plants, studying insects, or carrying out easy experiment’s outdoors are all enjoyable pastimes. Additionally, learning about ecosystems, climate, and environmental sustainability through direct experiences fosters a deeper understanding of these topics. Experiential learning also stirs up curiosity and problem-solving skills, as children naturally encounter real-world challenges and find solutions within the context of their environment.
Fun activities to do: Gardening! It is a rewarding outdoor activity that teaches children about the life cycle of plants, the importance of protecting the environment, and the delight of growing their own food. Create a small garden patch or provide children with their own pots or containers. Let them choose the plants they want to grow, whether it’s flowers, vegetables, or herbs. Teach them about soil preparation, planting, watering, and maintaining their garden. They can watch the growth process, learn about pollination and beneficial insects, and even harvest the fruits of their labor. Gardening teaches patience, responsibility, and an appreciation for the cycles of life.
Sprout and Grow Window helps to get a worm’s eye view of root growth. This transparent “nature’s window” allows gardeners of all ages to watch seeds sprout and grow into plants. Stands upright on a tabletop or windowsill. Special potting soil nurtures seeds for optimum growth. Comes with packets of bean and pea seeds and a step-by-step guide with instructions, suggested activities, and journal pages to fill in as you follow the process from seed planting to full-grown plants.
4. Connection with Nature:
Outdoor learning in the summer allows children to immerse themselves in the wonders of the natural world. Through direct experiences, they develop a deep connection and appreciation for the environment. Exploring forests, hiking trails, or simply playing in the backyard exposes them to diverse ecosystems, plants, and animals. This connection strengthens a sense of wonder, empathy, and environmental stewardship, inspires them to care for and protect our planet. Additionally, spending time in nature has been linked to improved mental health, reduced stress levels, and increased overall well-being, developing a balanced and harmonious lifestyle.
Rusty Keeler’s “Nature to Play” outdoor furniture collection allows children to dig into childhood and play without reservation in a natural playscape that is built just for them. Children may take charge of their own learning experiences and participate in activities that are healthy for both their minds and bodies, as the Nature to Play collection is designed to be open-ended play. The furniture is made from thermally modified, weather-resistant wood to withstand long-term, rough-and-tumble play.
Nature to Play Water Tower can be easily attaches to a standard garden hose, making it a simple, kid-activated water source.
Nature to Play Trough System let children explore physics and cause and effect principles by pouring buckets of water. It is designed to work with the Water Tower to provide unlimited opportunities for kid-lead, water-based activities.
Observe the cascading water and other messy elements!
Nature to Play Loose Parts is inspired by construction and lumber yards. These durable, yet lightweight Kid Boards are an oversized version of your child’s beloved indoor block set. Kid board encourage teamwork and communication skills during collaborative building projects.
These strong boards are made to inspire creativity and captivate children with unlimited play possibilities!
Nature to Play Mini Spool can be used as a table, stool, or turn it on its side and roll it around the yard during gross-motor activities. The Mini Spool encourages children to use their imaginations and play in creative, open-ended ways.
The Spool can withstand continued outdoor use and rough play!
Nature to Play Water Table brings the fun to water play! Fill the two large basins of this sturdy Water Table and let kids splash around and explore with all their senses. Bring in materials like water, sand, shaving cream or slime and encourage messy play during collaborative projects and social interaction around the large worksurface.
Store mud tools, buckets, and Nature to Play Crates on the convenient bottom shelf.
Nature to Play Planter is a large, reinforced basin with built-in drain allows for social interaction and collaboration while children dig, discover, explore and grow a variety of different plants.
So many fun activities can be done with the Nature to Play collection!
5. Social and Emotional Development:
The outdoors serves as a natural setting for social interaction and the development of social skills. Collaborative outdoor activities, such as team sports or nature-based projects, push for cooperation, communication, and teamwork. Children learn to negotiate, share, and respect each other’s ideas and opinions. Furthermore, the open spaces, freedom, and unstructured play that the outdoors provide can contribute to emotional well-being. It enables children to release energy (especially when they need to “let off steam”), reduce stress, and improve their mood. Nature’s tranquility and beauty can have a calming effect on their emotions, nourishing a sense of peace, joy, and overall mental health.
Fun activities to do: Outdoor art activities allow children to combine their creativity with the beauty of nature. Provide them with art supplies like chalk, paints, or watercolors and let their imaginations soar! They can create colorful murals on sidewalks, paint landscapes inspired by the scenery, or use natural materials like leaves and flowers to make nature-inspired collages. This activity not only stimulates their artistic abilities but also encourages a deeper appreciation for the environment. Children can learn to observe nature’s colors, textures, and patterns, translating them into their artwork. Outdoor art fosters self-expression, boosts confidence, and builds a connection between creativity and the natural world.
Outdoor Acrylic Art Easel let kids enjoy nature and paint freely wherever they want. This painting easel has a durable frame made with 100% recycled plastic lumber that can withstand the elements. It does not rot or splinter (like some wood) or rust (like metal). The double-sided painting surface is made of hardened acrylic board and includes a removable paint tray with 6 spill-proof caps. The paint pots are accessible from both sides, allowing for space for two budding artists to create.
Create together with the Outdoor Acrylic Art Easel.
Pull up a bench to Nature to Play Outdoor Table for messy crafts, a picnic of veggies or collaborative activity. Large work surfaces provide ample room for social interactions and teamwork!
6. Building Resilience:
Outdoor learning in the summer brings up independence and resilience in children. They have the freedom to explore, make decisions, and take risks in a monitored and supportive environment. This independence fuels self-confidence, self-reliance, and a sense of empowerment. Outdoor adventures also present opportunities to overcome obstacles, adapt to new environments, and develop resilience. Whether it’s building a shelter, overcoming a fear of heights on a climbing wall, or navigating a challenging hiking trail, children learn to persevere, problem-solve, and bounce back from setbacks. These experiences build character, grit, and the ability to face future challenges with confidence.
Fun activities to do: Take children on nature walks or hikes opens a world of exploration and discovery. Visit nearby parks, forests, or nature reserves, allowing them to immerse themselves in the wonders of the outdoors. Encourage children to take note of and pick up on the many plant and animal species they come across along the route. Provide field guides or nature identification apps to help them identify trees, birds, insects, or other wildlife. Incites little ones to ask questions, explore different habitats, and appreciate the interconnectedness of nature. This practice promotes a sense of curiosity, enhances observation skills, and deepens their understanding of the natural world, developing a lifelong appreciation for the environment.
Natural Shape Viewers inspires children to explore their environment with new enthusiasm and focus. Encourage children to use them around the setting to find items of similar shape or to focus attention on things they choose to investigate. The viewers are designed to frame a particular item or area in the natural world and will enable children to really look at the detail.
Includes circle, square, rectangle, triangle, and hexagon.
As the sun sets on another long July day, it’s clear that outdoor learning has created a tapestry of joy, growth, and connection for our children. Every time spent in nature, from the early morning runs to the late-afternoon picnics, has served as a reminder of the many beauties that are waiting outside our door. As parents, by encouraging exploration, nurturing curiosity, and fostering a sense of stewardship for the environment, we equip children with invaluable tools for a lifetime of adventure and appreciation. We have the power to inspire and ignite a love for the outdoors in our children.
And what better time to do so than during the bright, warm days of summer?