With the absolutely wonderful weather that we have been having lately, now is a perfect time to go outside and enjoy nature. However, even when enjoying nature, plenty of language practice can take place! A wonderful blog: www.famigliaandseoul.blogspot.com provides an wonderful example of how to incorporate nature, outdoors, and literacy all in one. A way to get your toddler or preschooler enjoying all that the outdoors has to offer is to create an outdoor literacy bag. You can keep this bag right beside your door, that way all you have to do is grab it and go! The following are two examples of what you might want to include in your outdoor literacy bag to get started. Just remember the possibilities are endless!
One example is when you and your child are outside is to have a bird literacy bag. Birds and the sounds that they make are everywhere. In the bag include age-appropriate books about birds that catches the attention of your child. You can also include a pair of kid-sized binoculars so that they can experiment with them while you walk around your neighborhood looking for birds. Also, to be able to observe them, you will need to include pencils, crayons, and paper on a clipboard to draw the birds that they see. To attract the birds, include a small bag of Cheerios or other small cereal and string to make bird feeders to hang on trees. For older children, you can even include a bird identification book to look up the names and pictures of various birds that you see.
In the second bag, how about learning about bugs? Include books about bugs (touch and feel books are great for this). A bug catcher, magnifying glass, and tweezers are perfect for looking for small bugs around your neighborhood. Also, to be able to observe them, you will need to include pencils, crayons, and paper on a clipboard to draw their bug creations. Plastic bugs are also great to introduce the names of various bugs and to sort them by color, size, insect, or how they move (crawling, flying, jumping). Homemade play dough can also be added to this bag to help your child begin to create their own 3D bugs.
These bags are just two examples of what you and your child can explore outdoors. However, the choices are endless. The most important thing to remember is to follow the interest of what your child enjoys doing outdoors and create a bag that will extend on this interest.