Outdoor Learning Games for Kids

Hannah Wickford

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports growing evidence to prove a positive relationship between outdoor play and activities and children's health. Getting away from the video games and heading outdoors helps children to develop physically, socially and emotionally, and understand how the lifestyle choices that people make impact the environment.

Paint Chip Match

Use paint chips from your local paint or hardware store as clues for this game. The paint chips act as clues, making the game a good choice for children who are too young to read. Play this game at your local park, or any outdoor spot that has a good variety of trees and plants. Give five to 10 paint chips to each child in colors that you might find in nature. Red, green, yellow and brown might be appropriate for the fall season, while summer's flowers open up new color possibilities. Have the children find one object from nature that matches their paint chip. When all of the children have collected their objects, sit in a circle and have the children talk about their discoveries, show and tell style.

Educational Scavenger Hunt

Give an educational twist to a traditional scavenger hunt by using riddles for clues instead of a list of objects. Split the children into groups of two to five. Hand each team a set of index cards that contain riddles. The children need to solve each riddle to determine the object they need to find. The first team to find all of their objects wins the game. Tailor the clues to the age of the children. The clue for leaves might say, "I grow on trees" or "I fall in the Fall." The clue for a stone might be, "The Paleolithic period was part of what age?"

Nature Sounds

This game helps children to develop their observation and listening skills. Take the children to an outdoor area, including the backyard, local park, hiking trail or campgrounds. Have them sit in a circle, and hand each child a piece of paper and a pencil. The object of the game is to see who can make the longest list of sounds that they hear. The sounds may include a passing car, leaves swishing, birds or water running in a stream.

Law Enforcement Hike

Whether you live in the city or in the country, this game is sure to get the children's imaginations going. Start out in the center of your town, at a local park or on a hiking trail. Deputize each child as an agent for the Forest Bureau of Investigation, City Investigation Bureau or Parks Investigation Unit. Give each child a pencil and small notebook, and ask them to document any evidence they see of criminal activity in the natural environment. Possibilities include kidnapped fish at the pet store, birds murdering worms or litter on the ground. At the end of the hike, have the children share what they found and discuss ways to prevent them from happening in the future. For an added art activity, have the children draw up wanted posters.

Article Source: www.LiveStrong.com


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