Saturday, January 8, 2011

Outdoor Learning...While Inside?!

Our wonderful plans to increase our outdoor learning have hit a bit of a snag recently!  Our preschool programs' rule is that the children are not to go outside at all if the temp. is below 18 degrees (including the wind chill).  We have quite a few "below 18 degree" days during winter!  We would love to bundle up and at least go outdoors for 5 min. during the day.  We'd love to check on the bird feeders we made, have the children help replenish the bird feeders, have the children help take photos of the animals we see in the winter, examine how trees are different in the winter than spring...and more.  We have extra warm winter clothes here at school for the children to wear if they have forgotten their own.  We have boots, snow pants, coats, hats and mittens.   
 NOT taking right out our classroom window...but possible!
Well, instead we are reduced to having children run back and forth from the window to the carpet to keep minute by minute updates on how many squirrel and bird feeder bagels are left beneath the trees!  Believe me, some children feel this must be a minute by minute update!  We are looking for more ideas to bring us closer to the outdoors, while staying inside!  We know, this is not ideal....but we work with what we have! 
We want the children to be able to experience these things
first, before they view them on a photo!

Here are a few of the things we have done so far:  We have blown up the photos we took recently on our nature walk, and put them together on a ring for the children to view.  As soon as it snows again here, we will bring snow inside to our sensory table to explore.  We plan on putting our sensory table outdoors with water in it to find out what happens (we bet it will freeze by the afternoon!)  We are looking for books about animals we might see in our area in the winter.  I will be putting up my permanent bird feeder out our window for the children to see.

What other activities do you do that involve nature and the outdoors, without actually being outside?

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