Outside activities for kids that encourage printing & drawing...
Outside activities for kids that require drawing and reading and writing help them retain and find meaningful uses for skills they have previously learned.
Include lots of opportunities for exercise and large muscle movement between times of recording and drawing observations or other less physical activities.
Keep outside activities for kids fun and relaxed and not too structured. Let children choose topics.
Make a "5 Things I noticed ..." book
Place a slow moving animal such as a slug, a snail or caterpillars in a big glass restaurant jar or aquarium with some sticks and leaves from around where you found it.
Add a few drops of water.
Only keep the animal for an hour or two in a shady area and then let it go.
- Mini-books - Cut 2 piece of photocopy paper in half and then stack and fold all the pieces and staple to make a mini-book. This will make enough pages to write on one side only as felt markers may bleed through the pages.
- Felt markers
- Magnifying glasses
- Have children observe the creature collected and encourage them to notice 5 different things about the creature. E.G. "5 things I notice about the snail"
- Make a booklet yourself and encourage children to draw pictures, make labels and arrows on their diagrams and to print short sentences about the animal.
- Keep a library of the children's mini-books and read them together. Compare observations.
- Express the importance of returning the creature back to its natural environment and placing it carefully out of harms way.
- Act out how it would feel to be stuck in a jar in the hot sun and the importance of only studying a living creature for a short time
Make "I Wonder Why..." books
- Whether you live in a rural area or in the city, take an "I wonder why..." walk with your children.
- Gather a clipboard, some paper and a pencil and ask the kids to come up with as many "I wonder..." questions as they can think of as you wander outside.
- Record all the children's "I wonder why" statements and put their names beside their statement to refer to later.
Children might come up with questions like...
I wonder why only pill bugs live under the log...
I wonder why this leaf is curled and stuck together...
I wonder why the plants can grow in the cracks of the sidewalk...
I wonder why the little birds are chasing that crow...
- Have children investigate one question at a time by exploring on the spot or by finding and reading library books on the subject and researching on the Internet.
- Children create a book that has the cover title, I wonder why... (complete their question), then record their findings inside.
- Use this free template ... (scroll down to number 9 on the page) or have students design their own.
- Children insert as many blank pages as they need, then staple their book together.
Make and send postcards
Making and sending postcards is another fun outside activity for kids that encourages them to print and draw. Whether you are on a vacation or just having a day at the park or beach, making postcards that will really get mailed inspires children to read and print.
- Cut your own 6" x 4 1/4" from white postcard weight card or
- Buy ready made postcards...
- Permanent black thin markers
- Felt markers, pencil crayons
- Stamp and addresses
- Front - children draw and color a picture of where they are or what they are doing
- Back - Keep in mind the post office postcard regulations (see image on right)
- Children print a message on the left and the address on the right.
- E.G. Hi Gramma, I went whale watching in Victoria, BC.
- Place a stamp on the upper right hand side
- Mail on the way home!
Outside activities for kids that help children make collections...
Collections are worth making when they are later used for further investigation and comparisons. This simple grid keeps children from gathering too many objects. Let children come up with ideas of items to collect. Help them to narrow their focus if necessary.
- A clipboard for each child with a pencil or felt marker and string taped on to it
- Card from cereal boxes
- Permanent black marker
- Children's felt markers
- Double sided tape
- Cut out the large sides of cereal boxes, and make a grid with the permanent marker on the blank side. See image on right.
- Don't worry about it being perfect.
- Children can make their own grids with a ruler and marker.
- Make fewer grid sections for younger children who print larger and more for those more skilled at printing
- Put a small piece of double sided tape in each square.
- Attach a grid to a clipboard and and go outside.
- Help children choose items to collect if necessary
- Things that are round
- Things that are brown
- Things that fall from trees
- Things that are light
- Seed pods in the garden
- Keep topics simple
- Gather items, sort and then stick on their grid
- Investigate and print the name (with help) of each item underneath.
- Compare and contrast items, measure items
Make a garden journal
Build research skills by giving your child an area of the garden, patio, or balcony to grow two or more plants.
Children keep a homemade journal or booklet recording:
- what was planted
- planting dates
- measurements of weekly growth (use a ruler or one inch blocks)
- which plant grows faster
- any bugs that get on the plants, what they are and what to do about them
- diagrams, and details as seen through a magnifying glass (label parts)
Record outside activities for kids with shape books, flip books and more...
Children often like to make and complete odd shaped books. Copy ideas from commercial mini-books like theseto create flip books, shape books, step books, accordion books, and other fun formats, just right for kids.
Try any of the following outside activities for kids and then have the children make a book like the ones above and record their experiences. Keep a bin of papers, a stapler, scissors, felt markers, glue and old nature type magazines to keep children motivated.
1. Lift the bottom leaves of plants that are close to the ground. What animals live under the leaves? Why?
Is it cooler or moister under the leaves? Teach children to place the leaves back carefully and remind them that the leaves act like the roofs on their own homes.
2. Ask children to shut their eyes and discover how many different scents they can smell. Newly cut grass, a pine tree, moist dirt? Ask them to shut their eyes a second time and and take another whiff of air to see if they can smell some of the aromas their friends smelled.
3. Ask children to tiptoe toward a robin on the grass. How close can they get until it flies away? Watch a bird on the grass. Copy its movements.
4. Take some paper and crayons with their labels taken off, then make tree bark rubbings of a few different trees. Compare how their patterns are the same or different.
5. Collect different leaves on awalk. Dump them out and see how many different ones you have. Sort them by size, shape, color or by how many points, etc.
Products and books from Amazon to encourage outside activities for kids...
Beginner book sets
Christmas story map
Hands on literacy activities
Listening and speaking
Make your own worksheets software
Math and literature section
Mini-books - tips for using
Outside activities that encourage reading and writing
Picture books - criteria for choosing and suggestions
Picture books 2
Picture book illustrators
Picture book videos (DVDs)
Responding to literature
"Theme" - check out this section for more literacy ideas