We were all out working in the backyard this weekend – moving dirt, digging out lawn, pulling weeds, and discovering lots of minibeasts in the process…and it got me thinking about the literacy learning potential of spending time outdoors….
Listening & Speaking
- Listen to the sounds that you can hear outdoors – tree leaves rustling in the wind, a dog barking, a plane overhead, water running, a car driving by, etc.
- Lie back on the grass and look at the clouds. Describe what you can see, what the clouds look like to you.
- Go on a bug hunt to see what minibeasts you can find around your backyard. Today we found worms, crickets, grasshoppers, butterflies, slaters (roly polies) and a ladybird. There was lots of observation and talking around our finds – questioning, naming and describing.
- Observe and discuss the seasonal changes that you can see around your yard.
- Involve your toddler or preschooler in gardening and chores around the backyard and talk to him or her about what your are doing and why it is important, this is a great way to introduce lots of new vocabulary.
Reading & Writing
- Hand over the camera and let your child take photographs of their backyard discoveries. Compile the photos into a book of their own. With pre-writers, you scribe the text (like I have demonstrated in this post) whilst bigger kids can write their own observations.
- Measure and record the growth of the vegetables in your vegie garden. For younger children use non-standard measurement units like, “Let’s count how many hand spans long the pumpkin vine is.” For school aged children, using a tape measure reinforces their learning about measurement and number.
- Make a field journal.
- Start a bird book.
- Children learning to read might like a game of hide and seek word fun!
- Recycle some of your well loved picture books for outdoor use.
- Add a chalkboard to your backyard.
- Enjoy a treasure hunt with a picture map or written clues.
Taking it outdoors definitely adds an element of fun to literacy learning!