What a beautiful time of year to be outside! I have been using our outdoor space as much as possible recently, and I set up some centres for all of our kindergarten classes to use. Most of the centres could be done anywhere, from your back yard to a neighbourhood park. I feel that the important thing is just get outside and enjoy being outside – especially with kids. Below are the centres that I set up and a brief description. There is so much you can do!
I like to try to include at least one science based centre whenever we go outside. Since we have been learning about pumpkins, I put some pumpkin seeds, pumpkin goo, a few gems, felt leaves and some water into a baggie and then froze the mixture. I then put it in a tin pan with popsicle sticks for picking at and magnifying glasses for inspecting.
We have a plexi glass easel that the kids love to paint on. Today I made some leaf stamps for them to use. I glued a wooden cube to the back to help keep their hands from becoming covered in paint (it only somewhat helped.)
I put out a few different colours of paint and students painted the felt stamps and then pressed them to the plexi glass.
A few weeks ago, I did a fall sensory walk with students that ended up being the most popular centre. I used the same idea again today, but I added a few more. Bare foot, students walked through dry corn, dry mini leaves, pine cones, pebbles, leaves, sand, and then I added a bin of water beads. This was such a great sensory activity and again today students wanted to go through the walk again and again.
We have a beautiful structure that I am always trying to come up with new ways of using it. Today I kept it simple, but it I like the idea. I tightly wrapped yarn around it and then encouraged students to slip leaves between the pieces of yarn to create a wall of leaves. It wasn’t the most popular centre, but there were always a few students that were drawn to it.
Finally, I set up an invitation to create. Since I do several story plays with students, I wanted to give them the chance to handle the props and create a setting of their own. Today, I put a sheet of fabric down and then set out various prop items. A few items I set up, but I left most in containers for kids to take out and place where ever they wanted. I always love to see what they come up with! (I did this at home with my own kids to give them the opportunity to create too.)
We had a great day outside and lots of smiles, play and learning happened!