The educators in the Toddler room have been thinking around the clock about new ways to integrate the children’s curriculum/activities better for outdoor learning and that specific environment. We have had many discussions and overall thoughts about how we can bring their learning outdoors more? Are their activities we do inside that we are more than capable of bringing outside as well?
This last month with the weather slowly turning nicer we have incorporated many more indoor activities outside to give them as much fresh air as possible. One fine motor activity that sparked a lot of interest was the, “Brain flakes.” These STEM fine motor pieces worked well to fostered their overall motor abilities like using their pincer grasps, hand eye coordination skills and their overall creative abilities, and also started off a way to explore “swinging” which is what our new room project is all about!
We set up a table outside with separate trays for each child and used the brain flakes with string. Elliot enjoyed sitting for long amounts of time trying to string as many of the same coloured flakes together on different strings. Each of his strings had its own colour. Lily, Laila and Sarnia enjoyed telling their educators which colours they were placing onto their strings. They worked diligently learning how to pull the brain flake down the string to allow room for more to fit. Laila not only sorted all hers by colour but she matched the items on her trays, such as some containers or miniature clear pouches, with colours zippers to the right coloured brain flake. Jayden took the string and used it like a Pendulum, rocking it back and forth watching his flakes at the bottom of his string move back and forth. Cole saw Jayden use this motion with his string and began copying the motion.
Another way to use these flakes is by attaching them together using the little grooves on the side. Only a few toddlers were able to attach them this way, at this point. They can be a little tricky. Alex enjoyed making stair like towers from the shapes connecting all different coloured ones together.
Another great activity that we would normally probably set up inside, that we brought outside, was a matching different shaped blocks activity. The toddlers used their basic math skills as they matched different shaped blocks that were different colours to their corresponding shape that was drawn onto a white sheet of paper. Laila, Grace and Sarnia began matching every block to a corresponding shape. These girls enjoy working together on different tasks. Sarnia matched the orange and blue block correctly and shouted, “yeah,” with much enthusiasm. Elliot helped his educator trace the blocks onto the paper, telling her which shape and colour they were tracing.
Trying out just a few new ways to integrate outdoor learning into our program more has shown us that many transitions and routines in our days can be modified changed and re thought. We don’t need to stick to the same ways we have always done things. There are many ways to relearn, grow, adapt and improvise old strategies and make them new and better suited to how we live now. This is juts a few ways we are starting this process. We can’t wait to see more changed occur as we shift out thinking and the way we have processed our ideas of routine.