After we moved into our new house in March, we fell in love with the outdoors. Years of small spaces and city living left us craving time in the outdoors. Our children LOVE outdoor exploration. We take advantage of any long weekend to spend time with our family outdoors. I want to share with you some of our favorite ways we explore our Montessori outdoor space in the summer!
“The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.”
Today there is a lot of talk about helicopter parenting. I am such a big fan of allowing children to learn through exploration. Dr. Montessori was ahead of her time in so many ways to include allowing children to do their own exploration. I love the example she set for us and have seen my children flourish because of uninterrupted outdoor exploration. Words cannot fully explain the joy in a child’s heart when they explore some new area of the outside world. I hope you will find some inspiration through looking through your children’s eyes and carving out time for outdoor exploration for your child today!
“Our earth is filled with wonderful sounds, scents, textures, tastes, and colors. Children are naturally curious, and love to use their senses to learn more about the fascinating world around them.” From Montessori For Everyone.
Kids in the garden has a special place for my heart. I have a black thumb, but am determined they will not the the same. I am certain that their curiosity and love of nature will teach them valuable lessons.
“…education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment.” Maria Montessori, Education For A New World
When it the last time you took your children fishing? They have a blast finding worms. Waiting for the fish. Then at last the bobber goes down and they catch a fish. These pictures are from the catch and release fish exploration at a local lake.
If your kids love fishing, check out this Montessori inspired fish unit as a good way to study zoology on Pinterest.
Getting Dirty is Half the Fun with Montessori Outdoor Play
“Maria Montessori gave children the greatest gift- she gave them the universe! She felt that no creature in our vast universe was to small to explore. Nor was dirt something to be discarded. She encouraged free exploration of the natural world to entice the senses and encourage learning.” From NAMC Montessori Teacher Training.
Our rope swing gets a daily visit. The happiness in their faces never fades!
“He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instrument of man’s intelligence.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
Do you enjoy making sand castles with your child? You can take turns burying each other’s feet in the sand. There’s nothing more amazing then a day at the beach.
Montessori Outdoor Play Gives Kids Sunshine, Fresh Air, and Much Needed Exercise
“This kind of activity (climbing, carrying etc), which serves no external purpose, gives children the practice they need for coordinating their movements…all the child does is to obey the inner impulse.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind
It’s funny people pay so much money to go climb a rock wall at a sports facility. Nature offers the very best rock climbing around. Best of all kids can do it outside in the fresh air.
Hiking trails are perfect exploration tools. There’s something magical about exploring down a trail to see what you can find. You can collect rocks or sticks along the way. You can identify types of trees. They don’t have to be long or involved. Even just a walk in your back yard will do! Young kids will love this Kindergarten Outdoor Inquiry Learning game.
While you are on an adventure try this Basic Shape OUTDOOR Scavenger Hunt – DISTANT LEARNING Neighborhood Exploration.
Exploration doesn’t have to be extravagant. Most of ours is done in our yard.
We have lived in apartment complexes before and understand the struggles for families there to get into the outdoors. Many apartment that are made with kids in mind have some sort of playground. That’s a perfect place to start. Not just the equipment in the playground, but the grass that grows around the fence, the weight of the rocks on the walk to the playground, or the color of the sky during your visit. If you are observing these things, your child will be observing them too. Show your child how to be present and take in the beauty of nature all around them. Talk with them about what you see and bring to their attention the inch worm on a low leaf or the bird sitting on a branch.
The city is no different than an apartment. Weeds have flowers that grow in sidewalk cracks. Birds peck for food along walkways. The sky is always above you! All of these are outdoor exploration topics to help your child observe.
Even on rainy days we bring the outdoor exploration in your home! Bring the outside in. Home gardens. Clipping from outdoors. Window observations. All of these give the child the ability to enhance his smell, peak their interest in textures or allow him to see something new from a window.
Creating a world of exploration in your back yard is easy too. In the picture above we have some unused boards on the ground to make a balance beam.
We created a mud kitchen with inspiration from Racheous’s Loose Parts series.
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My husband has a true passion for helping the kids learn outside. Time spent together outside creates a special bond between Dad and child. Here are some great ideas on spending time with Dad outside!
Need more ideas?
Montessori Inspired Outdoor Environment by Living Montessori Now
Summer Slide: The Importance of Play in Learning by Brain Power Boy
Easy Summer Organizing: Kids Activities Round Up by Scattered Squirrel
I hope you love the outdoors as much as we do!
What are your favorite ideas for outdoor play? I’d love to see what other creative moms and doing. Share your thoughts below.