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Building Your Outdoor Classroom

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Research shows that children benefit from spending more time outdoors. Adding an outdoor classroom to your facility connects kids with nature in an interactive, hands-on learning environment. Whether you are working with a large space such as an open field, or something smaller like a backyard, outdoor classrooms offer a host of new ways for educators and students to explore concepts such as teamwork and cooperative learning, nutrition and fitness, dramatic play, and much more.

Including art in your outdoor learning space stimulates student's creativity. Use chalkboards or paint panels to encourage groups of students to create a murals or storyboards together. Collect natural objects such as flowers or leaves to make a collage.

Tools and toys that encourage music and movement provide students with creative opportunities as well as physical fitness. They can experience rhythm and pitch with outdoor musical instruments such as xylophones, drums or chimes. Use a gallery panel to set scenes for a play or puppet show.

Bringing reading and language outside encourages early learners to engage in discussion, stimulating their emotional development. Pick a novel and have students take turns reading out loud outside in the shade. Use talk tubes to practice vocabulary, hold a spelling bee or play telephone games. An outdoor sign language panel is perfect for helping students practice the alphabet.

A sensory and motor skills station in your outdoor classroom gives students the opportunity to experience a sense of accomplishment and mastery over their environment as they experiment with natural objects, manipulatives, or balance. Sand and water tables allow early learners to approach basic science and math as they explore volume, viscosity, mass or other forms of measurement. Balance beams or playpods encourage both teamwork and physical fitness.

Hands-on experience with outdoor STEM subjects often result in a higher retention rate in children, and an outdoor classroom is the perfect place for science, technology, engineering and math-related activities. Use a garden bed for growing vegetables or flowers, create animal or insect habitat, hold renewable energy demonstrations, install a compost tumbler, or observe and track the weather with a climate panel or rain gauge.

Choose sturdy, dependable, weather-proof furniture to complement your outdoor classroom and withstand the elements. Playhouses other play elements such as sandbox structures and interactive panels encourage social development through pretend play. Spacious seating and tables give kids plenty of room to work on crafts or projects, and a large storage box will keep outdoor classroom essentials secure overnight.

To find out more about outdoor classrooms and what you need to build them, call our friendly sales staff at 1-800-260-2776. We're always happy to help.

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