After many months of enduring the harsh Canadian winter, spring is finally upon us! With the snow melting, birds chirping, and sun shining, it is a great time to journey outside.
To hop, leap, jump, skip, or “spring” into the new season, we encourage families to choose active ways to get to school and teachers to take the class outside for games, exercises, or a walk around the neighbourhood.
Here are our top reasons and activities to get outside for Spring into Spring!
Why Journey Outside
Physical activity outdoors is beneficial for everyone, especially kids! The Canadian Mental Health Association recognizes that spending time in nature reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, exercise increases endorphin and dopamine levels, both of which are linked to higher levels of happiness!
There are many benefits to learning in outdoor, natural settings, like a nearby park, forest, or the school yard. Academically, some evidence suggests that students retain more after lessons in nature than after similar lessons indoors. Environmentally, lessons in nature may help to foster the next generation of environmental stewards, with positive childhood nature experiences appearing to play a role in pro-environmental behaviour in adulthood.
Get Creative Outside
The possibilities for getting outside and active in the spring are endless! These ideas are for parents, caregivers, and/or teachers looking for some outdoor fun with their child(ren) or students this spring.
1) Outdoor Colour Match
Spring is full of beautiful colours in nature. Encourage kids to explore the rainbow outdoors with a colour match game! Take a trip to a local DIY, hardware, or paint store and pick up some paint swatch cards that include bright, natural looking colours. Put the paint swatch cards on a binder ring and punch a large hole in each shade. Let kids explore nature and find colour matches in leaves, flowers, or rocks. They can record their matches with photos or by writing down the object that was a match. Re-use these card decks year after year to reduce waste!
Photo by Valerie of Inner Child Fun.
2) 50 Fitness Activity GIFs
Ophea’s GIFs are a compilation of fitness moves that can be done with no equipment! They are adaptable for varying abilities and environments, with movements using stumps, rocks, benches, stools, or chairs. Check out the instruction video to help get you started and download the BINGO Sheet to participate in the Spring into Spring contest.
3) Outdoor I-Spy
An I-Spy scavenger hunt is a great way to explore the neighbourhood or school yard. Download and print the I-Spy activity sheet, grab a pencil, and head outside! Teachers can incorporate this activity into geography lessons to teach about the built environment and plot graphs of what they find along the way.
4) Nature Journaling
Nature journals harness children’s curiosity and let them explore their natural surroundings in a creative way. Kids can journal by drawing, writing, or painting objects they see in nature, and they can even add some pressed flowers, leaves, or seeds – no bugs or rocks, please! Nature journaling can teach investigative and observational skills and may even introduce kids to new kinds of plants and animals.
Photo by Julie of Nature Inspired Learning.
5) Neighbourhood Walk/Clean-up Walk
Taking the class on a group walk outside is a great way to break up the learning day with some exercise and fresh air. While out, consider bringing some gloves, garbage pickers, and garbage bags to clean up any trash or rubbish found along the route. This teaches kids the importance of taking care of our natural surroundings.
Spring into Spring
Grab your sneakers, light layers, and sun hat (or umbrella) and get outside this spring! Try some of the recommended outdoor activities and leave a comment about your favourites below.
Share your journey outside on social media using the hashtags #SpringintoSpring, #SiS2022, and #JourneyOutside.
Please follow provincial/regional COVID-19 public health guidelines when organizing and/or participating in SiS.