Looking for educational ideas for your child during the extended break?
Finding ways to engage your children during this time is important both from a learning and a social-emotional perspective. As a parent, now facing this task, you may be asking yourself What do I do now?
This is a great time of year for learning outside. The landscape has so much to teach us in addition to all of the health benefits of simply immersing yourself in nature.
Start simple. Dedicate blocks of time each day for nature-based exploration. Children (of all ages) are innately curious about nature. Pay close attention to what your child notices and is curious about. These natural curiosities can be the source of prolonged learning throughout the day/week/month.
Often children need a goal or objective to get started if they are not accustomed to self-directed exploration in nature. This could be something as simple as 'find 5 different seeds in nature and report back to me' You could also set up a photo-scavenger hunt where you prepare a list of things or concepts from the curriculum that your child needs to try to take a picture of.
The Get Outdoors! manual is full of other great ideas for leaning in nature too.
Nature Journals are also a great idea. Re-purpose an old note book into a child's nature journal. A nature journal is a great place to write and draw about all of the amazing discoveries children make in nature. Consider making a journal entry after every trip to the forest. Sentence stems can help get the writing started such as "I am wondering about...?" or "Today I noticed that...?".
These journal entries will help to maintain your child's writing skills. Questions they pose can be explored with books to maintain reading. Encourage them to find answers to their own questions.
Consider putting together a backpack with supplies for learning outdoors. Also called GO! Bags.
Where can I go?
The boreal forest is a great place to be during a time of social distancing. Fortunately all of the Yukon's communities and neighbourhoods are relatively close to nature whether it be in parks or greenbelts.
Please be cautious of changing ice conditions as spring comes nearer. Additionally, hibernators such as bears will be waking up soon. Best to pack can of bear spray in your pack and keep it from freezing.