Backyard Summer Learning for ToddlersJune 21, 2016
By Nikki Cecala
I love summer. The season allows my son and I to have lots of adventures, creating bonding opportunities and memories for a lifetime. Although sometimes I get so wrapped up in planning these adventures that I forget he can get just as much out of playing in the backyard exploring as he could on a field trip with mommy and daddy.
Outside time is golden time for discovery, development, and growth. Children can learn on so many levels: basic, fundamental, and even about the universe. And they’re more likely to remember what they learned because it was a memorable and personal experience.
Take advantage of the summer for learning with your toddler by trying these backyard lessons.
Freeze a few toys in a block of ice overnight. On a warm, sunny day, bring the block of ice onto the porch or sidewalk and lay kid-friendly tools next to it.
Explain to your toddler that that the toys are frozen in ice and he or she needs to break the ice to get the toys out. Your toddler will see how frozen water melts, and you can answer any basic questions he or she has about liquids and solids (and even gases if you talk about evaporation).
My son loves to garden so I picked up gardening tools at the dollar store. He was so excited to pull weeds, dig holes, and plant seeds.
Gardening is a great opportunity to teach your child how trees and food grow from seeds. Now that my son has played in the garden, he has an appreciation for plants and their importance for our survival in the world.
There are a lot of neat bugs that come out during the summer, like worms, ladybugs, and fireflies. Why are these bugs so important and why do they only come out in summer?
The next time you see a worm, teach your child the importance of a worm’s role in increasing the amount of air and water that gets into the soil. When you see a caterpillar crawl by or a butterfly land on a flower, teach your child about the insect’s lifespan and how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
For children, there is something magical and special about the night sky. The next time your child is up late enough, explain what the moon and the stars are. If you’re lucky you will see a shooting star!
Parents and relatives play a crucial part in advancing a child's learning, health, and well-being, so prioritize and have fun with these backyard lessons!
What are some activities you do with your child in the summertime?