How to incorporate Little Sparkz into summer-time outdoor fun
Is your child more interested in playing outside than doing arts and crafts inside? We share some insight into how to get your child to complete their educational activities, all while having FUN outside during the summer months!
During the cold, wintery months it is easy to snuggle up inside with a blanket and help your child through their Little Sparkz activities. The warm Summer days, however, paint a different picture. During summer children are less likely to sit down and study as they would rather be playing outside in the sunshine, swimming and playing in the mud. As a parent it is important to help your child establish those vital skills needed for early childhood development. It is important to be able to adjust your child’s learning environments without too much distraction.
Learning is incredibly important between the ages of 3 – 6 years. During these years it is crucial to be building the necessary building blocks that will help your child successfully navigate big school. Playing outside and learning through outdoor activities are as important as literacy and numeracy worksheets, colouring in and painting, and kids at that age should not have to choose between the two. Early childhood development is essential and this way you can show your child from an early age that learning can be FUN. This will help them to associate learning and studying with things they enjoy, and they will hopefully take this on to when they go to kindergarten. Getting them into the habit of learning from a young age is very important for their future learning endeavours. Why not move class outside for the summer?
How does outdoor learning benefit your child?
- Helps build confidence, self esteem and self-awareness
- Develop a love and appreciation for being outdoors
- Positive health benefits both physically and mentally
- Relaxing and thus they are more willing to learn
- Less anxiety surrounding learning
- Helps establish a wider sense of imagination and creativity
- Improves concentration
- Limitless resources
The most obvious choice would be to take your printed copy of Little Sparkz outside and have them complete the pages while sitting in the sun. However, we have come up with a few ideas as to how you can get your little spark to put the pen and paper down and engage in some educational activities outside.
Literacy & Numeracy:
The idea behind introducing Numeracy at pre-school level is to familiarize children with the visual appearance of numbers, as well as how they are formulated and pronounced. This is achieved using objects relating to the number. How can I get my child to go from colouring numbers in and counting on paper, to incorporating numeracy while playing outside? Here are a few ideas:
- Collecting leaves and flowers which can be used for counting as well as gluing on to a printed out number at a later stage
- Make numbers out of different colour stones/leaves or flower petals
- Hopscotch to practise counting
- Leapfrog (count how many leaps)
- Chalk numbers in driveway – Write out the number for your child and have them recognise the number and place the exact amount of leaves next to the number
Similar to Numeracy, the Little Sparkz Literacy section is designed to familiarize the child with the visual appearance of letters and words, as well as how the English language is formulated with the use of letters and the sounds associated with those letters. Here are some fun ideas:
- ABC hopscotch game (instead of blocks with numbers you can write letters). Get your child to repeat each letter they jump on.
- Sight-word hide and seek: hide different sight words in the garden and once a word is read out, the race is on to find it in the garden (for the older kids)
- Draw big chalk letters in the driveway and have your child dolour the letter in.
- Collecting sticks and branches to make letters
- Get your child to write their name with flower petals and practise recognising the different letters
The vocabulary section of our Little Sparkz program is designed to help children improve and build on their communication & language skills. Here is how this can be incorporated outside:
- Understanding the grasp of plurals:
- Teaching preposition: Get your child to climb on top of something, to crawl underneath something and to climb inside something in the garden (on;under;in).
- SImon Says: Run to the tree; pick up a green leaf; pick a purple flower
- Get your child to communicate what they enjoy doing outside, and to tell you about the activity while doing it. This can include having a picnic with different foods and them telling you which foods they enjoy *and are they sweet or salty)
- Senses game – Five things you can see; 4 things you can touch;3 things you can hear
Fine Motor Skills and Gross Motor Skills:
Being able to master both fine motor skills and gross motor skills is an essential part of early childhood development. In a classroom setting this would include activities such as cutting and pasting, pencil grip, learning to colour inside the lines
- Hula hoops
- Water balloon fights (helps to establish proper grip when holding something)
- Jumping rope
- Climbing trees
- Gardening (garden tools can replace pencil grip)
By now we hope that you have heard all about our fun and interactive Little Sparks course. These activities are a great addition to our Little Sparkz program during the summer months, encouraging healthy outside play. If you’d like to find out more about Little Sparkz, you can do so here.
Written by Sula Cooper, BrightSparkz Staff & Blog Writer