For urban preschool settings it can be difficult for children to have access to natural environments, such as woodland and the coast. This should not stop teachers from bringing nature and a natural environment in to the preschool. Here are a few activities that can be enjoyed without leaving the preschool grounds.
Activity 1 – Collect litter of various materials: plastic, paper, glass and vegetable peelings. With the children bury the litter in a small section of the garden. After some time has past, dig up the litter and see what has decomposed and what has remained the same. This is a good way to teach children why litter should not be left on the ground, as well as which materials decompose and which do not.
Activity 2 – Allow the children to plant a vegetable and flower garden, potatoes, carrots and lettuce leaves are good vegetables to begin with. This is an activity that all the children and even parents can become involved with. All the children will be able to help with digging, planting and watering the vegetables. Over the weeks they can watch them grow and eventually pick them. The vegetables can even be used for the preschool lunches and snacks.
Activity 3 – This activity is good for the older children and involves them learning about shadows. In the morning take the children outside and find a long shadow, either from a tree, a fence or a post. The children place a row of stones along the shadow. Later, they return to the shadow to see if it has moved. The teacher and children can discuss why they think the shadow has moved.
Activity 4 – There are many games the can be played in the preschool grounds to help the children learn about shapes, colours and letters. The games can be adjusted to suit the children’s ability. One game involves the teacher saying “I spy with my little eye, something that is red/yellow/blue”. The children have to try to guess what it is that the teacher can see. The children can also be allowed to play this game alone. For older children can play this game using shapes or letters, by saying “I spy with my little eye something that begins with the letter S/something that is a circle”.
Activity 5 – This activity can take place during both the winter and the summer. Each child finds something to write with, such as a stone, their finger or a stick and they practice writing their name in the snow, sand or mud. Younger children can practice writing the first letter of their name, while older children can try to write their full name. This can also be done using objects found in the preschool grounds. The children can use stones or sticks to create the letter shapes of their names.