4 Ways To Boost Your Child’s Brain In The Backyard
Sometimes the best learning opportunities present themselves right in the comfort of your own home – or better yet the backyard!
As soon as we knew Isaac was on the way Wendy and I began preparing for the all important job of Mom and Dad.
Probably like each of you that are parents we were ignited with fierce determination to ensure we became great role models and provided every opportunity for Isaac (and now Nik too) to learn and grow into smart and confident individuals.
Some days that is much easier than others, so if today is a tough day maybe one of these can give you an idea too!
There are plenty of great learning opportunities all around you if you just stop and take a look, so let’s introduce you to five great things to do with your kids in the backyard.
Plenty of sunny days right now let’s make the most of it!
Build With Nature
If your kids are like ours they might be used to building with Lego toys inside the house, but these are made for building things.
Why not shake it up a bit?
Let their creative spirits fly and have them build something from all the items they find outside in your backyard.
Better yet turn this into an adventure and make a list of what they have to find(don’t be afraid to hide or place a few things in advance.)
Or if you’re up for a little extra challenge you can create a story or specific problem, like helping the villagers transverse the evergreen jungle (also known as the lawn) and help them traverse the raging river or torrential downpour (provided by the hose and sprinkler) a few popsicle sticks, cardboard and crayons can go a long way here!
From twig branches to leaves to rocks, see what they can come up with. You will help turn on both their creative and analytical minds, not to mention enjoy all the warm vitamin D goodness of the sun while making a fun experience for you both!
Check Out The Weather
This one will work regardless of whether it’s a sunny day, rain day, or something in between. Have them watch the weather and describe all the things they see.
What do the clouds look like? How is the sun shining? Is there anything else worth noting?
See if they can describe what they see outdoors for at least five minutes. This will not only teach them to be more observant of their surroundings, but also train them how to stay focused on something for more than two to three minutes.
The longer they can go, the better. You might also work on their vocabulary skills by having them describe the weather using more than one word. This will help get them thinking about connections between words and synonyms.
One of Isaac’s favourite things to do right now is count out the syllables of the words he uses, this provides a dynamic to this activity that can keep us busy for quite a while!
Compare Like Objects
Here’s another that will get their analytical brains thinking. Have them set out and compare two different (or similar) things.
Whether it’s two flowers, two trees, two stones, or otherwise.
What differences are there between them? What sets one apart from the other? How are they similar?
See how many of these commonalities and differences they can pick out with just those two objects. This will help them come to appreciate the uniqueness of any one object.
What tipped me off to this was one of our bedtime books that has a “spot the difference” puzzle on the last page, pretty sure we had to have this book as part of our night time routine for 2-3 weeks straight.
Now I use this activity frequently whether we’re throwing rocks in the lake, swinging in the back yard or on an adventure to the nearby park.
It’s a really great activity to teach your kids to be aware of their surroundings and to latch on to a variety of details; it’s not hard to see how this might help keep them safer and be a great learning experience!
Plant A Tree, flowers or a garden!
Finally, one last thing to get you and your kids outdoors in the backyard.
Plant a tree, flowers or a garden.
This is a project that can take place over a number of days, but will be a great way to help them learn responsibility and the consequences of their actions.
If they take good care of the flower or tree, it will thrive, grow and be strong.
If they don’t on the other hand, you can imagine what the consequences of that will be.
It’s a great chance for education, and let’s be honest what kid doesn’t love playing in the dirt. (Our garden has somehow acquired some very “precious hidden plastic gems” a necessary addition according to someone.)
Mom’s religious routine of watering has helped Isaac develop a daily habit for “outdoor chores” which has made it easier for us to engage him into other household habits from brushing his teeth morning and night to taking care of our two furry family members.
It’s summer, get outside, enjoy the beautiful days, pick up some immune enhancing vitamin D and develop’s minds and relationships with your precious little ones!