If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re interested in nature education and getting your students outdoors as much as possible. In today’s teaching world, however, it sometimes seems impossible to find the time for it. I’ve found over the years that having a designated time that I ALWAYS bring my students outside, no matter the weather or our schedule demands, is the best way to make sure we actually go outside. Forest Friday is the name I use for our hour outside each Friday. I’ve also heard it called Wild Wednesday, Nature Hour, or other catchy names. It doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as you commit to it each week!
I sometimes struggle with planning what to do each Forest Friday. Many teachers, at private schools or at schools with more flexible standards (and/or more trust in their teachers), use their Forest Friday time for free play in nature. I would love to do that, since I believe strongly in the benefit of outdoor play for kids. I do teach in an urban district, however, and between state standards and pressure from the administration, we aren’t allowed to just have free play in the forest.
Consequently, I want to make sure I have a learning objective for each of my lessons. I made this resource for K-2 teachers who are looking for ideas for what to do in their outside hour each week. Each of the lessons hits on one of the Common Core Standards, including speaking and listening, writing, and numeracy. It also helps reach some of the Next Generation Science Standards, and incorporates movement and creativity too!
I’ve included 10 lessons that can be used for K-2 students (and probably older and younger too). The lessons are:
1. Sit Spot
2. Shape Hunt
3. Color Scavenger Hunt
4. Camera in Nature
5. Nature Poetry
6. Observation Circle
7. Number Line in Nature
8. Ways to Make a Number
9. Time Wheels
10. Nature Mandalas
To purchase or learn more, click on the picture above, or find it here on Teachers Pay Teachers!
I’ve been super inspired by several books, including The Sky and Earth Touched Me by Joseph Bharat Cornell, as well as teacher-bloggers like Little Pine Learners and Run Wild My Child. I highly recommend them!
For more information on Forest Fridays and getting your students outside, try these resources as well:
•Forest Fridays: How Nature Can Boost Empathy, Imagination and Well-Being
•Out of the Classroom and Into the Woods
•Outdoor Education: Tips and Tricks for Behavior Management in the Outdoor Classroom