This week is national Take a Child Outside Week, and since the good weather of summer is winding down into cooler autumn days, now's a great time to get your kids outside as much as possible. Here are three easy ways you can take language learning activities out of the classroom and into the great outdoors:
1. Beach ball vocab toss: You'll need an inflatable beach ball, a permanent market, and a list of vocabulary words for this activity. To prepare, inflate the beach ball and write vocabulary words all over it with the permanent marker. Take students outside, have them stand in a circle, and toss the beach ball from student to student. Whoever catches the ball finds the word closest to his or her right thumb and has to define it or use it in a sentence.
Need a list of words? Try using the Imagine Learning English sight words from the Level 2 Supplemental Guide. If you’re not familiar with the Supplemental Guide, click here to learn more about Imagine Learning English.
2. Letter scavenger hunt: Hold a letter scavenger hunt to get students learning their letters and having fun at the same time. Assign each student a letter of the alphabet. Then take the class outside and give students a specific amount of time to find objects that start with their assigned letters. When the time is up, have students share what they've found. If the class is working on learning a specific letter, have a contest to see who can find the most things that start with that letter.
3. Outdoor theater: Remember this post about how acting out text boosts reading comprehension? Here's an easy way to take this proven strategy outside of the classroom: let students stage their own play in the great outdoors. After reading a short story or play like The Case of Missing Manny, have students act out their own version of the story--either in small groups or as a whole class. You can even use the activity as an opportunity to teach about outdoor theaters like The Globe Theater in London.