What It Takes To Create
Extraordinary Outdoor Experiences
in Urban Settings
The magic word is BOUNDARIES!
Are you a teacher that teaches in an urban setting? Do you ever dread taking kids outdoors because they are going to “run wild” and get out of control? Is your outdoor space full of asphalt? These are challenges that I hear all the time from teachers, directors and educators. They simply do not know where to begin. I am here to tell you there is magic at the end of the rainbow!
Today I want to introduce the essence of BOUNDARIES and how the concept of providing boundaries leads children to a sense of security. Children respond to open space very differently depending on their age. Boundaries can provide a remarkable solution for learning outdoors. Maria Montessori believes there is “freedom in a controlled environment.” For me, the magic is in creating boundaries that are essentially a variety of Outdoor Learning Stations which, in turn, provides more choices and opportunity for children to playfully learn outdoors.
Here are 5 Boundary Ideas for Outdoor Learning Stations:
Boundary #1: Rainbow Tarps
- Different colored tarps define space for children
- Each tarp represents a different Outdoor Learning Station
- Natural Materials can be easily introduced
Boundary #2: “Side Walk” Chalk Walk
- Creating “side-walk” boxes defines space for children
- Each child works “inside” the box
- Directions are simple, clear and concise
Boundary #3: Garden Boxes/Boats
- Container Gardens are a simple way to add to “green”
- Decorate, plant and watch your garden grow!
- Add Words and Grow Literacy!
- Kids love games!
- 4 Square is easy to add and creates another option!
Boundary #5: Stick Frames
- Large sticks are a wonderful additional to the urban garden
- Children can create a variety of large shapes & can sit “inside” or “outside” their shapes
- Older children can explore how to create a “box” with sticks
Now it is time to hear from you? Do you use Boundaries in your Outdoor Classroom? What Outdoor Learning Stations to you have? Share your Boundary Ideas in the comments below.
A big shout out to the REAL Program in Lynn, MA. Thank you for inviting me to your community program! It has been an honor and a pleasure to share my love of the Outdoors in your Urban Setting.