Ways to Invite Learning Literacy Outside

By December 1, 2020Uncategorized
By Julie McLean and Chantal Larivière

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Here are a variety of literacy activities you can try with children out in nature! Whether you are a teacher, parent or caregiver looking for inspiration, we hope you take these ideas and make them your own. This resource is part of “A Teacher’s Guidebook for bringing learning outside” — available on Thrive Outside.

Junior and Senior Kindergarten

Read a book to students outside


Go on a word hunt! Look for all the words outside that start with the letter A, letter B etc. such as B for branch


With the children, create a list of vocabulary words containing everything you see around you


Go on a letter hunt by hiding letters or words outside and having students find them


Create or bring dolls or stuffed animals outside and ask students to invent/tell stories with those objects


Go on a literacy hike by photocopying the pages of a book and placing them outside. The students will move around to find the pages. You can run the same activity with images and have the students invent a story!


Play guessing games! Students can hide an object in a bag and the others have to guess what that object is while asking questions


Trace letters in the snow, in mud, in the sand or in other natural material!


Grades 1, 2 and 3

Read a nature-themed book with students outside. From this book, initiate an activity in the playground!


Take advantage of the inspirational power of nature to read and write poetry!


Play Bingo in nature by asking students to find natural objects and living things represented by words or pictures on a Bingo sheet!


Create (with the children) a vocabulary list of things you see around you. Use those words for a writing workshop!


Invent stories with the help of things found in the playground or forested area near the school or from images created by students.


Read in pairs


Read to help children better understand your discoveries using informative books on insects, birds, trees etc.


Play guessing games like “I spy with my little eye something that is red, something rough… etc.” This can be played in pairs, in a larger group, while sitting or while walking!


Invent stories and present them to the group!


Take your notebooks and go work outside.


Organize games and activities for younger students and share it with them!


Create a Nature Journal with students and use it to log information about the natural environment around you.


Take advantage of the playground to share knowledge, discuss in large groups for presentations, mini lessons etc.


Go for an information hunt in the playground!


Grades 4, 5 and 6

Take your notebooks and go work outside.


Buddy reading!


Take advantage of the inspirational power of nature to read and write poetry!


Go outside to read a nature-themed book to students. Use this book to initiate an activity in the playground. For example, “Shi-Shi Etko” by Nicola I. Campbell to speak about Indigenous education and a sense of belonging.


Read informative texts to help students better understand their discoveries (informative books on insects, trees, birds etc.)


Go for an information hunt in the playground!


Go on thematic walks in the playground or in the neighbourhood. For example, walks to find textures, shapes, colours etc.


Organize games or activities for other students. Write out the planning and invitation letters and present the activity to the target group!


Present skits or oral presentations outside!


Write stores for younger students in the school!


Take advantage of the schoolyard to share knowledge, discuss in large groups, do oral presentations and mini-lessons!

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