It Not "Just Recess" Anymore!

Teachers often heave a sigh of relief when they take their students out to recess. Finally! The children can burn off the pent up energy they had been accruing for the past few hours indoors. But what if we change our outlook on outdoor play time? What if we create an outdoor environment that offered all of the learning opportunities that one would typically find indoors? What if children could run out to a well-planned play yard to find experiences in math, science, nature, dramatic play, water, building and construction, sensory activities, physical development, art and music? What if they play yard developed critical thinking, discovery, problem solving, and cooperative skills? The result would be that we wouldn't have "just recess" anymore. We would have The Outdoor Classroom!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas for our "Wild" Friends

Thanks to my coworker's quick camera, we caught our little friend enjoying "his" snack!

Like most schools, we LOVE Christmas! After all the harvest decor (click to see how we decorated for Fall!) has been removed from our Outdoor Classroom, we bring in the Christmas trees.

This year, we chose to decorate one of the trees with child-made decorations ...

and the other tree we hung strings of yummies for our wild friends who visit the yard.

We have several birds and two resident squirrels who visit. We have several birds and two resident squirrels who come to visit on a regular basis. They seem to know when nap time comes and they pop in to see what kind of feast we have prepared for them. In the Fall, they feasted on our pumpkins. They gnawed HUGE holes in them! They munch on our garden, eat the corn off the decorative cobs, and now they have found our Christmas Tree delights.

At school, we strung toasted O's and fruity O's cereal.

They were a hit! As you can see, this little guy got tired of eating the treats one by one and finally nabbed the whole string!

At home, my boys and I made bird seed cookies. We also strung cranberries and popcorn to hang on the trees outside. Though we enjoyed making them, the birds didn't find this particular recipe overly appealing. But, visit this link at NurtureStore to find some fabulous ideas for having a "Wild" Christmas! 


  1. Brilliant - and how exciting to see the squirrel enjoying your hard work. Thanks for linking this post up too

  2. Wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing at the Outdoor Play Party!

  3. How great for the kids and the animals!

  4. So cute! I love the snow ball activity, looks like the kids loved it. =) Merry Christmas. Have a great Vacay!

  5. Oh what fun! I love that you have one tree for the kids decorations and one for animal treats! And even better that the animals are actually finding them and enjoying what the kids made!