5 MONTESSORI OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES – END OF SUMMER
When the lovely summer draws to a close, going out with the children often becomes more tedious and a little less enjoyable: it takes longer to get dressed, it’s cold outside and maybe it’s raining, and it sometimes takes a lot of effort to shut your nose in front of the door to get.
But in autumn it is worthwhile for young and old to experience the unbelievable changes in nature. Apart from a firework of colors and the wonderful scent of leaves in the air, there is also a lot to do in autumn.
And according to Montessori, we should all, but especially our children, stand up to nature in any weather.
WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR A GREAT AUTUMN MONTESSORI STYLE?
As in all other seasons, it is also true in autumn that (untouched) nature itself is the best learning environment and requires no preparation. When it comes to equipment, a child in autumn needs above all warm and waterproof clothing including a jacket as well as lined rubber boots or impregnated leather shoes.
Small baskets are even better than bags or rucksacks for collecting leaves because they give you a better overview of what you find. And for a leisurely follow-up to all expeditions, a nice picture or non-fiction book about the hibernation of animals, migratory birds, and leaf fall is a nice thing.
Montessori activities for fall
1. Make a fire (and cook on it)
2. Build a shelter for animals
3. Add up leaves & winterize the garden
4. Collect what nature throws at our feet
5. Have an apple or potato festival
Make a fire (and cook on it)
Instinctively, we want to keep our children away from fire – and it is an extremely fascinating spectacle, even for infants. Even small children can learn how to handle fire carefully and at the same time become familiar with its beautiful sides.
On a chilly autumn day, a campfire proves to still serve the same functions as it did for the people who first used it: it warms cold hands and feet as well as the heart; it attracts people and thus becomes the focus of all community activities; it gives light and happiness, and of course, you can also cook on it!
You can use this:
Campfire skewers for stick bread
Collapsible grill grate & camping cooking pot for campfires
Possibly a safe fireplace, e.g. a fire bowl
An outdoor picnic with no gas or electricity connects us to our origins, making it a deeply “cosmic” activity. And what’s more, everything cooked over the fire tastes extraordinarily delicious: tea or punch, soups, stews, pancakes, and bread on a stick are just a few of the things that can be made with the right equipment.
Kindergarten children are usually happy to help with the preparations and, with a little care, can even bake their bread on a stick. From school age, making fire is also taught in most Montessori institutions and many children have mastered it by the age of eight or nine (it becomes particularly challenging without the use of paper).
The young adventurers learn to respect the fire almost automatically.
Build a shelter for animals
For many children, learning about the habits and behavior of animals is one of the most beautiful aspects of cosmic education. Autumn is the perfect time to take a closer look at how the different animals hibernate and then help them out.
In your garden, heaps of leaves and compost, as well as stacks of branches and twigs, can become a shelter for various insects, snails, and small mammals.
For hedgehogs, there are special “pensions” made of wood or ceramics that you can buy or build yourself, or you just build it yourself.
Insects and larger animals such as raccoons or squirrels feel particularly comfortable in deadwood, so it is worth leaving dead trees standing.
Add up leaves & winterize the garden
Just like in the house, children also like to keep things tidy in the garden and are often happy to help with the tidying up, particularly in the sensitive phase for order (i.e. early kindergarten age).
All you need is garden tools the size of a child: a rake is an absolute must, and a rake and shovel are also sensible purchases. In autumn the garden year is coming to an end, but even after the last apple or cabbage harvest, there is still a lot to do.
In the vegetable garden, children can pull weeds and help warm up the hardy vegetables. Rose bushes and other sensitive little ones also have to be covered for the winter – even the little ones can understand this and often take devoted care of their plant friends. Of course, if you have a lot of trees in the garden, the foliage makes a lot of work, but your son/daughter will probably be happy to help with that as well.
You can then leave the piles of leaves over the winter so that the animal garden dwellers also have a warm place. Fall is also not a bad time to start a compost pile. Tree clippings, leaves, and grass can all be put to good use, and it is simply fascinating to watch how waste is gradually turned into valuable potting soil.
As practical as all these activities are, your child can learn so much about nature in this way.
Collect what nature throws at our feet
Autumn is probably the season when there is the most to discover on the ground.
You could use this:
Box for collecting natural materials
This has the advantage that viewing and learning can also take place at home. The collected material can initially be extensively researched. Chestnuts and other fruits can be drilled open and examined in detail – also under a magnifying glass or microscope.
And then of course it can be used for handicrafts or as decoration. Some children also like to create collections in which they sort and store their most important finds in boxes or showcases with many small compartments.
Host an apple or potato festival
In many Montessori kindergartens and schools, the potato festival is a fixed point in autumn; it replaces or complements Thanksgiving in many places and has both a practical and a celebratory aspect. If your family doesn’t currently own a potato field or an apple orchard, there may be someone in the vicinity who could use some help with the harvest and would like to give away a few kilos of the yield as compensation.
You could use this:
Garden tools for digging
A children’s wheelbarrow
Of course, it is particularly fun when several families help together or you at least invite some other children to do so. Potatoes left lying around are always collected in the potato field, and fallen fruit in the apple orchard. After the work is done, you then prepare some delicious dishes together, which are best eaten outside.
This can be, for example, a steaming potato soup or sweet applesauce; Baked potatoes (supplemented with some delicious sauces) or baked apples can be prepared on an open fire. At a time when many fruits and vegetables are always available all year round, children feel and learn something very fundamental when they participate in the annual harvest and also realize how much work goes into the production of food.