5 Tips for Teaching Kids Outdoors Heading into Colder Weather
Here's how you can you keep kids engaged while staying warm.
Published on November 09, 2021
Getting outside when the temperature starts to dip can be a challenge, especially when it comes to outdoor education.
But it can also be one of the most rewarding times of year to teach outside. From learning about winter plants, to examing animal footprints in the snow, there are lots of great reasons to embrace getting outside in the colder months.
So how can you keep kids engaged and interested, while keeping warm at the same time?
Luckily, our outdoor education team has plenty of experience doing just that. They’ve put together their "hot" tips for learning outdoors in winter. Take a closer look.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Plan, research and be prepared. Use a weather-app and consider looking at hourly forecasts and radar as you plan out the activities.
- Time of day. When is it warmest and sunniest?
- Wind. When is there a break from windy weather?
- Rain and snow. When is precipitation expected to arrive, and how can you plan for it?
Embrace the Cold
It’s important to be a positive and enthusiastic role model when teaching outdoors — kids will follow your lead.
Start slow and small, allowing yourself to build routines and confidence. Outings of 30 minutes or less are a great place to start.
Content and Pace
First, content — are you planning for a day that's active, mobile and hands-on? Does it include things like climbing, balancing, building, searching or gathering? Staying active is an important part of outdoor learning in colder weather.
Second, pace. Can your activities be sustained? Have you planned for a time to take breaks, or fuel up?
Geography and Shelter
Consider the design of the space you’ve chosen for your lesson. Make use of places where you can catch a break from wind, like walls, facades and protected alcoves.
Avoid teaching near unfrozen water unless you’re confident in your groups’ ability to stay safe and dry.
Follow the sun as it moves through the sky — have a go-to place for different times of day, to make the most of its warmth.
Clothing and Food
Make sure you’re fueled for the day ahead — eat plenty of carbs, fats and hot liquids to keep you warm and energized, and plan for snacks for your group.
Encourage your group to dress appropriately — lots of layers, wool and a good winter coat. Snow pants, boots, long underwear and hats can also make a big difference.
Evergreen’s Children & Youth education programs focus on building lasting connections between students, educators and the natural world.
With 30 grade-specific, curriculum linked programs within four distinct programming streams, there is an Evergreen program designed to meet the learning goals and objectives of any teacher or early childhood educator.