A thank you to teachers

My mom is retiring this year after almost thirty years in teaching!  In appreciation of teachers’ dedication to our kids, here are some fun and easy ways to bring learning outside from my book, 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids, which I’m touched has a loyal following of educators too.

1. Plant seeds. My favorite are sugar snap pea seeds for their engaging example of the plant lifecycle and sweet taste at harvest.  There are so many ways to sprout seeds, including using moist newspaper instead of soil for easy classroom clean up.  Peas can be planted outside when temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Make bagel bird feeders. Tie twine around a half a bagel, spread shortening on the bagel, and dip in bird seed.  Want to get creative with your pantry?  Chop nuts, grapes, apples, and sprinkle corn meal instead of buying a bad of seed.

3.  Plant patterns. I did an outdoor lesson with a kindergarten class learning patterns.  The class voted on a patterns of orange and purple pansies.  Then, the children had a planting day where they each had a plant, organized themselves in the pattern, placed the flowers in the pattern and then planted!

4.  Plant milkweed. Watch the butterfly lifecycle in action by planting what monarch caterpillars eat!  Native to North America, milkweed returns every year (a perennial) and it attracts migrating orange monarchs to lay their eggs in the Summer.  By Fall, tiny monarch caterpillars will eat and eat and eat, form their chrysalises, and transform into butterflies just in time for the start of school.

5. Learn about temperature, clouds, and states of matter. Any subject can be taught outside, and a 15 minute daily walk with your class is sure to resonate with whatever you are teaching, anytime of year.  Want to connect with other teachers getting kids outside?  Become a Natural Teacher or sign up for Rebecca’s free newsletter, Learn Outside.

About Rebecca P. Cohen
Rebecca P. Cohen is the go-to spokesperson for outdoor activities any time of the year.  Rebecca is author of the book, 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids (Sourcebooks), the digital excerpt The Best Outdoor Activities for Families: Wintertime, and inventor of Rebecca Plants Curiosity Cards. Rebecca’s work has been featured in Better Home and Gardens, Parenting, Redbook, Working Mother, Family Circle, Backyard Solutions, and has appeared on live morning news shows around the country. Rebecca has been a proud ambassador of the Seeds of Change Sowing Millions Project and featured as a spokesmom for the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement on PBS Wild Animal Baby.  She has inspired thousands with her public appearances and community and school events, and motivates still more to follow their dreams and passions as the host of Wish It, Dream It, Do It! radio. For more information visit RebeccaPlants.com.

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