Mathematics & Montessori Outdoor Classroom: Learning Through The Art of Play!

NUMBERS+OUTDOORS+CHILDREN=LEARNING, IN A "FRESH AIR" SORT OF WAY! Once again the Montessori-style Outdoor Classroom easily offers academics through real life activities that Preschoolers greatly enjoy.
If you hang one of these lovely clocks in your Outdoor Classroom, the children will be asking, "What time is it?"

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

If a child wants to know what time it is, here's a great "teachable moment" with your beautiful outdoor clock as the featured attraction! In fact, the children can have fun recording in their nature journals what time it was when they spotted a barn finch at the bird feeder. Or, little eyes can keep a look out for when it is time for snack by watching for the hands on the clock to read "10:00." 

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

What a fun moment to discover an outdoorsy kind of way!
Then, we can always go over and check the rain gauge to see how many inches of rain fell last night! Here is even more mathematical information to write down in the child's nature journal.

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

One year our rain gauge got full at 5 inches of rainfall and so we added a second rain gauge so we could continue to measure the rain that year. This led the children into the important activity of adding numbers to arrive at the accurate amount of rainfall. 
Reading from left to right, these gauges pictured below represented 5 inches plus 3 inches for a total of 8 inches of rainfall! 

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company 
These rain gauges may be purchased at Montessori Services 

And, if you have mint growing in your Outdoor Classroom, the children can brew up some mint tea for a delightful outdoor tea party. 

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

To brew the tea, you will need a little 4-minute kitchen timer, and so the children can practice more math skills by setting the timer and waiting patiently for the tea to be ready. Sometimes, the children may like to count out the four minutes themselves rather than setting a timer. In fact, counting out the brewing time turned out to be a favorite activity of the older children who love to practice counting up to big numbers like 60, or 120...all the way to 240!

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

For tea, I heat water indoors and then bring the tea pot of hot water outside. This activity should always be closely supervised by an adult at all times.

We can't forget the important work of mixing up our own homemade wild bird food. You can read more about children plucking & crushing Autumn corn to put in the wild bird feeder at my Blog post by clicking here: Making Art and the Outdoors.

The photo below is the tray set up for an individual child to  mix their own homemade wild bird food. The activity has a picture recipe card to go along with it. (scroll down)

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Here's my recipe for wild bird seed that is set up on a Montessori-style tray with the picture recipe card prominently displayed so that the child can prepare the seed mixture entirely on her own!

Clip art from Openclipart

This bird seed mixture is the one we use to prepare pretty little bird feeders that can be hung around the garden or the children can take them home to their own gardens.

I got this "bird treat" idea from the dust cover of Lois Ehlert's book, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf. 
Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

When it comes time to harvest some greens, or radishes, or peas from the garden, the children really enjoy choosing the picture card of the plant they want to harvest. One side of the card has a picture of the plant, and the other side has a number that indicates how many the child can pick.

 Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

The child not only reads the number on the back of the card, but also does a one-to-one correspondence activity when gathering her harvest. Yet more math skills to practice!
You can read more about Preschoolers gaining skills in Pre-Math with seriating and one-to-one correspondence at my  post about Clay Pots. Here's the link: Look What We Did With A Clay Pot!

Probably the most exciting activity of all is measuring the zucchinis that we grew in the Children's Garden. Zucchini plants can get really big if not harvested early, and it's fun to measure the length and then weigh it, too! We grew a giant squash one year that weighed almost 4 pounds! You can see a picture of it at my Blog post by clicking here: Let's Go to Work in the Children's Garden!

Just a darling little group of serious gardeners!
Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Who says children can't learn important skills in virtually every academic area of curriculum by working outside in the Outdoor Classroom? 
These are just a handful of math-related activities for the Montessori Outdoor Classroom...I would love to hear what your children are doing in your environment. If you like, please leave a comment in the section below and tell us about it!

I have linked this post with a wonderful Blog Hop at Christian Montessori Network that is featuring Math Activities. There are over 20 bloggers posting and LOTS of activity ideas for Montessori Math. You can check it out by clicking this link: CMN Blog Hop: Montessori Math.

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