Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School: Bookcase (Part 4 of 4)

While sharing stories in the Literacy Gazebo, select one of the children’s favorites from the Bookcase. This handy-dandy bookcase is designed to display books and art supplies in an outdoor classroom setting. Specially-formulated playground plastics are used to create the shelves and the exterior of the bookcase so that the weather (i.e. rain, sun, heat and cold) will not affect whatever is stored inside, or the case itself. The bookcase features a locking lid that can be placed on the front of the display case as well as the top.

Whether the children are requesting Strega Nona or The Cat in the Hat, The Kissing Hand or The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you will be able to keep their favorites safe and accessible in this sturdy book case on their literacy gazebo. Perfect for story time in their outdoor classroom! (Contact The Adventurous Child to find out more.)

Back to School: Literacy Gazebo (Part 3 of 4)

One great way to make that transition from summer to school is with the literacy gazebo. The Literacy Gazebo provides a great place for children to sit and listen to stories, tell stories to other children, or create their own stories using art supplies. Imagine sitting outside with the children. A cool breeze running through your hair, the shelter’s shade keeping everyone comfortable… you can read and create together and enjoy nature’s lovely background all at the same time.

This area includes two bookcases and three benches. The sixth side of the area is open for entering and exiting the area. Each bookcase has four different shelves for displaying materials. One of the bookcases is designed to hold art supplies such as paper and markers so children can draw and tell their stories; the second one is designed to hold books.

The literacy gazebo will become a favorite landmark for reading, story-telling, and drawing. Children will love the opportunity to stay outdoors, and after an hour of running around in the sun, cooling off in the gazebo while listening to a story will be just the ticket!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to School: Teacher’s Organizational Post (Part 2 of 4)

Maybe the Boy Scouts have a claim on the motto, “Be Prepared,” but there’s no reason that can’t be your motto, too.

Wouldn’t it be nice to never have to run back inside for something? The Teacher’s Organizational Post is a multipurpose structure for centralizing outdoor teacher supplies. Ideal for outdoor classrooms, the post contains a large hook to support hanging items like backpacks, a shelf for clip boards and writing activity, and a child-accessible tissue holder and trash receptacle so children can retrieve their own tissues and dispose of them in a hygienic manner.

This organizational post will make a fantastic addition to your outdoor classroom. After all, if you have stations for writing activities and tissues, and a closet for backpacks, why not set up a similar area outside?

Check out The Adventurous Child for more information about the post!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School (Part 1 of 4)

Chalk dust! Art supplies! Curriculum! Recess! Yes, it time to head back to school. Whether classes have already started, or you have a few more weeks to prepare, now is a great time to think about your plans for the school year. Everyone at The Adventurous Child is so excited for a new year!

Over the next couple weeks, I will be talking about some products that will make the back-to-school transition go smoothly. (First up: the Teacher’s Organizational Post!)

However, before we talk product, let’s talk goals. What would you like to do differently this year? Is there a teaching method or activity you would like to try? At the end of the school year, what lessons or answers do you want your students to walk away with?

Sasha Azevedo, an American athlete, once remarked: “We can teach from our experience, but we cannot teach experience.”

Let’s make this the year of experience for our children. Make this the year that you teach and learn through creation, demonstration, and observation. Play outside, conduct experiments, and engage in nature. Experience the world together.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Drivers’ Ed

Who doesn’t remember learning how to drive? Whether you learned on an automatic or a manual, on urban streets or in the country, learning to drive is a big deal. This sparked a fun conversation among folks at The Adventurous Child as we recalled the various stops and starts of our own drivers’ education.

Speaking of stops and starts, recognizing signs is a big first step to driving. Teach drivers’ safety to your children early on with these signs:

These signs are great for dramatic play and teaching vehicle and pedestrian traffic safety. The signs may also spark a conversation about safety. You could use the signs to create a safety town: Place the signs along the bike path and the children will love coming to a screeching halt to avoid a collision or a traffic ticket. Children will enjoy talking about safety and ways to ensure it on their “roads.” The possibilities are endless!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cycling Fun!

Summertime offers an abundance of opportunities: water fun, outdoor play, barbeques, fireworks, and more. What else is ubiquitous in the summertime? Tricycle riding! It is fun, it is inexpensive (once you’ve purchased your cycle), it is “green,” and it makes for some great memories.

Another great thing about cycles is that they do not require much preparation. Grab your kids, trikes, and some sunscreen, and you’re set!

Karen Miller, author of The Outside Play and Learning Book, offers some fantastic ideas for tricycle play:

· Angle parking: paint lines on the sidewalk to look like parking spaces. Encourage children to park their tricycles in the spaces without going over the lines or bumping the tricycle in the next pace
· Staying on the road: draw a road with chalk for the tricycles on your sidewalk area. Put in curves and corners. Challenge children to ride the tricycles without crossing the chalk lines
· Obstacle course: with the children’s help, mark out a course for the tricycles using milk cartons or cones. Use chalk to make a line indicating where riders must go (this line could be straight or zigzag). Children must ride their tricycles and maneuver the course without knocking over the obstacles (Miller, 1989, 66-69)

On Thursday The Adventurous Child will add something fun to the driving mix to teach children about safety on the road. As always, we understand if you’d like a head start… just click here!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Food for Thought

There are some who argue that the benefits of early childhood education disappear by third grade. Steve Barnett, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) replied to this claim:

“Absolutely not! A new NIEER study that provides an objective summary of all the research on preschool education’s effects finds substantial positive effects on achievement, special education, grade retention, and social behavior at ages 10 and higher. This is really the last nail in the coffin of the idea that preschool effects disappear at third grade. If you look at all the research – don’t cherry pick for results – it shows that long-term effects are robust even if smaller than initial effects. The idea that preschool effects fade out by third grade originated with one flawed study in the early 1960s, and this belief continues to be propagated by those who cite a few methodologically weak newer studies.”

So, the next time you’re wondering if you are making a difference, rest assured: You ARE.

Monday, August 9, 2010


The Adventurous Child understands that when it comes to learning, you need a lot of choices for kids.

Having an outdoor Nature and Science Learning Center is a fantastic way to encourage different types of learning, and by proxy, will lend itself to different types of assessment. Some of the activities child will be able to accomplish and enjoy include:

· Use the magnifying glass to observe small objects and describe them by journaling
· Draw pictures and scribble to generate and express ideas
· Use new vocabulary picked up from these experiences (“soil,” “insects”)
· Grow plants from seeds in the garden box
· Observe and then sketch the root system of a plant using the root garden

An example of this can be found at The Adventurous Child’s page on nature and science.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Research indicates that people learn in different ways (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2008). Some prefer instructional manuals, others need auditory coaching, and still others require hands-on training. If this is true for children, then it’s only fair that their instructors and care providers assess them in different ways as well. Outdoor classrooms can provide new opportunities for learning and for assessing during planned and free choice playtime.

The Adventurous Child is committed to outdoor learning environments and products that promote developmental milestones for children ages six months to six years through evidence-based principles of play. Whether your kids are learning the letters of the alphabet or how to connect words to sounds on the literacy gazebo, or they are dropping a ball through the tracking panel to learn about speed and observe different shapes, our outdoor play equipment encourage many different types of learning!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


“Assessment is a comprehensive process. It can measure many aspects of learning…. Assessing only in one way or in one context does not tell us the whole story. We need to consider the many ways children learn and the many ways they can show what they know” (Hughes & Gullo, 2010, p. 58).

Reading this article has given The Adventurous Child a lot to think about. At your pre-school or day care, how do children learn? Do they learn by lessons, interaction with instructors and classmates, or perhaps another way? What kinds of opportunities do you give them to show you what they know?