Lesson

Four Season Experiences Outside

A popular saying in the forest school world is that “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing” suggesting that children can experience the benefits of outdoor play during all seasons. You may find this clothing list (see below)  for forest school useful in making sure that children are properly clothed for all weather so that they can experience the rain, the mud, the snow, the ice, the sun and the wind.

forest-school-clothing-lists-for-all-seasons

(www.maplewoodforestschool.ca/resources/Forest%20School%20Clothing%20Lists%20for%20All%20Seasons.pdf)

Four-season play is important. We live in a country where children can witness the changes in the weather over a year. Outdoor play should not be limited to the warmer months. Fall offers leaves to jump in. Winter gives ice to crack. Spring provides mud for pies and sliding. Summer has a bounty of natural materials to discover and explore. Each season offers different possibilities for play and learning. What are your favourite experiences in each of the seasons? Do you like swimming in the summer and skiing in the winter? What were your favourite experiences as a child? What types of experiences do you provide the children that you work with so that they too can experience four-season play?

course11-graphic2

Share your favourite experiences with others. Add them to the comment box below.

Comments

  1. Michelle Davis

    I love spring, summer and fall play outside, but admittedly I really don’t like winter. I never have. I am learning to embrace the cold season though, and recognize how important 4 season outdoor play is. It gives children the chance to really engage in big body play as tromping through the snow is hard heavy work. Learning to walk when it is slippery is such a great experience as well. Teaching balance and body awareness.

  2. Christine Norman

    In the fall we love to gather the different leaves, pinecone, acorns, etc and explore them in the classroom. We also love to cut open a pumpkin and explore the insides. There are many learning activities that can be experienced with a pumpkin. In the spring we love to garden, plant fruits and vegetables. We also raise our own butterflies every year to release. In the winter we love ice play. We usually have to make our own. As we don’t get much snow , a snow day is very enticing and filled with lots of inquiries and questions.

  3. Angela George

    I love it when it snows and we can play in the snow with the children and build snowmen, one year we build a snow dragon and spray painted it green with the children it was a super fun experience and the children were so sad when he melted away. I would love for the children to experience jumping in a pile of leaves!

  4. Cindy Spencer

    I love Fall, not too hot and not too cold. I like raking leaves and allowing the children to run and jump in the pile. Going on nature walks to see the leaves changing colours and falling to the ground to prepare for winter. Placing pumpkins and leaves and sticks in the play area to see what the children will do with them.

  5. Jasmine Park

    As a child, I loved fall. Everywhere looked so beautiful. Especially, stepping on fallen leaves, picking up fruits (enjoying harvest) and enjoying beautiful weather made me think fall is the most perfect season.

  6. Jennifer Yarmish

    I love Fall…we had a huge stand of birch trees in our back yard and my best friend and I would spend hours raking, jumping, re-raking and jumping some more in to the mountains of leaves! I didn’t particularly enjoy fall because I didn’t love school…but the leaves…they made Fall bearable.
    Now, I still feel the same…I love the colours, the scents and the temperatures that come with Fall.

  7. Hilary Geddes

    as a child (and to this day) my favorite season is summer, as a child my greatest memories include lake days in peachland bc, riding bikes until the streetlights came on, or neighborhood slip and slides on the hill in the school yard across the street from our house.

  8. Heather Diewert

    I have been fortunate to have grown up in relatively temperate environments so the change of seasons were never too dramatic.
    A lot of my memories are of summer and climbing trees, swimming at lakes and rivers, popping tar bubbles on the roads with sticks, and your toes. Fall was the time for leaf collecting and creating art walking back and forth to school, Spring was a time to plant seeds and start gardens, but winter was never my favourite as the gray colours were gloomy and although not overly cold, days were damp and I did not have adequate clothing to be out in inclement weather.
    As an educator taking children out during all 4 seasons, I am still fortunate to experience milder weather changes. The toughest is still winter, as well as rainy periods but we do insure that we have we have extra clothing on hand for children who come ill prepared to go out.
    Rain is a time when muddy buddy up and go on puddle walks, we add paint brushes to ‘paint’ with rain water, and sponges to wash the play structures. Winter, if it snows, the children are excited so we find slopes and experiment with different sliding materials, cardboard/plastic bags/plastic sleds to slide down the hill on. If it’s windy we add balloons to chase, tie plastic bags to strings to see if we can make kites….
    As long as children are appropriately geared up we can provide the same rich learning experiences all year long.

  9. Heather Brekkaas

    As a kid I loved splashing in puddles. As an adult, I still love splashing in puddles. I’m not a huge fan of winter, being outside at -20 is not always my idea of fun, even thought it doesn’t really bother me too much. I have a lot of winter gear. I don’t like the students know that though, we pretend it’s awesome and encourage more play.

  10. Anna Mary McKenney

    I have great memories of all season especially summers as I grew up at a YMCA summer camp but I do love hunting and hiking in the fall. Gathering leave, eating outside on a fire and watching wildlife change.

  11. Rachelle Gregoire

    We played outside in all weather. My favorite memories are during the manitoba winters. Snowmobiling on the frozen river is something i miss yearly. Obviously i can’t bring the kuds Snowmobiling, but i try and remember what i liked about each season and try and recreate it to see if the kids have the same interests

  12. Katarina Ninkovic

    I actually grew up in Europe and I adored winter!!! Moving here was a challenge because the winters are definitely much more cold!! But that never deterred me…i stilllove playing in the snow!

  13. Dana Wilson

    As I stated in a previous reflection, I remember playing in the ditches in spring and learning all about the life cycle of frogs. Looking back I remember the wonder and the lack of inhibitions regarding the “yuck” factor of ditches.

  14. Lindsey Cooper

    I enjoyed playing near the lakes and rivers growing up. The water wasn’t warm enough to swim in but it was beautiful to play near.

  15. Krista Ambrose

    As a child, I spent many hours outside in all seasons. I spent many hours in our sand box which was in shade of our barn. I also spent lots of time in our play house. I would ride my bike in summer with my family. In winter, my family lived at the rink skating.

  16. Melissa Vail

    As a child I have great memories out being outside in all weather. As an adult I continue to enjoy all weather but especially like the warm sand (either in a sandbox or at the beach)

  17. Amanda Funk

    As a child I would get lost in dramatic play. I would build ant villages and wedel sticks into random creations.

  18. Leisha Kozier

    My fondest memories of childhood, were built around the forest in our back yard. The lush green pathways in the summer, berries along the path or just off the path. In the fall the colours of the fallen leaves, the crackle of the leaves under your feet. In the winter following paths or crunching out new pathways were always a fun activity, sliding on the hill beside our house as well was always so much fun, sometimes we skated on the ditch in front of our house as well and my dad would scrape the snow off so that we could go back and forth or play a game of hockey there as well. But, spring was always my favourite season, all things new. I loved to see the pebbles come through as the snow begins to melt, and uncovering things that were hidden all winter. So many great memories.

  19. Jody Anderson

    Summer, biking, photography, hiking, exploring, swimming in the lakes, going to the beach, horseback riding
    Fall, hikes, photography, crunching in the leaves, noticing the colors,
    Spring, smelling flowers, photography, kayaking, looking for baby animals emerging, finding inscects such as ladybugs and butterflies, exploring the melting ice along the river
    Winter, skating, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing

    When I was a kid, exploring the creek, skating, fort building, making snowmen and snowforts, biking, staying out until the sun went down, playing make believe games around the neighbourhood, training my dogs to do tricks to be in a “circus”, acting out plays, making snow angels, having leaf fights, creating art with items found in nature

  20. Bonnie Willson

    I love something about all seasons. I love playing in the snow, the colors of the fall, the new beginnings of spring and almost everything about summer.

  21. Maria Agustin

    Grown up in a tropical country Philippines, I spent most of the time in outdoors. There’s only two season in Philippines dry and wet season. During wet season I love to play in the rain.On dry season tons of outdoor play. I like catching butterflies in the flower gardens, collecting shells in the beach and making sand castle, flying kites in the fields and rolling in the hills.

  22. Prabhulata Immaraju

    As a child I grew up in India and I played outdoors most of the time. But sadly my parents wouldn’t let me play in the rain as they believed that you catch a cold if you get wet. It was a general norm among families. I was allowed a lot of time outdoors once I was dressed appropriately for winter, but rain/ monsoons was one season I wasn’t allowed but once the rain stopped I could go n play in the puddles etc. I played in the dirt, among trees, climbing up trees, etc

  23. Betty-Ann Ryz

    As a child living in central Manitoba, we received all four seasons. Lots of snow and cold in the winter provided snow fort, sledding, snowman making and tunnel building opportunities. Spring weather provided the mud play and garden planting. Summer weather provided hot days for beach days, farm explorations, watching gardens grow, and tons of outdoor play. Fall weather provided harvesting lessons, changing of the tree leaves and creating piles of leaves for playing in. Children have many learning opportunities during all four seasons.

  24. Grace Smith

    Living in the farm, playing mud, climbing trees, playing in the rain, being outdoors all day.

  25. Ruth Novak

    Growing up in Montreal, we got to see all the seasons happen. In the summer time, we were outside at the beach digging and making sand castles or swimming in our pool. Winter, we went skating on frozen rivers, tubing and skiing. During fall we would make leaf piles to jump in and in spring, I remember gardening. Now I love taking walks in the forest and discovering new things.

  26. Erin Lihou

    My favourite seasons are spring and fall as there is new beginnings with nature In spring and the fall colours of change as fall is here and winter approaches. It’s awesome to talk about the changes with the children.

  27. Amanda Christison

    Seeing the first buds on trees in the spring and listening to the rain, thunderstorms in summertime, seeing the leaves change on the trees in the fall and brisk autumn walks, watching snow gently fall in the winter and the awe and silence it creates outdoors.

  28. Nicole Robinson

    As a child, I hated outside and avoided it as much as possible. Now I advocate for outdoor play. If I had to say one thing, reading outside was my favourite outdoor activity.

  29. Nazia Mir

    as a child, i love to play with natural materials like dry leaves, etc. i always talk to plants and in my memory, they replied to me as I had a strong imagination in my childhood.

  30. Joanne Falk

    As a child, I loved playing outside in the winter, going skating, sledding behind the quad. And in the summer, I would run around barefoot wherever I could, climb trees, and be in the sunshine, going camping and hiking as well.

  31. Karin Freiberg

    I remember playing outside in all weather conditions as a child. I loved skiing in the winter and playing in the trees always. As an adult I prefer a nice lounge chair and a beach, however, I do like walking or biking in nature.

  32. Kimberley Thompson

    All seasons are to blessed to be in. The season change is amazing to watch for little ones . They see the transition from leafs changing color , to falling on the ground, the template change, the differences in the sky, how the grass changes, snow being cold, how in spring everything grows and comes to life, little animals are born. Having children in all types of weather inhases their knowledge of their environment.

  33. Kathryn Armstrong

    Playing outside in the rain. Rain temporarily changes the play space so it can be quite magical. Also, building snow forts and then having snacks outside in the winter.

  34. Jessica Garner

    Spring – exploring puddles and streams, watching trees budding and plants sprouting
    Summer – laying in the grass
    Fall – walks in the brisk air
    Winter – snowshoeing

  35. Nikki Meyer

    Jumping in puddles and feeling mud on my hands in the Spring, running in sprinklers in the Summer, building snowmen in Winter and jumping in piles of leaves in the Fall.

  36. Svetlana Babikova

    I like all seasons. Children can observe all seasons, how colors are changing, temperature, animals, plants, etc.

  37. Kamaldeep Sidhu

    I like all seasons to play outside,making snow castles,sliding down a hill,I like summer because I like walk and explore the nature with children. I love fall and like to watch leaves changes different colours

  38. Janice Duncan

    Spring is my favorite season, I love watching the buds on the trees open up, and daffies and tulips spring up. There is nothing like hearing the geese fly over us and announce their return with their honks, hearing robins sing sweetly and the hares don a new brown coat! The return of new life!

  39. Nadira Ramnauth

    As a child I grew up in a tropical country with only one season. When I migrated to Canada it was great for me to experience four different seasons. I am so happy to do different activities in the four seasons with my family and the children I work with. I enjoy gardening, going to the lake and beaches, picnics, and playing in the snow and leaves.

  40. Caroline Driedger

    as a child i was outside all day all seasons. My parents didn’t want us in the house, Being that we lived in all the provinces in Canada we experienced many different weather types(we adapted) I loved the beach in the summer and the mountains in the winter,

  41. Lucie Theroret

    as a child i liked the 4 season we play outside till dark time
    swimming ,play with leaves jumping in it ,make fort with cardboard and cover them with branches ,make snow tunnel ,

  42. Alphonsine Hategekimana

    When I was a child, I enjoyed playing in the water, playing in the mud, sliding down a hill, because fall and spring were the same back home in Africa. But in Canada, I like the summer, because I explore, walk, camp with my kids and swim.

  43. Deborah Fehr

    I have wonderful memories of sliding down the snow piles created by the snowplows. When we were done, we would create snow forts complete with kitchens and living rooms. The wet snow of eastern Canada made winter a magical time to be out and about.
    I also have wonderful memories of spring, following twigs down a fast moving stream. watching leaves float down on top of the water… creating bridges to catch the leaves. Oh and then there are the tadpoles, changing daily and then the capturing of snakes and toads to live in the houses we built for them. And then and then and then.

  44. Heather Howard

    I love watching the newness that spring brings – everything has a new beginning. The smell of the first rain brings me back to my childhood wanting to send as much time outdoors as possible now that the colder weather was behind us once again.

  45. Janet Huffman

    I love spring, it is always so intriguing to see the trees come back with colour, the smells, the sounds and the warmth of the sunshine.

  46. Laura Mcintosh

    I enjoy fall the most when it comes to outdoor play experiences. I think it is not only beautiful to look at but the changing leaves provide a learning opportunity for children to ask about the nature and why is changing.

  47. Patricia Lynch-Staunton

    My favorite experiences typically occurr in spring and fall. I thin this is because the weather is more moderate and I am not distracted by being uncomfortable (too hot or too cold). I like the newness of spring and the colours, smells and textures of fall. Spring and fall also tend to be times of less structured activities which I like. Summer and winter tend to focus more on sports (swimming, soccer, softball, riding, skiing, tobogganing, skating).

  48. Stephanie Vieira

    Fall is my favourite season. You get all the leaves, leaves changes different color. You get wind, the grass sometimes changes. In winter, you can play lots! Children can jump in the snow. Make snow people. So much more. Summer and spring they can enjoy more of the hot air that they don’t need any more jackets to wear. They can enjoy the sunshine.

  49. Jaclyn Geiger

    Puddle jumping, ice crunching and leaf playing… so many wonderful vibrant memories of seasonal play. Senses and seasonal play connect so well.

  50. Nicole Morrell

    I love fall- changing colors, crunchy leaves, sweater weather, crisp mornings. I love getting children out in this weather to take in all the seasonal changes. One thing that I really enjoyed in my program was giving the children disposable cameras (yes they are still a thing) and it was spring at the time so we asked them to use their cameras to take pictures of how they knew spring was coming. I took the pictures and developed them and it was such a neat experience to see from the child’s perspective what spring meant to them- puddles, rain on vehicles, grass turning green, ants, being able to play on the park etc. So meaningful from their perspective.

  51. Ai Paul

    I like water even though I cannot swim. Any season would be fine for me.

  52. Christine Villeneuve

    As a child, I was always outside. In the summer we camped, in the summer there was an outdoor park and field across the street where we could catch moths and pick wildflowers, in the spring we would play in the rain and jump in puddles, collect worms, play in the leaves, and picked berries in the late summer.

  53. Carli Olson

    As a child I loved the lake days my mom would take us on! I remember going to the lake many days during the week. She would buy us Cheeto puffs because she knew we liked feeding them to the fish and that the fish would eat it making it easier to use our nets to catch them! (Yes we released them)

  54. Romy Ralph

    I especially like summer because I love swimming in the lakes and ocean but all of the seasons in B.C. are great. My student’s love spending time at the beach. putting their toes in the sand and feeling the warmth.

  55. Heidi Dueck

    I loved mixing snow and dirt in the planters. I was encouraged to play outside all day.
    I try to have a positive view of all weather because snow is the best loose part.

  56. Krissa Rathgeber

    Fall is my favorite time of year…and I have had many great discussions with children about the changing weather and why the leaves change color and fall off the tree. Animals behavior changes and temperatures as well.

  57. Kim Hoey

    Some of my favourite things do were:
    – playing at the creek beside our house. Catching crayfish, swimming
    -Building snow forts and running on top of the big snow drifts at my parents house
    -cross country skiing

  58. Laurie Millions

    My favorite experiences as a child happened in the summer and fall. I loved canoeing to our Island and pretended we owned the Island.
    In the Fall we would play outside until dark(Pretending to be cops and Robbers)

  59. Charmee Penner

    My favourite experiences happened in summer and fall as a child. I really loved going camping in summer and fall, fishing, critter dipping, farming, hiking, swimming, and gardening.

  60. Taylor Aichelberger

    I loved swimming, hiking and playing in the woods in the summertime. I enjoyed observing and jumping in the fallen leaves in autumn. I also loved to dance in the rain in the spring time and explore the snow in the winter.

  61. Jessica Popp

    I can recall playing in the wood pile at the camp group. We would collect the perfect wood pieces to make a layout of houses in the forest. It was a joint effort with my siblings and cousins that brings back a positive memory.

  62. Devina Soares

    As a child I enjoyed playing in the leaves, or hiding behind trees when they were covered in leaves, As an adult I like to have my feet in the sand or warm water.