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Making the Outdoors Accessible - Montessori Young Toddler 16

Over the last week or two, there have started to be signs here in Minnesota that spring is finally on the way. A larger variety of birds have been visiting our yard, and the squirrels and rabbits are "enjoying each other's company" so to speak! So, there is lots to see and hear, even in the city. Unfortunately, temperatures are still a bit cool and most of our world is still buried under 12+ inches of snow.
Montessori friendly tips for making the outdoors accessible to young toddlers

Augustus is all of a sudden acutely aware of the outdoors. He has started to notice the animals outside. He wants to be out exploring as much as possible. Sometimes it's possible, sometimes it's not. So, we have been making some changes to our environment to make the outdoors as accessible to Gus as possible. In the playroom, we have fairly low windows, so a simple lesson on how to carry his stool to the window was in order. This gives him the freedom to sit and watch the happenings in our backyard. 

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Montessori friendly tips for making the outdoors accessible to young toddlers

Here are some things to consider as your toddler begins to discover the outside world: 
  • think about how you will make outside accessible - either changes to the door, or teaching your child to ask to go outside
  • prepare your outdoor space for a toddler's success - can they access the yard, do they have materials {like a low swing, watering can, or bucket} available?  
  • take time outside - stop and listen for birds and find them in the trees - slow down and let natural discoveries happen
  • allow for exploration - let them get messy
  • make the outdoors accessible from inside - much like you would other areas of your home - then teach your toddler how to make it happen. Add a stool or stable chair and allow for free access to looking out windows. 
  • talk to your toddler about the outdoors, notice the colors, the sounds, the textures - nature is the ultimate sensory experience 
  • consider adding bird feeders, bird houses, or other features to attract small animals to observe
  • add some nature books to your shelves {Gus loves this one so much right now} to extend your discussions
Montessori friendly tips for making the outdoors accessible to young toddlers

Then, as the weather warms, Gus will get increasingly more access to our backyard. He likely won't be ready for total indoor/outdoor freedom this summer, but he will get some. As we are practicing this early spring, I'm adjusting my own feelings and expectations and getting used to just watching and listening to the world around us! 

Has your toddler discovered the natural world? How have you made the outdoors accessible?

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Comments

Unknown said…
I just want to tell you how much I have enjoyed finding your posts on Pinterest. They are such a reliable source of ideas and inspiration, and I appreciate how much thought and intention you put into your spaces and activities with your kids. Keep it coming! Your site is a fantastic resource.
Nora said…
We also spend time outside every day (usually at our neighborhood park). Our toddler chooses what he will do there, and how long we will stay (well, sometimes we need to go home before he's 100% ready). I am really trying to see our neighborhood (and potential relationships with neighbors) as part of our prepared environment. Part of that is actually spending time in neighborhood space. Next year, we will have a plot in our neighborhood garden.

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