Outdoors

This toolkit supports practitioners who encourage children’s outdoor play. It takes a balanced approach to risk and safety. The toolkit was created it because of growing concerns that children are overprotected when playing outdoors or stopped from going outside altogether. As a result, they miss out on the joy and sense of adventure they should have from playing outside, and lose out on the long-term benefits of outdoor play.

Alberta Food Matters is a province-wide organization that connects dietitians, teachers and local producers to each other and to information on projects that already exist in Alberta and across Canada. They are linked to Canada-wide organizations that also promote these initiatives (such as Food Secure Canada, Coalition for Healthy School Food, Farm2Cafeteria Canada, Farm to School B.C. etc. AFM are currently working on a pilot project called “Community Animators” that supports schools to undertake whatever they are dreaming of doing to bring local, sustainable
food to their students.
 

Take Me Outside has a directory of organizations that provide support with outdoor learning in the form of guides, activities, and more!

Join the Take Me Outside for Learning Challenge each year to gain access to additional resources, presentations, and professional development opportunities. 

Orange Marks the Spot is a series of 6 lessons, each about an hour in length, that are designed to introduce students ages 5-12 to orienteering. Skills covered in the lessons include: cardinal directions, navigating a course, and applying navigation and outdoor exploration skills. 

Download the eBird app to add your bird sightings and explore birds and hotspots near you! 

Nature Alive Adventures provides an outdoor classroom on wheels that they can bring right to your school parking lot, or to an outdoor space near you. They provide instruction in outdoor skills (e.g. animal awareness and tracking, natural fiber cordage, fire lighting, shelter building, etc) in blocks or a full day format. Nature Alive Adventures also provides day and overnight trips with snowshoes and freight toboggans. They are certified instructors with Paddle Canada to provide tandem or Voyageur canoe instruction and guided trips.

Their YouTube channel provides in-class resources and instruction in a variety of outdoor pursuits and topics, as well as providing Nature Minutes, short videos with follow up activities that are meant to challenge kids to get outside.
 

The Alberta Hunter Education Instructors' Association provides free, downloadable and printable workbooks and videos for all ages on a variety of topics, including:

  • Junior Wildlife 
  • Know Your Knots 
  • Survival Kit Essentials 
  • Tick Awareness 
  • Map and Compass Basics 

The Outdoor Education Toolkit for Grades 9-12 by the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (Ophea) provides guidance, tips, safety considerations, and checklists for before and during outdoor education activities. The toolkit also includes lesson plans, conversation starters, and reflection activities.

For Kindergarten and Grade 1

The Nature Immersion program provides children and participants time to explore and develop a relationship with nature. The activities that take place at a Nature Immersion program are unique to each location and the participants’ interests. Our Nature based program is designed to inspire a love for nature and help connect children with their natural surroundings. The program takes place primarily outside in a natural space close to the childcare centre or school (weather permitting).

The Nature Immersion program consists of:

  • An educator will visit the classroom on a bi-weekly basis (approximately 3 visits per centre/school)
  • Each session lasts anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours 

For Grades 4, 5, 6

Using the basics of play and discovery, Eco-Buddies is an innovative, holistic approach to environmental education and eco-literacy. Through outdoor activities, games, exploration, experiments, crafts, and conversation, children and teachers will apply concepts from the Alberta science curriculum to the ecosystem around them and learn how organisms in nature work together to build healthy ecosystems. During each visit the classroom will go outside to their neighbouring natural area and learn about the challenges that trees, plants, wildlife, and people will face with a changing climate and how these organisms can come together to form healthy and resilient ecosystems

The ECO-Buddies program consists of:

  • 1-hour teacher workshop where the ECO-buddies specialist will introduce the program and will present key concepts that will be elaborated on during the program. *workshop for school programs only
  • Three, 2-hour visits by the ECO-Buddies educator at a walking distance from the School

Toronto Outdoor Education Schools has put together a searchable database of outdoor education activities for all grades and subject areas.