Outside Learning: At Home in Maine

by Connie Overlock


Spring has tarried, and we still are finding ourselves under order to stay at home. What are some things we can do to make the most of these times?


1.       Plant a garden. There are some great books and resources out there for gardening. Some of my favorites are Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy, and Ready, Set, Grow by Rebecca Spohn.


You can find gardening activities that include growing a sunflower fort, planting a pizza garden and so much more. As you dig and plant in the garden don’t forget to save the earthworms you find.

HOME’s unit study HOME Grown Gardens can also help you get started with some great gardening activities.


2.       Go fishing. Children under the age of sixteen do not need a fishing license in Maine, so grab those fishing poles and earthworms you saved from the garden and go fishing. If you don’t own a fishing pole, check with a friend or neighbor. Even if you don’t catch a fish, there is so much you can observe in the pond or river where you fish. Make note of creatures you saw, draw them in a nature journal, describe them in a notebook and be sure to try to identify them when you get home. Look for new blossoms and note the color, where they grew, how many petals, leaves, etc.


3.       Visit a park that you haven’t been to before. Maine has a lot of beautiful parks, and getting outside is so important to good health, both physical and emotional. Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon playing frisbee, tossing a ball around or just enjoying the beautiful sunshine.


4.       Go for a hike. Use HOME’s unit study HOME Hikes to get you started on some great hiking locations, activities to do along the way, and how to identify the tracks, creatures, and plants you may find as go.


5.       Create an outdoor scavenger hunt for your kids. Take some pictures of things in your yard, and have your kids locate them.


6.       Mark off an area in your yard that measures 3 feet by 3 feet. Find everything you can to identify in that small area. Check on it weekly to notice any changes that may occur.


There are so many amazing things to do outside, whether you have yard clean-up today and happen upon a spotted salamander (as we did yesterday), or you purposely choose one of the activities listed above. Staying home doesn’t mean we can’t still find an amazing assortment of things to do. In the case of the stay at home order, it doesn’t mean we can’t hike, fish, or visit some of Maine’s beautiful parks.  It simply means we need to re-adjust to when, where, how and with whom we participate in these activities. 


You can find more great unit studies that incorporate learning outside here at the HOME Website.