We recently featured a toddler class lesson on natural wonders. This lesson was part of a larger unit on explorers. The web below shows some of the topics that the class investigated while learning about explorers. The highlights from the unit included camping, transportation, and outside play. The class ended the unit with their own adventure by riding on the DC Circulator Bus.
To start their unit on explorers, the toddler class learned about the different places that they could explore. The teachers, Lauren Bundy, Katherine Custer, and Emily Romig, brought their class to the see an exhibit in the National Museum of Natural History called the 100 Years of America’s National Park Service: Preserve, Enjoy, Inspire. Learning about the different areas in the world through the collections, such as the picture above of Death Valley National Park, allowed the class to discuss places that they would like to visit and explore.
When exploring new areas, having a map to navigate can be extremely helpful. So Lauren, Katherine, and Emily put out maps in their classroom to help their class of explorers learn to navigate. The toddlers were fascinated by maps and pointed them out whenever they saw them on their daily outings.
The class turned their attention to exploring the bugs and insects on the National Mall. The class visited the Pollinator Garden, which is one of the gardens outside the National Museum of Natural History. By looking through handmade binoculars (toilet paper rolls taped together), the class was able to spy different aspects of the garden.
For toddlers, exploring the outdoors means playing outdoors! This class took full advantage of SEEC’s playgrounds where they were able to play and partake in self-directed exploration. Playing outdoors is not only fun; it is also crucial for young children since they learn through play. Additionally, playing and exploring the outdoors helps children build appreciation to the natural wonders that occur outside and helps create the desire to help protect the environment.
To continue their exploration, the class needed to pack their bags. During morning circle, the toddlers were able to choose which items they wanted to put in a suitcase. Later that day, the class went to the National Air and Space Museum’s America by Air to learn about traveling by plane and to see examples of things people packed in their luggage.
The toddler explorers decided to go on a camping trip while at school. So the teachers setup a tent on the playground where they learned about campfires, made kid-friendly (no fire) s’mores, ate the s’mores inside a tent, and played with flashlights and shadows.
Explorers need a way to communicate with their friends and family while traveling so the class learned about sending postcards. The toddlers made their own postcards, visited the post office, and then pretended to drop their letters off in a postbox.
To end their unit on explorers, the toddlers went on their own adventure! The class boarded the DC Circulator Bus and rode it around the National Mall and monuments. At SEEC, toddlers often see and point out the buses as they go by, but they are rarely given the opportunity to ride the bus. Being able to board and ride the bus was such a hit that many of the toddlers did not want to get off even when it was their stop!