Sitting in a classroom all day can get pretty boring, so anytime I can do outdoor learning, I’m in! When the weather gets nice, it can be especially hard for students to focus, so rather than fight it, work with their energy! If you teach elementary or middle school French, you might also love some of these French outdoor learning activities.
Grab some sidewalk chalk and have students practice spelling words. This was actually my son’s favorite way to practice spelling when his was in grades 1-4, because he could not tolerate copying them with pencil and paper for too long. Yes, they are still just writing words, but practicing for a dictée is way more fun with some sidewalk chalk!
We also used to love to make a hopscotch, and I’d have him spell the words out loud as he jumped through it. It’s the perfect way to reach multiple learning styles, and it’s just a lot of fun!
Have an outdoor reading party.
Get outside and read! Who doesn’t love relaxing with a book outdoors? We would go outside for independent reading time, but we also have gone outside and read our class novel out loud together.
Play an outdoor learning speaking and listening game.
Play “Je vois” in small groups. Have one person be the “seer” and he/she will describe something in view. The other students will take turns trying to guess what that person sees. This is something I have always played in the classroom, but obviously, outdoor learning means finding new objects to talk about.
Ball toss verb game
We play this a lot in the classroom to practice French verb conjugation and get in some much needed movement in the classroom, but if you have room to spread out, it’s a lot of fun, too!
This is a fun French game you can play with any verb tense. Just divide students into groups of 6-8. Give each group a ball. I just buy the cheap dollar store blow up balls but a kickball or softball-sized ball is great, too. Then, you’ll just call out a subject and a verb and have the person holding the ball conjugate the verb. Once they say their answer, they’ll throw the ball to another student and the play will continue as long as you want.
You can also play it with vocabulary to review for a quiz. Call out English words and have students give the French equivalent. You can even ask the students who answer to give the next question.
French journal writing
If you do French journaling, a change of scenery for a French writing session is always fun! You can have them write about anything you want, but describing the weather, the buildings, the playground, etc. is perfect as an outdoor learning activity.
I see, I think, I wonder
I love this game anytime I have a few minutes. You can do this as a writing activity, but anytime I do it outdoors, I just point out an area for them to examine. Then, with a partner, they tell what they see. Then they tell something they think and also something they wonder.
For example, if you are near a school vegetable garden, they would describe what they see with something like this:
“Je vois un jardin.”
Then, they’ll describe what they think, so it would be something like this:
“Je pense qu’ils ont planté des tomates.”
Finally, they’ll tell something they wonder, and it would be something like this:
“Je me demande s’ils vont les vendre.”