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Early Childhood Resources

Outdoor Explorations for Early Learners blog
Learn fun ways to incorporate nature into your early childhood classroom.  Activities build on children’s sense of wonder and invites them to explore nature and the world around them.

Check Out These Summer Activities
Ants on Parade
Aqua Charades
Backyard Exploration
Create Your Own Backyard Field Guide
Deep Blue Sea
Fashion a Fish
Field Study Fun
Fishing Fun!
Get In Touch with Nature
Hiking with Kids
Let's Explore Water!
Water Center
Wildlife Water Safari
Wiggling Worms!


Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children
Through a wide range of activities and experiences, this activity guide provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about the natural world and lifelong social and academic skills. Specially written for children 3-7, activities include sections to address many learning areas: math, science, language, literacy, health living, play, and creativity. Activities use age appropriate practices and concepts to build on children’s sense of wonder and invites them to explore nature and the world around them.

Activities have been correlated to national standards for early childhood education – NAEYC Criteria for Curriculum, Head Start Child Outcomes Framework and the NAAEE Early Childhood Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence. Additional correlations have been drafted to Iowa Early Childhood program and curriculum standards – Quality Preschool Program Standards, Iowa Early Learning Standards, and the Iowa Core Curriculum.

Check out a list of upcoming trainings.


Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood
Developed with preschool educators and early childhood specialists, this guide is designed for educators who work with children ages 3 to 6. It offers over 130 experiences that engage children in outdoor play and exploration. Topics include exploring nature with five senses, meeting neighborhood trees, and experiencing trees through the seasons. An accompanying CD features music from children's musician Billy B. Brennan that encourages children to sing, dance, and move.

Activities include group experiences, such as music and movement, and neighborhood walks; learning centers, such as math and manipulatives and art; reading connections; and family and friends.

Activities have been correlated to national standards for early childhood education – NAEYC Criteria for Curriculum, Head Start Child Outcomes Framework and the NAAEE Early Childhood Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence. Additional correlations have been drafted to Iowa Early Childhood program and curriculum standards – Quality Preschool Program Standards, Iowa Early Learning Standards, and the Iowa Core Curriculum.

Check out a list of upcoming workshops.


Helpful Websites
Children and Nature Network
Dimensions Educational Research Foundation
Hooked on Nature
KinderNature: A Resource for Childhood Education
Kiz Club: Learning Resources for Kids
Nature Rocks
National Wildlife Federation’s “Be Out There”
Reconnecting the Worlds Children to Nature



Correlations to Iowa Standards
Alignment to Iowa Early Learning Standards
Alignment to Iowa Early Learning Standards
Alignment to Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards
Alignment to Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards
Grades K-2 Alignment to Iowa Core Curriculum
Grades K-2 Alignment to Iowa Core Curriculum



Additional Resources
Benefits & Considerations for Taking Kids Outside
Environmental Web Sites - Grades Prek-3
Developing an Outdoor Classroom
Fun Natured Based Games
Iowa County Conservation Board Directory
Kids Dig Dirt Green Paper
Reconnecting the Worlds Children to Nature
Resources for Reconnecting Children and Nature

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