Do you want to inspire your students or your own children to put away the electronics? Do you want them to go outside and explore nature more? If you said, “Yes,” The Big Backyard Challenge may be just what you need. “What is The Big Backyard Challenge?” you ask. Let me tell you about it.
What is The Big Backyard Challenge?
Our school theme last year was nature. We wanted to encourage our students to put down their video games and turn off the TV. There is so much to learn by going outside and exploring the world around you. The book Our Great Big Backyard by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager was our inspiration. Each class read the book at the beginning of the school year.
Then, my friend Kathy, who teacher 4th grade, and I created a Bingo board for each quarter of the school year. To get Bingo, our students had to go outside to complete activities.
The activities include:
- Observe animal footprints in the snow.
- Play a game outside with your friends.
- Find a comfy spot to read outside.
- Do a science experiment.
- Draw animals you see out your window.
We tried to choose activities all ages from kindergarten to 5th grade could do with the help of their families.
How Could You Use the Big Backyard Challenge?
You could do the Big Backyard Challenge at school or at home with your own children. Last summer, my 7-year old and 3-year old completed the summer Bingo board together. They had so much fun!
At school, we sent a copy of the first quarter challenge home with each student the first week of school. They took notes on the back of the paper and turned it in at the end of the quarter. We also posted the challenge on our school website so the students and their families could access the links. That way they could print another copy if they lost the original one.
We encouraged our kids to collaborate as well. Older siblings were allowed to assist younger siblings with the activities. Friends completed activities together. Instead of playing video games against one another, they worked together to explore the world around them.
At the end of the quarter, the students returned their challenge sheets to their teachers. If they completed 5 activities in a row to get Bingo, they received a small prize, like nature-themed erasers, pencils, bookmarks, and notepads. Any students who completed the whole board got the prize plus a special certificate. Download the certificate at the bottom of this post.
At the end of the year, the students who complete all four quarters of The Big Backyard Challenge were invited to a Big Backyard Celebration. Our school has a “Green Zone” with a pavilion and big grassy area. We had a pizza party there and played outdoor games.
Want to Try The Big Backyard Challenge?
Visit the Teach Without Tears Teachers Pay Teachers Store. You can download the challenge for free and encourage your children or students to get up, go outside, and have fun exploring nature with The Big Backyard Challenge!
Don’t forget to download the certificate at the bottom of this post.
Discover some ways to save your children from the “summer slide”.
What Do You Think?
If you try The Big Backyard Challenge, please let me know what you think in the comments below.
Download the Certificate
Celebrate the completion of The Big Backyard Challenge with this certificate.