Education can happen anywhere! Sometimes the most impactful life lessons come from outside the classroom walls. When kids of all ages are allowed the opportunity to spend extensive time outdoors, their innate curiosity will unlock bigger learnings about resourcefulness, sustainability, and the infinite mysteries of the natural world.
Ready for an in tents education? Here’s a sample curriculum available to everyone, taught by the greatest teacher the world has ever known: The Earth!
Physical Science - Step outside the tent flaps and discover the earth in motion! It’s one thing to go camping for a night or two, noshing on s’mores, staring up at the stars. But when we stay outside a little longer, and we stare up at the stars with a bit more curiosity, we begin to see movement. The phases of the moon, the turning of the Earth, the reliable fixedness of the North Star, the galaxy we live in, and all the itty bitty pieces of life that connect us all … let’s just say that when it comes to understanding the intricacies of the physical universe, the sky’s the limit with this classroom!
EVEN THE LITTLEST OF CAMPERS WILL GET A BRIGHT EDUCATION FROM TIME SPENT IN TENTS!
Mathematics - At its simplest, mathematics is the study of patterns, and nature is overflowing with them! Look for spirals inside leaves and flower petals. As new leaves emerge in a spiral pattern they aren’t hidden beneath older leaves, giving them access to sunlight and directing rain and dew to the roots. How many numbers of spirals are in a pine cone, seeds in a sunflower, or rings in a tree trunk? From the Fibonacci sequence in a seashell, to the fractals of ferns, to the hexagons of a bee comb, finding mathematics in nature is a treasure hunt that adds up to fun.
Engineering - Give a child a toy and they’ll be entertained for hours. Give a child the wilderness and they’ll be entertained for a lifetime. Prolonged tent camping trips or time spent off-grid can be the impetus to a lifetime of resourcefulness and ingenuity. It can also help boost kids’ self-esteem and give them a chance to creatively solve problems that wouldn’t arise at home, like how do you cook outside when it’s raining? Or, how do you get the most water to the campsite with the fewest trips? Kids can learn how to create shelters, safely build fires for heating and cooking, find and filter water, find efficiencies for hauling and transport, and probably build the best dang fort you’ll ever lay your eyes on! And the best part? Kids will call this “recess”.
WE CALL THIS “RECESS”.
Literacy - Books and journals can go pretty much anywhere you go. Time spent in canvas tents without digital devices and glowing screens means time to read and write, and not just ‘cause teacher said so. A book in hand is more likely to be read when a child has the freedom to read from their own curiosity, and a journal’s pages is more likely to be filled with unfettered wonder when the assignment is simply: Go outside and see what you see.
In Tents Lessons - Right now is an uncertain time in regards to so many things, our public education system being one of them. Finding our breath and paying attention to the natural world are ways to help weather the uncertainty, tuning in to the beautiful education that is abundantly available when we spend more time in tents, and outside. Kids and grown-ups can learn so much! Navigation, seasonal transitions, foraging and plant identification, preparing and storing food, and working as a cooperative team to make it all happen. Even the littlest of campers have so many ways to contribute and learn along the way. Dandelions with dinner, anyone?