Outings for Kindergarten Through Second-Graders
“Leading a hike for kindergartners is like leading a pack of kittens!” someone once claimed. Not necessarily so. When the leaders are knowledgeable about the needs and characteristics of five to seven year olds, outings can be a huge success.
A visit to the classroom by the ICO leader can help the children anticipate what they will see, hear, and smell during the outing. Bring a few pictures or objects to get them started and ask them what they hope to see.
Often parents want to accompany young children on outings. Encourage their active participation, and make them aware of how they can take these kinds of outings on their own.
Children in this age group can follow two-step directions. That means the leaders should only give a few instructions at a time. When the children are ready to begin a hike, tell them they need to stay behind the leader and in front of the sweep. Ask why they think this is important. Verify that they have everything they need, including water and lunch, and start moving. They’ve been sitting on a bus for a long time and need physical activity.
Add directions periodically during the hike, one or two at a time: Stay on the trail. Only touch animals with permission. Don’t throw anything down. Don’t pick anything up. Illustrate with a list of things they might be tempted to pick up, e.g., bugs, lizards, flowers, rocks…and throw down, e.g., chewing gum, candy wrappers, rocks
Provide sensory experiences. Encourage the children to rub sage leaves so they can smell them better. Encourage quiet listening for a waterfall or for birds.
Allow opportunities for freedom of movement. Gather the children under a Coast Live Oak, show them an acorn, and encourage them to find acorns themselves. Let them wade in a safe stream and experience the coldness of the water.
Be a good listener. Encourage the children to talk about what they are doing and seeing.
Children this age are great mimics and want to please. They’ll be as enthusiastic and interested as the adults around them.
[Service Group in Sequoia Grove. Photo credit: Rob Selzer]