Step Into Learning with Fossil Steppers
As an educator, daycare operator, or park and rec director, you always look for ways to get your kids excited about learning. Of course, you know that hands-on activities are more engaging than a Charlie Brown-style lecture, but have you ever thought to head outside for some playground learning? Fossil Steppers are not just cute kids stepping stones. They are an excellent tool to connect classroom curriculum and free play in a way that makes learning come naturally. Here are some ideas and concepts you can consider and adapt to meet your curriculum goals.
Step into GEOLOGY
When you think of fossils, geology is probably one of the first subjects that come to mind. The formation of fossils involves many aspects of geology. Fossil Steppers can inspire thought-provoking questions when you introduce learning targets such as:
- Plate tectonics
- Types of rock (igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary)
- Erosion and deposition
- Carbon dating
In addition, the details in the fossil stepping stones help train those young eyes to look beyond the surface of the objects around them and take in the details—in the classroom, on the playground, in life! You can challenge your children to discover other items in their surroundings that also give clues as to the geologic history of their environment. Everything from the hills in the distance to the soil and sand under their feet have stories to tell.
Step into HISTORY
When your children look at the impressions featured in the Fossil Steppers, they may wonder how long ago those fossils were formed. Before your town built schools, grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants, what did the landscape look like? What was the environment like at the time when these fossils were formed? What discoveries and developments helped bring us from there to where we are today?
Step into BIOLOGY
Frog dissection isn’t the only way for kids to get hands-on with biology. On the Fossil Steppers your children will see bones, paw prints and shells that were deposited by different plant and animal species. What types of animals could have made those prints? Take a look around the playground and see if you can find any footprints in the dirt (or snow if you’re up for braving the cold)! What kind of animals live in your area that may have made those footprints? This is also a great place to discuss anatomy. What is an exoskeleton and what animals have one? How many human bones can you name and what role do they play in your body?
Step into ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Fossil Steppers will make children think of animal footprints, but we should also lead them to think about their own “footprint” on the environment. How much water do they use when they take a bath and brush their teeth? How much trash do we produce in a day? Are there ways that we can do our part to help our planet, such as switching to reusable water bottles, recycling cardboard boxes, or planting a tree?
Step into ART
What kid doesn’t love getting their hands dirty? This educational playground equipment serves as inspiration for a variety of art projects. Kids can make their own “fossils” by making plaster imprints of their hands, feet, or other interesting objects. Your children could also enjoy tracing the fossils or drawing the creatures that may have made the imprints.
Step into CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
It is never too early to get kids thinking about their future. Even 4-year-olds will have an answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While a response of “princess” or “superhero” might be a little far-fetched, it is still good to encourage children to dream big. Fossil Steppers can be a great conversation starter about all kinds of possible STEM careers that would be involved in locating, extracting, and analyzing fossils.
Step into AGILITY
Though stimulating the mind is extremely important, we never want to neglect the body in the process. Fossil Steppers are part of our Agility and Balance line meant to help your children build coordination and motor skills. The playground is a key piece of a child’s daily physical activity, and Fossil Steppers are a great contribution. Children can build their lower body strength as they jump from step to step, or practice their stretching and balance as they play “the ground is lava”, reaching from one step to the next. These stepping stones will be a simple and versatile addition to your balance playground equipment.
At Nature of Early Play, we recognize that the kids who use our equipment are whole people. Therefore, we carefully consider your children’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being when we design our products. We aim to help you develop an educational playground that goes beyond entertainment to inspire curiosity and learning while your kids play. Fossil Steppers are a great tool to “dig up” some ideas in your classroom, so go ahead and get digging!
You may also be interested in our other Outdoor Classroom equipment or other play pieces to help children’s agility and balance, such as our Balance Beams, Stepping Log Slices, Stepping Stools (Leaf, Octagon, Log), or Tot Trekker.