Learning French outdoors

Exploring the forest and learning French

Learning French - in the forest

Children benefit immensely from spending time in nature, but unfortunately, they are spending less time playing outside than before. Whether it’s the lack of outdoor space, safety concerns, or the ubiquity of smartphones, they aren’t spending enough time exploring in an unstructured environment. If you have access to a forest or trail nearby, we invite you and your child to take a stroll through the woods. After all, learning French is much more fun when you’re on a family adventure.

A walk in nature

We recently visited a nature reserve near us where Surya was able to freely explore the trail, touching moss, fungus, and tree barks, picking up twigs and pinecones, crunching dried leaves in her hands, and running around happily along the trail. While she had a few questions for us, the rest of the time, she was content just quietly exploring the forest and observing her surroundings.

As you walk through the forest with your child, you can let them take the lead, and as they see the items on this list, you can use the French word to describe it.

Hike (noun) – une randonnée

une randonnée
learning french - hiking

Pine cone – une pomme de pin

une pomme de pin
learning french - pinecone

Moss – la mousse

la mousse
learning french- moss

Leaf – une feuille

une feuille
learning french - leaf

Tree – un arbre

un arbre

Trunk – un tronc

un tronc
learning french - tree, trunk

Branch – une branche

une branche

Twig – une brindille

une brindille

Fungus – un champignon

un champignon
learning french - fungus

Bark – une écorce

une écorce
learning french - bark

Fern – une fougère

une fougère
learning french - fern

Treasures of the forest

Surya had fun curating various treasures from the forest floor, and if we didn’t remind her that we had to head home for dinner, she could have continued her quest for hours.

Here’s a peek at her collection:

Enrichment

There are various ways to use your experience outdoors to continue learning French at home. You can practice counting the number of pinecones that your child collected or sort them according to size or variety. You can talk about the colours and textures that you’ve encountered outside by encouraging them to touch and feel the different items that they picked up.

We decided to use the treasures to make a face. It gave us the opportunity to talk about the items in her basket and parts of the face. You can use a cardboard cutout for this activity or download and print the sheet that we used (I’ve included the link to download it is below).

I squeezed some glue into a little pot, and using a paintbrush, Surya meticulously applied the glue onto the sheet. Together, we talked about the items she collected and what we could use for the hair, eyes, ears, etc. And here is our masterpiece!

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