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Go the Distance: Virtual Learning Done Right

Recently my nephew went back to school, but only two days a week, so plans needed to be made for the remaining three days. One of my clients has three kids at home with remote learning as the only option. With so much time spent at home and inside, it’s more important now than ever for kids to get movement and natural light as much as possible. And why not? We live in California where we can enjoy the outdoors 90% of the time. Outdoor learning offers stimulating experiences and opportunities to connect with nature. To inspire parents and kids, especially after months on lockdown, we rounded up a few tips on how to introduce outdoor learning to your kids at home.

Let kids meet with their friends via Zoom.


Let the Sun Shine In
According to the CDC, children ages 3-17 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Ask your kids what they liked to do in school and try to reinvent the time at home, whether it’s doing an exercise video together outside or with their friends via Zoom, or going on a family bike ride or hike.  
Essential Elements
When wintry weather beckons little learners inside, it’s imperative to keep them motivated by creating a space that’s light, bright, organized, and inviting. Our learn-from-home must-haves?
•    An ergonomic chair that will keep kids productive for hours
•    Natural light and fresh air coming through a window
•    Layered lighting for great Zoom calls
•    Personal items to inspire throughout the day
•    Plenty of storage to tuck everything away in an organized fashion each night
•    A perfect playlist that’ll add background inspiration

It’s imperative to keep kids motivated by creating a space that’s light, bright, organized, and inviting.


Outdoor Ed
Consider bringing a few “classes” outside, not only to get some natural light but also to provide a change of scenery and help motivate the kids. Whether it’s the front porch, back patio, or side yard, it will be a welcome environment for enhanced learning opportunities. Have the whole family choose fun, alfresco furniture they can’t wait to sit on and accessorize with outdoor throws and pillows. Class is now in session—outside.
Keep it Fun & Creative
Stock up on arts and crafts that might be too messy for inside, from outdoor painting and chalk art, to tie-dying or leaf painting. If you feel low on inspiration, Pinterest has plenty of ideas when it comes to pumping up the creative.

Stock up on arts and crafts.


Park It
Our local parks offer plenty of space to socially distance while taking in a whole new view. Take an hour break and go for a walk with the kids to the park for a picnic and/or meditative moment. Bring a blanket, yoga mats, and basket full of snacks to allow your kids some exercise and time to reset. Even though the jungle gym might be off limits, they can play fetch with Rover and run around the grassy areas to burn off some steam before heading back to their studies.
With parents looking to keep kids active and entertained, new traditions have started to take shape that offer families a way to spend more time together—and the backyard is center stage, with nearly one-third of moms ranking time outdoors as a top new tradition for their family. How will you bring in the fresh air and these fresh ideas to your at-home classroom? 

by  Kerrie L. Kelly, FASID

Kerrie L. Kelly, FASID, NKBA, CAPS


Kerrie L. Kelly, FASID, NKBA, CAPS, is an award-winning interior designer, creative director, author, product developer, and multimedia consultant helping brands reach the interior design community. She’s also a Global Connect Advisor for the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), Zillow Interior Design National Spokesperson, and National Board Chair for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). / 916-919-3023

Main photo ©Юлия Завалишина - Other photos by Lindsey King Photography.