In my weekly update last week I mentioned outdoor learning. Today I thought I would share some of my favourite activities, across the curriculum, that are easy and quick to do! Some of these have come from Pinterest, some from CPD courses and some from my own warped mind. My philosophy here is that outdoor learning should compliment your teaching, it should never be an add on.
A part of spelling is word recognition. Could you write the words outside in chalk and get the children to then throw water balloons? Each time a balloon hits a word they need to read it and then use it in a sentence.
Write the letters of the alphabet, in whatever order you like, in chalk. Children can then jump from one letter to the next to spell the word they are working on. Their partner can check the spelling is correct as they go!
I see… I feel… I smell… I taste… I hear…
Simple sentence starters which are suitable for any age group. The children can write or draw the rest of the line. I love to do this lesson each season and see how the poems progress. At the end of the year you have a wonderful poem which reflects on the changing of the seasons.
Sometimes it is hard for children to comprehend just how long ago, or how recently, something happened. A while ago I was teaching a class about the stone age. I created cards for different historical events from the stone age through to the present day. Each step a child took represented 100 years. They quickly understood the concept of time in a way that made it meaningful for them.
Around the Clock
I had a class last year that were struggling to remember their 5-minute intervals. I had tried everything in class and nothing seemed to help. I decided then to take the lesson outside. The children were in groups of 4 and each drew a large clock. I would then shout a time, i.e. 5 past or twenty-five to and the children had to jump to the appropriate number. This really seemed to help all children begin to understand and remember!
I Need/ I want
With a younger class den building can be a great way to explore the difference between needs and wants. They can design their den using basic materials, tarps, string, tent pegs etc. They start adding things like Playstations, beds, fully functioning kitchens etc to their designs. This helps open a discussion over what is a need and what is a want.
I love Andy Goldsworthy’s art. It soothes my cluttered mind and children just seem to get it. It explores colour, texture, shape and more besides. I often use his style of art as the stimulus for the first lesson I have outside with the children each year. The children create something beautiful but you also have the time and space within the lesson to explore some behavioural techniques and ensure the class understand that when learning outside the playground becomes the classroom.
One of the great strengths of outdoor learning in Scotland is how well we all share ideas. There are 2 websites I truly love though. The first is Juliet’s http://creativestarlearning.co.uk/ and the other is https://www.ltl.org.uk/scotland/resources.php. Both have ideas for every age, stage and curricular area.
What are your favourite outdoor learning activities?