Outdoor learning in winter: ideas for your school to
The thought of venturing out into the wilderness in the winter months might send a shiver down your spine. But with COVID still lurking, taking your classroom outside more frequently could be an excellent way to offset anxieties, increase exercise, and boost the mental wellbeing of your pupils.
Many teachers are teaching with the windows open, so if that’s you and you’re already wrapped up in your coat, going outside and getting the blood pumping could be a great alternative!
The benefits of outdoor learning
In countries like Denmark, the natural environment forms an essential part of everyday learning. The outside environment boasts many benefits for youngsters, some obvious ones include physical fitness and fresh air, but other benefits can include confidence building, getting in touch with nature, and developing enterprising behaviour.
A survey conducted by The Wildlife Trust found that pupils connecting with nature hugely benefited from the experience:
✓ 90% of children felt they learned something new about the natural world
✓ 79% felt that their experience could help their school work
✓ 79% of children reported feeling more confident in themselves
So, with those benefits in mind, what outdoor activities can you get your pupils involved in this winter?
Take a nature walk
If you’re lucky enough to have fields or woodland in walking distance from your school, nature walks can be a simple but effective outdoor exercise. Not only is it exciting, leaving the confines of the school playground, but pupils get to explore the environment on their doorstep.
You’d be surprised what insects and animals you can spot on your nature walk. Print out some homemade insect spotting cards, or get your class to create their own cards, and head for the door.
Shape building in the playground
Learning Through Landscapes has some great ideas for outdoor learning, and with a ton of free resources, we’re sure you’ll find something exciting to try with your class.
Use their free resource to create two-dimensional shapes with materials found around your classroom or in the school grounds. Or blindfold your pupils and set them tasks of creating shapes with a piece of rope.
Create recycled planters
Learning about the ecosystem is fun for everyone, so why not create your very own recycled planters? This lesson offers an opportunity to build on student’s creative skills and gives you the chance to teach them all about recycling and different insects.
Get creative and use whatever you were going to throw away, for example, old teapots, pots and pans, even shoes – the more obscure, the better.
You can encourage students to water their plants regularly and generally take care of them. Watching flowers grow is always exciting!
Hopefully, you’ve got a handful of ideas to get you started with outdoor lessons! Got any other ideas? Please share them with us on Twitter @ParentAppsUK.
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