3 Back to School Activities to get Children Learning Outside

Blog post written by Liv Corp, Content Executive at Twinkl Educational Publishing.

When schools across the UK closed their doors to most students due to Coronavirus, it completely changed how we educated our children. Overnight, classes were in dining rooms and back gardens became playgrounds. Meanwhile, teachers, parents and students adapted to home learning and brilliantly continued the education of our children.

Returning to school in September will undoubtedly be a different experience for both pupils and staff. New safety guidance such as observing social distancing, keeping to your bubbles and enhanced cleaning procedures are all part of our ‘new normal’, and these changes will also apply in school. Change can be scary, therefore it is important that children feel supported in their return to the classroom.

One way of getting children excited about returning to school is taking them outside of the classroom, and into the outdoors. Teaching outside of the usual classroom encourages children to feel freedom whilst learning and ensures an engaging lesson for your pupils. What’s not to love?

If you are looking for simple ways to inspire your young pupils by taking their learning experience outside of the classroom, take a look at these activities:

Plan a Scavenger Hunt
The classic outdoor activity! A scavenger hunt is simple to set up but very effective at reinforcing problem-solving skills, plus easily adaptable for all abilities and age groups.

All you need to get started is a list of items which could be found easily enough on your school field or outdoor play area; you could include items such as flat stones, leaves and pine cones.

Once the children have found their items they could then be tasked with sketching their items to develop their observation skills, or they could use some of their scavenged items to make a collage. There’s so much scope for taking this simple idea and making it your own.

Take the Maths Lesson Outdoors with Trail Cards
Creating a maths lesson which piques the interest of all pupils in the class is not always easy, but with these free trail cards from Twinkl, everyone in the class will be engaged in their maths lesson. This outdoor activity is the perfect way to get your pupil’s working their maths muscles and could even be incorporated into your scavenger hunt for older pupils or as a separate activity. This particular resource has two different ability levels, one designed for EYFS and one for KS1.

All of the items children are tasked with finding should be available within your school play areas and focus on numbers and shapes.

Twinkl offers a wide range of resources which can be used for outdoor learning and also gives teachers a handy guide on how to get started.

Get Creative with Leaf Painting and Threading
Once you have been out on your scavenger hunts, the fun doesn’t have to stop there! After the children have collected their leaves, the crafting can begin. Taking the leaves collected from the school field, you can upcycle them into hanging mobiles. All you will need is the leaves, some string, and a twig. If you are wanting to paint them, then you will need some paints and brushes.

Children can practice different brush strokes with their brushes, and you can encourage the use of bright colours to help the leaves stand out. This activity also allows time for children to investigate the different shapes of their leaves and the varying textures. Helping children to explore shapes helps develop their ability to identify and organise information, and can also offer a more accessible route to understanding maths.

Later, once your painted leaves have dried, you can turn them into mobiles. With these easy to follow instructions from Muddy Faces, it’s simple for all ages. This final step is when the children may need a little help from teachers with tying the string around the twig, and they may need a demonstration with piercing the leaves with a twig. However, after that, the children should be ready to craft independently.

Once finished, these are lovely craft items which can be hung outdoors at school or would make for a lovely feature in gardens at home.

Returning to school in September this year will be challenging more than most, but brilliant teachers, resilient pupils and little tricks like this will help make the transition a little bit easier. If you would like any further resources to help support the transition back to school, Twinkl has created a range of resources in line with the UK’s Recovery Curriculum.

About the Author

Liv Corp is a Content Executive at Twinkl Educational Publishing, which provides over 650,000 teacher-made resources. These include everything from worksheets to print at home, original storybooks sent to your door and interactive online resources including educational games and videos.

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