8 Ideas for Outdoor Learning

We’ve talked in the past about the benefits of taking learning outside the classroom. Today we’re going to share some specific ideas with you. We hope they give you some inspiration for outdoor learning in the weeks ahead.

1. Go on a nature colour hunt

Ask pupils to search for items of certain colours – perhaps have the children split into teams, with each team looking for items of a different colour. Once you’ve collected a range of items you can discuss what they are, talk about the different colours, count the items and consider the different textures.

2. Trace Shadows

Tracing shadows is a fun and easy activity that can help with fine motor skills. You can extend the activity by tracing the shadows at different times of day and discussing the different lengths of the shadows. You can also add colour or texture to your creations through painting or collaging.

3. Make stick shapes

Use sticks or lengths of string to create different shapes. Extend the learning by setting a challenge – for example ‘how many triangles can you make with ten sticks?’

[This idea was first shared by Creative Star – Scale and Geometric Patterns with Sticks ]

4. Go on a number hunt

Make your numbers by sticking foam numbers on lolly sticks or plant label sticks. Challenge children to find the numbers in order, or to find all of the numbers and then rearrange them in the correct order. You can also do this activity using letters instead of numbers. Extend the learning by challenging children to collect a corresponding number of objects for each number.  

5. Town planning

Give children chalk, some space and access to other items they might use to accessorise their very own town, then watch their imaginations take them on a journey. Extend the learning by telling stories set in the town the children have created.

6. Outdoor artists

Children love to be given free rein to get creative with chalk outside. Draw them a picture frame and set them a challenge to draw a self-portrait, or favourite animal or place. Your imagination is the only limit here.

7. Build a den

Have fun building a den out of branches and old sheets – then go on an adventure hunting for bears and lions, always knowing you can run back to your den for safety. Alternatively, keep very still and quiet and use your den as the perfect hidey hole for spying on birds and minibeasts.

8. Stone letters

Write large letters or numbers in chalk and ask pupils to use gravel or leaves that you collect together to trace the letters or numbers.

Learning is a lot of fun when you take it outside and it can be a great way to re-engage pupils who are become disinterested in a specific topic within the classroom. Suddenly letters and numbers can seem exciting again when you’re learning about them with chalk and leaves instead of pen and paper. Happy learning – have fun!

For more ideas about how to keep learning interesting for younger pupils, why not try one of the following courses:

Outstanding learning in EYFS

Challenging and Motivating More Able Pupils in the Primary Classroom

Outstanding Lessons in Primary

Making Maths Engaging and Exciting for Primary School Children