We all love to see the hours of daylight lengthen and flowers pop up as the temperature starts to drop, heralding the arrival of spring. If you run a school, you’ll already be aware of the many benefits of outdoor learning for child development in any number of areas from physical and mental health to confidence and social skills.
At this time of year, when the outside world is bursting with new life, and the milder weather makes it easy to enjoy life al fresco, senses are heightened – so what better time to stimulate them than with outdoor learning?
Here are our favourite outdoor learning ideas:
- Active play
Swap the gym for the great outdoors and get the kids to enjoy some fresh air as they burn off energy away from the confines of four walls. There are endless ways to play games, from traditional chase, tag and skipping to tug-of-war and hula-hooping, among other fun activities your pupils will love.
- People will chalk
Get the old creative juices flowing with chalks. A playground serves as a temporary canvas, and you can use these art tools in any way you want. Draw grids for hopscotch (see above), play a few rounds of giant noughts and crosses under the sky, practise handwriting, sums and spellings or get everyone to contribute to a collaborative piece of art.
When you’re done, let the rain wash away the markings, or clean them off easily with water.
Spring is a great season for this activity. Not only does a spot of gardening connect kids with nature, it shows them processes such as photosynthesis in real time. So let the children quite literally get their hands dirty!
Again, there are numerous things you can try. If you can’t give pupils a small plot of land to tend, a window box or even a small planter can do the job. Get the youngsters preparing soil, watering and seed planting. Have a go at cultivating herbs, peas or tomatoes, or perhaps some springtime flowers the kids can take home.
- Take a walk on the wild side
Rather than just having children learn about birds, insects and so on, introduce them to these creatures for real. Get them birdwatching and identifying different species, while doing the same for creepy crawlies. A bug hotel is a great project to attract more of these critters.
When the weather allows, outdoor art lessons can work really well – and you don’t just have to use the chalks mentioned above. Again, this is a great opportunity to get creative. Pupils can paint the sky, a stone or leaf they’ve picked up, or anything else. Or get them to transform a rock into something else the shape reminds them of. Work leaves into artwork, either as a collage or as stamps to create abstract designs.
How an outdoor canopy helps
Whatever the weather, a school canopy is a huge asset when it comes to teaching outside in spring. You’ll have shelter immediately to hand if it does start to rain, protection in place from any heatwaves as the year progresses and, most importantly, a dedicated space for outdoor learning and playing.
How we can help with your outdoor learning ideas
The spring is an excellent time to install a school canopy, at the start of the warmer months when you’ll benefit the most from having it. Equally, the weather is generally during the construction process.
At Kensington Systems, we have worked extensively with schools over the years, and could help yours, too.
Talk to us about a canopy this spring, and let the outdoor learning and fun begin in earnest. Make the most of your outdoor space – get in touch today.