Parents, carers, grandparents - we can all do so much
Tomorrow is Outside Classroom Day and over 1 million children worldwide will spend some of their day learning in the fresh air.
While many thousands of schools have signed up to the date, not all schools are able to take part. Regardless of whether your school, or your child’s school, is taking part there are still plenty of ways to celebrate learning outside tomorrow.
So, as parents, teachers, community leaders, what can we do at a very simple level to help support the day tomorrow? Natalie Johnson has some ideas for you.
Walk to school
It may seem so obvious, but it’s hard if you live by a busy road, or need to head off to work before or after the school run. For tomorrow, see if you can plan to go into work a little bit later. Or could you change your on-time kids arrival at school to early? Finding the time to walk together can bring surprising benefits, such as: conversation, laughter and an observation of nature…
Our Wild Friday challenge has some easy ideas for this. It's totally OK to do them on a Thursday :)
Find & observe nature
If you frequently walk to school, then it might not seem that radical for us to suggest a family walk. So, for you, make it a bit different. Go the long way. Instead of that walk along the road, give yourself extra time to walk through the park, via the cemetery or along a canal or river. See what signs of nature you can see - either with a checklist or an App. Talking of which...
Do learning challenges
So getting them outside is one thing, but learning something is the other objective of Outdoor Classroom Day. A super-easy game to play is the colour matching game. Choose a colour and then find as many items in nature of that colour. You’ve got competitiveness, art, maths, everything rolled into one. And best of all - kids love it. You could continue it on the way home and have a prize for the winner when you’re done. Or go mad and do it all weekend too :)
Get older kids involved
You can really engage older kids through challenges and Apps when they think it’s on their terms. Although not the coolest thing in school anymore, Pokemon Go still has a following that’s worth a mention. Similarly, the original digital wild time game - Geocaching is a really easy way to allow them to combine phone or app use with nature and learning outside. We’re huge fans and our teenagers love it. Last but not least: a fidget spinner challenge. Our kids are absolutely obsessed - spinning on their heads, the street, you name it. Get the older ones to film some feats of spinning cool. Fidget spinner on an acorn? Wrong season, but you get the sentiment. And what about this? We love this tree-inspired fidget spinner. Well, if you can’t beat them, join them!
Embrace the weather!
Don’t let the weather beat you. Help it to help your kids learn. For example, we live on a hill and there’s a long, straight, windy bit of road on the way to school. It’s cold. And windy. So we started to take a diversion through the cemetery. Thanks to all the trees there’s no wind and it’s so much warmer. That’s a lot of learning conversation right there. Where to start? Wind, trees, shelter, the elements. So much learning!
And if you’re wanting ideas for rain weather - these are our Top 10 Super-easy ideas for rainy fun.
Talk about it
Ask them, "Did you go outside in school today?" Talk to friends and talk to teachers. Ask how the school can do more of this throughout the year? What support do they need? How did being outside make your kids feel? What new things did they learn? What would they like to learn next?
It’s all about chipping away at the usual routine and creating an opportunity for more nature and more Wild Time in your life.
Watch Project Wild Thing
Remember! When you sign up for Outdoor Classroom Day you can watch our brilliant film Project Wild Thing for free. Get all the info here.
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