Outdoor learning is essential for children of all ages; indeed to most, enjoying the fresh air and freedom that outdoor learning offers makes the experience seem more like play than study.
AD: This is a collaborative post, so I may have received payment for including one or more of the links it contains about encouraging outdoor learning.
Whether you’re engaged in home-schooling or not, it’s important to ensure that your children get every opportunity possible to learn in an outdoor environment. The natural world and the urban world both provide opportunities for learning in every sphere.
This prep school in Somerset believes that all children have the capacity to succeed and to excel when encouraged and supported in their learning. No matter what area you’re looking to support, outdoor play can advance your child in many ways.
Whether you’re looking to underpin science, maths, art or something else, you’ll be able to inspire and excite your child by teaching them whilst they’re enjoying everything that the environment has to offer. Here then are 4 great ideas for outdoor learning for your child:
Mudlarking and bottle digging
Just in case you’ve never heard of Mudlarking, here’s a little rundown; it’s a popular hobby involving the finding of historic objects and artefacts on and in the banks of rivers and streams.
Some of the most common finds include buttons, beads, coins and pottery. This is a wonderful and free activity which will really bring history home to your child. The best locations for Mudlarking are rivers and streams in older towns and villages. You can find suggestions for suitable places online. The River Thames is a popular site for mudlarks but be aware that you need to purchase a permit to mudlark there.
Another thing to bear in mind are the tides! Be extremely careful when walking near waterways as they can be unpredictable. Never take risks by climbing up rocks or into gullies as serious injuries could occur. It’s better to choose a well-trodden area close to buildings where you will be safe.
It should also be mentioned that old ordnance (bullets and bombs) are regularly stumbled across, especially in towns and cities which were hardest hit during the war and these should not be touched under any circumstances.
In general, look out for pieces of pottery with stamps on them or patterns which can later be researched – you might even find some Roman pieces. Some buttons give clues as to the makers of them and these are also fun to research. Bottles provide a real window into the past as the makers of various drinks and sauces are easily looked up online. Kids will love this sort of outdoor learning.
Outdoor learning with a nature walk
An old fashioned nature walk is one of the easiest ways to introduce your child to the plants and flowers which surround them. Choose somewhere with plenty of trees and bushes and as you walk, you can look up the names of the various things you see. Encourage your child to pick up seeds, flowers, pods and any other naturally occurring artefacts. At home, you can set up a nature table for your best finds. Help your child to make labels for each item. If they like, they could also draw or paint their finds.
Treasure hunt in nature
Great for older and younger children’s outdoor learning alike. Make a list of things you want your child to find in your park or garden. Give them a bag or box in which to place the finds. Items you could put on the list could include the following depending on the time of year.
- A branch with no bark
- A white pebble
- A bird’s egg shell
Geocaching is perfect for outdoor learning
This popular hobby is doable no matter where in the world you are. Visit the Geocaching website to learn coordinates of Geocaches hidden in your area. Children love the excitement of the chase and playing detective!
Playing and learning outside is vital for children to help them develop a wider understanding of the world around them. And the best thing about all of the suggestions above is that they are all free!
How did I do?
Did you enjoy this post? Why not stick around for a few more. How about Activities To Keep Preschoolers Entertained At Home, or How To Get Your Child To Play Outside More. Or if you want even more ideas of things to do outside check out this Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Activities. If you want more funny real-life parenting, head to my Mum Life section. Or for UK travel and day out inspiration click on my Travel Section.
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