There is no doubt that lockdown is taking a toll. Kids are tired. Adults are tired. The last thing you want to do is head outdoors. Yet the teacher keeps putting outdoor learning on the time table every week. Why, oh why, do they do that?
Being a teacher, I used outdoor learning as it had so many benefits. It helps consolidate learning and create memories. It also develops team working skills, enhances communication, aids the development of imagination and so much more. It can also help close the attainment gap. For some children, the classroom isn’t the right environment for them to excel in. But, when you remove those walls, both the physical and mental children can shine. Then of course you have the physical aspects of being outdoors is good for your health. And there is the fact that kids are shown to do better in standardised tests if they have had as little as 20 minutes outside before it.
But more than that, heading outdoors 3 times a week for as little as 20 minutes each time improves mental health for young and old alike. When everyone is tired and lockdown is taking a toll this is something worth considering. But, I hear you, getting to the woods and building a den takes so much more than just 20minutes.
Here are some 20minute walk ideas. It might be a walk in the woods, around your town or village or even just to the shops and back. We have kept them simple, requiring no resources or tools. The last thing you want to think about is grabbing extra bits!
Numbers and Letters
A number or letter hunt can be a lot of fun and is great for all ages. With younger children, it is all about recognition and knowing what they look like. Can they sound out the letter or tell you what number comes before or after the number they find.
With older children, can they add or multiply the numbers together, great for mental maths! Or can they turn car license plates into words, MLK could become milk! I loved doing this with my mum and still play that game now!
Flora and fauna
Did you know the average 3 year old can identify over 100 brands but can struggle to name a single tree or plant? So, on your walk, take your time to help your child identify them. Start where you are confident, it might be with types of birds, dogs or trees, and build up from there. When I was learning the trees I would pick a different one each week and see how many times I could spot it throughout that week. It is a simple but effective way to learn them. If you do not know them yourself, it is a fun way to learn them together.
This is a good way to develop identification skills, observation, and even develop your child’s vocabulary.
Even if you cannot get outdoors to complete the big tasks schools set this month, why not just try and incorporate some of these activities into your walks and trust that these will help your child learn and make progress!
Love Outdoor Learning offer a range of support for curriculum based outdoor learning within the school, both in primary and secondary. Our membership resource offers training and lesson ideas throughout the curriculum and we regularly share blogs with new activity ideas and thoughts on outdoor learning. We can also offer on-site training and support.
Our aim is to help support as many educators as possible. We offer free support calls to help schools understand how we can support them in their learning journey. If you wish to book one just jump over to our diary.