Get outside with your children and try some of these cross-curricular teaching and activity ideas!
- Choose one part of your outdoor area and use it as the setting for a story.
- Think of ways to improve your outdoor area and write a letter to the headteacher, council or newspaper to persuade people to help get involved!
- Use the outdoor area as the setting for a play. Could you write the script and perform it outside?
- Write a story from the point of view of an animal that lives in the area.
- Collect some items from the area without showing them to anyone else. Describe an item you have found to a partner without saying its name. Can they work out what it is from your description?
- Collect colour words to describe all of the different colours that can be found in your area.
- Write a diary entry about the time you have spent in the area. What did you do while you were there? How did it make you feel?
- Write an acrostic poem about a plant or animal that lives in your area.
- Write a set of instructions for an activity to do in the outside area.
- Take some books and read outdoors!
- Choose a variety of objects and think of different ways of sorting them. You could even create a large Venn / Carroll diagram to organise your items.
- Choose two objects and compare their sizes. Make < and > signs using sticks to show the comparisons.
- Look around your outdoor area and find things to measure! How many items can you measure with a ruler? What could you measure with a metre stick?
- Try to measure a tree. What different parts of the tree can you measure? Can you think of ways to estimate the height?
- Use sticks to create 2D shapes.
- Search around the area for different examples of shapes, patterns and angles. How can you record your findings?
- Use chalk to practise writing numbers and drawing shapes.
- Use some natural materials to make equations. For example, if a stick = 1 and a leaf = 10, then what does leaf + leaf + stick equal?
- Look up at the clouds and try to identify some of them. Can you sketch some? Our ‘Weather Watch’ Home Learning Project may help with this activity.
- Can you see any animals in your outdoor area? Can you find any evidence of animals that had visited the site before you arrived?
- Can you plant some seeds and monitor their growth? How can you help them to grow successfully?
- Create a picture of a brand new animal that might live in your outdoor area. How is it adapted to living there?
- Create a food chain (or a food web) that includes creatures living in (or near to) your area.
- Go on a ‘senses walk’. Explore your outdoor area and record all of the things you can see, hear, smell and feel.
- Check your area carefully and go on a barefoot walk. How does it feel?
- Choose an animal that lives nearby and think of creative ways to show its life cycle.
- Find out the lengths of different land and sea creatures. Use string or other materials to demonstrate how long they are.
- Bury one end of a long stick so that it stands upright. Record how the length and position of the shadows change during the day by marking them on the ground or taking photos.
- Use a plastic bottle to make a rain gauge by cutting off the top and putting it into the bottle to create a funnel. Using a ruler and a permanent marker, make a scale on the side. Leave it out and see how much rain you can collect over a week. Make a chart to show your results.
- Build a raft or boat using natural material and see if it floats!
- Go outdoors at night and search for the stars. Could you use a stargazing app to learn more about different stars and constellations?
- Imagine that you are a tour guide and make a video about your outdoor area to describe it to people who want to learn more about it.
- Take photos of the area and use these as part of a presentation, poster or video!
- Video an insect or other minibeast as it moves in the area, slowing the video down to see exactly how it moves.
- Create an animation by making a stick person on the ground. Take photos, moving it a little bit each time. Can you make it look like it is walking?
- Record sounds from different outdoor areas and listen to these as part of mindfulness activities when you are indoors again.
- Can you use natural materials to make a shelter? Look at examples of shelters throughout history. What types of materials were used to make them?
- Use sticks and other natural materials to make 3D shapes. How will you attach the objects together?
- Use a variety of recycled / junk materials to decorate an area.
- Could you use plasticine, clay or other materials to create a model of a creature that might live in (or near to) your area?
- Build a bug hotel to encourage minibeasts into the area.
- Make a leaf bowl. You will need a small plastic bowl, petroleum jelly, glue (PVA), and of course, leaves! Turn the bowl upside down and cover it with a layer of petroleum jelly. Place the leaves on the bowl and build up layers using the glue, just like papier-mache. Let it dry, and then take the plastic bowl out.
- Prepare a feast to eat in the outside area. What kinds of food would be easy to take and eat? How would you package them?
- Use natural materials to make a gift for somebody.
- Design some paper aeroplanes and have a competition to see which ones can fly the furthest outdoors.
- Go on a colour hunt! Look around your outside areas to find objects that are different colours. Can you find things that are different shades of the same colour? When you have found some items, you could make a list of them, draw them or take photographs.
- Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist who creates sculptures and works of art using natural materials. Can you look at examples of his work and try to make some of your own?
- Use leaves and sticks to create a picture. Can other people try to work out what your picture represents?
- Make some hammer art. You will need a hammer or suitable stone, some paper or fabric and a flat area like a large stone or a chopping board. Collect some leaves. Put a leaf onto the flat surface, place the fabric or paper over it and carefully pound it with the hammer or stone. It makes a beautiful print.
- Use a cardboard tube or a frame as a viewfinder. Draw what you can see through it.
- Make some natural paint by mixing water with earth from the area. What colour is it? Does earth from different parts of the site make different colours? Use it to create a painting, perhaps on the bark of a tree.
- Use crayons and paper to make rubbings of surfaces in the area. Compare the patterns you get from different surfaces, such as the bark of trees.
- Take a mirror into the area. What can you see reflected in it? Can you use it to see into different areas and get a different perspective? Draw what you see.
- Lash together two sticks in a cross shape, then weave wool or string in and out of them to create patterns.
- Use a recording device to record some of the sounds that you can hear in your environment. Could you import these into audio / music software and use them to make some music?
- Experiment with making sounds using the items around you. What happens when you hit two sticks together? What if you hit the trunk of a tree with a stone? How many different sounds can you make just using natural materials?
- Take a music player and experiment with the volume. How close do you have to be to hear it if you have it on low volume? How much further away if you turn it up a little bit? How loud does it need to be to hear it right over the other side of the area?
- Make a musical shaker with a Y-shaped stick. Tie string or wool to one branch of the Y, then thread on beads and tie it to the other branch.
- Take a stick and scrape it along different surfaces in the area. What sounds can you make? Can you create a rhythmic pattern?
- Draw a map of your outdoor area and label all of the different places that you can see.
- Make a map at a broader scale, showing all of the places around your chosen outdoor area. How do they fit together? How can people travel between the locations?
- Create a set of directions to guide people from one part of your outdoor area to another. Could you add some obstacles for them to move around?
- Can you record the weather over a period of time?
- What impact have humans had on your outdoor area? What evidence of this can you see as you look around? Which of these changes are positive and which are negative?
- If your outdoor area is close to a road, could you safely carry out a traffic survey? What kinds of vehicles use the streets nearby? Where are they going? How does traffic impact the local environment?
- Think of different signs that people use to label objects / places and to indicate directions. Could you make some signs for your outdoor area?
- Are there parts of your outdoor areas that you could help to clean? Think about the equipment you might need, how you can clean the area safely and how you will dispose of the rubbish.
- Plan a guided tour of a place that you know well. What interesting places will you show to your guests?
- Can you find out about the history of the area that you are in? What has the land been used for in the past? Make a timeline that shows how it has changed over time.
- Try to find some old photographs of your outdoor areas and compare these with how they look now.
- Plan a sports event in your area using the equipment that you have available. Which activities will you include? Will competitors take part individually or in teams? How will you score the event?
- Using sticks and branches, lay out a maze for people to follow. Can they complete it without stepping outside of it?
- Cross the area in different ways. Can you cross it without taking both feet off the ground? Can you cross it, taking only giant or tiny steps? Can you cross it using your hands?
- Plan a new game or sporting event that can be played outside. What equipment will you need?
- Think of different ways that you can exercise outdoors. Which ones are your favourites?
- Design some playground or exercise equipment to use in your outdoor areas.
- Create labels to show people the names of the objects / places in your outdoor area in other languages.
- Create some guidelines for taking care of the environment.
- How does being outside make you feel? Create some sentences with the starter, “When I am outside, I feel…” and explain why you feel like that.
- Hug a tree! How does it make you feel?
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