Getting outside as winter draws in

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Children learning outside the classroom

Getting out and about in the school grounds in the Summer is easy when the weather is good. Hordes of happy excited children, lazy sunny afternoons sprawled by the Story Telling Chair, the smell of warm earth and the gritty feel of seeds between your fingers. Even lesson time spent outside in the summer is more enjoyable.

But what happens as winter draws in?
As the last mow of the season has taken place and there are strict instructions not to run on the grass or roll in the mud? As the play equipment is hosed down and packed away and the greenhouse closed up for the rest of the year. Getting out and about in winter is so much fun – it’s just that sometime we have to plan slightly differently.

Things to think about:
Outdoor learning Autumn_Winter (4)M26A8919

  • Have you got a good space for getting coats and outdoor shoes on and off?
  • Make sure that pupils and parents know that going out in the cold is on the cards and to bring appropriate clothes
  • Keep the outdoor activity active – running around games are good – now is not the time for sitting around the story telling chair – unless you have nice fire pit of course!
  • Keep time outside in the cold or the rain short – find somewhere to go to break up your session and warm up
  • Keep it interesting and engaging, explain before going out what it is you are going to do and make sure that you have all of the equipment that you need
  • Think about how the mud from the outside doesn’t end up on the floor on the inside – can you use newspaper to walk on? Take outdoor shoes off when coming back in.
  • Join in – adults joining in winter games with children (or any games for that matter) ensure that the children will be engaged too – shrug off the bit of you that wants to stay inside in the warm and get out for a bit of fresh air – good for you as well as good for them!

There are so many lovely things to do outside in the winter – here are a few ideas:

Outdoor learning Autumn_Winter (3)M26A9794

  • Conker matches
  • Colleting items for a winter nature table display
  • Making big piles of leaves to hide in
  • Foraging (keeping it safe of course)
  • Using leaves and other natural objects in water to freeze as ice decorations
  • Making hibernation homes for wildlife (hedgehog homes etc)
  • Feeding the hungry birds and counting how many you get visiting
  • Taking photographs of winter scenes to make into cards and gifts for Christmas
  • Going outside after dark to watch the stars on clear late afternoons

So don’t be put off – a little planning and you can get as much out of your outside space in the winter as you can in the Summer.

And you’ll keep that bit fitter and healthier with all the lovely fresh air!

Have a look at our LTL resources page for more great ideas

Filed in: Blog Education Tagged in: , , ,

Juno Hollyhock

Juno Hollyhock is executive director for Learning through Landscapes, she joined the charity in January 2012, she is also Chair of Governors at a secondary school. Juno is interested in the challenge of incorporating true connection with nature into children’s every day lives in an increasingly indoor era.

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