5 Ways To Keep Outdoor Time After Going Back To School by Learning ResourcesSeptember 13, 2018 • Outdoor Ideas
More time in front of technology is meaning that children are spending less time outdoors, but getting children out of the house to explore the world is important to their development.
To help you with new ideas, our friends from Learning Resources have put together some activities to inspire your little adventurers and get them learning through play.
1) Woodland Walking – finding good walk routes
Going for a walk is a great way to get your little ones out of the house and on an adventure. Take them somewhere with lots to see and discover like a wood.
There are so many types of trees, animals and plants to explore, children will love being outdoors in nature. On your adventure, see if they can collect every colour of the rainbow or something that begins with every letter in their name. With the season turning into Autumn, the leaves will be changing and falling from the trees. Take advantage of this, don your wellies and bring along a magnifying glass, pencils and paper and get them drawing. Take a look at Woodland Trust to find a wood near you!
You can even join or start a fundraiser to raise money for charity. Getting your community or even a group of friends involved in walking and raising money for charity is a great way to get outdoors and explore! Take a look at Walk England to see how to organise your own walking event.
For more ideas, visit Learning Resources’ blog post ‘Explore the Outdoors: How to turn a walk into an inspiring nature trail.
2) Go on a bug hunt
Children are natural explorers and outside they’ll find an abundance of insects to discover!
Search under stones, wood, leaves and hunt through long grass, flowers and bushes; you’re bound to find loads of creepy crawlies hiding! Some critters to look out for are ladybirds, butterflies, caterpillars, snails, spiders, woodlice, worms, ants and many more!
What can you use to find and catch the bugs? Learning Resources has just the tools to help.
The GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars are perfect for searching for creepy crawlies. With 2x magnification, enlarged eyepieces and a safety neck strap, children can easily hunt for bugs without anything getting in the way.
The GeoSafari Jr. BugBright is perfect for young explorers to collect and observe the insects they find. With a handle and lid that you can either lift or slide off, the BugBright is easy to use and perfectly sized for little hands. It also features an LED spotlight so the creepy crawlies can be viewed at night! The built-in magnifier means children can get a closer look at their discoveries. A fun idea is to encourage little ones to draw the bugs they’ve found.
Remember though, once you’ve found your crawlies, you must be gentle and treat them with care. Always let them go once you’re finished looking at them. The bugs will appreciate being returned to their own homes. A great thing to do is create a checklist for them to tick off once they have found the critter. It will be an incentive to find as many as they can! You can use an insect spotting sheet for inspiration and to keep track of what you find.
Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt! All around the world people are hiding boxes with trinkets, letters and photos for people to find and add to. Participants use a GPS receiver or mobile device to hide and seek containers called ‘geocaches’ or ‘caches’, at specific locations marked by coordinates.
Once you find one, you sign your name, date it and put it back where you found it for the next person to find. You can even leave a little something for someone to swap or trade.
Reasons to try geocaching:
- Discover an adventure in the real world.
- It gets the whole family learning outside.
- Discover places you never knew existed right in your own neighbourhood.
- You can learn fun facts about Planet Earth.
- You can make new friends.
- You’ll have stories to last a lifetime.
Visit the geocaching website to start your adventure!
4) Investigate your garden with a magnifying glass
Your garden is full of life and adventure. Let the kids loose in the garden with a magnifying glass and see what they find.
Children can look out for different types of flowers such as primrose, pansy, sunflower, lavender and even daisies. Encourage them to look closely at the stem of the plant, the bud of the flower, the petals and pollen. They can learn so much from examining a flower closely and it can link to lessons in school about bees, pollination and flowers.
Look out for butterflies resting their wings. Carefully study the colours and patterns on their wings and note down how each one is different. Use our butterfly spotting sheet and see how many you can find. Examine fallen leaves and see if you can find any holes where a hungry caterpillar has been for a visit.
The Primary Science Jumbo Magnifiers from Learning Resources are perfect for garden exploration. With chunky handles for little hands and built-in stands for hands-free viewing, your budding explorers can go wild and take a closer look at the world.
5) Find a new park to play in
Visiting the same places can become repetitive and uninspiring for a child. Ignite their imagination and create adventures with somewhere new! Take a tour of the neighbourhood and surrounding areas in search of a new park, or ask other families for recommendations. You could do it on the way home from school or on a weekend. Find new friends for your children and for yourselves too!
You can use Freeparks to search for local parks and playgrounds near you. Try and find one every month and get your little one to choose where you go next. Round up friends and family and make a day of it with a picnic!
Going back to school doesn’t mean the outside fun has to stop! There are many exciting things to do after school and at the weekends. Invite friends and family to join in with some of the activities above and share what you get up to on social media to encourage others to join in too!