How teachers can take more lessons outdoors

Brought to you by Forest Holidays

Encouraging children to spend more time outdoors has become increasingly difficult in recent years, as many are growing up fixated on modern technology. Whether they’re playing or doing outdoor learning activities, every minute that they spend in nature can be beneficial to their long-term development.

Many schools are beginning to recognise the benefits of outdoor learning, such as increased confidence, creativity and even engagement. In fact, an incredible 79 per cent of teachers feel that outdoor lessons have a positive impact on their teaching, with students able to focus and retain more information.

In this article, we explore different outdoor lesson ideas for teachers to incorporate into their plans, making it easier to get some more time outside.

Set up an outdoor art studio

A fun way to inspire students to get creative is to do outdoor art lessons. Get a few easels and canvases for the children to paint their surroundings, encouraging them to focus on all the different elements of nature.

Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, they can use sticks, leaves and anything else they find to create their very own artworks. You could also pair them up to work on the project, promoting teamwork and building their social skills.

Create a scavenger hunt

If you’re not already familiar, a scavenger hunt is a collection game. As a teacher, you’d need to either find a pre-made list of items online or create your own, then print them out and head outside with your class.

Depending on your school grounds, you could take them on a guided walk or let them go off hunting in groups. Searching for these specific items means the children need to be aware of everything around them, potentially discovering things they would’ve missed in the past.

Turning exploration into a game promotes engagement, as they’ll be rushing to be the first one with a completed list. For some additional encouragement, you could even offer a small prize to the winner.

A little girl squatting over her garden bed filled with little plants and flowers. She's wearing a white floral hoodie, green plants and red shoes. She's taking a photo of one of her plants.

Plant a garden

If your school is fortunate enough to have some gardening plots or flower beds, this can be a great learning opportunity. All you’ll need is some plants or seeds and some handheld gardening tools, such as trowels.

Not only is digging and handling the dirt a beneficial sensory experience, but your students will be able to watch their plants grow over time, promoting a sense of responsibility with nature.

To keep them interested, consider dedicating a few minutes on a specific day of the week to head outside and check on their progress. They could even take measurements to see just how much they’ve grown.

Organising outdoor sports

One of the easiest and most common outdoor lesson ideas is organising sports for physical education, which is a compulsory part of the curriculum for all key stages. Although there are many factors to consider when setting up an outdoor learning environment, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a safe space for the kids to run around within the school grounds.

Even if you have limited resources, getting them outside to play simple games like tag is worthwhile, as learning through outdoor play can help children develop valuable skills.

With all the benefits of outdoor activities, there’s no reason that schools shouldn’t be finding ways to take the classroom outside. We hope that some of these ideas can help you find new ways to bring life into your lessons.