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A wide shot of the aluminium lean-to canopy at Berryfields school

Three outdoor learning ideas for winter

By: Oli Birch Category: External Solutions

Outdoor learning is becoming a fundamental part of the school curriculum.

Research continues to highlight the plethora of benefits it has on pupil health and wellbeing, from reducing obesity to improved cognitive function. And the opportunities also allow children to become more environmentally aware.

The University of Helsinki’s professor in early childhood education, Annina Kuusisto, echoes this statement. When discussing the positive impacts of outdoor learning, she explained:

“These children will understand much more easily why it’s important to recycle and pick up trash. It’s a small thing but it’s important as it helps build respect for the environment. They will be more likely to take action in the future to protect nature and fight climate change.”

And at a time where climate change continues to dominate the headlines, inspiring the next generation through the use of outdoor learning becomes even more important.

That’s why we’ve put this blog together; to inspire teachers with three outdoor learning ideas for winter.

A canopy outside a classroom at Graven Hill surrounded by a play area

Seasonal scavenger hunts

Scavenger hunts can be an excellent way of getting creative and taking the classroom outdoors.

One idea could see teachers split the pupils into teams to find certain items the fastest, developing teamwork and cooperation skills.

Alternatively, the lesson could be taken at a slightly slower pace by examining certain soils or animals along the route. And as nature changes with the seasons, lessons can be adapted accordingly.

Furthermore, scavenger hunts can be developed to suit pupils of all age groups. GCSE students, for example, could have a slightly more in depth list or set of tasks compared to primary school pupils.

Drawing landscapes

To really spark the imagination, art classes could be taken outside. And again, this can be used for all ages.

It could be as simple as moving outside to the school field to draw the surrounding environment.

Or teachers could make a bit more of an adventure by taking pupils to a certain viewpoint or landscape. Here, students could be tasked with drawing the outlines of the area, or asked to focus on one specific detail.

A wide shot of Heltwate School's new building

Writing challenges

To incorporate multiple topics and think slightly outside the box, writing challenges could be incorporated to the outdoor learning plans.

Writing outdoors underneath a canopy or in the school field is an easy idea to provide a change of scenery for writing challenges.

Or, pupils could be tasked with spending 20 minutes outside at the start of a lesson to find something of inspiration to base a short story on.

Alternatively, if teachers are aware of outdoor learning for other subjects, they could set pupils a challenge of writing about aspects from those lessons.

There are a host of other outdoor learning ideas for winter around, but we’re hoping this has provided some inspiration as we head into the colder months.

If you outdoor learning area is unfit for winter and requires an external shelter, contact us below and our team will be delighted to assist!


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