• Karen

Outdoor learning

I'm not the outdoorsy type at all. I don't do gardening and I shudder at anything with more legs than my cat. I'm also ginger as are my children so we can't spend much time in the sun.

However, the weather has been wonderful recently and despite being restricted to our own plot of land I'm very much appreciating being able to spend time outside.


It's even nice to take the desk learning to an outdoor space, just for a change.


It's been a challenge for me to encourage outdoor learning but although you won't find me hugging trees, building dens or finding out what's lurking under rocks, I can see the benefit of spending time with nature.


[Having said that, there's an overprotective new father (a blackbird) which has been spending all day, for over a week now, telling everyone his good news. The sound isn't as pleasant as it was at first.]




Thinking of a mathematical approach to learning (as is my way) I have taken to looking for patterns and numbers in nature. I found some useful outdoor learning resources including, an outdoor scavenger hunt to find mathematical shapes.


We started with walks through the woods near us, when we were permitted. We looked at different trees and tried to identify them (useful app from Woodland Trust) then we have looked at them again over the weeks to see how they change.




We've become more familiar with the different paths and we've started to notice the growing cycles, such as the bluebells which were abundant and are now gone.


We also like to do Geocaching. If you've not come across it yet, it's basically a real life treasure hunt done via an app. You sign up (it is free, or you can pay for an account with more finds), get the app then look for nearby caches.


You have to navigate to them then try to find the hidden item, usually a small pot or canister. Some are in churches or woods or in tourist attractions. You sign the physical log and register your find on the app then re-hide the find. We like mystery ones with clues to the exact location. It's a perfect game for us geeky types and it gets us outdoors. We've found 48 caches so far, in England and on holiday in Spain and Turkey.

There are thousands hidden around the world and sometimes you can exchange small items hidden inside the pots.


On a particularly sunny day I suggested putting up a tent to create shade to read in the garden and I let them get on with it - that was hard for me, I wanted desperately to help but I just gave them a hint or two when frustration set in. We're working on patience and perseverance.


The small one recently found some snails in the garden and we've now adopted them. They're in a tank with a stick and a water bowl and we've been feeding them egg shells and cucumber for now. I think I'm growing to like them.



Now we're allowed out a little more and can spend time with friends at a distance we're hoping to get to a country park, ride our bikes or maybe build a den (shudder).

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