The Go Wild Go West blog

Creating an Outdoor Classroom

5 ‘outdoor’ lesson ideas to enjoy with the kids

Thinking back to lockdowns and home-schooling, we loved being outdoors! As such, I’ve created an ‘outdoor classroom’ with nature inspired lessons that are interesting for all of us! Here are 5 of my favourite….

You can also see our 5 favourite spring mini adventures here.

1. Identify Spring Flowers

I’ve always been utterly useless at identifying the beautiful wild flowers that pop up at Spring time.

During lockdown we began taking the time to identify individual wild flowers. In true Enid Blyton style, we can now merrily walk along the country lanes and recount the wild flowers we see. Geeky? Yes! But also incredibly rewarding and also amazing to see how sponge-like the children’s minds are.

How to identify spring flowers

This wouldn’t be possible without the Woodland Trust’s BRILLIANT set of ‘swatch’ books. We’ve got the whole set now and they’re essential for our outdoor classroom. We also use a great free app called the ‘Plant Identifier’, so you can take a photo and it will identify the plant you’re looking at.

outdoor classroom resources
Woodland Trust Swatch books

2. Create rainbow art

Creating rainbow art is simple and fun. I sent the kids off to scavenge some natural materials from the garden and a local field. I then left them alone to create this beautiful rainbow.

outdoor classroom rainbow art
Rainbow artwork

3. Learn to read a map

Map reading is outdoor learning at it’s best! If you’re keen to learn to map read or need to refresh your skills now is a great time, using your local footpaths to practice. You can start by watching a quick YouTube video to cover the basics, then just grab yourself a map from Ordinance Survey Online or download their app.

I asked the children to plot a route on our local map, including a place to stop for a snack and something interesting to see along the way (they chose some natural springs). We then set off and the children map read the entire route. We also had a bash at using the compass to navigate with mixed success.

map reading
map reading

4. Butterfly Chasing

Back to classic Enid Blyton imagery… we’ve been using the Woodland Trust Butterfly Swatch book to identify butterflies. It means we’ll often be found darting across the garden or a nearby field in hot pursuit of a butterfly that needs to stop for long enough for us to identify it! As an outdoor classroom maths challenge, we’ve been making notes of which butterflies we see, when, where, and what the weather was like (generally sunny), so that we can create charts and graphs with the results.

5. Sunrise/sunset walk

Enjoying the sunrise or sunset is surely the most enjoyable way to start or finish the day? Take a snack, a beer, a bottle of wine (thinking more about sunset than sunrise but these days, who’s judging!?) and find a good local vantage point. It’s even better if the sunrise coincides with the Spring dawn chorus. Take a breath, forget about the world’s problems and watch the sun work it’s magic. See if you can learn a few different bird songs this year.

watch the sunrise
watching the sunrise with a hot chocolate

Outdoor Adventure Guides

Head over to the Go Wild Go West shop to see our series of Outdoor Adventure Guides; filled with challenges and activities for all the family in the Great Outdoors.