Home-schooling: Outdoor learning opportunities

Home-schooling, crisis schooling, whatever you are referring to it as, we are now into our 11th week. Are you getting into a groove with it? Has it made you want to home-school full time? Or are you tearing your hair out?

Have you been doing much outdoor learning during this lockdown period? Our children have always loved things like forest school over the years, so I have tried to include as many things like that as possible during the school closure period. They’ve learnt how to safely light a fire and toast marshmallows, they’ve cooked their own sausages outside and today they’ve been making nests out of mud, moss and sticks.

We’ve recently been working with Learning Resources UK to enhance outdoor learning opportunities, something I’m really keen on doing. With the children ranging in age from 5 through to 13, it can sometimes be challenging to find things to engage them all at the same time. However, outdoor learning is something that they all enjoy.

As ‘school of parents’ or even older siblings continues into the summer term, Learning Resources® are here to help parents keep home learning fresh, active and help children to feel motivated. I’ve been buying Learning Resources products for my children for years now and I’ve never been disappointed. I recently bought a pack of cubes to help the children learn fractions, decimals and percentages and it’s fantastic because we can take it outside and they just think it’s a game.

This particular campaign is about exploring the fun, creative and inspirational ways we are home schooling with a little help from Learning resources UK. We’d love to hear what you’ve been up to, so do leave a comment below.

Bug hunting

The children absolutely love hunting for bugs. They teamed up in twos and things got pretty competitive as both teams tried to find the ‘best’ and most interesting bugs.

They found tons of woodlouse, a couple of spiders, a lady bird, loads of worms of different sizes, centipedes and millipedes.

They used the GeoSafari Jr. Bug Viewer Jar (£4.00) to collect their creatures and identify them, then they used the Discovery Acorns (£12.00) to store their finds until they could view them properly.

These are both really handy and ideal for young children. They loved the design of the acorns and both were easy for them to use. These make a great addition to outdoor learning.

Examining their discoveries

Having spent hours looking for bugs and collecting all sorts of interesting creatures, the children have then really enjoyed examining them under the microscope and magnifying glass.

We’ve been using the Geo Safari Jr. My First Microscope (£20.00), which I’m running a competition for by the way, so enter here for that. This is quick and easy to set up and easy for children to use independently. The little boys especially loved this, but the older children enjoyed it too.

They were all fascinated how different the bugs looked close up and also looked at leafs and other bits and bobs they found around the garden.

They’ve also been using the GeoSafari Jr. Mighty Magnifier (£14.00) which you wear like goggles and it has an adjustable headband around the back which works much like a bike helmet in the the way it tightened up.

These hands free, magnified, explorer glasses are perfect for scientific observation of nature, a key element of STEM based learning. Children simply flip between 2x and 8x magnification and get a closer look at nature – this also has a built in LED light so it can be used day and night.

Looking at the moon

I’ve always loved looking at the moon and stars but never really did that through a telescope. My mum knew quite a lot about the constellations and the moon, so I’ve keen to pass some of that on to the children if I can.

Given all the lovely weather we’ve been having the nights have been very clear, so we’ve been able to get a really good look at the moon. We are very lucky that where we live, there is very little light pollution, which helps as well.

The children were all able to have a good look at the moon and the telescope was strong enough to see craters on the surface of the moon – amazing! Although they were a little disappointed they didn’t see anyone waving back at us.

We’ve been using the GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope (£48.00) and we have been really impressed. It’s quick and easy to set up and easy enough for the children to focus in on things themselves. They have also used the telescope to watch the birds and squirrels on the bird table.

The Vega 360 Telescope comes with 20mm and 9mm eyepieces to offer a range of viewing magnifications. It delivers clear, up-close images at magnifications of 20x, 40x, and 80x.

Outdoor learning will certainly continue to be a big part of our home-schooling routine, how about you?

This is a collaborative post.

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