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What makes the perfect outdoor classroom?

A well planned outdoor classroom that is integrated into the school community will become an important part of your school and can be used for every subject, in every season. Any outdoor classroom will need to suit the grounds and needs of your school, meaning it is entirely up to you what style you go for!

Posted on Friday 01st February 2019

Outdoor fun

Make the most of your outdoor setting! Be inspired to turn your outdoor environment into a fun filled area to help children reach their full potential.

Benefits of outdoor learning

Everyone benefits from learning outdoors, especially children. In addition to the educational value of nature-based programming are the health benefits of getting outdoors. Some of the other benefits include:

  • Improved mood and happier pupils
  • Enhanced appreciation for the outdoors through interaction
  • Improved learning experience for tactile and experiential learners
  • Improved social skills
  • Incorporation of physical activity across various subject areas
  • Opportunity to get out the classroom if the school does not have the budget to go on field trips

Your Outdoor Classroom 

All classes can be taught outside (British weather depending!) so as we move into spring and summer, make sure you take full advantage! We’ve put together a few ideas that should get you started…

  • Take Literacy outside by creating your very own outdoor reading corner! This Rainbow Den with its multi-coloured roof is sure to spark excitement and imaginations!
  • Get outdoors with music and art! Inspire a new generation of artists by allowing them to draw plants, insects, the sun or whatever they might fancy! Art Easels such as this one will encourage co-operative and collaborative drawing.
  • Study mini-beast activity through every season! The Crittacabin consists of a single unit with multi-habitats, which allows children to monitor the habits of different insects, hedgehogs and mammals. Locate in a sunny position, preferably close to flowering plants, and observe the wildlife – monitor your results with the Recordable Magnifier.
  • A mud kitchen in the heart of your setting provides children with a wonderful array of learning opportunities. From encouraging creativity and influencing language development, to supporting STEAM learning, messy play had educational relevance across all age groups and curriculum areas. Children will love to mix, mash, blend and sieve materials, whilst developing mathematical, scientific and communication skills.
  • Potions and Concoctions and Mud Kitchens –  Let imaginations soar, investigations begin and concoctions be mixed, stirred and conjured up at this inspiring centre. We know how important it is for children to play outside. Experimenting with messy materials is also a vital part of that learning experience. Mixing, pouring and stirring ingredients at the Messy Station in this Concoctions Corner is not only great fun but helps the children to make connections and develop their understanding of how things work.
  • Set up a treasure hunt in your outdoor area! Separate the children into groups of 3 and have them find and answer individual clues. Encourage them to share their findings with the other groups in order to move onto the next step! These communication headsets will enhance their ability to interact with their classmates. Or, why not allow children to sit outside with a favourite book?

Make the most of your Outdoor Classroom!

Sand and water provides children with the opportunity to experience enriched messy play activities. Children can extend their mathematical and scientific knowledge by making discoveries through cause and effect, using utensils and exploring different materials.

The versatile activity bench below is the perfect resource to encourage children to explore, create, hypothesise, predict and experiment. Extend the provision by adding accessories that support and enhance play. The unit is double-sided to allow for collaborative play and features two removable bowls for mixing and creating concoctions. There are hooks on the wooden partition for hanging utensils. Children can pour liquids or roll balls down the ramp, place a variety of utensils, magnifiers or tweezers on the hooks or in the holes, or wind tubing through the holes into funnels. Whether you use a microscope for exploring materials, or a camera for recording findings, children are able to develop a wide range of key STEAM skills on this open-ended, versatile unit.

Take loose parts outdoors with these Loose Parts activity Units. Open-ended, sturdy and versatile, lending themselves to an array of STEAM learning opportunities. A hub for imaginative creations and practical storage solutions. Build on, attach, post, hang things and thread on to the unit. Children can be engineers, designers, builders and artists.

If you are fed up of boring metal fence panels around your playground, why not liven them up with these beautiful back drop panels – they make great starting points for a learning zone. And a den frame and some camouflage material to create a real cosy hideaway for reading.

This essential PE bundle would make a vibrant addition to any playground. Packed full of fun activities that children will love.

Essential playground PE bundle

Store all your outdoor items in this really handy Large outdoor storage unit.