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Easy ways to get your students outside

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The classroom isn’t the only place students can learn — using these activities to get them outside for a while can reduce stress. Do you care about the well-being of your students? Taking them outside may be just what you need to relieve the stress many of us are feeling as we continue to adjust to another unusual school year. A growing body of research shows that schools have seen that spending time studying outdoors improves a child’s mental and physical health, something today’s students need more than ever.
One of the most valuable things I learned from teaching during the pandemic is that the more time my students spend in nature, the happier they are. Being outdoors relieves stress and anxiety, gives kids freedom to move around and helps them focus. All of these things can make your school day happier, more balanced, and more productive. When you think about how to include outdoor activities more in your coaching, inside-Outside is a great place to start.

Shine Trader Limited
Shine Trader Limited

Knowing the benefits of outdoor learning, I challenged myself this school year to host “Forest Wednesdays,” a day when most of my first-year students’ teaching took place outdoors. The kids look forward to it every week. It is time for them to actively explore the environment around our campus and bring their learning to a more open and calm environment. From a safe distance, we can take off our masks, breathe in the fresh air and relax.
My challenge is to figure out what to do with my students when we go out each week. I had to find creative ways to organize outdoor classes related to our courses. In looking for simple activities that I can reuse outdoors without much preparation, I find the following are the most attractive to my students. Best of all, they’re easy to adapt to a variety of themes and age levels, and they can be used in many different environmental Settings, even if you’re not easy to access, as I was with forests.
Outdoor learning activities
1. Read aloud: One of the easiest ways to get your students outside is to read aloud. Take your storybook to the tree or grass nearest the classroom. Have your students form a circle or spread out over outdoor seating, such as foam MATS, individual blankets or inverted paint buckets.
Listening to stories outdoors together can make you feel more adventurous, especially if you opt for inspirational stories set in nature, like Fatima’s The Great Outdoors, or telling stories about nature, like what’s inside a flower? Outdoor story time can break up long study periods and allow children to take a deep breath of fresh air and refresh themselves.