We have found learning outdoors is the way forward! Especially as we approach the last week of term when they would be having fun at school. So as I see it, it’s school trip time! We are so lucky to live where we do and there are so many lovely places to go, some paid and some FREE. I have tried to suggest a few places off the beaten track as well as suggestions as to how to make our favourites feel “educational”. I know many of you home school all the time, so if you have any ideas that should be added, do let me know.
During lockdown we have been on loads of lovely walks. Many are listed here. During these walks we have identified wild flowers with the help of Picture This, picked a few, pressed them and then made cards. Some have streams where you can paddle and explore. Others more suitable for bikes. Depending where you live we have really enjoyed Falling Foss, Yearsley Woods, Menethorpe. Wharram Piercy, White Horse and Howsham Mill / Kirkham (but this has been getting very busy). With a nice weather forecast for this week, take a picnic and enjoy our lovely countryside.
Our lovely teacher suggested making maps of walks when you get home as to what you have seen. This has been a massive hit. You can include natural features, animals you have seen, points of interest along the way. We found Howsham Mill to Kirkham was great for this; the seaside also works well.
There are loads of fun things you can do to make your school trip “feel educational”. We went to Castle Howard armed with clip boards, white paper, a paper bag and crayons! We rubbed bark and leaves as we walked talking about the different types (deciduous or evergreen) and species of tree. We also collected some leaves. When we got home we made a giant tree sticking on our rubbings and leaves. These then had to be labelled to help them remember the different trees.
The seaside is always a winner for school trips. We had a great day at Thornwick Bay – car park at the top of the slope down was £1.80 for over 2 hours, toilets and an ice cream van was in place. The café wasn’t open but it may be now? (do let me know if you have been). Here is a great place to explore, play and build with large limestone pebbles. For older children, Thornwick Bay is a great place to learn about coastal erosion. There are some puffins and razorbills to be spotted. If you would like to see more, Bempton Cliffs is the place for you! Fossil hunters may wish to head to Boggle Hole, Robin Hoods Bay or perhaps Ravenscar to see the seals.
Playdale Farm is great fun for all ages and an amazing place to learn about different species of animals. Here you can get close to goats, chickens, sheep, alpacas, llamas and much more. The goats are due to have their kids as well so you will see them (very cute) or maybe even catch a birth!
Sledmere brings nature and rare breed farm animals together. Explore the grounds, maybe learn about trees. See the deer and learn about their lovely animals in the Sledmere Farm Park.
Wolds Way Lavender has a lovely area to spot birds and has more butterflies than anywhere else! See bees up close making honey. Loads to do and fun to be had including den building, footgolf, willow maze and much more.
Dalby Forest is great place to learn about the forest; and whilst their Ranger Packs are not currently available due to COVID 19, there are so many resources on their website which you can print prior to going. For younger ones, there are a number of spotter guides – nature, animals, trees etc. Or for slightly older children, perhaps the Forest Cycle. DOWNLOAD the activity sheets HERE. At Dalby, there is so much to explore whether it be Adderstone, streams to paddle (and look for water life), Staindale Lake, the Forest itself and of course, do take your bikes!
A really popular activity this lockdown has been cutting a piece of cardboard into shapes and allowing children to explore textures and colours. These can be butterflies, dolls or even superheroes. Cut out the shape of cardboard, maybe stick on your little ones photo as the head. For example, perhaps cut out the dress and allow them to hold them up to different colours and shapes when out and about. Eliza has loved her magic skirt, holding it up against different places.
I hope this has given you a few fun ideas to get out to enjoy the outdoors whilst still “learning” this week.