by Sarah Rankin
Outdoor Learning is sometimes the last thing we want to do in the depths of Winter but this is also a unique time to explore and learn outdoors. Drama Artist Sarah Rankin shares her top tips for working with Early Years creatively outdoors throughout Autumn and Winter:
Stay warm and dry
You and your group should dress appropriately for Scotland’s colder months. Getting ready can be part of the fun. For example you can say ‘we are explorers going on an adventure, what do we need? Boots, jackets, hats, gloves…etc’ and get ready together. If the group are starting to feel the cold you can lead a dance to warm up or pretend to make a fire by rubbing your hands together very fast.
Be a positive outdoor role model
Show the group you are happy and excited to be outside even if it is cold and wet. We wouldn’t get outside much in Scotland if we waited for perfect weather so celebrate rain, puddles, wind, snow and frost with your group.
Get inspired by the seasons
Autumn and winter create lots of opportunities for learning and nature connection. Encourage curiosity, imagination and questions by sharing facts but also stories. If a child asks why there is frost you can say ‘some say the morning dew freezes because it’s colder at night time but I think it’s Jack Frost.’ Explore the change in seasons by playing with falling leaves and noticing changing colours and landscapes. You can experiment with frost by melting it with your breath and drawing in it with sticks.
Know your space
Where is more sheltered? Where stays dry? What area becomes very slippery after rain or frost? If you know your outdoor space then you can use the sheltered areas for more focused activities and support risk management when they come across more risky areas. If you are comfortable in the space then your outdoor experience is more likely to be a safe, creative and exciting learning environment.
For more ideas, activities, and top tips – check out our other blogs or order the Out to Play resource pack.