One of the conversations I have a lot in my dealings with schools is ‘we don’t have access to much Nature, how can I connect the children to the outdoors?’

So, why we do this…

There are a lot of benefits to bringing the nature into the classroom for pupils and the teachers.

  • It provides hands on learning experiences to enhance the engagement of pupils.
  • It allows them to develop practical applications of concepts, which allows for deeper understanding
  • Holistic development is supported as pupils improve their observation skills, develop critical thinking skills and also cultivate empathy.
  • Nature based activities foster a connection to the natural world, reducing stress and anxiety, promoting creativity and physical wellbeing.
  • Nature experiences instil a sense of awe and wonder in pupils, an appreciation for biodiversity and allow them real world contexts for learning.
  • Nature experiences inspire environmental stewardship in pupils.

How can we do this in the classroom setting?

  1. Create a nature table – the simplest and oldest thing in the book! Get your pupils to bring in cool things that they find to share with their friends. Encourage them outdoors to find these things and really take time to explore them in the class.
  2. Grow things on the classroom window ledges. Simple plants, house plants, small edibles, let them grow and learn about plants. They not only improve air quality but also provide a calming atmosphere.
  3. Raise butterflies! Hatch eggs, nothing inspires awe and wonder more than welcoming new lives into the world.
  4. Encourage a Nature Show and Tell session. Where the children bring in and speak about their finds.
  5. Create Nature art in class. use leaves, sticks stones etc in their art work.
  6. Terrariums: Build terrariums with glass containers, rocks, soil, and small plants. These mini ecosystems are educational and visually appealing.
  7. Nature-Themed D├ęcor: Decorate the classroom with nature-themed posters, artwork, and wallpapers featuring scenes from forests, oceans, or other natural settings.
  8. Natural Light: Maximize natural light by arranging desks near windows. Natural light can positively impact students’ mood and concentration.
  9. Outdoor Classroom: If possible, hold some classes outdoors, allowing students to experience learning in a natural setting. This can include activities like reading, writing, or science experiments.
  10. Bird Feeders and Baths: Set up bird feeders and bird baths outside the classroom windows. Students can observe and document the birds that visit.
  11. Wildlife Observation: Invest in binoculars and field guides for birdwatching or studying local wildlife. Create a “wildlife sighting” board where students can record their observations.
  12. Nature Journals: Encourage students to keep nature journals where they sketch and write about their observations during outdoor or indoor nature-themed activities.
  13. Incorporate Nature in Lessons: Integrate nature-related topics into your curriculum. For example, teach ecology by studying local ecosystems, or use natural examples in math and science lessons.
  14. Nature Art: Organize art projects that incorporate natural materials like leaves, sticks, rocks, or pinecones. This can also include outdoor art sessions.
  15. Nature-Themed Readings: Include books, articles, or poems that focus on nature in your reading assignments. This can spark discussions and inspire a love for the environment.
  16. Field Trips: Plan field trips to local parks, nature reserves, botanical gardens, or wildlife centres to give students direct exposure to natural environments.
  17. Outdoor Learning Stations: Create learning stations or activity centres outdoors. These can be used for group discussions, experiments, or hands-on activities.
  18. Natural Soundscapes: Play natural sounds like birdsong, running water, or rustling leaves during relaxation or meditation sessions to bring a sense of nature into the classroom.
  19. Sensory Bins: Set up sensory bins filled with materials like sand, soil, rocks, and pine needles to engage students’ sense of touch and smell.
  20. Environmental Projects: Encourage students to take on environmental projects, such as planting trees, cleaning up local parks, or starting a recycling program at school.
  21. Nature-based Storytelling: Develop storytelling or creative writing exercises centred around nature themes, inspiring students to use their imagination.
  22. Guest Speakers: Invite experts in ecology, conservation, or wildlife to give talks or demonstrations to the class.
  23. Nature Challenges: Organize nature-themed challenges or competitions that encourage students to explore and appreciate the natural world, such as a photography contest or a tree identification challenge.

What other ideas can you think of?

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