This has been created for you, as parents, to learn with children in outdoor spaces. We are excited to offer you a curated collection of ideas from around the world, that support what we do here at Blueberry Creek Forest and Nature Centre.
We believe the approaches of Forest and Nature School Canada, as well as our emphasis on artistic learning experiences supported by the knowledge of our educators. Each educator brings a different strength, knowledge and experiences to our learning here at Forest School and we are constantly learning from one another.
Forest and Nature School Canada: A Head, Heart, Hands Approach to Outdoor Learning
Challenging Risky Play
Active for Life podcast: Dr. Mariana Brussoni on the value of risky play (Canadian)
Risky play can be an intimidating concept for parents and caregivers to try to implement with their children. How much risk is too much? How can play remain safe?
Listen to Dr. Mariana Brussoni on Risky Play
Value of Outdoor Play for Children
Recent research reveals that nature boosts student motivation and competence. (European Research)
Mathematical Experiences in the Outdoors
Juliet Robertson (Scotland), the author of the book Messy Maths and the website https://creativestarlearning.co.uk/ was a guest speaker for a week at a retreat some of our teachers were participating in a few years ago,. We use Juliet’s ideas on a regular basis and you may find them useful too!
White Line Pebble Math
“It’s hard not to be inspired by pebbles. You pick them up, you look at them and they speak silently to you in ways that words can’t describe. They are inexplicably powerful. Sometimes one ends up in your pocket. Other times they get dropped and moved around by our actions as well as that of the waves, rivers and other geomorphological processes. ” Juliet Robertson
Wet Weather Nature Symmetry Circles
“This experience about symmetry is an example of how any teacher can easily differentiate an activity to meet the learning needs of any individual and to illustrate the progression of concepts involved in understanding symmetry and creating symmetrical patterns. Juliet Robertson
In an outdoor space, more specific experiences can be provided for young children based upon their own discoveries in play. Various reflective surfaces can be created or found…
Using the iPad app, Photo Booth, note that one of the special effects is a mirror. Turn the iPad horizontally and the axis of symmetry changes to a traditional landscape reflection as shown below:
Exploring Pattern Outside-Rainy Day Rubbings
A useful alternative which is suitable for all weathers all year round is using aluminium foil. Small lengths can be cut out and then children can choose a surface which interests them to press it onto and rub.
Here are some ideas on thinking about plants with children.
The Art of Plant Study Outside
Representing all the parts of a plant, a challenge in our understanding.
Beautiful creations with leaves of different shapes and sizes. A bouquet of shapes.
Children often collect lovely little bits from outside on their travels. We are collecting some ideas of our own on what does collecting look like? How does it connect us with nature? How are we responsible collectors? See some ideas that have intrigued us…
Creating a Collector’s Garden for All
The Collector’s Garden is a special rock garden where children can pick the rocks and shells (instead of picking flowers)
Cloud and Sky
The sky connects us no matter where we are. We often encourage all of us to look, really look at the sky, in all weather, in all seasons, and at different times of day. These are some experiences we can support in happening outside with children and will deepen our own relationship with nature.
10 Ideas for Exploring Clouds
“Clouds are an endless source of fascination with a shape and symmetry all of their own, related to the physics of cloud formation. Unusually you cannot always tell the size of a cloud by looking at it – it seems to be almost independent of scale. This is all part of the fractal nature of clouds and many other natural forms.” Juliet Robertson