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Outdoor fun in March

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By Rose Joyceaccredited trainer and facilitator for Learning through Landscapes

It might be cold in March, but don’t be afraid to venture outdoors. You’ll find so much to explore and enjoy at this time of year

Fly a kite

A brisk, windy March day is particularly suitable for the following activity. Take the children outdoors and show them how to make a simple kite by attaching a length of string to a paper plate. Encourage them to hold the kite above their heads and let it fly behind them as they walk or run. Suggest to older children that they add tails to their kite. Help them to attach another piece of string and tie on two or three pieces of paper or ribbon at different intervals along it. Does the tail make any difference to the way the kite flies?

Natural creations

Give each child a small basket, bag or similar container. Depending on age and ability, invite them to collect approximately ten natural materials in the outdoor environment. These items can be sticks, stones, leaves, moss, pieces of grass and so on. Encourage the children to create a picture using these found objects on a solid surface in an agreed area. Discuss items that are not safe to pick up and what to do if they find something they are not sure about. Talk to the children about their creation and take a photograph. Leave the children’s creations outdoors and revisit them frequently. Discuss the impact of the elements on their creations and compare them with their photographs of the original.

Sensory walk

With parental permission, take the children on an outdoor sensory walk. This can be done even in the most barren urban area. There is always some growth to look at, even if it is simply weeds growing through the cracks in the pavement. The sky is always changing overhead and the ground is full of small creatures. Encourage the children to think about which sense they are using to enjoy these experiences. If you can find a safe place to stop, hold hands in a circle and close your eyes to isolate your sense of hearing. Ask the children to quietly tell the adult nearest to them what they can hear. Encourage them to listen for the smaller sounds as well as the bigger ones.

Island hopping

Use chalk, hoops or skipping ropes to create a series of circles in a long line outdoors ready to play ‘Island hopping’. This game is probably best played with a small group of children but can be adapted for a larger group. Tell the children that the circles represent islands and all around the islands is the sea. Encourage them to move from one island to another without falling into the sea. Start with the islands being quite close together and gradually increase the challenge by moving them further apart.