Autumn outdoor learning: lesson ideas

Posted on | Posted in Education

At Canopies UK, we think outdoor learning and play in schools can (and should!) be enjoyed all year round. As the autumn months roll in, you don’t have to say goodbye to outdoor learning. It’s actually a great time to reap the benefits of outdoor lessons.

Taking lessons outside has many wonderful benefits for children, including:

  • Improved concentration
  • Better physical health
  • Development of communication skills
  • An increase in well-being and improved mental health
  • A better appreciation of the world around then

There are loads of ways to enjoy spending time learning outdoors outside of the summer months. In this blog, we’ll help you perfect your autumn lesson plans for EYFS and get inspired. Here are five great autumn lesson ideas.

Autumn lesson ideas

Get arty with pine cones

Arts and crafts are perfect for outdoor lessons all year round, as it means you can get messy without worrying about cleaning up the classroom. In autumn, why not put a seasonal spin on your arts and crafts time by using pine cones?

Pine cones fall to the ground between September and December, and can be found in woodland and parks. If you’re lucky enough to have pine trees nearby, you could set out as a group to collect as many pine cones as you can. Then, get creative. You could paint them, decorate using glitter, or create autumnal ornaments or wreaths.

Autumn creative writing

Golden trees, crisp air, conkers – there’s loads to be said about the beauty of autumn. A great thing to do is celebrate the season with an autumn writing challenge. Get the class outside and make notes of all the words you would use to describe autumn. Then, use the observations to come up with an autumnal writing prompt.

Give the students words and phrases like ‘orange leaves’ and ‘cosy’ to try to fit into a piece of creative writing. This could be a short story based around autumn, or even a poem.

Playing in leaves

Celebrate the beautifully coloured leaves that cover the ground during autumn with an energetic play session. This is a fantastic sensory activity. Leaves can be collected, scrunched, crunched, jumped in and thrown, all while children can admire the gorgeous array of colours.

This one is great for younger children, so if you’re looking for autumn lesson plans for toddlers or nurseries, try it out.

Make a hedgehog house

Hedgehogs hibernate throughout winter and begin their preparations in autumn, making it the perfect time to make a hedgehog house. This creates a safe and warm space for hedgehogs to nest in, and when the time comes, they might even use it for their hibernation!

Typically, hedgehogs will gather leaves, grass, straw and small twigs to build a hibernation nest, so you could set out as a class and gather these yourselves. Then, build or buy a hedgehog house to set up the cosy nest in. If you’re lucky, you might spot a prickly friend making a home there.

Start an autumn scrapbook

A scrapbook or journal is a great way to encourage children to take in more about the changing world around them. Give all the children in the class their own autumn journal, or create a group journal for everyone to contribute to. Then, have the students fill it with the special things they see throughout autumn.

This could be anything from leaves changing colour to the different insects and wildlife they might spot. You could also cut out pictures to stick in. Don’t forget to create a page or two for seasonal holidays like Bonfire Night and Halloween. This encourages children to share their own stories and observations and is a great way to promote mindfulness in the autumn months.

We hope we’ve helped inspire you with these autumn lesson ideas. Incorporating outdoor learning and play in schools has many great benefits. Why not find out more about our outdoor classrooms and canopies for schools? Or contact us on 01254 777 002