5 learning activities for summer weather
The great outdoors becomes the best classroom, art studio and dining room ever with these summer learning ideas from Juno Hollyhock from Learning through Landscapes. Remember the sunscreen!
A great activity for this time of year is making your own sundial. It’s ridiculously simple and can keep children occupied for hours – literally!
Choose a nice robust stick and place it upright in the ground somewhere where it can sit for a while without getting in the way. Once the time hits the hour, place a stone, make a mark, chalk a number or otherwise note the position of the stick’s shadow at that time.
It’s up to you how often you want to mark; every hour is usual but we have seen sundials marked out in 15-minute blocks with different-sized markings and they look just great!
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Safety rules apply with this one! Please make sure that children are supervised and that you are doing the activity on a surface that will not catch fire (an old plate is ideal). Keep a bucket of water handy just in case the paper catches fire and ensure you talk the children through the activity carefully first.
Using a simple magnifying glass train the sun through the glass onto a piece of paper until a scorch mark appears. Move the glass around to create shapes and patterns. A little practice will be needed to make marks that can be seen without burning holes through the paper!
You will need some dark-coloured paper or material for this activity.
Dissolve a few teaspoons of table salt into a cup of water and use this as paint to make patterns on your paper. Leave to dry in the sun and you will see beautiful salt trails where the water has been. The more salt you dissolve, the more effective this will be.
A great game for the beach, and so simple to do!
Find some dark-coloured stones and some light-coloured stones and use them as markers for a game of noughts and crosses. The playing space can be marked out in lines on the sand or with larger stones on shingle. This technique can be adapted for draughts or checkers as well.
Pretty paperweights can be made by painting patterns on larger stones and then, when the paint has dried, painting over the designs with PVA glue. This will leave a shiny, hard surface to protect your art work. Equally, why not try pasting delicate pieces of seaweed or leaves to your stone for a more natural look?
Fruitilicious frozen fruit
Summer is a great time for eating soft fruit fresh from the garden or the fruit stall at your local shop. But not all children want to eat fruit and the frozen lollipops available often contain high quantities of sugar and colouring.
Try freezing the fruit as icy treats instead. Grapes, blackcurrants, raspberries , blueberries and blackberries all work well as icy, tasty snacks and are packed with valuable nutrients that aren’t spoiled by the freezing process. Even apple pieces can be frozen (blanching them by putting them into boiling water and then cold water first will help them to retain their colour).
Exercise caution with very young children as small, frozen pieces of fruit can be a choking hazard.
Outdoor learning fun, whatever the season
Learning through Landscapes specialises in outdoor learning and play through education. They aim to enable children to connect with nature, be more active, be more engaged with their learning, develop their social skills and have fun.