This blog is written by 22-year-old Nadiyah, an Environmental Science graduate and new member of the Our Bright Future Youth Forum. Nadiyah is interested in environmental issues, and is keen to talk about them to help tackle climate change. Here, she tells us about her experience of outdoor learning and its many benefits.


Outdoor learning is an active and practical way to teach and learn which involves being outdoors. It transforms the experience you gain into learning new skills where you learn the skills of feedback, enquiry, review and reflection. In addition, it helps to develop knowledge of others and themselves, an understanding of the topic the children are learning about, the environment, encourages tolerance, cooperation, great team working skills and empathy. Outdoor learning makes learning physical. It can include:


  • Collecting a survey of the number of vehicles driving through a road safely for a Maths or ICT lesson
  • Creating a sundial experiment where you come back at certain times of the day to find out the relationship between the sun and the earth, and how that affects light
  • Creating and using a map to find out what is in your local area and grow the children’s cartography and map skills

As you can see learning outside doesn’t have to be nature-based or in high quality habitats in order to carry out your teaching outdoors – just individuals wanting to do it. With your imagination and from resources online you can create a fun and easy lesson for your students.

Did you know?

Outdoor Learning has so many benefits. It can…

  • Boost environmental awareness
    • It is evident from a study by the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust that poorer children were not keen in being around nature than better-off kids, but after a day of learning outdoors this difference was overcome. The advantages of outdoor learning would seem obvious but many children especially from deprived areas don’t get to be in a natural environment due to parents’ fears, an increase in digital technology and lack of nearby green spaces.
  • Boost confidence
    • By allowing the student to overcome challenges they will be able to face their fears, apprehensions and make big strides in their confidence. They will be able to develop self-confidence, self-reliance and independence. Being outdoors provides opportunities for personal and social development through structured group work. Care, trust and the awareness or needs of others are naturally used. I was able to face some of my fears of creepy crawlies and reptiles as I knew that the Wildlife Garden was their home and cared about their habitats and safety.
  • Boost educational attainment
    • Children feel more motivated when learning outside. The Natural Connections Demonstration project is a project which helped children (especially from a disadvantaged background) engage with the natural environment by supporting teachers in using the outdoors during lessons. By 2016 it encouraged 40,000 schools across England to participate in outdoor learning. The Environment Minister in 2016, Rory Stewart, said that the project “listens to teachers, it works with the grain of an individual school, and it works out how to get children into the outdoors while improving their curriculum experience.” One school brought up the revival of their local agricultural show. A survey was given to teachers, other staff and children to understand how they found outdoor learning through the project.

Survey by The Natural Connections Demonstration Project in 2016. Created by Nadiyah

By spending more time in the park that I volunteered at I was interested by the different tree species so I created a tree trail for the Year 1 and 2 pupils to do in the park. It got me being creative and I learnt fun facts about some of the trees that I have never heard of.


  • Boost health and well-being
    • We know that child obesity is a crisis in the UK where approximately 30% of children in the UK are classed as overweight or obese. Obese children and adolescents are likely to be obese as adults and get diseases which include type 2 diabetes. Therefore, by allowing children to learn outdoors, we increase their physical activity, helping to tackle obesity in children. Also, we can support their emotional well-being which will make them be able to embrace the world independently. This is not only the case for children, spending time in parks is very beneficial for adults; for me it helped me with my mental health as it helped me to overcome some symptoms of ADHD. I was able to feel relaxed and cheerful when working with the children on their activities or having a stroll in the park.

My experience

Maths Trail:

I had a great opportunity to assist in outdoor school sessions at West Ham Park, East London. I took part in a Maths Trail session where we had 10 questions put up around the park and various equipment such as a tape-measure, trundle wheel with counter and a rope. Some of the questions included measuring the circumference of a tree trunk, the radius of a circular patch on the ground and how tall the flagpole is.


I loved the orienteering exercise as they learnt how to read a map by turning it to face north and using a compass to do this. They listened very carefully to how this is done and then tried it themselves. Using the map they were told to find the points on the map and answer the questions when they found those points in the park.  They were excited and pleased with themselves whenever they found the bamboo stick with the questions on them.

Pond dipping and mini-beast hunting:

These were my favourite activities. I learnt about the species living in the pond such as mayfly larvae, newts, pond skaters, leeches and worms. There were also dragonflies which were excited with our visit as I think they liked our scent. One of them landed on my leg! The kids were able to do pond-dipping where we showed them the technique on how to effectively collect a good amount of species in their net. They learnt a new skill! Most of them were careful not to disturb the species so they showed care and kindness. They also showed this whilst mini-beast hunting where patience and attentiveness was needed. With the land animals they were able to look under different habitats to find the animals and they used clay to create their own mini-beast using their creative skills.


What can teachers do to add outdoor learning to the curriculum?

They can take a look at places to teach outdoors as well as links to ideas for outdoor learning below:

. Forest schools | The Good Schools Guide

Join our Schools Network – London National Park City

KS2 Outdoor Learning Activities – Outdoor Learning Resources (

. City of London Corporation has Learning Officers who lead sessions – I recommend contacting them!


You can also add your support for outdoor learning by signing Our Bright Future’s important e-action here.