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Storming It Outdoors!  – The fantastic possibilities of cold, wet and windy weather

  • Storming It Outdoors!  – The fantastic possibilities of cold, wet and windy weather

The one certainty we face at this time of year is that the cold, wet and windy weather is here to stay for quite a while. If we’re waiting for this to pass before we use our outdoor provision, we may well be waiting for quite a long time!

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain”.

Such a good phrase to have in mind at this time of year when you are thinking about outdoor learning for EYFS and KS1!

So, as we reach for our coats and umbrellas, it’s the perfect moment to consider how we can utilise the weather and how it changes, as part of our practice.

Being prepared whatever the weather

The process of getting ready to go outside at this time of year can offer lots of valuable learning experiences for EYFS and KS1 children – and if you’ve got the space to create one, it’s good practice to make a transition area between indoor and out where the children can access waterproofs and wellies themselves.

This provides an ideal opportunity for developing independence and self-care skills.

When setting up these spaces we need to consider the practicalities and how we can organise resources to support learning, eg wellingtons labelled by size, shoe storage and named pegs to attach shoes together all help the area to run smoothly and offer meaningful learning experiences.

Easy-to-access wet weather jackets and trousers for children are also important, as they offer warmth and protection in the worst of conditions.

Fully embracing the challenges

To be available throughout the year, resources need to withstand the elements. The most valuable outdoor resources are those that can be used all year round, but make sure you regularly check them for safety and sustainability.

Collections of crates, tarpaulins and fastenings are ideal, as in rainy weather EYFS and KS1 children have the perfect motivation to build dens and shelters!

The size and scale of the resources should be physically challenging to the children, so think of resources that magnify learning. Lifting, carrying, constructing and balancing large scale materials means that children are on the move all the time, helping to keep them warm.

Water play can be good too but will need to be thought through to reflect the conditions. Certainly avoid having a water tray outdoors as this won’t be as inviting once the weather gets cold.

Instead, long pieces of tubing and guttering alongside a range of large containers, such as buckets and watering cans offer more active possibilities and new challenges.

Maximising new experiences

The changeable weather offers many special learning experiences. Rainfall provides a wonderfully tactile way of exploring water in a different context.

Standing in, walking through and splashing in puddles provides meaningful opportunities for children to explore new experiences and develop new vocabulary too.

You might want to put together a rainy-day box or a collection of resources which will be perfect for using in the rain.

There are also lots of possibilities for outdoor learning on windy, icy and frosty days. For example, a collection of kite-making materials can lead to fantastic physical engagement on windy days.

In icy spells, leaving different shaped shallow containers in your outdoor space will allow rainfall to collect and turn to sheets of ice. At this point, you can explore with the children how to melt the ice quickly by adding salt or warmth.

Ice is also a great material for artwork and sculpture.

Children will enjoy mark making on different surfaces with pieces of ice and you might want to share some of Andy Goldsworthy’s stunning ice sculptures to inspire ideas.

And finally…get ready

The key message is to get ready. Ensure that you audit your provision, organise your ideas and develop your resource collections for these predictable types of weather – and at Early Excellence we can help you.

We are passionate about helping schools and settings to develop outdoor learning and offer a unique selection of resources that can help you make the most of the outdoors, all year round.

Outdoor resource collections

Building & Constructing
£845.00 (exc VAT)

Water Investigations
£525.00 (exc VAT)

Den Building & Camping
£845.00 (exc VAT)

Playing Games
£525.00 (exc VAT)

Expressive Art
£395.00 (exc VAT)

Exploring Nature
£395.00 (exc VAT)

Explore the full EEx range online.

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