Hello

This is my second blog of ideas of things to do out and about around the area. You can still go outside once a day for a walk, although of course please do follow all the social distancing guidance from the government – remember keep at least an imaginary (and rather smelly) cow between you and everyone else!

However, before we get on to activities for your child, I will start with you- as a parent. This time is not about you needing to provide an education for your child. It is an emergency and unprecedented. No one has the answer, and no one can say what is best for you or your child. A good bit of ignoring your child can be brilliant as it can develop resilience and creativity, asking them to help in the house develops life skills, watching television and going online will keep them connected to the outside world, and providing planned activities can help with organisation. Whatever you are doing, they will learn and develop, and unlike us, in the future have experience of an international crisis to refer to.

Your wellbeing is also important – in fact more so than your child’s. Self-care is good practise for you, enables you to deal with everything being thrown at you and is a good example for your child. To this end as well as these activities for children I will be using my background as a mindfulness therapist to develop some simple self-care exercises for you, so do look out for them.

OK, so if you decide you do want to do something with your child that develops their education, whist being out and about and is fairly easy, I have put together some more ideas.

Today I thought I would tackle Maths. Now maths is one of my favourite subjects to cover outside as there is so much you can do! You may tend to think of maths sessions as being very much about sitting inside with paper and pencil, but these activities are nothing like this.

Because there are so many brilliant ideas, I have split this blog into to two halves. This first half focuses more on thing to do with children under 8 (ie Key stage 1 and below). Although of course as before, you know your children and what they might like!

I have also attached some really simple worksheets, and feel free to print these out if you want.

As before I will start with a bit on risks assessing the activities and making sure you also take care of the park. Remember that the rangers who normally spend a long time clearing litter and checking the areas are safe are being asked to work at home as much as possible, so we are hoping we can rely on you to help this happen. This means we ask you to

Ok now on to the activities.

If you have more than one child this can be done as a game, who can find the best shape, who can find the shape the fastest?

Ask your child to find things that match to particular number – so maybe 1 tree trunk, 2 eyes on a bird, three parts to a leaf, four petals on a flower. Nothing needs to be collected, and indeed many things you can’t collect, so this can be all about leaving things where they are.

You can challenge you child to find different numbers, but also see if there are any numbers they keep finding.

Maybe even keep a tally of number they notice in nature

This can be surprisingly hard for some young children. Involves being able to differentiate between different properties of an object

For older children you may want to talk to them about the different ways we classify things, and that something can have more than one quality. Ie a stick can be both long and thin.

Ask your child to find a stick. Then see if they can measure things using that stick. How many sticks tall are they? How many sticks tall are you? How many sticks wide is the path?

This introduces using simple units to measure something, but doesn’t use recognised units, so you may want to do the next activity to build on it.

If your child can’t find a particular length stick challenge them to problem solve how they can get that length.

Ask them to collect more of the shorter sticks than the longer one (ie 1 of 1m, 2 of 50cm, 10 of 10cm)

Using the length of sticks the children have got you can make a fraction wall. This means at the top put the 1m stick. Then work out how many of the 50cm sticks are needed to be about the same length. It should be 2. Obviously in fractions this is said as ½ or a half. There should be 10 of the 10cm sticks to make 1 of the 1m length. This is 1/10 or a tenth.

Stick lengths vary slightly -so you may find the 10cm sticks are more like 12cm. Check the number – for example if you have 9 sticks making 1m, this is one ninth, which is a good fraction, and not wrong, but you may like to have a chat about if the small sticks were really 10cm exactly.

Ihave to say sometimes children get quite creative and I have had two children leaning toward one another holding hands making a triangle with their bodies and the ground.

Again like the categories above this include classification according to different features, so one set of leaves could actually make several different graphs.

You could follow this up at home by drawing the graph they have made.

Instead of a graph you could see if your child can lay the leaves in a line from small to large, or if they can decide one feature to change each time.

id you know that the parts of a leaf are called leaflets – I love that fact, it seems such a strange name. This activity involves some multiplication, so is good for higher KS1 and lower KS2.

Leaves often have several leaflets – think of three -leaved clover – those three parts are actually 3 leaflets and one leaf. This factor can make for some good multiplication. Ie you find some sycamore leaves (with three pointy bits (pinnates) each) on the floor. You have 4 leaves, so how many pinnates? Or in a square of your garden you count 100 clover leaves. How many leaflets are there?

With younger children just counting parts and wholes is a good way to start. Older children maybe able to work out how many there should be, then check it.

Once you have managed 3 leaves, can you do it with a larger number of leaves? Or even cut pieces of paper to make it more regular than leaves (which have a rather annoying habit of coming in many different shapes as well as sizes! 😉)

This is my second blog of ideas of things to do out and about around the area. You can still go outside once a day for a walk, although of course please do follow all the social distancing guidance from the government – remember keep at least an imaginary (and rather smelly) cow between you and everyone else!

However, before we get on to activities for your child, I will start with you- as a parent. This time is not about you needing to provide an education for your child. It is an emergency and unprecedented. No one has the answer, and no one can say what is best for you or your child. A good bit of ignoring your child can be brilliant as it can develop resilience and creativity, asking them to help in the house develops life skills, watching television and going online will keep them connected to the outside world, and providing planned activities can help with organisation. Whatever you are doing, they will learn and develop, and unlike us, in the future have experience of an international crisis to refer to.

Your wellbeing is also important – in fact more so than your child’s. Self-care is good practise for you, enables you to deal with everything being thrown at you and is a good example for your child. To this end as well as these activities for children I will be using my background as a mindfulness therapist to develop some simple self-care exercises for you, so do look out for them.

OK, so if you decide you do want to do something with your child that develops their education, whist being out and about and is fairly easy, I have put together some more ideas.

Today I thought I would tackle Maths. Now maths is one of my favourite subjects to cover outside as there is so much you can do! You may tend to think of maths sessions as being very much about sitting inside with paper and pencil, but these activities are nothing like this.

Because there are so many brilliant ideas, I have split this blog into to two halves. This first half focuses more on thing to do with children under 8 (ie Key stage 1 and below). Although of course as before, you know your children and what they might like!

I have also attached some really simple worksheets, and feel free to print these out if you want.

As before I will start with a bit on risks assessing the activities and making sure you also take care of the park. Remember that the rangers who normally spend a long time clearing litter and checking the areas are safe are being asked to work at home as much as possible, so we are hoping we can rely on you to help this happen. This means we ask you to

- Take all your litter home,
- Check the locations you are going - on the floor, body height and above your head for any obvious risks. If you see anything serious do let us know.
- Some plants can be poisonous so we don’t recommend eating anything
- Wash your hands after being in the woods – in fact for those who work outside washing hands (and singing to ourselves) has been in fashion for a long time!
- We ask that you try to “leave no trace” that means as far as possible take nothing home, and leave nothing behind, leaving the lands as you found them.

- Keep away from other people

Ok now on to the activities.

**Shape matching**- Great for foundation stage

If you have more than one child this can be done as a game, who can find the best shape, who can find the shape the fastest?

**Numbers in nature**Ask your child to find things that match to particular number – so maybe 1 tree trunk, 2 eyes on a bird, three parts to a leaf, four petals on a flower. Nothing needs to be collected, and indeed many things you can’t collect, so this can be all about leaving things where they are.

You can challenge you child to find different numbers, but also see if there are any numbers they keep finding.

Maybe even keep a tally of number they notice in nature

**Sorting**

Ask your child to collect several sticks. They see if they can lay them in order of thinnest to thickest, or shortest to longest, roughest to smoothest, or even lightest to darkest.This can be surprisingly hard for some young children. Involves being able to differentiate between different properties of an object

For older children you may want to talk to them about the different ways we classify things, and that something can have more than one quality. Ie a stick can be both long and thin.

**Measuring**Ask your child to find a stick. Then see if they can measure things using that stick. How many sticks tall are they? How many sticks tall are you? How many sticks wide is the path?

This introduces using simple units to measure something, but doesn’t use recognised units, so you may want to do the next activity to build on it.

**Measuring units**- A ruler, tape measure or pieces of string measured out to certain lengths

If your child can’t find a particular length stick challenge them to problem solve how they can get that length.

Ask them to collect more of the shorter sticks than the longer one (ie 1 of 1m, 2 of 50cm, 10 of 10cm)

**Fractions**- This activity leads on from the above

Using the length of sticks the children have got you can make a fraction wall. This means at the top put the 1m stick. Then work out how many of the 50cm sticks are needed to be about the same length. It should be 2. Obviously in fractions this is said as ½ or a half. There should be 10 of the 10cm sticks to make 1 of the 1m length. This is 1/10 or a tenth.

Stick lengths vary slightly -so you may find the 10cm sticks are more like 12cm. Check the number – for example if you have 9 sticks making 1m, this is one ninth, which is a good fraction, and not wrong, but you may like to have a chat about if the small sticks were really 10cm exactly.

**Making Shapes**- Another one with sticks

Ihave to say sometimes children get quite creative and I have had two children leaning toward one another holding hands making a triangle with their bodies and the ground.

**Graphs**- Large sheets of paper if you want, other wise nothing

Again like the categories above this include classification according to different features, so one set of leaves could actually make several different graphs.

You could follow this up at home by drawing the graph they have made.

Instead of a graph you could see if your child can lay the leaves in a line from small to large, or if they can decide one feature to change each time.

**Leaf multiplication**id you know that the parts of a leaf are called leaflets – I love that fact, it seems such a strange name. This activity involves some multiplication, so is good for higher KS1 and lower KS2.

Leaves often have several leaflets – think of three -leaved clover – those three parts are actually 3 leaflets and one leaf. This factor can make for some good multiplication. Ie you find some sycamore leaves (with three pointy bits (pinnates) each) on the floor. You have 4 leaves, so how many pinnates? Or in a square of your garden you count 100 clover leaves. How many leaflets are there?

With younger children just counting parts and wholes is a good way to start. Older children maybe able to work out how many there should be, then check it.

**Tower of Hanoi**- 3 squares

Once you have managed 3 leaves, can you do it with a larger number of leaves? Or even cut pieces of paper to make it more regular than leaves (which have a rather annoying habit of coming in many different shapes as well as sizes! 😉)