Replace the playdough with claydough! (Outdoor Learning)

Replace the playdough with claydough!

This is why early years teachers are doing fiddly finger work than ever.  I have seen fiddle draws, fiddle cupboards, finger gym, fine finger time and lots more different initiatives to bring this skill on.

What air-drying clay do we use? THIS ONE! Lasts ages and is natural, some do have synthetics in so be careful 🙂

However, playdough only works inside.  Believe me! I have taken it outside and if you are into natural playdough recipes many of you will be there with me when its rained and set like concrete!

So my magical trick to get fine fiddly work outside for those fingers, especially on cold days is to us CLAY!

 

What are the benefits of clay?

  • Clay is believed to have very therapeutic qualities that calm the mind and can be used for drawing a child’s mind to the present, mindfulness.
  • Clay is completely natural therefore unlikely to bother anyone that has allergies
  • It connects children to nature
  • It is a great science lesson see this youtube clip about how to make your own clay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGuYNwp1OUY
  • It can be dropped and left outside and not harm the environment
  • It has fatty oils in good for preventing allergies

Here are five ways to use claydough outside

  1. Use it as a binder, teach children how they can make stick men with it joining the sticks together to make legs and arms using the clay to stick them on.  This could then be used to make other things such as bug stones and leaf butterflies.
  2.  Make small bowls or utensils out of the clay, let it dry in a dry place and add to your mud kitchen!
  3. Make the animals some habitats, make small nests and use nearby items such as grass and hay to make them cosy. 
  4. Giant class snake.  Give each child a small bit of claydough and ask them to bind them all together to make one long class snake.  Make sure he/she/they has a name!
  5. Make a claydough creation.  Simply hand out the claydough and let them do whatever they fancy!
  6. Watch it melt.  If it is a rainy day, so what!  Let the children go out with the clay and watch it change state.  Ask and wonder why, mix it and get muddy with it.

The full claydough activity pack is on our site click here.

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Here are 3 top outdoor learning ideas to get you started :

  1. Make sure the children have the right clothing – bring a muddy bag in or dress for mud that day!
  2. Make it messy and muddy – why not you are outside!
  3. Stick to natural resources – less clearing up for you and more kind to the environment.

Our muddy resources support all curriculums and we use only natural resources so any school, anywhere can use our approach. Including Early Years Framework, NC, CfE, American Curriculums.

Looking for a group subscription? We offer big reductions for schools and nurseries that book in groups. The more staff the more the discount per person. Click here for a quote.

Outdoor learning in primary schools is an essential way to bring wellbeing to the classroom.

Here are some muddy top tips to make a start in each key stage.

  • Outdoor Learning KS2 – Try taking 10-minute slots or brain breaks in between sessions. Do the Muddy Walk and Talk and just use it for general discussion or chat.
  • Outdoor Learning KS1 – Try taking phonics games outside. Choose a sound and use leaves
  • Outdoor Learning EYFS – If you can make sure there is an outside space that is accessible and start to reduce the plastic and have more natural objects. Such as leaves they can write on, stones to do art with. Strip back the made plastic objects and keep natural for optimum imagination and creative skills to be used.
  • Outdoor Learning KS2 – Try taking 10-minute slots or brain breaks in between sessions. Do the Muddy Walk and Talk and just use it for general discussion or chat.
  • Outdoor Learning KS1 – Try taking phonics games outside. Choose a sound and use leaves
  • Outdoor Learning EYFS – If you can make sure there is an outside space that is accessible and start to reduce the plastic and have more natural objects. Such as leaves they can write on, stones to do art with. Strip back the made plastic objects and keep natural for optimum imagination and creative skills to be used.

For more outdoor learning ideas for primary schools, sign up for FREE! If it is active learning you are looking for try GoNoodle a great way to get kids moving inside the class.

Watch the MPT safety videos to help you practice the best outdoor learning methods. These videos are also useful for those practising forest school.

Search for more outdoor learning resources : Babies (0-2) | Tots (2-4) | EYFS (4-5) | KS1(5-7) | LKS2( 7-9) | UKS2 (9-11) | Special Needs

For Training head to: Accredited Training | Short Certificate Courses

Have you also checked: Outdoor Ebooks | Assembly Packs | Home Learning Packs | Safety Support | Special Outdoor Events

  • Support Outdoor Learning charities and head to Learning through Landscapes who can help with free outdoor learning ideas.
  • Institute for Outdoor Learning are also a fabulous charity to refer to if you want to gather ideas for outdoor learning training and organisations.
  • Look out for Green Flag Award to promote outdoor learning in primary schools through the muddy puddles approach.

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