Outdoor Classrooms : How to Optimise Your Playground for Outdoor Learning.

Outdoor Classrooms : How to Optimise Your Playground for Outdoor Learning.

Outdoor Learning | Hand Made Places

An increase in the number of pupils attending primary schools across the U.K. has left a greater demand for more classroom space.

Schools are needing to expand to accommodate the extra pupils. However these extensions often encroach on vital school land, such as taking up playground space as well as resulting in the removal of: music rooms, art classrooms and school libraries.

Children still need these spaces!

Outdoor learning and play as well as music and reading are all fundamental parts of a child’s development, and these areas do not necessarily have to be sacrificed to cope with increasing numbers.

Hand Made Places can offer a one stop solution which will not only provide extra space, but also promote a healthy learning environment.

An Outdoor Classroom…

Outdoor Classrooms are the perfect solution to increasing classroom space, without the loss of certain vital lessons.

Furthermore, outdoor learning is not just a practical solution. It is also extremely beneficial.

You can find out more about the benefits of outdoor learning here.

We understand that outdoor learning may be a new concept to some teachers – that is why we have outlined below, ways in which you can optimise your playground for outdoor lessons.

Install an Outdoor Classroom.

Outdoor Learning | Hand Made Places

Outdoor classrooms come in a variation of different sizes and styles, from simple gazebos to fully enclosed structures.

At Hand Made Places we can provide large timber structures which can hold a full class of pupils, and these classes can receive their normal lessons – just in an outdoor environment.

In addition to the classroom, Hand Made Places can install seating options for both the staff and students, as well as both a chalk board and dry wipe board.

Making a truly recognisable outdoor classroom environment.

Outdoor Learning | Hand Made Places

Hand Made Places outdoor classrooms provide protection from both UV and light rain, making them a viable all weather option.

However for something with a little more coverage you can head over to our partners at Broxap for all weather fully enclosed outdoor classroom options.

Broxap’s outdoor classrooms can be attached to existing classrooms to form an outdoor extension, perfect for increasing classroom numbers.


Storytelling Circles & Chairs.

Outdoor Learning | Hand Made Places

Above all else outdoor learning should be fun for both staff and pupils, and therefore improving certain lessons with playground equipment is a must; starting with literacy.

Children love to read, and books can be an incredible asset to any literacy lesson. Even those that take place outdoors.

Reading can help with spellings, improve grammar, as well as encourage both creative & imaginative thinking.

Therefore we have just the equipment to encourage reading in an outdoor environment.

The Storytellers Chair & Story Circle. These products provide a fun and interesting designated outdoor reading space. Children can read quietly alone or take part in a full book themed literacy lesson.

This equipment can be placed under a designated  shelter, or alternatively you could add it to your outdoor classroom!

In addition to this specific seating area, installing equipment such as play sculptures can also help with improving story time.

Books such as Peter Rabbit, or Charlotte’s Web can be re-told with help from our Spider, Rabbit, Hog and Tractor & Trailer totems and play sculptures.

Outdoor Learning | Hand Made Places

Find out more about animal themed book playgrounds here.

Music & Performance Area.

Outdoor Learning | Hand Made Places

As previously mentioned some school extensions are encroaching on vital lesson areas such as music and drama spaces.

So why not take these lessons outdoors?

Music and performance lessons are a vital part of a child’s progress. They offer an alternative place to shine for those pupils who struggle in more academic based lessons.

The arts also aid in a child’s ability to think creatively, encourage problem solving and also encourage both teamwork and social interaction.

All of which are vital ingredients in a child’s development process.

At Hand Made Places we offer many different items of play equipment which can encourage outdoor music lessons. Various drums, and xylophone style instruments as well as bells and singing stages can be placed to encourage children to enjoy music lessons outdoors.

Outdoor Learning | Hand Made Places

You can place any of these equipment pieces under a shelter or in a designated outdoor classroom space – to provide an outdoor musical experience.

Science & Maths Spaces.

Outdoor learning spaces don’t have to be all about arts, crafts and play. They can also hold other more serious lessons including both maths and science.

Like previously stated with an outdoor classroom, you can simply do your pre-planned indoor lessons outdoors. However why not make them more interesting by adding some playground equipment.

Hand Made Places equipment is great for teaching young children all about their environment- making it the perfect setting for a biology lesson.

Children can learn all about the life-cycle of a plant, photosynthesis and also all about produce, where it comes from and how it gets from farm to shelf.

In addition to this, pupils can also learn vital maths lessons, including patterns, sequences and other naturally occurring mathematical elements.

By installing planters, the Mini-beast HQ and other Forest-school equipment you can prep your playground for outdoor science and maths lessons.

Outdoor Learning | Hand Made Places

In addition to this science and maths based equipment, Hand Made Places also have activity panels and informative benches too.

Hand Made Places love to encourage outdoor learning and that is why many of our equipment pieces are tailored for just that. On top of the equipment we love to make suggestions of how to use it.

For outdoor activity ideas, which are great for your outdoor classroom take a look at this blog.

Outdoor learning is great for both staff and students alike.

So for any of the above-mentioned outdoor learning equipment, or anything else you can think of; contact one of our team today.