Whether you’re a parent home schooling your children, or a teacher setting work for your class, nothing beats outdoor learning. Just ten minutes spent in nature can reduce anxiety and stress. With children increasingly stuck in front of screens, it’s vital to find novel ways to get them outside.
Here at Wildchild we love having fun in nature. That’s why we’ve found five of our favourite wild challenges for you to enjoy. Each one will help children engage with nature and enjoy their local wild spaces.
The challenges we’ve selected are all very different. Some are weekly competitions, others a list of tasks to tick off. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Challenge 1: The Wild Network #WildTimeChallenge
The Wild Network want to rewild childhood. Their not-for-profit organisation is powered by over 2,000 organisations with interests in outdoor learning, nature, education, health and play. They bring communities together with a range of specially designed programmes.
Their amazing website has loads of ideas for outdoor learning activities. You can filter by age and duration to find the perfect task for your children.
Every Sunday, The Wild Network post four challenges to complete through the week. They share tips and ideas, so it’s worth following them on Twitter to find out more.
- Type of challenge: Weekly activities
- Find them on Twitter: @wearewildthing
- Hashtag to use: #WildTimeChallenge
- Why we love them: The challenges are varied and include lots of creative activities.
Challenge 2: RSPB #WildChallenge
The RSPB is well known for its initiatives, such as the Big Schools’ Birdwatch. They’ve created Wild Challenge, a free award scheme for schools. It encourages children to connect with nature and learn through a vast range of fun activities.
After registering, you can take as long as you like to work through their outdoor learning resources and activities. There’s something for everyone, whatever the weather!
- Type of challenge: Award scheme
- Find them on Twitter: @RSPB_Learning
- Hashtag to use: #WildChallenge
- Why we love them: Their awards are fully inclusive and can be adapted for Home Educators. They accept submissions from all ages and abilities.
Challenge 3: The Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild
The Wildlife Trusts contains 46 individual trusts. Each one is an independent charity with a shared mission to make nature a part of life for everyone. Check out their YouTube page for Wildlife Wednesday challenges.
Every June, The Wildlife Trusts host a month-long challenge called 30 Days Wild. They set the challenge to do one wild thing every day called ‘Random Acts of Wildness’.
When you sign up, you’ll get a pack to download containing everything you’ll need. Keep your eyes peeled through the month for additional emails with extra activities you’ll love to try.
- Type of challenge: Daily tasks throughout June
- Find them on Twitter: @WildlifeTrusts
- Hashtag to use: #30DaysWild
- Why we love them: They offer a free downloadable pack to help you plan your month.
Challenge 4: National Trust #50Things
Their ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ challenge contains loads of ideas for fun outdoor learning activities. They are suitable to do all year round. Now they’ve added extra information about doing the challenges safely at home during lockdown.
- Type of challenge: 50 activities to complete
- Find them on Twitter: @nationaltrust
- Hashtag to use: #50Things
- Why we love them: The activities are perfect for families to complete together.
Challenge 5: WWF #LearnToLoveNature
WWF is the world’s leading independent conservation organisation. They are looking for ways to transform the future for wildlife and help us live sustainably.
As well as an enormous range of outdoor learning activities to do at home, they offer a programme of free online learning for families. Every Thursday at 11am, tune in to their weekly webinar or join in their live quiz. There are loads of prizes to win.
- Type of challenge: Weekly quiz
- Find them on Twitter: @WWF_UK
- Hashtag to use: #LearnToLoveNature
- Why we love them: They offer a free Seek app that lets you identify nature found on your doorstep.
Using Outdoor Challenges for Learning
If you’re a teacher looking to inspire your class, don’t feel pressured to complete a whole challenge. You can pick activities to suit your learners. Remember to share the finished work online so families can enjoy seeing the final results.
- Choosing one task each week to set as a home learning challenge
- Creating a menu of ideas for your students to choose from
- Adding one of our suggested challenges to your school newsletter or website
- Giving year groups different challenges to complete
- Making outdoor learning your theme for the term
- Creating your own weekly outdoor learning challenge
For parents looking to add outdoor learning into home schooling, these challenges are superb. The activities are high quality and contain huge amounts of learning. Work at your own pace and pick activities that work best for you. Any time spent learning outdoors is time well spent.
We hope you enjoy taking part in the great challenges offered by these five organisations. Each one will help your children or class learn more about the wonderful world we live in and how they can protect it for the future.
Wildchild connects children to the outdoors with wonderful residential school trips. Every Wildchild trip has a simple aim: to connect all children with the great outdoors, inspiring them to learn new skills and discover inner talents, whilst having the time of their lives
- Building student character through residential trips
- Six reasons why more schools than ever are staying in the UK for their school trip (spoiler alert: it’s not because of Covid!)
- School trips after the pandemic
- 5 winter outdoor learning activities for schools
- 5 ways to get more from your School Bushcraft Trip
- Residential trips to benefit learning
- Perfect Primary School Trip Planning
- How to promote Outdoor Learning in school
- 5 Wild Challenges for Outdoor Learning
- Outdoor Learning Activities You Can Do at Home