Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 Activities Introduction and downloads
Opportunity to explore the outdoors is built into the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). All nursery settings and schools provide for this on a daily basis in their outdoor areas and many now include wild areas within the school grounds. Extending children’s experience through a planned visit to a nature reserve can build on this early experience of the outdoor environment. Our small nature reserve is an ideal size for a group of young children to discover a wide range of habitats within this contained area.
It is a safe area but one where children can begin to explore a space and become familiar with the natural environment.
We recommend that you build in time for children to experience the reserve fully. For example, looking at sticky buds on a horse chestnut tree might lead to searching beneath the tree for empty conker shells, and then the discovery of snowdrops peeking through the decaying leaves or the feel of the bark of the tree. Rushing on to find the next item on a worksheet may mean the children don’t have time to really know what it is to stand under an ancient tree and just wonder.
Several of these activities are based around familiar stories. Listening to a story surrounded by nature will heighten children’s awareness of the atmosphere of the outdoors and add to their engagement with the stories. Adding natural sound makers such as sticks or stones or wooden percussion can enhance the experience.
The activities for EYFS can be extended for Key Stage 1 especially if the children have not visited the nature reserve previously. In addition, we have included a range of activities to engage KS1 children in the environment through exploring and then beginning to identify plants and animals. Time is also given to listening and observing and being creative within the natural environment.
We hope you will use our nature reserve to support the curriculum and to extend children’s experiences of the natural environment. We believe children will benefit from regular visits throughout the year so that they become aware of seasonal changes and life cycles.
Designed specifically as an educational resource, these downloadable Activity Sheets can be applied in many educational outdoor environments, not just at Clara Vale. Whilst provided freely, we hope you will consider a donation to support our cause.
Early Years activities downloads
Suggested activities are available to download here as PDF documents.
KS1 activities downloads
In addition to the Early Years activities the following can be downloaded as PDF documents for KS1:
- Scavenger hunts
- Listening maps
- Natural pictures
- Look at that plant
- Observational drawing
- Stick people
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