Guernsey is a glorious place to bring up a family, and making the most of the great outdoors has become a priority for many Guernsey families, especially post-lockdown. Whether the sun is shining and you’re enjoying a day on Pembroke, it’s blowing a westerly and the tide is splashing over the sea wall at Vazon, or you’re wrapped up for a winter walk to the Fairy Ring at Pleinmont, there are many activities you could try out to support your primary school age child’s mathematical learning.
What’s the point of outdoor learning?
There has been a significant move in Guernsey primary schools to really embrace all that learning outdoors has to offer. In fact, it is highlighted in the Bailiwick of Guernsey ‘Big Picture’ Curriculum as a key feature of learning up to Year 9.
- Physical activity: Outdoor learning provides opportunities for children to move and engage in physical activity, which is important for their health and wellbeing. It also helps to break up sedentary time spent indoors.
- Improved concentration: Studies have shown that exposure to nature can help improve attention span and concentration, which can lead to better academic performance.
- Enhanced creativity: Being outdoors in a natural environment can help stimulate children’s imagination and creativity, leading to new ideas and ways of thinking.
- Hands-on learning: Outdoor learning often involves hands-on activities that allow children to explore and discover for themselves, rather than just learning through textbooks or lectures. This can help them retain information better and make connections between concepts.
- Better social skills: Outdoor learning often involves group activities, which can help children develop social skills such as communication, collaboration, and teamwork.
- Appreciation for the environment: Spending time outdoors can help children develop a deeper appreciation for the natural world and understand the importance of protecting it. Our Guernsey maths tutors are always open to students carrying out their online lessons in their garden, at least when the Guernsey weather permits!
Sounds great, but we’re stuck for ideas…
We are proud of how our Guernsey maths tutors make our online maths tutoring lessons fun for students; however, learning outdoors can help take the fun and engagement to another level! It can provide numerous benefits for children’s physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development and, if that’s not enough to persuade you, here are some ideas from our Guernsey maths tutors for you to try with your children.
Visit Saumarez Park for a Nature Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of natural items for children to find, such as leaves, rocks, and flowers. Have them estimate length and weight before using measuring tools, such as rulers or measuring tape, to record the size of each item they find. They can also count the number of items they find in different categories, such as the number of green leaves versus brown leaves.
Take a cloudy day trip to Moulin Huet Bay
Use the outdoors to explore length, weight, and capacity. Children can use measuring tape to measure the length of different objects, such as tree trunks or sticks. They can also use scales to weigh rocks or other objects. For capacity, they can use buckets or containers to explore how much water or sand can fit inside.
Visit Candie Museum or the Art for Guernsey Gallery to explore shape
Alternatively, you could take children on a walk to find natural objects that represent different shapes, such as circles, triangles, and squares. They can use these objects to create their own patterns or designs, exploring symmetry, tessellation and repeated patterns.
Number Plate games
As Guernsey car number plates only have numbers, there are lots of games that you can play to keep your children occupied whilst in the car. These games are only recommended when there are two adults in the vehicle, so one can concentrate on driving. Alternatively, they’re also great bus games!
- Number plate bingo – finding specific numbers, the child’s numerical birthday, house number etc.
- Finding the car with the highest total number if you add all the single digits, can be done for 2, 3, 4 and 5 digit number plates.
- One of our Guernsey maths tutors, Marcello, has introduced his eldest son to playing number plate poker, looking out for pairs, triples, flushes (a numerical run) etc!
Budgeting and financial responsibility
If you’re planning a sleepover or party, giving children a budget to spend on snacks for example can be a fun way of helping your children develop some financial independence while shopping. This can of course be extended to other aspects of a child’s life, such as clothing and toiletries, but planning for a party is highly motivating for pre-teens.
The beach is an utterly wonderful place for mathematical learning all year round, and Guernsey is blessed with some of the best beaches in the world (we might be a little biased about that at Tutoring Heroes Guernsey…)! Whether it’s choosing the best beach to go to based on wind direction, finding the best time to go using tide time tables or even picking the best spot on Cobo that’s close enough to the kiosk but still has a nice sandy patch, there is a lot of mathematical concepts which can be discussed throughout the day, especially if you go with the explicit purpose of learning. Rockpooling too can be a great way of using data handling skills by classifying and recording what is found – Portelet and the Lihou Island causeway are great rockpooling spots.
Have we convinced you?
With a few ideas to get you started, hopefully you can see all the benefits of getting outdoors and having fun with maths. Even something as simple as reciting times tables as you climb the Harbour Steps in St Peter Port can add educational benefit to a trip out. The sky’s the limit! If you are not quite ready to incorporate maths learning into your family’s outdoor activities, you can get in touch and one of our Guernsey maths tutors can help your child to optimise their potential in maths.