top of page

Taking the school day outside

We've got you covered with so many fun ideas about how you can take your learning outside. Taking your learning outside can have so many benefits for your tamariki. Give it a go, we know you won't regret it

Firstly, the science...

Countless research reveals the positive effect nature has on our wellbeing. In a nutshell…

  • Our environment can increase or reduce stress and impact our bodies.

  • What we see, hear and experience can change our mood.

  • Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing.

  • Being in nature reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones.

Why this activity?

Inspired by Outdoors classroom day, which comes about twice a year (in may and November), we love the idea of taking learning outside, and perhaps for more time! This is a good go-to guide of what you might do on those outdoor days. We know too from our own experience that the days we’ve taught outdoors, make for memorable learning experiences.

You'll need

Whatever you think your tamariki might need for the day - perhaps some reading books and art equipment and access to a ball. The rest is up to te taiao and the limitless creativity and curiosity of your tamariki.

What to do

It can be a cool surprise for your tamariki to arrive at school to a locked classroom and a note saying meeting me under the tree on the field, or wherever you decide is your classroom ‘spot’ for the day. 


Basically, go about your ordinary day, but just outside. Numeracy and literacy learning can all take place outside, then pepper your day with a few other activities which might include: 


  • Read pukapuka under the trees, this might be independent reading or could be the perfect activity to share with a buddy class.

  • Play a game - we only ever hear good things about Lape or you might find something new for your tamariki to enjoy in Movewell

  • Notice things you can see and hear - what adjectives can you use to describe these things?

  • Discover the most fun or relaxing parts of your school outside - introduce each other to favourite spaces and places. Notice how different places can change how you feel.

  • Draw or paint your surroundings or scenery

  • Basic fact battles - Move around a space and when you tag another classmate you have to count, “tahi, rua, toru” then both tamariki chose a number between 0-10 to display on their fingers, they can either add or multiply (depending on where they’re at) and race to call the answer out. 

  • Write poems about what you can see, hear, touch and smell. Start with “One thing that I have noticed is… “ just as one example.

  • Build a hut or cubby together

  • Spend some time Puku breathing while lying on the grass, this could start with some cloud watching - sparking creativity with what the clouds might look like.

  • Tamariki teach their friends - to kick or catch a ball, handstand or cartwheel, to dance, to play a game that they love.

  • Fly paper planes - For this one we love our activity Compliment launchpad

  • Play hopscotch or 4 square.

  • Look for spider webs, manu or insects

  • Make some bark rubbings

  • Make a game from what you find, e.g. pick up sticks, kōhatu stacking or knucklebones…

  • Take the time to head out and explore a local park or reserve

Kaiako card

To keep a reminder of all the awesome activities you can do with your tamariki to support some time outside print off or save our Connecting with te taiao reminder sheet

Whānau engagement

Print these awesome ideas from Tākai as take-home ideas for whānau to explore together with their tamariki while out in te taiao

And to add to this...

Another awesome activity we have on offer is Kaitiaki champions which is all about understanding our role as kaitiaki and how adopting sustainable practices doesn’t have to be complicated, perfect for a sunny day when you’re outside with your tamariki.


And to keep the outdoor learning coming take a look at some of the other awesome resources which we love and know are going to be able to support and provide inspiration when teaching in this space

  • Te Papa Atawhai, the Department of Conservation who encourages Teach Outside Days, which if the specific date doesn't work, they can quite frankly be any day. Their resources are always super amazing, so head to their website and check out some of their ideas to get tamariki (and you) outside

Curriculum links

Health and PE Curriculum

Personal Health and Physical Development - A2 Regular physical activity

Movement Concepts and Motor Skills - B1 Movement skills

Movement Concepts and Motor Skills - B2 Positive attitudes

Movement Concepts and Motor Skills - B3 Science and technology

Movement Concepts and Motor Skills - B4 Challenges and social and cultural factors

Relationships with other people - C1 Relationships

Relationships with other people - C3 Interpersonal skills

Healthy communities and environments - D2 Community resources

bottom of page