Outdoor Transition Activities for EYFS, KS1 & KS2

July 8, 2023

When we think about what our children need to gain from their transition days, the list can get complex quite quickly! But the underlyig theme across transition is building connections. The outdoors is the perfect place to begin building these relationships as it feels a little less formal for children, enabling them to show you their true selves which allows you to get to know them better much more quickly!

Why take your transition day outside?

There's many reasons to include some outdoor activities in your transition days but our top 3 are:

  1. Communication - Did you know studies have shown children say 5x more words outdoors than inside? We all know that communication is key when building new relationships - providing an environment your new class can speak more freely in will certainly support transition!
  2. Mental wellbeing - natural spaces support our brains in managing our emotions - for little minds who are taking in a lot of newness this could be beneficial in helping them process all of the new changes.
  3. Setting expectations - if you're planning on taking some of your lessons outdoors next year, incorporating some outdoor activities in your transition days will make introducing them to outdoor learning next year a quicker process!

The best place to get your outdoor activities for transition is The Alfresco Hub - where we have curriculum linked outdoor lesson plans for EYFS - KS2 and a whole host of fun activity packs too! But in today's blog post we have provided a range of short-burst activity ideas to give you some free outdoor inspiration for transition day. Have fun getting to know your new class whislt supporting their emotional wellbeing through the outdoors!

Mud faces - All ages

Using mud (we recommend using steralised top soil) and natural items foraged from your outdoor area; have each child create their own sticky mud face! Take a photograph of each one and put it on display in the classroom! Not only do they look great but it will remind the children of how much fun they had with you on that nervy first day back in September!

For the mud:

> Use a bag of top soil from a garden centre

> Put it in buckets or trays

> In groups children mix in water to the desired consistency (it's best if you keep hold of the water to avoid too much being used!)

> When the mud can be squeezed and hold its shape, its ready to stick on any outdoor surface!

How awesome would it be if the whole school did this across your outdoor space?!

Den building - KS2

You might be thinking, hang on a minute that's a lot to resource! But stick with us here. Den building doesn't have to be all natural branches like the image above, dens can be made out of almost anything!

Have your class bring items outdoors from your classroom, like your cushion from your reading corner, a couple of chairs, spare tubes of display paper, pegs, bulldog clips, string (anything that could be used really!)

Then head down to EYFS to see if you can borrow some of their large scale construction for a morning or afternoon.

Give your KS2 children some free time to construct their dens! You will need to supervise for safety and we recommend checking your school has a den building risk assessment in place first. But it is amazing what KS2 children can pull together and you'll learn so much about their personalities in the process!

Bubble wands - EYFS & KS1

*Image from tikergarten.com

Using sticks and pipe cleaners, children can make their own bubble wands.

> Simply choose a stick

> Select a pipe cleaner

> Bend it into your desired shape and ta-da!! You have a bubble wand!

Provide a tray of washing up liquid and water (Fairy liquid works the best!) and give the children some time to explore making bubbles!

You could challenge them to make wands of different shapes and see how it changes the bubbles they make!

Raft challenge - KS2

> Grab a tuff spot or 2 from EYFS and a few small figures.

> Fill the tuff spot with water and put the children into groups, giving each group a small figure.

> Challenge them to build a raft to get the figures across the tuff spot, providing only string and scissors, everything else has to be foraged!

> Sit back and learn all about the dynamics in your new class and see the joy on their face when their raft floats on the water!

Leaf rubbing pictures - All ages!

> Collect natural items from your outdoor space

> Place them on a clipboard to create an image (this could be a favourite animal, a favourite place or a self portrait.

> Place a piece of paper over the top and use crayons to create rubbings of the natural items underneath

> Take some time to admire everyone's work and have them share what they created/why

> Display the pictures in your classroom to remind the children of the time they spend outdoors with you!

Paper lanterns - KS1 & KS2

> Collect some sticks and provide masking tape

> Build different 3D shapes with the sticks

> Add additional sticks into the frame to create a canvas for the tissue paper to stick onto

> Using PVA glue & water, stick sheets of tissue paper to the outside

> Leave them to dry in the sun

> Display them in your classroom!

The main concept behind taking your transition day outdoors is to allow the children space to interact, then you can get to know them better! These kinds of activities also enable children to show their strengths and skills in different areas - not just the academics. Some children might be excellent leaders or problem solvers, others may be great negotiators or planners. These are all skills we need our children to posses inside the classroom but not ones we often get time to assess! Understanding these dynamics of your new class can help you get off to a more successful start in September.

By spending some time outdside you can see where children might need to build a few more skills to access their learning. If you understand the concept of curriculum outdoor learning, you'll know that you can plan these skills into your outdoor lessons through the different activity types whilst getting stuck into the curriculum - enabling your class to thrive thoughout the year ahead.

Our favourite units of planning to take transition outside:

If you're looking for these lesson plans and activities written by qualified teachers to help you take your transition days or you're interested in enriching your curriculum with the outdoors next year you need The Alfresco Hub! You can join as an individual class teacher from just £15 for 3 months or have your whole school sign up! Head to our homepage for more information or head over to browse The Alfresco Hub for yourself!