July 8, 2023
Transition days are so complex when we think about them in terms of what the children need, but the underlying theme across transition is building connections. The outdoors is the perfect place to begin building these relationships as it feels a bit less formal for the children so they're more likely to communicate freely and show themselves!
Why take your transition day outside?
There's many reasons to include some outdoor activities in your transition days but our top 3 are:
- Children communicate more freely outdoors allowing you to get to know them better and build a stronger relationship
- 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
- It sets the expectation for some outdoor learning next year, if they've been outdoors with you during transition then introducing them to outdoor learning will be a quicker process!
Scroll through this blog post to gain fresh inspiration for transition day activities you can complete outdoors with your children, regardless of the type of outdoor space your have!
EYFS & KS1
Using mud 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 so they have something familiar & a positive memory to see when they come 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 (offer support with this)
> When the mud can be squeezed and hold its shape, its ready to stick on any outdoor surface!
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!
EYFS & KS1
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!
> 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
EYFS, KS1 & KS2
> 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!
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, so you can get to know them better! But also these kinds of activities enable children to show their strengths and skills in different areas. 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, it's often only if children really struggle in an area that we then learn about it!
By spending some time outdside you can see where children might need to build a few skills to access their learning and you can plan some outdoor lessons in the new school year that teaches the curriculum but also incorporates them!
If you're looking for even more outdoor activities to do with your new class during transition, take a look at our Key Stage One and Lower Key Stage Two Team Building PSHE sessions inside our Planning Hub, or our Key Stage One Circle Time activity pack for even more ways to build connections and relationships with your upcoming class.