Wow! What. A. Summer.
I’m sat here surrounded by bits of Little Miss C’s school uniform that I’ve been busy sewing name tapes on to all evening. She’s back to school in the morning and incredibly excited about it. It seems hard to believe that I was worried about 6 weeks of summer holidays stretching ahead of me as I just had no idea how to fill all that time. As it happens though I’ve had no real problems at all (although I won’t deny that there have been some afternoons that have felt like forever!) and we’ve had a really busy summer with lots of days out, a planned holiday to Wales and an unplanned long weekend in Norfolk that came about thanks to some holiday vouchers that I won earlier in the year. Master C has had a huge development jump (and grew an inch in two weeks too!) and suddenly days out with him have taken a different form. He’s paying much more attention to what is going on around him and his language has grown enough that he’s able to ask more questions about things too. As a family we’ve also been making the most of the great outdoors too – building on the weekly family walks that we started before the summer – and the kids seems to be really embracing all that fresh air.
I have a plan of so many blog posts that I’m planning to write about all the different things that we’ve got up to this summer, but one thing which ties many of them together is a book that I was sent to review mid-summer. Earlier in the year I reviewed 100 Family Adventures by the Meek Family and whilst I loved the book, many of the things in it were a bit beyond where my kids are / were. Their latest book Learning Outdoors actually fits with our family so much better and after sitting down and reading it on one sitting I was all fired up to plan the rest of the holiday and beyond.
The Meek Family took their two children out of formal education for a year to travel around the UK seeking out adventure and education their children in the process. What they have done with Learning Outdoors is come up with 52 different “Ed-ventures” – places that you can take your children to that will help enhance your child’s learning and education. Against each location are lots of background information and prompts for how to encourage your children to learn and investigate further.
I generally think that Mr C and I are pretty educational when we go out and we’re always trying to encourage the kids to ask questions and telling them about what they’re seeing, but even so this book has given me even more ideas of different places we could go, and activities we could do whilst there, or back at home afterwards, to help further. We both love a good museum or National Trust place, but this book also covers slightly more mundane but educational places like train stations and playgrounds. I think at times it’s important to remember that places that may seem boring and obvious to us as adults can actually be fascinating to children who may not be familiar with them. The list that the Meek family have included is vast and includes places that I wouldn’t have thought about taking the kids to, like a reservoir or a wind farm. I’ve read lots of research about how classroom based isn’t always best for all children, and how learning outdoors can also help support what children do learn indoors. LMC’s school does lots of outdoor learning as part of their curriculum and I have seen how much she has got from it over the last couple of years.
Our daily rhythm will be changing again next week, as not only is LMC back to school, but Master C will also be starting mornings at pre-school. I’m keen that we don’t waste our afternoons together and want to plan some activities and trips out and I can see Learning Outdoors really helping me to do so. All our driving round the UK has also left me with a complete fascination about brown signs (if you have no idea what I’m on about then check out the fantastic Follow the Brown Signs that I discovered over the weekend) and I can also see these forming a huge part of my plans – I love the idea of discovering little places that appear on these brown signs but don’t have the huge advertising budget to draw people in. One of my new (school) year’s resolutions is to be more organised when it comes to doing things with the kids and hopefully the Meek’s book will help me do that. I’ll let you know how I get on as the term progresses.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Learning Outdoors with the Meek Family to review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links – mortgage to pay, days out to fund etc…