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Outdoor Classroom Day: Ideas to incorporate your Multi-Use Games Areas to enhance learning and play

Originally known as ‘Empty Classroom Day’, the idea was for every school in London to conduct one extra lesson outside on the same day each year. Born to combat the decline in children’s outdoor experiences, the inaugural event was set for the 6th of July 2012 but of course, British weather intervened. Nonetheless, teachers persisted, taking their classes outside and posting photos of empty classrooms on social media (kudos to them!).

By 2013, participation surged from 108 to 160 schools, including one from Naples! This momentum propelled the initiative to go international. In 2014, 313 schools across England, Ireland, China, Australia and Pakistan embraced the idea, with some extending outdoor classes for an entire week!

Outdoor Classroom Day

Today, the initiative has evolved into ‘Outdoor Classroom Day’, a global celebration of nurturing children and young people through outdoor experiences. With over 9.6 million children and more than 105,000 teachers, parents, and supporters worldwide, it has become a cornerstone of outdoor education advocacy.

There are plenty of existing ideas incorporating nature into this practice but what about the other outdoor facilities you have at your disposal? Sometimes a flat, even surface can come in handy when taking the classroom outside! So, we have compiled a list of creative ways you can use your MUGAs and sports pitches to make this day even more versatile and fun.

1. Math Madness

Make use of the court markings on the Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) to teach geometry and measurement concepts. Students can calculate the perimeter and area by measuring the court dimensions, and explore angles and shapes through sports activities. The court markings don’t just provide learning opportunities but also act as visual aids, for better understanding mathematical ideas.

2. Science Expedition

Transform the MUGA into a science discovery zone. Carry out experiments related to physics, biology or environmental science, utilising the space to observe occurrences or test theories. The sturdy fencing around Lightmain MUGAs creates an ideal area for experiments whilst ensuring safety and allowing for a hands-on learning opportunity.

3. Fitness Adventures

Use the MUGA for its intended purpose! Encourage fitness and friendly competition. Arrange obstacle courses that have agility, strength and endurance components. Students can participate in activities like relay races, circuit training or team sports, promoting teamwork and perseverance.

4. Creative Artistry

Convert the area into an art studio. Install easels and painting stations for students to express their creativity amidst nature. Additionally, you can utilise the large, flat surface of the MUGA to craft a unique bird’s eye view tapestry using everyday objects, clothing items and elements from nature.

5. Outdoor Debate Arena

Prepare a debate arena by arranging podiums and seating areas for students to engage in discussions and exercises that promote critical thinking. This could be on various topics related to the environment, sustainability or outdoor education.

6. Leadership Challenge

Create a course within the MUGA to develop teamwork and problem-solving skills. Set up obstacle courses, rope courses and team-building activities that require collaboration and communication. Students can take on leadership roles and overcome challenges together, building confidence and resilience in an outdoor environment.

These examples showcase just a handful of ways that Multi-use Games Areas (MUGAs) can serve as versatile outdoor learning spaces, in addition to the sports they were built for. This enhances the educational value of Outdoor Classroom Day activities and provides some great options in case the grass is too wet from the rain!

Lightmain’s products, including MUGAs, fencing, gates, and benches, complement these experiences by providing durable and functional infrastructure that supports a wide range of learning and play opportunities.

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