Exploring words outdoors
A number of simple ideas to help develop literacy skills and have fun with words in your outdoor setting.
What you'll need
- paint, brushes & tubs
- water & container
- collecting baskets for natural material
- old sheet or light-coloured tarp
This activity has been provided by
Useful items from our shop
Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could this impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:
- leave no trace
Health & Safety Considerations
Follow your usual operating procedures and carry out appropriate risk benefit assessments.
Some considerations particular to this activity include:
- using rope
Simply painting water on to walls and fences can be very effective, and soon after (especially in the summer), the canvas is blank and ready for more creative musings…
There are many floor surfaces that water works well on, such as wooden decking, steps and yards.
A sprayer can be loads of fun – writing, drawing or just making the ground or wall change from one colour to another.
Search out natural materials to make words out of, such as leaves and sticks.
Collect loads and head back to your site, making pictures and labeling them with natural material words.
If its a bit breezy stick to sticks – leaves end up flying around!
Many settings have access to sand – being allowed to use it on a surface not normally allocated to sand play can be stimulating to create pictures or words.
We love a bit of mud (have you guessed?)!
Try creating a wonderful-consistency mud ink in the mud kitchen, then wander around writing mud messages.
This can be very absorbing and a great way to make the mud kitchen help older ones explore words, without missing out on the fun and creativity that mud play provides.
Write and paint on stones and pebbles.
Poster paints are great if you want to wash it off and reuse the stones. Use acrylic paints for a more permanent option.
Hang up an old sheet or light-coloured tarpaulin – this gives a lovely blank canvas for some mud or water-painting creativity.
Use rope or string to spell out words – have a go at joined-up writing.
Take it further:
- create your own ideas for presenting works around your setting – we’d love it if you shared them with us!
- explore angles and perspectives
- let the adults play!
- – an adult paints various words around the outdoor space
– then the children go on a word hunt
– find the words and collect them into a message
– try to work out what the message was written in, eg, chalk, paint, mud, water (need to be quick), sticks, stones, leaves
– once they’ve had a go the children may want to create their own word hunt.
Disclaimer: Muddy Faces cannot take any responsibility for accidents or damage that occurs as a result of following this activity.You are responsible for making sure the activity is conducted safely.