Information: * lockdown 2020
Muddy Faces is open!
We are getting orders out as quickly and efficiently as possible whilst ensuring we adhere to safe working practices.
Over the last few months we have been busy creating activities, searching for recommended resources and making videos. We hope the information below will help you get outdoors during the COVID-19 lockdown, and please visit our Outdoor Hub – a massive free resource of activities and information.
We really value your input – please do share any resources or recommendations with firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
From Liz Edwards, Muddy Faces founder & director
I hope you are staying well during this period. I, like so many others, have had to be very creative to balance work and life with two boys at home.
My children have been helping by setting up a Muddy Faces YouTube channel and creating videos in the hope of inspiring people to get busy in their gardens during lockdown, complementing all the resources we have already on our Outdoor Hub.
I am proud that we have kept Muddy Faces open, with a reduced, socially-distanced staff. Our turnaround has been terrific and any supply chain issues have been clearly communicated with customers and resolved. I have created a specific tab, especially to say thanks to my brilliant team and amazing customers as I couldn’t fit it all in here.
At home it hasn’t all been harmonious by a long stretch but, as a family, we are noticing so many extra little things – how fast the broad beans are growing, the birds seem louder, the wild garlic smells stronger. In April we noticed the cacophony of dandelions and now, as the dandelion seed heads are providing us with so much fun, the blues of the forget-me-nots and the bluebells are catching our eyes.
These little daily connections to nature are so important and it is all strengthening my passionate belief in the restorative and beneficial powers of the outdoors. My aim has always been to help people spend time outdoors – this has never been so important as now, and I am inspired to do more. Early this year we released our Reasons to be Outdoors booklet (part 1) which explores the benefits of being outdoors.
Hopefully we can inspire you to be outside more (following guidelines) during the COVID-19 lockdown. Any information that we find that is specifically focused on that subject we’ll post here – it’s being gathered and added to as and when we find it – so do keep checking.
Muddy Faces is open!
We are getting orders out as quickly and efficiently as possible to our customers whilst ensuring we adhere to safe working practices.
We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of our staff so we have put in a number of measures to create a safe working environment for all our employees. This includes having fewer staff in the offices and warehouse so that we can ensure that we are able to adhere to the Government guidelines on social distancing, and we have also introduced increased hygiene and cleaning procedures.
Due to these changes to our working practice, orders may take a little longer than usual to process. If there are any issues or delays with your order we will let you know as soon as possible.
Our telephones are being staffed Monday – Friday 9am til 5.30pm. Please leave a message if the phone is not answered and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, please call 0114 221 9617.
The Muddy Faces Outdoor Hub is all about supporting people to get outdoors and spend time in nature, whatever your resources, whatever the kind or size of space you have access to. Although these lockdown resources are very relevant right now, the whole of our Outdoor Hub is here for you to explore – it’s all free for everyone and designed to inspire you whatever your level of experience.
Getting outdoors is good for the health and wellbeing of adults and children – we hope we can help you find ways to do it.
Our Outdoor Hub has 6 main sections – every section has much more in it than you might expect! Treat it like the great outdoors – come and explore!
What resources have you found useful / are you working on / would you recommend, specifically to support people/children to access nature/the outdoors during this lockdown period?
Something missing? Let us know: email@example.com. Thank you.
Excellent range of learning & creativity resources focused on climate emergency and social injustice. Episode 7, released July 2020, features articles on soil and carbon (including our own dorodango mud ball activity), as well as really good resources on racism, anti-racism and climate justice. Set up by Walthamstow based artist and educator Poppy Flint for the group Learning for the Future Watham Forest.
“We’ve created some adventure-themed activities specifically for young people to do from home. We hope the videos will be entertaining as well as help young people understand how much value adventure and the natural world can bring to their lives.”
From the Children’s Parliament – written by young journalist aged 8-14. “Helping adults to understand the impact that the coronavirus is having on children’s lives.” 3 produced so far (as at 1 June 2020), and ongoing … editions have looked at learning at home and being online, health and wellbeing, and learning in lockdown and the return to school.
CLOtC have gathered this comprehensive list of organisations providing resources that “can be used to help keep children learning (and make it fun) whilst schools are closed.”
“A wealth of free, downloadable resources to help with teaching and learning at home on the themes of food, farming and the natural environment. We have resources for all ages, on a wide range of topics, and for use indoors or outdoors.
Our full bank of resources are available here, but we have also selected some that we think are especially relevant to home education, and will be adding to these in the coming weeks.”
“It’s great for our physical and mental health and something grown ups and kids can enjoy together. Getting out in nature is a great way to fill our lives with wonder and joy! Here are my top 10 nature adventure ideas for families:” Also has a Coronavirus Toolkit with “child-friendly Coronavirus information from reliable sources.”
“A new online programme of lively extra-curricular in-school and home-school based workshops themed around archaeology. Week by week, participants can enjoy developing new knowledge, ideas and transferable skills for life and learning, including excavation. Dig School is offered in summer term 2020 to support educators delivering engaged learning during the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- Weekly challenges.
- Weekly programme of live workshops, storytelling and virtual campfires – connecting children and young people online and continuing a sense of community and connection while we are physically apart.
- Educational activities to do at home – games, craft ideas, things to try indoors, in your garden or on a walk, and a chance to learn about big ideas from climate change to social justice.
In April/May 2020 the Field Studies Council ran a series of 10 live fieldwork sessions in collaboration with Encounter Edu. Aimed at different age groups, to help build geographical and scientific enquiry skills in a range of inspiring locations. Recordings of the sessions are available to watch on the website.
Free virtual forums to guide families and educators on outdoor learning. Two groups on Facebook – one for families and one for educators and teachers – with FREE weekly outdoor learning and play activities and training guides. Tutorial videos – downloadable resources – learning plans – Q & As. Plus weekly newsletters for parents and carers teaching their children from home, and learning professionals working remotely. Plus webinars and online training sessions for early years educators and trainers.
“Walking & staying active during lockdown. This page is for all teachers, school staff, parents, carers and all families with children of primary school age #WalkingFromHome. We will be releasing new resources and fun activities on a weekly basis, so keep coming back for more.
“In response to the coronavirus crisis, the movement will look a bit different in 2020. Following consultation with teachers and parents around the world, we are launching Playful Nature! Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing ideas for connecting to nature through play that can be done from anywhere. And on 21 May, which should have been the next Outdoor Classroom Day, we’re inviting you to celebrate your connection to the natural world by bringing Playful Nature to everyone.”
“This pack was created to support children and families to stimulate their imagination, creativity and play time during these challenging times. Available for organisations in Scotland to order.”
“To support our colleagues returning to on-site instruction in June, we’ve put together this list of ideas … we have been advised that a focus on social and emotional learning is preferable this last month of school and that being outside is recommended as much as possible.” Megan Zeni (US).
“In a bid to help teachers and parents with the school closures and the coronavirus, there are lots of free resources out there to assist with home learning. We have compiled a list for you.”
“Every week we are posting new material to help you engage with nature in the best way you can, through videos, photos and fun for all the family … activities to keep you focused, fit and entertained during the corona-virus outbreak. Looking after the mental and physical health of you and your family.”
“We’re all going to be spending a lot more time at home in the coming weeks and months due to the coronavirus crisis. With schools now closed, we know many families are looking for ideas to keep children entertained. To help, we’ve pulled together some simple, nature-based activities you can enjoy together at home or in your garden.” A growing series of blogs posts.
“Whether you are a teacher looking for inspiring and enriching content for your students to access and use independently from home, or a parent seeking ways to make the most of time at home with your children, we want to help.
Each week, we’ll be providing engaging ways for you to connect with nature and learn more about our amazing planet. Our themed weeks will include live learning events via our dedicated Facebook group, an opportunity to participate in fun and insightful webinars with WWF experts, and links to our popular educational materials. And in case you miss any of these live events, you can revisit and access all content as and when you need to.”
WWT (Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust) have launched a new home learning hub to help parents teach their primary school aged children key parts of the science curriculum. New resources, covering different science topics, will be released on a Monday morning each week. Families will have access to lesson plans, written specifically with this audience in mind, divided up into bite-sized chunks, including an outdoors element for those with access to outdoor space. These are supported by instructional videos, fun ‘make it’ activities and a quiz to show how much they’ve learnt each week.
“We are aware many schools, businesses and care homes are not open at the current time, but hope these packs will provide you with inspiring activities that can be adapted no matter your living, working or teaching situation.”
“This June, join thousands of people taking part in our annual nature challenge, 30 Days Wild! We want you to do one wild thing a day throughout the whole month: for your health, wellbeing and for the planet. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness. You’ll get a free, downloadable pack of goodies to help you plan your wild month, plus lots of ideas to inspire you to stay wild all throughout June (and beyond!). “
Creative Star Learning has gathered this incredibly comprehensive list, divided into sections for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and websites. Probably anything else mentioned here will already be on Juliet’s list!
Your Facebook recommendations
At the end of April we posted this message on Facebook:
“We want to follow more projects and organisations on Facebook so we can share with you more of the wide range of brilliant and inspiring outdoors-focused opportunities and resources there are out there. Who should we be following? Who inspires you? Feel free to suggest yourselves!”
Your responses are listed below, in alphabetical order. Do share any more with firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
Cobnuts Woodland Nursery & Forest School
Conker Crew online Forest School sessions every Monday, £3
Cynon Valley Organic Adventure
Forever Green Forest School: Sarah Chisam said “really enjoying their posts about things you can do at home.”
Freerange Forest Families
Highway Farm Activity Centre- Outdoor learning & Play
I love Nature CIC
John Muir Trust
Kids Gone Wild UK
Kin Nature Kindergarten
Ladybirds Nature Parent & Toddler Group FB group: “the first step towards creating Wales’ first Nature Kindergarten. This group focuses on your relationship as a parent with your child interacting with nature.”
Linden Children’s Centre Vanessa Collins said “Linden Children’s Centre are doing loads to support the families and children in Hackney! 👍🏼 🌈”
Little Einsteins Academy Lauren Louise said “My children’s Pre-school, they are so lucky to have their own private woodland!”
Little Explorers Childminding
Milford Pre-School Plus Sarah Rix said “Trying my best to keep our children updated with daily activities! 😊”
Mucky Boots Education
Muddy Boots Forest Adventures
Open-ended Play Spaces & Experiences FB group: ” to encourage the sharing of inspiration, resources and activity ideas for open/ended play experiences.”
Outdoor Adventurers Forest School Bury
Outdoor Learning Made Easy
Outlet: Play Resource
Park View 4U
Primary Forest Schools Ellen Blackwood said “We are sending out free home learning packs and posting regular activities 🌳💚”
Releasing their Wild Lisa Jane said “A blog of activities that you can do at home with your children.”
Scotswood Natural Community Garden
Trees and Seas Outdoor Adventures
Under The Trees CIC
West Boldon Lodge Tom Mower said “Daily activities including weekly outdoor learning, simple science & crafts 4 kids videos. Also on Instagram & Twitter.”
Wild Tots Children Outdoors
Wildschooling FB group: “this is a gathering place for nature-bonded home educators who are passionate about supporting a nature-bonded, active & joyful childhood. Here we’ll explore nature’s role in providing a nourishing, dynamic and creative education that honors the whole child. ”
Wonder Woods Education
YPTE Young People’s Trust for the Environment
YWT Potteric Carr Nature Reserve
“This report summarises emerging evidence on the effects of play restrictions in terms of a) reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the population and b) the detriments to children resulting from the restrictions.” “The benefits to children’s mental health and wellbeing of playing and learning outside together with others far outweigh the minimal risks to them.” Play Scotland, 17 June 2020.
A Play England Briefing “This short document is intended to provide a framework making it possible to address the issues arising from the impact on play of corona virus and help those who will be dealing with the fall-out when the virus has abated and as parents begin to take their children to different play and child-care facilities again.” 15 June 2020.
“The survey quizzed 500 children and 1,500 parents and found that being outside has had a positive impact on many families during lockdown.” Yahoo Style, 8 June 2020.
“In this document, we make a number of evidence-based recommendations designed to support children’s social and emotional wellbeing. We focus on the need to afford children opportunities to play with peers in the coming weeks and months. Our recommendations are focused, in particular, on the needs of children aged 3 to 11.”
Follow Play First on twitter: “Leading UK mental health experts advocating for children’s emotional wellbeing to be prioritised via play when lockdown is eased”
“A new paper explores the issues around children’s access to space during government restrictions, within the context of the vital importance of play for their wellbeing and resilience.” Rethinking Childhood, 20 April 2020.
“Play allows children to cope with what life throws at them; it is the responsibility of adults to ensure that they can play safely, inside and out,” Forbes, 19 April 2020.
News articles & blog posts, etc
‘As the nation’s school districts plan strategies to keep students safe when schools reopen for the 2020-21 school year, repurposing outdoor areas as learning spaces is getting growing support from parents and others.’ Multibriefs (US), 9 July 2020.
‘The 18-year-old birder and environmentalist on improving diversity in her field and how the pandemic has affected the natural world.’ The Guardian, 7 July 2020.
“Some of the answers [to social distancing & hygiene] lie in outdoor learning, a practice that is already the norm in many Hammersmith & Fulham schools. The concept could help headteachers develop plans for their schools to meet government and NHS guidance.” Examples of what primary & secondary schools in London are doing. Hammersmith & Fulham news, 3 July 2020.
An Improvement, Not a Detraction: How Outdoor Education Could Work. ‘A swift move into outdoor learning may well be the only way that school districts can reopen safely with maximum enrollment while minimizing risk … A cascade of physical, emotional and academic benefits accompany even basic outdoor activities, like recess. For purposefully built models of outdoor and experiential learning, the results are even greater’. Bioneers (US), 3 July 2020.
“Getting children back in school doesn’t have to mean a rush into the classroom, and access to outdoor play and learning should be an entitlement, not a privilege, write Marguerite Hunter Blair and Anita Grant, Chief Executive, Play Scotland and Chair of Trustees, Play England.” Schools Week, 1 July 2020.
An inspiring blog summing up the first week’s return to school – how bubbles and social distancing have been implemented in an outdoor environment – and considering some of the problems to be solved, and how Forest School principles have needed to be adapted for the current climate. Mama Beech, June 19, 2020
“One hundred years ago, amidst prevalent airborne respiratory diseases …. the very popular Open Air Movement gave great attention to … large amounts of time in cool, fresh air.” Kathryn Solly asks “asks what can we learn from a history of learning in the open air that spanned over 40 years of schooling in the UK?” On Jan White’s Early Childhood Outdoors, 12 June 2020.
– See The Forgotten Open Air Schools, Designed To Battle Tuberculosis During The 1930’S, Media Drum World, 21 July 2020
– Bring Back the Open Air School, Treehugger, 20 July 2020
– Flashback: In the fight against tuberculosis, open air schools in Chicago took an unorthodox approach: Keep kids outside, even in winter, Chicago Tribune (US), 1 May 2020
“Preparations are underway in Northern Ireland for the reopening of all schools in September 2020 … In this blog, we intend to address some of the obstacles specifically facing the early years phase of education and to offer potential solutions to ensure that the needs and interests of our young children are fully embraced.” Looks at physical protection, hygiene and infection control, standards of learning , and wellbeing. Stranmills University College, 12 June 2020.
Book review. From blackberry picking to digging a pond … a perfect lockdown reminder of how having fun outdoors is essential for children, in cities as well as the countryside. The Guardian, 20 May 2020.
George Monbiot argues that a knowledge of ecology is vital. He’s been experimenting with creating an ecological education that ‘places ecology and Earth systems at the heart of learning, just as they are at the heart of life.’ The Guardian, 12 May 2020.
Institute for Outdoor Learning CEO reflects on how the Countryfile feature on the challenges facing outdoor education as a result of the pandemic came about. Includes a link to watch the 9 minute feature online. 12 May 2020.
“Child mental health experts have urged the government to prioritise children’s play and socialising with friends over formal lessons and academic progress when schools in England reopen and lockdown restrictions are eased.” The Guardian, 7 May 2020.
The benefits of being outside, tips for doing it while social distancing, and an unusual and inspiring list of suggested activities. Active for Life (Canada), 27 April 2020.
“Whether making a wildflower bracelet or searching for badger footprints, here are some simple, enjoyable ways to start teaching your kids about nature.” The Guardian, 14 April 2020.
“Bring your creativity and experience to finding more ways to take your classes outside for their, and your health, and wellbeing. Use the space and opportunities that your grounds have to offer, as you welcome your children back in to school.” Includes – arrival & collection – transitioning back to a school environment – how can landscape & outdoor learning help? – temporary seating & gathering spaces – outside come rain or shine! – Early Years, KS1 & KS2, Learning Through Landscapes.
‘With plans afoot, NOW is the time to ensure that your child’s school takes advantage of one of the safest spaces for learning during the pandemic—the outdoors … We’ve gathered these resources to help your school start the process of repurposing the outdoors as a learning space.’ Childhood by Nature (US), 3 July 2020.
Linking to many more resources that ‘outline the potential for outdoor classrooms to provide much-needed, extra “classroom” space; allow for social distancing between students; and provide strategic and cost-effective tools for improving academic, mental and physical wellbeing as schools reopen.’ Lifelab (US).
‘Repurposing outdoor spaces is a cost-effective way to reduce the burden on indoor classrooms while providing fresh air, hands-on learning opportunities.’ US information but much is transferable to UK & elsewhere. Resources include official guidance, ensuring equity, case studies, school program integration, Outdoor Infrastructure Planning Strategies for Taking Learning Outside as Schools Reopen, support for outdoor learning and media coverage. Green Schoolyards America (US).
This guide ‘presents information and strategies for how community-based environmental and outdoor education programs can help schools to equitably reopen during and after the COVID-19 crisis.’ NAAEE (North American Association for Environmental Education), 29 June 2020.
“Practitioners across Wales are continuing to work in different ways to support children’s play during this challenging time. To help practitioners support children’s play we have developed a range of practical resources.” Includes: Focus on play: reopening parks, play areas and open spaces for children’s play / Focus on play: reopening schools / Tops / videos. Play Wales, 26 June 2020.
As some schools are considering reopening (or increasing the numbers of children), amendments have been made to OEAP (Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel)’s National Guidance document to provide additional advice about how to plan for learning outdoors. 6 June 2020.
A deputy headteacher discusses their bubble approach and how they’ve used their outside spaces to enhance and enrich learning whilst also enabling a safe socially distanced environment, during their first week back at school. Council for Learning Outside the Classroom, 5 June 2020.
- phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England
- Scotland – strategic framework for reopening schools, early learning & childcare provision
- Wales – School opening times & services: coronavirus
From the Institute of Outdoor Learning. 3 June 2020.
Advice poster from Learning Through Landscapes. Covers: why take learning outside, how to make the most of the site, how to maintain social distancing, hygiene tips, temporary gathering/seating spaces, pupil drop off/pick up, moving round the site, and come rain, come shine! June 2020.
Dr Jo Traunter says “with a growing body of evidence demonstrating that in addition to being outside reducing transmission of the virus, learning outdoors is also shown to impact on a range of development including physical, communication, health, eyesight, resilience and emotional wellbeing, the case for outdoor learning has never been stronger. More schools could therefore now consider taking advantage of their outdoors areas and exploiting the opportunities offered by these spaces. ” On Jan White’s Early Childhood Outdoors, 29 May 2020.
“This A to Z will not cover every aspect of nurture, but I hope it can provide a starting point for a way of “being with” children and young people whose well-being and mental health are or have been at risk. Supporting and safeguarding their social and emotional development will be even more important as we help them return to school during the current coronavirus pandemic.” Dr Chris Moore, EdPsychInsight, 26 May 2020.
“Teachers may need extra training to deliver outdoor lessons, as the Scottish Government explores new ways for safer learning once lockdown eases.” With contributions from Wee Wild Sparks outdoor nursery. The Courier (Scotland), 25 May 2020.
“As we begin to plan a return to school establishments, we are compelled to look at new ways of teaching and learning … For many teachers and practitioners, learning and teaching in the outdoors is already a regular occurrence.” TES, 23 May 2020.
Recording on YouTube. “This webinar provides national perspectives in approach from across UK and Ireland and practical case studies on approaches to re-opening sites, followed by question and answer session.” Outdoor Recreation Network, 21 May 2020. (1 hr 42 mins)
“A Moray nursery that specialises in outdoor learning is encouraging mainstream education providers to embrace the natural environment even more to ease classroom concerns.” The Press & Journal, 19 May 2020.
Schools in Denmark have been using outdoor lessons to help manage social distancing rules more easily – here are 7 tips for doing it well for other schools that may follow suit.” TES, 17 May 2020.
“As Scotland considers the eventual re-opening of schools and non-emergency child-care facilities as the threat of coronavirus recedes, early childhood advocates are eagerly anticipating a now-delayed rollout of an important social policy experiment.” The Conversation, 10 May 2020.
‘Kindergartens and day nurseries may be used for small groups of children aged zero to six years from June onwards … Education minister Lucia Azzolina has said the playgrounds and gyms of primary and secondary schools could be used. The idea is for them to spend as much time outdoors as possible.’ The Local (Italy), 2 May 2020.
Thank you key workers
Thank you for all the hard work of the key workers who have worked tirelessly during this lockdown period, often putting themselves in harms way, to help others, we are indebted.
Thank you to the Muddy Faces team
Muddy Faces has stayed open, helping people to be outdoors and hopefully having a small positive effect on mental health.
I would like to thank Clare & Lauren in (separate / distanced) offices – they are doing an awesome job looking after customers, making sure they get their orders as swiftly as possible, and keeping everyone up-to-date. Please give them a bell if you have any questions.
I have some employees furloughed, and the ones who are not have been busy doing their own jobs and other peoples with a brilliantly positive attitude.
Beccy has been doing a super job on social media letting people know about all the amazing free resources we have available in our Outdoor Hub to help get people outside.
I will also add a thanks to my husband who coordinates all the UK-wood products for us, they have been very popular during this period – he comes home on his alternate work days covered in wood shavings!
A great big thanks to all my staff for their creativity and uplifting attitude that is keeping Muddy Faces and me going.
Thank you Muddy Faces customers & collaborators
Finally a big thank you to all of our customers who have been giving us such lovely feedback during this difficult period, and our collaborators who are equally passionate about getting outdoors.
Without you there would be no Muddy Faces and we would not be able to provide all the free information we share on the Outdoor Hub to help people get outdoors, as every sale helps fund our different campaigns.