Discover your outdoor learning room

by Fellowship Agency May 20, 2019

May marks International School Grounds month and with Outdoor Classroom Day celebrated globally on the 23rd May, there has never been a better excuse to take learning outdoors.

Be it an hour, a day, a week or the entire month spent learning, creating and discovering outdoors the wide-ranging benefits of time spent outside are well researched and reported (1).

Gratnells Learning Rooms’ outdoor learning expert, Dr Katherine Forsey, has put together a collection of her favourite outdoor What’s In My Tray activities to help you get outside more with your learners this May.

We’d love to see what you get up to in your school grounds and beyond. Share your pictures with us on social media using #WhatsInMyTray #OutdoorClassroomDay.

Capture your biodiversity

Be it log pile, pond, tree or hedge living creatures, knowing who else is inhabiting your Outdoor Learning Room provides a great platform for protecting and improving biodiversity. Keep your equipment simple, so your students can easily carry it themselves, our SmartCases are perfect for use out and about and can accommodate a wide range of kit. We have free downloadable lesson plans for:

  • Bugs on Bushes
  • Exploring Rock Pools
  • Minibeast Hunt and Habitat Creation
  • Pond Dipping

Access all our outdoor lesson plans free at


Stick Skeletons

Use our large art trays as a canvas for creating ephemeral models of three different animals and one human skeleton. There are four sets of labels covering each body part and all five senses included too. Just print two copies of the free download and you’ll have a ready-made activity for 32 learners.

Access this free activity at


Dinosaur Camouflage!

Scatter and hide a full set of these colourful Edx Education Dinosaur Counters in a well-defined, leafy, area of your school grounds, ideally with good ground cover and plant variety. Grab six Gratnells trays in colours to match the dinosaurs, each with a 6-section tray insert, and head out with your students on a dinosaur hunt. Split the students into six teams, each with their own tray. Give them 60 seconds to scour the grounds. Each time they find a dinosaur they should bring it back and deposit it in their team’s tray, using one insert section per colour, before heading off to find another one. When the time is up, each team counts their hoard. Who has found the most? All teams then group their finds by colour, using the matching coloured trays. Which colour was found the most often? Why? Give the teams another 60 seconds to search and add the new dinosaurs to their matching coloured trays. Which dinosaurs were the most difficult to find? Search again until all dinosaurs are found. If you were a dinosaur hiding from predators, what colour would you choose to be?

Access this free activity at

Life Cycles Relay Game

Seek out life cycles in your own school grounds via this energetic relay game. Collect up all the different parts of a variety of mammal, insect, bird and amphibian lifecycles and recreate the complete cycles in Gratnells’ colourful art trays using a dry wipe pen. Full instructions and a free download showing six different lifecycles is provided.

Access this free activity at

Logistics made easy

One of the biggest hurdles to learning outside can be transporting your equipment. Using Gratnells SmartCases, which students easily carry themselves, and the Gratnells Rover Trolley, combined with our iconic Gratnells Trays for larger or heavier equipment, makes getting outdoors hassle free.

Show us your Outdoor Learning Room

We’d love to see what you get up to during International School Grounds month and on Outdoor Classroom Day. Share your pictures with @Gratnells using #OutdoorClassroomDay and #WhatsInMyTray

Free resources and activities

Learning Rooms – Introduction to outdoor learning

What’s In My Tray? Outdoor activity collection




Dr Katherine Forsey
Gratnells Learning Rooms and STEM Consultant.
Outdoor Learning Specialist and member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning.

E: [email protected]  Twitter: @Gratnells  #OutdoorClassroomDay  #WhatsInMyTray