Here's how you can maximise on the learning potential of a simple weekend trip to the woods with your kids, a train journey, or in fact any fun day out.
The bank holiday is coming to a close and it's been lovely. Nice weather, time out together as a family and no-one was ill. After the end to end chest infections of the Easter holidays that was really welcome.
We got out as much as we could, some of it in our garden, watering our veggies and making obstacle courses with all the toys, and a couple of trips.
We don't always have time, or the energy (we are not super parents!) but we often 'top and tail' any trip with related activites designed to maximise vocabulary learning and consolidation of any skills learnt. It's a very brain-friendly way of teaching your child and they won't even realise that's what you are doing.
Today we went for a walk in the woods with the dog. It was a 3km walk which I knew would be a long way for Natty and that she would try to give up and make us carry her.
We dug out our old favourite book We're Going on A Bear Hunt and read it together. It's a lovely repetitive story and we all shouted out the strapline:
'We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one, we're not scared.'
We told Natty we were going on a bear hunt together and she read the story to herself in the car en route.
Once at the woods we started our walk as usual, but all the way round we were looking for evidence of bears.
We found brown bear poo (It was brown so it had to be...)
Twigs broken by bears, thick forest where they were sure to live and then...
The bear cave itself! The girls explored inside and then pretended to be bears, chasing each other out.
We picked dandelions and daisies and left them for the bear to eat. Constantly working on new vocabularly and Natty's pronunciation.
When we arrived home we chatted about our adventure and the girls drew a picture of the bear and his cave.
Put simply, whatever outing you do with your child with a Learning Disability, from a walk to a zoo trip, do a little activity first, plan a simple activity to do during the trip and then follow up with a related story or piece of art afterwards, it could even be a themed DVD if they are tired.
We have just signed up to the National Trust 50 Things To Do Before You're 11 3/4. There are fabulous outdoorsy activities to try each weekend andmost are completely free. They range from rolling down a hill to den building, net fishing and cooking on a camp fire. With each one you try you fill in a form and get awards and badges. You can even log photos in your online scrapbook.