With the coronavirus disease, attending school has adopted a different perception and a new range of challenges for professionals in the education department. In the wake of the pandemic, schools must align their students’ academic, social, and psychological interests with the safeguarding of their overall health.

Along with the challenge, health and wellness advocates at Monkey Foodz support the call to heal as one and bounce back stronger. Head chef and CEO Luke Wood say, “The pandemic affirms vulnerabilities, but it has also highlighted individual resourcefulness and efficiency. COVID-19 has the power to alter our future drastically; then, we should not sit on the sidelines to see it unfold. The time is high for deliberate, concerted intervention. As parents, we can do our part by providing healthy and nutritious foods for our family. Doing so is one way to guarantee their safety.

As the leading organisation in supporting and empowering children, Urban Quest elaborated ways to empower school children through outdoor activities after the pandemic.

But why outdoor activities? Would it be safer if students stay indoors? Here’s a fact: participating in outdoor activities has its benefits. 

Benefits of Participating in Outdoor Activities

For children and teenagers, outdoor activities such as secondary school excursions are more than just an enjoyable escape. It is also beneficial to their growth and development. Kids and adolescents who experience time outdoors have the potential to be:

Physically Healthy

When outdoors, students play harder than they do indoors. Adolescents, particularly those that do not have the stability of school excursions, or afterschool events, need more freedom to interact. More time spent outdoors has been related to more robust motor skill and reduced obesity.

Mentally Healthy

Teenagers who engage in school excursions have less depression and anxiety. Most of these students are more focused and show lesser signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Highly Motivated About Studying 

Playing outdoors encourages children to be more curious, creative, and logical thinkers. Youngsters who participated in outdoor activities have improved learning experiences, according to studies.

More Optimistic in Mindset

Students who spent a lot of time in natural environments were shown to be less angry and aggressive, and impulse control improved. 

Start empowering your students through outdoor activities. Try and implement these suggestions below:

Outdoor Activities to Empower School Children after the Pandemic

#1 Make Sense of Reality at School

Around 97% of students from Victorian State Schools are studying at home. Recently, a school in Melbourne’s north was locked down after a teacher-tested positive for the virus. However, plans of allowing students to return to school are pushed if medical evidence approves.  

Thus, schools must initiate a sense-making mechanism in children before participating in curriculum-based and secondary school excursions in Melbourne. Teachers should create an environment where they can manage critical experiences related to the pandemic on both an affective and psychological basis. Doing this will increase students’ tolerance and reduce the likelihood of long-term trauma.

Plan an activity that aims to make sense of the pandemic’s reality. You can bring this activity outdoors and make it one of your team building activities for secondary students. Gamify the sharing of thoughts, learnings, and reflections from the pandemic. For instance, you can form a circle (observing social distancing) and pass a ball so that everyone can take turns in sharing their thoughts. 

#2 Grow a Garden 

Among the best team building activities for secondary students is growing a garden at school. Teach your students all about where their food comes from by planting vegetables or fruit-bearing trees. This one is not just a fun opportunity to bring the students outside, but there are plenty of chances to sneak in a few science lessons along the way.

#3 Field Day

Who doesn’t like a good game of field day? For your sack race, gather several sacks (or pillow covers). During a spoon contest, you need eggs and a spoon and don’t forget the tug of war. There are various exciting races to decide from. Ensure that distancing and proper handwashing and sanitation are observed in these team building activities for secondary students. 

#4 School Camping 

If your students are mature enough, try overnight camping in the backyard of the school. Put up some tents, bake smores, and give the students the impression that they are actually camping by teaching them basic survival skills. Don’t forget to add face masks, alcohols, and sanitisers on the “What to Bring” list. 

#5 Color Harmony

Another popular activity for school excursions is Color harmony. Ask students to bring some bright books, construction paper, and even paint palette cards. Everyone then goes around and discovers colours that best complement the shades of nature. Even in early spring, the variety of colours available can astound students. Level up the activity by instructing students to take a picture of the finished product and share them on social media sites.

#6 Picnics with an International Theme

If you’re looking for secondary school excursions in Melbourne, look no further. Try picnics with an international theme. Have each student prepare snacks and meals that represent various countries. You, as a teacher, should not be exempted from joining the picnic. Grab your cowboy boots, some chips, guacamole, salsa, and lively Mexican music if you choose to be a Mexican rodeo. 

#7 Scavenger Hunt

This next outdoor activity can count as fun team building activities for secondary students. You can try adding a theme for your scavenger hunt. Introduce intriguing hints that promote real-world problem-solving —the possibilities are limitless. Proceed with nature pieces or go on a wildlife scavenger hunt. Include plants, bushes, and animals in the quest. You can also have the students gather stones, acorns, nuts, and pinecones and see how many pieces learners can collect. Or you can always talk to professionals to organise and run such an event for your students to ensure the highest level of engagement and fun.

#8 Visit a Water Park 

Water sports are exciting for teenagers. You can visit a nearby water park and have the students play some friendly water sports. While you’re playing some team building activities for secondary students, have some songs while they play, and you’ve got yourself and the students a perfect afternoon.

#9 Draw a Soundscape

This unique ear-pleasing activity starts with the students drawing a smiley face in the middle of a paper sheet to define themselves. Let them find a spot outdoors, sit still and pay attention to the noises around them. Then, let them draw or scribble the sounds they hear in the paper. 

#10 Create Models or Artworks of Nature

Since we’re getting in tune with nature, why not let your students create models or artworks of nature? Allow them to create versions of their ideal nature out of natural objects such as sticks, bricks, and seeds. Give instructions that they should make a sustainable environment model, a model of what they expect the potential world to look like, or a model of a particular animal’s habitat, to name a few ideas. This activity can be done individually or with groups to make it one of your creative team building activities for secondary students. 

#11 Outdoor Theater

If your students are natural artists, this could be a reasonable choice for secondary school excursions in Melbourne. Showcase your students’ creative ability, suggest composing an album. You may even encourage them to watch a famous musical and then manage a different ending. If you need anything to do for a full or half-day, this is a perfect choice—bring it outdoors to add some twist.

#12 Bioblitz

Another unique secondary school excursion is a BioBlitz. It is an activity in which the aim is to find as many unusual living things as possible in a given location. You may use field checklists to let students classify objects or allow them to create their collection of organisms that are distinct from one another.

Guide them to compare and contrast what they discover in various habitats, such as the ground versus the trees or dry versus wet environments. This practice will quickly contribute to graphing or study ventures in mathematics or science. 

#13 Find the Hidden Message

If you want to level up the game, do something more exciting and try challenging team building activities for students, organise “mysterious spy missions” for your students’ families. One family will move for a trail with marker pens, making symbols and characters to spell out a hidden code along the path. The other family would then track the signs and decode the message by following them along the route.

Things to Keep in Mind

Reap the empowering benefits and the healing capacities of playing by engaging your students in meaningful outdoor activities. But in doing so, make sure that everyone maintains at least 6 feet distance and meets public health standards on wearing masks. During or after your activity, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and use a hand sanitiser. 

Finishing Off With A Child-empowering Reminder

The pandemic triggered widespread stress and uncertainty. Luckily for us who live in Melbourne, our schools have easy access to outdoor activities that continue to help our children’s well-being and learning.

Urban Quest understands that teachers need help to build empowering learning experiences while parents are coping with securing their children’s safety and holistic wellness. These are our driving force on why we provide the best school excursions for secondary students.

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