Make a play date or two
Most children need little encouragement to play outdoors, but creating the right environment for them to play safely, while teaching them basic key skills that will help them to learn throughout their lives, takes a little more thought from teachers.
The National Children's Bureau has launched a campaign to coincide with Britain's national day for play, Playday, on 7 August, to help teachers, schools and communities to make all outdoor areas safe and healthy places to play.
Playday 2013: Playful Places is encouraging schools and communities to hold events that celebrate children's right and freedom to play. The campaign is aiming to build children's self-confidence and imagination by teaching them skills such as analysing risk and making decisions for themselves.
One of the simplest ideas involves kitting children out with blankets and chairs and allocating a playground area where they can make a den. Hold a picnic or introduce bags of sand and buckets to create a beach environment.
Weather permitting, you might choose to take some of your classes outdoors, incorporating nature and play in your lessons.
Playday is coordinated by Play England, Play Wales, Play Scotland and PlayBoard Northern Ireland.
For information about events in your region, or for ideas on how to set up an event, go to www.playday.org.uk
The secret of Enid Blyton's success
Enid Blyton (1897-1968) was the best-selling English author of the 20th century and her books still captivate young people today. These were often serialised and, responding to the adoration of her young readers, Blyton set up the Famous Five Club and Enid Blyton's Magazine.
Now Seven Stories, a national centre for children's books in Newcastle upon Tyne, has launched Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts - the first exhibition to celebrate Blyton's life. The show includes typescripts and rare artefacts, such as the original hand-corrected notes for Five Have Plenty of Fun (1955), Look Out, Secret Seven (1962) and Cheer Up Little Noddy (1960).
Also included in the exhibition are Harmsen van der Beek's first Noddy illustration (1949), Blyton's typewriter and photographs of the author as a child.
Blyton's books still inspire children to read. For those who are unable to visit the exhibition, a digital version will soon be available from the Seven Stories website.
For more information, visit www.sevenstories.org.uk
Watching the weather
How do forecasters predict whether the weather will be cold, wet or hot? Try a quick, fun and easily digestible way for children in key stages 1-2 (aged 5-11) to learn about forecasting the weather.
Rain or Shine is a daily weather forecast prepared and presented by the UK's Met Office. A daily resource for teachers is also available, with lesson plans designed to support the national curriculum.
The forecasts are available via the Met Office Education YouTube channel, which also offers simple weather experiments that can be carried out in the classroom and videos to help children to understand climate change.
Mat Richardson, education manager of the Met Office, said: "Our education pages provide teachers with a variety of resources that cover key stages 1-4 of the national curriculum. Rain or Shine offers teachers another fun, interactive way to support their lesson plans."
The experiments offer practical ways to study thermal winds, precipitation and surface friction. But lesson plans are also available on climate change, weather fronts and even Captain Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic during 1910-12.
- Try a meteorological exploration with this web quest from national museums. bit.lyweather webquest
- Explore the world of the Secret Seven with teachers' notes from hodder childrens. bit.lyblytonnotes
- Investigate ways to measure the playground in this outdoor mathematics activity from carrie4.bit.lyoutdoormaths
- Discuss extreme weather in Britain, then forecast the weather in 2050. bit.lyfuture weather
- Use this comprehensive workbook from ladysarahC to navigate your way through Blyton's Five on a Treasure Island. bit.lyblytonworkbook
- Matilda Maxwell 's worksheets help students to make observations about local habitats in outdoor science lessons. bit.lyoutdoorscience
- Record temperature, rainfall and wind speed in this week-long diary from nature detectives. bit.lyweatherdiary
- Prepare for all seasons with cal22's resource, which offers activities for different types of weather. bit.lyweatherboxes.