Schools across the UK are phasing their return, however, we have decided to keep our daughters at home for a while longer. We hope that they’ll be back this side of the summer holidays, but the reality is that we will most likely hold out until September. I spoke about this on my YouTube channel and how our school plans to return.
The decision to keep them at home comes with the task of continuing with virtual home learning. I have been busy equipping myself with lots of new ways to teach my three daughters that involve more than textbook learning.
I was excited to receive a bundle of outdoor learning items for us to review from Learning Resources. There’s a whole host of fun educational products on their website and I found myself on there for hours getting excited about different learning opportunities that I could implement at home. Of course with the wonderful weather we’ve had, it was a nice treat to do some exploring outside.
GeoSafari Jr.Mighty Magnifier (£14)
These are wearable magnifying glasses that allows children to get up-close to nature. We found the adjustable strap around the head to be quite flimsy so it kept loosening when they moved. You are meant to be able to pop it on top of your head whilst you walk. Inside the glasses they have a 2x and 8x magnification glass, so you can explore the garden. They require two AAA batteries for the light on the front. This gives you a brighter view of the insect or plant you find.
Both Eva and Elsa loved using the Magnifier. They wandered around the garden searching for bugs and observing the plants up close. Elsa specifically enjoyed finding a Lily Beetle and learning more about them afterwards. The sound of joy coming from Eva, as she inspected the grass was so exciting to hear. She found it fascinating what lived in the grass beneath our feet.
Discovery Acorns (£9)
There are ten acorns included in the set, five have orange lids and five have green lids. Elsa has been the most interested in these and they can be used to do lots of different activities with small children. The acorns are little pots that are 3.5cm in size, they are the perfect size for popping in small objects for sorting or matching up. Each Discovery Acorn has a woodland animal silhouette on the underneath.
The lids are easy to undo so little hands can get exploring by themselves. We have used the acorns to pop in the little insects we find ready to be looked at under a magnifying glass before releasing them of course. However, the activities you can do are endless so I can see the acorns coming in handy over the coming weeks. Things like Peek and Describe, Exploring Scent and Matching Games.
GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope (£48)
I think this was the product I was personally most excited for. The Vega 360 Telescope comes unassembled and a child would need some help in putting it together. The instructions were really easy to follow. It’s a real working science tool that is recommended for above 8 years old. It can be a great introduction to astronomy and general scientific discovery.
We managed to use the 20mm and 9mm eyepieces included to watch birds from our garden. This was the first time Eva had experienced a telescope and she was in awe. The view was clear and the telescope is easy to use and adjust. It’s also really lightweight so you can carry it to new locations easily. We had lots of fun spotting other wildlife and even spying on our cat sleeping in the sunshine.
GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope (£20)
Sometimes science tools can be a bit fiddly, I love how the My First Microscope allows young children to get their first taster of science tools. Elsa was able to find some objects and look at them under the microscope. We explored the veins on a leaf and they commented about tiny furry bits around the edge.
The microscope has two large eyepieces so that both eyes can be open to view. This makes it much easier for young children and I know Eva found it difficult to comprehend using one eye from the telescope. Overall, the microscope was great for investigating in the garden.
GeoSafari Jr. Bug Viewer Jar (£4)
We have used the Bug Viewer Jar the most out of all of the products sent to us. It’s a very simple product, 7.5cm tall, it has a magnifying lid with air holes. Perfect for popping the insects you find and safely monitoring them and making observations.
Our garden doesn’t have many plants and flowers in it so it’s sometimes hard to find any wildlife. Eva spotted a dragonfly by our garden sprinkler that she very cleverly captured inside the Bug Viewer Jar. Even I found it incredible to see the dragonfly up close under the magnifier.
We all genuinely had a brilliant time exploring in the garden and using the outdoor learning tools to further our learning experience. They are quite expensive to buy but worth it for the entertainment and educational values.
I love that we can explore in a more creative way and bring our learning outside. It’s so important to switch things up at the moment to prevent boredom and to keep the brain working hard. You can win your own My First Microscope by heading to my Facebook page!
Disclosure: These products were gifted to us from Learning Resources.