How to make the most of your outdoor adventure trip

Residential trips are often the highlight of the school year, providing students with the opportunity to participate in new and exciting activities away from the classroom environment. Outdoor adventure school trips allow children to move beyond their comfort zone whilst spending valuable time with their teachers and peers.

The benefits of outdoor residential trips are not restricted to children. Teachers often tell us they find it invigorating having time and space to engage with the children in a different environment, away from the stresses of daily school life. However, with all the excitement comes challenges that need to be addressed, such as managing expectations and ensuring the right processes, procedures and levels of safety are in place. It is also imperative to make sure that the trip achieves its objectives while making a positive, enduring impact on the children’s learning.

Cumulus Outdoors hosts hundreds of children from many different schools every year in our tented villages and residential centre, creating bespoke adventure programmes to meet desired outcomes and budgets. Based on this experience we’ve listed a few things below to help you make the most of your next outdoor adventure trip.

Involve the parents

Parents or carers will naturally be a little nervous about their child being away from home. They’ll also want to know how their money is being spent and how their child will benefit from the experience. The more you keep parents informed the more it will lessen their concerns and thereby help them to better support and prepare their child for the trip.

  • Provide the trip information i.e. itinerary, kit list, emergency procedures etc and information on the trip provider for peace of mind
  • Be clear on the desired outcomes of the trip and share any learning objectives (your provider should be able to help with this)
  • Hold a parents meeting to share information with parents. Finish the session with a Q&A where they can pose any questions they may have.Consider inviting the adventure residential company along to help

Involve the teachers

Outdoor adventure residential trips provide a great opportunity to break down barriers between teachers and pupils. Teachers are able to get involved with the activities as much as they choose, enhancing relationships and developing communication without the normal teacher/pupil restrictions in place because the provider will be managing all the activities.

Incorporate learning objectives

A residential trip provides important learning opportunities, so use it to add another dimension to classroom based learning and incorporate key learning objectives in advance of the trip. Consider things pupils should aim for, whether thats setting teamwork targets, overcoming fears or trying new adventures, the pupils will have a better idea of what to expect and can then bring that learning back into the classroom.

Let them lead

Time spent learning outside the classroom provides a rare opportunity for pupils to take the lead. Encourage them to take on leadership roles for activities where they may feel more confident, showing their friends how it’s done and then offering support. Some children who are quieter in class can come into their own when taking on these new adventure experiences. By encouraging them to take the lead, building on their strengths and supporting their peers, they will develop confidence that will benefit them both during the trip and when they return back to school.

Build more resilience

Children will benefit from the opportunity to try new activities acknowledge achievement and encourage perseverance over and above simply catching the most fish or climbing the highest. Set goals for different elements of the trip such as teamwork, determination etc.  Record individual successes and achievements and then share with the group either at the location or perhaps back in the classroom.

Bring the learning back into the classroom

Children will return to the classroom energised and motivated so use this to integrate the learning and development back into the classroom. On your return encourage creative writing or artwork, which incorporate some of the memories, materials and scenery from the trip.