2) Finding out about parks
What do we know about parks? Discuss with children their experiences of visiting parks. When and why do they go to a park, and with whom?
- What do they think a park is for?
- What do they see and do in a park?
Begin an illustrated glossary, which you can add to during the topic.
What’s in a park?
Show children photographs of park scenes. Discuss what they can see in each photograph. Talk about how parks are laid out. How do people get around them?
Explore further by showing photos of park features. Using either an interactive whiteboard or paper copies, ask children to match or sort them. For example, according to purpose, who uses them, when they are used or what they are made of.
Show or give children plans of public parks and ask them to say what is in each park. This will help them to use simple plans and to recognise symbols and how they are used to represent features.
What grows in a park?
Discuss why different animals and insects need trees, plants, berries, seeds and nuts (home, shelter, source of food).
Talk about what we use different plants for (medicine, decoration, fragrance, as a dye or to flavour food).
Look at things in our homes that are decorated with leaves and flowers.
Draw the shapes of different leaves from books and other sources.
Water in the park
Talk about what water features there are in parks.
- Why are they there?
- Who or what uses them?
- Why are some water features dangerous and what care must be taken?
- Why is water important to many living creatures?
Show children photographs of water features and ask them to talk about what they see.
Explore the school garden. Talk about what is in it and why. If the school has a gardening club suggest that children talk to, or interview, older pupils in the club about what they do. Or, ask members of the garden club to come into class and talk about the school garden.
Gardens at home
Ask children to talk about and describe their garden at home. Make drawings of them showing what is in them.
What do they and their parents use their garden for? For example, to play or relax in, to grow plants and vegetables, to have BBQs, keep pets or to hang out washing.
What things have children seen in the photographs of parks that are also in their own gardens?
What lives in a park?
Talk about what lives in the park.
- Read or listen to books from ‘Percy the Park Keeper’ series.
- Show photographs of wildlife. Ask why these species live there.
- What do they eat?
- Where do they live or shelter?
- What can harm or kill them?
Who looks after a park?
Read or listen to books from ‘Percy the Park Keeper’ series.
- Talk about his work in the stories.
- Show photographs of parks and ask children what jobs Percy would need to do and how he would go about them.
How were parks used in the past?
Project photographs of what people did in parks onto an interactive whiteboard.
- Ask children what they can see.
- Talk about what people are doing.
- Discuss what people are wearing.
- How different would the scene be today?
Extend by looking and reading other resources in what people did in a park?
How did children play in parks?
Talk about playparks. Which are children’s favourite play features? Why do they like them?
How did children play in playgrounds from the past?
How are they different from playparks today?
Why do parks have rules and regulations?
Talk about why there might be rules for people to follow when visiting a park.
Which rules are for our personal safety, for the consideration for others or for the protection of the park?
After a visit to a park, review with children why they were needed.
In preparation for your visit, children could create their own code of conduct.
Preparing for a visit to the park
Encourage children to think about their own safety and that of others when they visit a park.
Discuss what the weather might be like or the terrain in the park.
Talk about what preparations must be made before going on a visit to a park.
What should children bring with them and why? (Medication, sunscreen, warm clothing, waterproof clothing, strong footwear, lunch, drink.)
What if first aid equipment is needed or if there is an accident?
What else should they consider taking with them?
Create a visit checklist using the headings below.
I need why I need to bring what happens if I don’t bring
What can you hear in a park?
Listen to and identify park sounds that you might hear in a park.
- Which sounds are made by animals, birds or insects?
- Which are made by people and why?
- Where and when might they expect to hear them?
- What sounds are caused by the weather?
- How do the sounds make children feel?
To download the sound file right-click on the link and choose 'Save Target As' / 'Save Link As'.