Learning from home in nature – sharing some good news stories

Department of Conservation —  28/05/2020

Teachers, parents and tamariki have been sharing their learning from home stories to help inspire others to enjoy their local nature and look after their well-being.

We hope these examples provide you with more ideas to do with your own whānau and share with your local communities during Alert Level 2 and beyond.

Learning from home activities
The activities on this new webpage are drawn from our conservation education resources and link to the Mental Health Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing.  

“We’ve had many teachers offer these learning resources to parents during this crisis situation. We have been pleased with their easy access, simple interpretation and that they are fun and achievable learning activities.” – Natalie Packer (teacher at Discovery School, Porirua).

Below are some examples from Year 3 students at Hunua School, Auckland. To support their distance learning programme, Nola White (Year 3 teacher) has utilised activities which link to Art, Physical Education, Literacy and Science curriculum areas-

Near, there and far activity description.
📷: Nola White Hunua School
Bird count and nature observations recorded in a nature journal.
📷: Nola White Hunua School

Paramata School in Porirua has been using three good things in nature as a way to help students enjoy the outdoors and practice observation skills while learning at home-

Observations of three good things in nature.
📷: Cam Farrow, student at Paremata School
Observations of three good things in nature.
📷: Sebastian Knighton, student at Paremata School

And here are some beautiful wild art examples

“Cherry (6 years old) and I were looking at the gorgeous leaves on the ground.  We chatted about the vibrant colours.  We decided to make a sunset over Mana Island. 

I love the pleasure that my mokos gain, in being amongst nature, being respectful of it, and creating.” – Pearl Freemantle (grandparent and teacher at Ngati Toa School, Porirua).

Ranger kōrero – the big picture

Two videos featuring our very own DOC rangers have been created to support increasing awareness about key concepts in our unique environment and how all of us can enjoy and protect our nature.

Check out what Discovery School (featured in the video) have said about them:

“I’ve had many excited comments about how they will be shared, how wonderful they are, and kids enjoyed seeing their school and faces they know. Little did we know that these videos would show our school kids their school is a safe, sweet, happy place waiting for their return. Thank you for the healing that’s helping our whanau! Powerful stuff!” – Natalie Packer (teacher at Discovery School, Porirua).

Discovery School students with their nature journals.
📷: Benjamin Moorhouse

50 Things to do
Each week, the 50 Things programme has been highlighting 5 activities recommended by children to do outdoors. There are ideas for around your home, in your backyard, on your deck or balcony, and from window views.

Toyota Kiwi Guardians – actions to do at home in your backyard

It has been fantastic to see families across Aotearoa engaging in TKG activities at home. Here are some of the many photos that have been shared on the TKG Facebook page

Examples of Toyota Kiwi Guardians backyard actions.

While our activities are designed with tamariki in mind, kiwis of all ages have been picking them up and enjoying connecting with nature and contributing to conservation from within their bubble:

“Mate, I know this is for kids, but I’ve learnt as much as any kid making these weta motels. I found some old wood & mastered using my husband’s power tools (have never used them before) resurrected my old glass cutting gear and have successfully made 19 magnificent 5-star Weta Motels – some single rooms some include a penthouse suite. Reason we made so many – partly because we could and enjoyed making them immensely – secondly because we have made them for Christmas presents/ birthday presents.”

For the latest conservation education updates, please subscribe to and share our e-newsletter- Pitopito Kōrero- Mātauranga Ao Tūroa. Share your stories with us by visiting our website, or feel free to contact us if you require advice, or have any feedback on our learning resources. We would love to hear from you!

One response to Learning from home in nature – sharing some good news stories


    Delightful! Warms my heart to see this!