Outdoor learning

Motivate learners to engage with their natural heritage with these 10 simple challenges that can be used in any outdoor space with any age group. These activities have been designed to develop critical thinking, reflection and risk management while encouraging physical activity and wellbeing.

School groups are welcome to use this resource in the sculpture park at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art where you can deepen and contextualise understanding of visual arts by siting your own, temporary creations alongside world renowned sculptures!


Here are some hints for getting started 

  • Use whatever you can find to solve these problems: nature, people, litter, or take a few easily transportable materials like balls of yarn, string or old fabric. 
  • Whatever you use, leave no trace behind. Clear everything away before you leave.
  • Remember there are lots of ways to solve each problem. Have fun experimenting, refining and discussing your ideas.
  • Extend the activity into place-based learning by researching the physical and social history of whatever space you are in. Site-specific knowledge could inform the solutions that you find. You can read more about the history of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art here.


Inspired by Dame Barbara Hepworth, Conversation with Magic Stones, 1973

Change the way
people move through
this space
(without blocking any paths)

Inspired by Charles Jencks, Landform, 2001

Find the best
view and frame it

Inspired by William Turnbull, Gate, 1972


Build a home for a
creature that could
live in this space

Inspired by Tracy Emin, Roman Standard, 2005

Make the
perfect circle

Inspired by Richard Long, Macduff Circle, 2002

Write an inspiring
message for other
people to find

Inspired by Martin Creed, Work No.975 EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, 2008

yourself & hide in
this space

Inspired by Anthony Gormley, 6 TIMES HORIZON from 6 TIMES, 2010

Create an
upside-down face

Inspired by Joan Miro, Personnage (Person), 1978

Perform a miracle

Inspired by Nathan Coley, There will be no Miracles Here, 2007-2009

Make the
space more

Inspired by Dan Graham, Two Two-way Mirrored Parellelograms Joined With One Side Balanced Spiral Welded Mesh, 1996

Learning resources

Learning resources

Art is a tool that can help us make sense of the world around us. We've gathered resources to help teachers inspire children and young people to develop a positive sense of self, think for themselves, stay well and grow their creativity skills (problem solving, imagination, curiosity and open mindedness).

21 April 2021