Jul 24, 2023

The Importance of Outdoor Play and Learning

Forest School child playing at nursery

In this blog, we will explore the benefits of outdoor play and learning, highlighting how parents can implement these activities at home.

The Benefits of Outdoor Play & Learning

At The Old Station Nursery Group, we recognise the significance of outdoor play and learning in fostering children’s curiosity, understanding, and overall development. Through engaging outdoor activities and the integration of Forest School programs, we provide children with opportunities to explore nature and learn beyond the traditional classroom setting.

Outdoor play and learning offer numerous advantages for children’s holistic development. It is recommended that young children engage in at least 180 minutes of physical activity per day, and the outdoor environment provides ample opportunities for them to be active. Playing outdoors allows children to develop independence, as they have the freedom to explore, create games, and make discoveries on their own. It also helps children understand potential risks and learn how to safely manage them, fostering decision-making skills and self-confidence.

Encouraging an Active and Healthy Lifestyle

Engaging in outdoor activities from an early age promotes an active lifestyle, instilling a love for physical activities that can be carried into adulthood. Children who regularly play outside are more likely to develop a lifelong appreciation for outdoor activities, leading to improved physical and mental well-being.

Appreciation of Nature and the Environment

The outdoor environment provides an opportunity for children to appreciate nature and develop an understanding of the world they live in. It offers a natural context for teaching sustainable practices and instilling a sense of responsibility for the planet. By experiencing the outdoors first hand, children develop a connection with nature and gain knowledge about the environment that can shape their attitudes and behaviours.

Building Confidence, Resilience, and New Skills

Outdoor activities present challenges that require problem-solving and resilience. By engaging in these activities, children develop confidence in their abilities to overcome obstacles and face new experiences. They learn to work in teams, communicate effectively, and acquire specific skills tailored to the outdoors. Forest School programs, in particular, provide opportunities for children to learn practical skills such as fire building and knot tying.

Implementing Outdoor Learning & Play at Home

Outdoor learning and play can be easily implemented at home, allowing children to continue their exploration, and learning beyond the nursery setting. Here are five simple activities you can try with your child:

  • Hide and seek: Explore new environments and engage in a classic game of hide and seek, encouraging counting skills and problem-solving.
  • Scavenger hunt: Take a trip to a local park or woodland area and create a scavenger hunt using an old egg box. Collect and sort objects based on shapes, sizes, or colours.
  • Mud pies: Embrace rainy days by providing a bucket, spade, or stick for your child to create mud pies. This activity encourages exploration and understanding of cause and effect.
  • Den building: Foster teamwork and communication skills by constructing dens using natural materials. Dens can become spaces for storytelling or picnics.
  • Bug hunt: Encourage curiosity about nature by searching for bugs and wildlife in your garden or local outdoor spaces. Explore different habitats and learn about various species.

To conclude, outdoor play and learning are essential for children’s overall development, offering a range of benefits such as independence, physical activity, environmental appreciation, and skill-building. By providing opportunities for children to engage with nature and experience outdoor activities, parents and educators can nurture curiosity, resilience, and a lifelong love for the outdoors. Implementing outdoor play and learning at home can be simple and enjoyable, creating lasting memories and enhancing your child’s learning journey.

Related pages/links:

The Brighter Learning Approach 

Our Curriculum

Related blogs:

The Importance of Teaching Children About Our Wonderful World

My Happy and Healthy Self

Blog checked by:  Kat Learner (Training & Professional Development Manager)

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