How to Create a Suitable Outdoor Environment for Children


How to Create a Suitable Outdoor Environment for Children

Children are surrounded by the most extraordinary multi-sensory environment, which stimulates their desire to explore, investigate, and learn about the world around them.

It’s important to remember that the outdoor environment should never be strictly limited to the grounds of the facility itself.

Organizing regular trips to nearby parks, shops, and interesting buildings can also be extremely beneficial for young learners.

What’s particularly interesting is how children often behave and interact with one another entirely differently outdoors than indoors.

You may find that children who lack confidence and appear inhibited indoors come out of their shells and blossom outdoors.

Setting up an appropriate outdoor space brings children the benefit of being able to play and take part in activities that would be impossible or inappropriate indoors.

Consider the following concerns and responses from the children’s perspectives

Do my teachers share the same enjoyment of being outside as I do?

  • Always demonstrate enthusiasm, optimism, and positivity where outdoor activities are concerned
  • Instil a sense of excitement and joy in children when planning and conducting activities outdoors
  • Ensure all staff give the impression that they like being outdoors as much as children do
  • Communicate the value of outdoor learning with parents and take their ideas/suggestions on board

Will I have regular opportunities to play outside, and if so, for how long each time?

  • Embrace the opportunity for outdoor play as often as possible/appropriate while the weather is amicable
  • Ensure schedules and timetables include plenty of outdoor play and activities
  • Leverage the natural desire of children to play, explore, and build their confidence when playing outdoors

Will I face consequences if I am noisy, messy, or boisterous while outdoors?

  • Anticipate, accept, and even encourage a certain amount of chaos and messiness outdoors
  • Give children the opportunity to shout, scream, run around, and blow off steam outdoors when appropriate
  • Provide protective clothing/accessories to maintain appropriate cleanliness and hygiene
  • Communicate behavioural expectations and don’t allow ‘enthusiasm’ to get out of hand

What types of outdoor activities will be provided?

  • Try to provide the opportunity for children to take part in a wide variety of activities
  • Grow fruits, vegetables, and flowers to allow children to see the results of their efforts at a later date
  • Encourage wildlife watching, digging, exploration, and tactile interaction with their surroundings

Is the outdoor space easily accessible, and will I feel safe while using it?

  • Always factor children with mobility issues into your planning decisions when setting up outdoor spaces
  • Likewise, consider the requirements and personalities of more sensitive children or those who are less confident
  • Focus heavily on health and safety, making sure children feel safe and comfortable outdoors
  • Establish appropriate boundaries and make every child aware of the importance of not breaching them


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