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Creating an Outdoor Play Area


Feb 17 2016
Creating an Outdoor Play Area

Having a dedicated area for outdoor play is essential in an early years setting as it allows children to have regular opportunities to explore and learn outside the classroom, which is beneficial to their physical, emotional and mental health.

Here are some things we recommend thinking about when creating an outdoor play area:

Sensory Play

Sensory play is important for young children as it supports brain development that occurs when children are engaged in an experience that activates any of the five senses. Playing with malleable resources such as water and sand are ideal for developing both fine and gross motor skills as well as building strength.

Our SeaWeenies Water Tray and Toy Pack Bundle can be used both indoors and outdoors and is ideal for engaging young children in sensory play. The tray can be filled with either water or sand and they toys help to teach young children about different mathematical concepts such as weight and capacity.

Active Play

Active play is important in early years in promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, it helps to prevent obesity and reduce the risk of heart disease. Outdoor play also has more than just physical benefits, communication and vocabulary are improved as well as social customs and relationships.

NHS guidelines say that children under 5 need at least 3 hours exercise per day and that it should involve a mix of bone strengthening, muscle building and cardiovascular activities.

Bone Strengthening & Muscle Building Activities:

  • Running
  • Hopping
  • Skipping
  • Jumping
  • Sports

Cardiovascular Activities:

  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Dancing
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Sports

The Outdoor Climbing Frame and Monkey Run helps to encourage all three types of activities that the NHS recommends. The high quality climbing frame features a slide, steps, platform and monkey run hanging rail. 

Outdoor 4 Sided Easel

Creative Play

Creative play can range from creating art and music to role playing and dressing up. Creative activities often involve other children and so help to develop both their communication and language skills.

Creative activities also have a range of other benefits such as helping to develop basic math skills such as geometry (shape and size) measuring, and sorting. There is also problem solving involved as children learn how to take the ideas they have and put them on to paper.

The Outdoor 4 Sided Easel is ideal for encouraging creative play and allowing children to improve their social skills as they work together. Each side of the easel includes a tray where children can put their pens and paints and paper can be attached to the easel at the top. Water based children’s paints and whiteboard markers can be applied directly to the easel surface and then wiped away when finished.

For stability the 4 sided outdoor easel can be attached to both turf and concrete using the corresponding fixing kit. The weather resistant surface and tough exterior seal on the edges mean no maintenance is required and the easel can be left outside permanently.

The Outdoor Children’s Kitchen Set of 4 is also a great way to promote role playing and develop social skills in an early years setting. The appliances feature UV resistant rotating dials and anti-finger trap doors to create a safe learning environment.

Natural Play

Natural play is involving children in the caring of the garden’s plants and flowers as well as teaching them how to safely look for and handle the animals that may live there. Helping to tend to a vegetable garden is a great way to give children the opportunity to experience the complexity of a natural ecosystem. 

School Outdoor Planter

Our Indoor/Outdoor School Mini Garden provides everything that you need to start growing fruit and vegetables. The mini garden has spacious storage for gardening supplies and equipment and is supplied with a waterproof tray, jiffy pot strips and propagator lid, deep plant pot and drip trap.

It is ideal for use in conjunction with the Outdoor Planter, once seeds have sprouted they should be transferred to the planter for continued growth. 


At Early Learning Furniture we pride ourselves on offering great value, quality products backed up by a reliable and flexible service. Our new range of Outdoor Play Equipment is perfect for nurseries, primary schools and the home.

For more information on any of our early learning products please contact us or call our sales team on 01733 511121.