The outdoors offer limitless opportunities for children to learn through play. Regular exploration and learning in an outdoor environment supports the development of an active and healthy lifestyle in children and aids them in developing a better understanding of the world around them.
Physical play is necessary with young children in order to strengthen their bodies, maintain a healthy weight and prevent illnesses. It is important that adults encourage active lifestyles from an early age so that a child is able to maintain that healthy lifestyle throughout their lives.
In this day and age it is becoming increasingly common for children to become more reluctant towards outdoor play due to advancing technology. Although technology brings huge benefits and resources to early years learning, it is vital that we don’t let children to grow up disconnected from the outdoors and miss an opportunity to develop skills which technology cannot provide.
Outdoor play also supports children’s problem solving skills and nurtures their creativity as well as providing opportunity to develop their imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.
This is why we have put together a list of Outdoor Learning Activities which will help to increase the engagement between children and outdoor learning.
Gather nature object which have different textures and put them in individual paper bags. Any outdoor items such as pinecones, sticks, stones and flowers will be fine. Have your children close their eyes and feel each object. Once every child has felt the shape and texture of an object, ask them to draw what they think it is on their classroom lapboards. Once everyone has drawn what they think it is, send them to find objects with similar textures. As they find matching objects, introduce new adjectives and texture words like pointy, bumpy and smooth.
This activity helps to expand children’s vocabulary and the differentiation of textures helps to improve their fine-motor skills.
Gardening provides a useful and focused activity which helps children develop a better understanding of the world around them. Gardening outdoors can also be incredibly nurturing for children, as they make connections with the natural environment, learn about life cycles of nature, seasons and begin to find out more about where their food comes from.
Gardening is great for sensory exploration as well as helping to build hand and finger strength.
Our outdoor school planter is a great starting point for gardening activities with young children. It provides an organised space for them to benefit from gardening even if you don’t have a school garden.
Gather children outside near a flowerbed, along with some paper and paint and have them create their own artistic masterpieces. Our outdoor 4 sided easel is a perfect resource for outdoor painting and play. It comes with 4 paint trays so outdoor painting and creativity is made easy.
Painting helps children with their fine-motor skills as well as enhancing children’s creativity.
Outdoor Den Building
Building dens is a great way for children to develop their personal, social and emotional development. It tests their turn taking skills, helps to build confidence and gives them an opportunity to learn about compromising and working with peers to problem solve.
Den building can be as simple or as elaborate as children want it to be. Provide children with simple everyday objects to problem solve in working coherently to build the den.
Alternatively, use our outdoor wooden den as a starting point and provide children with accessories and role play items to allow them to explore, dress up and go wild with their imagination.
Young children love playing with sand and water and find both relaxing. Water play activities provide plenty of benefits to early years. It helps to improve their skill at pouring by developing arm and hand muscles and also their hand-eye co-ordination. Children are able to see how water behaves when it is being poured.
Provide them with different objects so they are able to see which float or sink and develop their understanding of weight and density of everyday items.
One of the most important aspects of water play can be the social side of a child’s development. When more than one child is playing, they can learn about sharing, negotiating and turn taking. They are able to use their imaginations in role play.
Our SeaWeenies water tray and toy pack bundle is an ideal starting point for water play among early years. The set comes with a water tray and a pack of 4 water toys – starfish, octopus, turtle and fishing set. This set is a fun water play activity which enhances imagination, sensory and team working skills of early years.
Here at Early Learning Furniture we offer a wide range of outdoor play equipment perfect for nurseries, primary schools and the home.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us on 01733 511121 or email us at [email protected]