Learning outdoors can offer a range of benefits for children in their early years. Some children will find it more difficult to learn in a classroom environment, even when they do not have formal lessons. Therefore, going outside to explore gives them more freedom to learn in a way that is better for them, boosting their eagerness for learning.
1 Ofsted’s report, ‘How Far Should You Go?’, explains how well-planned outdoor activities cannot only boost a child’s ability to learn but also to motivate them further.
Playing outdoors is hugely important for a child’s development from building fitness to how they take in new information, and it offers the following benefits.
Learn About Nature
One excellent reason to get outdoors with children is to help them engage with nature and learn about the environment. It’s important to teach children to respect nature and the plants and animals around them. Our Observatory and Bug Hotel provides the perfect window into the lives of insects and nature.
The natural world has much to offer with lots to learn. Sensory equipment can aid in educating children about nature. The Sensory Planters from our Nature range are designed to provide easy access to nature where children can nurture the growing plants and discover wildlife living there. It is always possible to make use of the environment around you, whether you’re helping children do a science experiment or encouraging them to use their imaginations.
Get Children Active
Being active is essential for early years children. It’s one of the ways that they explore the world and get to know their limits. With so much focus on childhood obesity and the reliance on technology, it’s more important than ever to get children playing outside. Everyone can find fun things to do, from running and racing about on a scooter to climbing a Treetops climber.
Much can be done to transform your playground into an appropriate active play space. Trackways and layouts can be designed and installed using Wet Pour, providing a colourful solution to your activity area. Climbing frames and Beacon Towers can also help to create a more exciting and immersive active area.
Children learn a lot about social interaction in their early years. They’re learning how to share, feel empathy, show compassion and how to have the confidence to interact with others. Learning outdoors can help to give them the space they need to spread their wings and mix with each other a little more. In the classroom, it is important to stick to the structure you need for your lessons.
By taking the classroom outside, it is easier to add more excitement and fun to everyday learning. Our Outdoor Classrooms offer a sheltered place to sit, learn and engage in literacy and math topics in the comfort of your school grounds.
Understanding how to assess a risk and its possible consequences is a skill that takes a long time to develop. Early Years children might not be able to grasp the consequences of their actions fully, but they can start to make connections. Being able to make risk assessments, such as whether an action is likely to end up with someone getting hurt, is important to start learning.
We take safety very seriously from our initial product designs to ensuring your final installation is prepared appropriately for all fall heights. We consider the best surfacing to make any tower and climbing frame as safe as possible.
Children need space to be themselves and to work things out in their way. Although parents and even teachers want to protect them, sometimes they need to be given the space to explore things on their own. Learning outdoors gives them the opportunity to use their imagination and creativity, to choose to play alone or with others, and to build their confidence. Although they are still under supervision, children can feel a sense of independence and learn from each other.
Our Early Years range of playground infrastructure and equipment is ideal for encouraging outdoor learning and play. Have a look at what we have to offer, from shelters and surfacing to social spaces.
1 For more information, see http://www.lotc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Ofsted-Report-Oct-2008.pdf