Outdoor Play and Nature
READ FIRST- Learn about the benefits of being in nature for children from the selection below.
- Read “Nature” (p. 18) from The Wisdom of Play: How Children Learn to Make Sense of the World by Community Playthings (~2 minute read)
CHOOSE TWO– Select at least two of the articles below to learn more about the importance of outdoor play.
- Play in a Puddle on a Rainy Day by Meredith Burton (~8 minute read)
In this article from NAEYC, Burton suggests ways to take advantage of rainy days and how children might benefit from playing in the rain.
- Our Proud Heritage: Outdoor Play is Essential to Whole Child Development by Joe Frost & John A. Sutterby (~12 minute read)
In this article from NAEYC, Frost and Sutterby share a historical perspective about young children’s outdoor play by sharing thoughts about the topics: kindergarten, parks, playgrounds, and safety.
- Ten Tips to Enhance Your Outdoor Play Space by Head Start Body Start (~2 minute read)
In this tip sheet, Head Start Body Start provides suggestions of how to support children’s outdoor play by making changes to the play space.
- Natural Sensory Learning by Diann Gano & Sharron Krull (~13 minute read)
In this article from Community Playthings, Gano & Krull share how children can explore their senses during their time outside.
- At Playtime, Open Fields and Trees Beat Seesaws and Monkey Bars by Stephen Merrill (~6 minute read)
In this article from Edutopia, Merrill includes highlights from several research studies focused on children’s time outdoors and provides evidence for the benefits of time in nature.
- The Unconventional Handwriting Guide (Part II): Less Sports, More Dirt by Meaghan (~15 minute read)
In this blog post from Brain & Child Development. Play. Education Innovation., Meaghan shares insights about how outdoor play, particularly messy play, has benefits to children’s development of fine motor skills.
- Play Deprivation is a Serious Problem by Angela Hanscom (~7 minute read)
In this article from Community Playthings, Hanscom shares the importance of play, particularly outdoors and how the recent pandemic influences children’s access to play.
CHOOSE ONE– Select at least one of the following videos to gain another perspective about children’s play outside.
- Outdoor Play and Learning: Loose Parts by Evergreen Canada (~ 5 minutes)
Learn about how children can include loose parts in their outdoor play.
- It’s Time for Play! Outdoor Play by Dr. Marley Jarvis (~ 4 minutes)
In this video from Head Start, Jarvis shares highlights of the benefits of outdoor play for young children and how families can support this type of play.