5 Fun Outdoor Play Ideas That Nurture Imagination and Learning
5 Fun Outdoor Play Ideas
Heading outside at any time of year is a great way to stimulate children’s imagination and desire to learn.
There are many fun and creative ideas that can lift their play to a new level.
Added benefits of using the outdoors as a fun learning experience are that it promotes good health and mental wellbeing.
Both are essential for people of any age to engage fully with school and work.
Therefore, by implementing a few easy ideas in the outdoors environment, you will be making a positive and long-lasting effect on the children in your life.
Get Out and Play Together
Playing games together outside is a lovely way to make children comfortable outdoors in any weather. Whether the space you have is open and vast or minimal and limited.
Yard games such as tetherball help to develop hand-eye coordination as well as teamwork and problem-solving.
Putting on your rain boots and going for a walk in the rain to splash in puddles can happen in a big city or on a country road.
The main thing is to get outside together and make use of the environment you have.
Children from tot to teen love playing with a ball and hours of fun can be had with one in a remarkably compact space.
Again, they are excellent for hand-eye coordination, but it also gets them moving. It encourages building positive relationships as like-minded kids come together to play.
Furnishings Make a Difference
Putting some thought into how your outdoor area is set out and furnished is a good way to encourage imaginative play and learning.
If you have preschoolers and enough space, an outdoor playhouse is a welcome addition to a garden. It lets them have a safe space to make up games and play out of the direct sun or rain.
Maybe if you have a shady nook, a child who loves to read would appreciate a hammock to relax in.
They can escape to a different world because fun and learning don’t always happen running about at high speed!
For schools, outdoor school furniture enriches the learning environment.
It gives children a space to have lessons outside or a fun space to spend recess exploring different equipment.
Make Use of What Nature Provides
One of the easiest ways to use the outdoors is to use what Mother Nature has provided for playing.
Kicking leaves in the autumn never fails to delight. Neither does rolling down a grassy hill or clambering over a rocky crag.
Or perhaps in the summertime sitting on the grass making daisy chains to wear as a crown is more appealing.
Even if it doesn’t happen at the moment, every one of these activities promotes learning. It can kick-start concentration and imagination by turning into games with storylines attached.
Giving young people these stimuli prompts them to be curious about the world around them. It encourages children to ask questions.
After kicking in the leaves, maybe a child will wonder why the leaves have changed color and fallen to the ground.
This is an excellent prompt for discussing the life cycle of trees. Plus, the different types of trees, why there are different seasons, and many more related topics.
No adult can know the answers to all questions a child will throw at them.
When you don’t know the answer, it is a brilliant opportunity to research the solution together. It makes for a good bonding experience while learning a new skill.
Don’t Forget Structured Lessons.
It is easy to do structured lessons outside in the natural environment as well. A math lesson can involve looking at a plant.
You can count how many leaves there are on each twig and look for number patterns.
One plant may have leaves in groups of five, while a different type has them in groups of six.
If you are lucky enough to have a pond or similar water feature nearby. You can help children to observe the life cycle of various insects and animals.
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For example, look out for frogs’ eggs and then track them as they hatch into tadpoles. Then watch as they grow legs and develop into frogs.
Reinforce what they’ve learned back in the classroom by making a poster of the lifecycle they observed outside.
The dynamic element of this lesson will capture many children’s imagination far better than pictures in a book.
All while reinforcing a genuine connection with the natural world that is lost when we spend all day inside.
Do you have any fun outdoor play ideas to share?
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I am a retired GP that is passionate about health, parenting, and helping others. I am a grandparent to 3 amazing little boys and mama to 2 incredible women.