Why Outdoors?

Learn more: Intro to Outdoor Play video, Land Acknowledgement, Dressing for the Weather, Program Planning, Outdoor Play Bank, Resources


You’ll realize playing outside is a basic childhood need once we acknowledge how important it is for healthy development. Playing outside allows children to:

  • feel more freedom
  • be more physically active
  • and play in many unique and diverse ways. Children use their imagination and creativity to define the way they see and experience the world through playing outdoors.

The outdoors can offer more diversity in play environments, providing opportunities for loose parts (ex. sticks, rocks, buckets, rain water) for children’s imagination and play spaces for risky play. By encouraging thrill and excitement through playing with tools or near natural elements such as bonfires or tall rocks, we help families and their children develop confidence and healthy relationships with risk.

Today, it can feel like we need specific toys and access to indoor play spaces for our children to grow, develop, and learn. However, by taking your families outdoors, you’re supporting the way children learn… Which is through play!

Throughout your outdoor play program or while connecting with families, you can share the physical, mental, and social health benefits with your families. We have provided a link below with tips and the incredible benefits associated with being outside!

But first, before you check that out… We should share what some of the words we mentioned above mean.

What is Risky Play?

Risky Play is an experience that involves thrill and excitement, that allows children to test themselves and find out what happens next. It can look different for children depending on their comfort levels and abilities. Risky play provides children with an opportunity to figure out their own limits, boundaries, and comfort abilities through playing.

What are loose parts?

Loose parts are the natural or upcycled materials used to encourage creativity, curiosity, joy, and fine-motor skills through child-led play. Children take the direction and can manipulate the materials however they imagine.