The benefits of outdoor learning for children have long been proven in society, but it’s only in recent years that mainstream education facilities have begun to recognise and embrace this. While some children learn through traditional methods, many learn better by more hands-on practical methods, which is why the many outdoor learning activities available to children are so beneficial. Outdoor learning and outdoor play are not only mentally stimulating but getting out and about in the sunshine (or rain), and fresh air is good for your child’s health and wellbeing.
Let’s talk about the various benefits of outdoor learning for children
It’s important for children to experience learning in various environments, not just in the classroom. It would be impossible for teachers to appeal to every single pupil, 100% of the academic year, by relying on textbooks and old school traditional learning methods. Sometimes children need to explore and engage their senses in order to absorb information – not every child learns the same way. That’s why outdoor learning for children is so great – it’s a chance for children to develop skills that can only be learnt by doing.
How Can Parents Actively Participate in Outdoor Learning For Children
Parents should try and find ways to support their child’s outdoor learning by encouraging a range of outdoor learning activities, from planting seeds in the garden to camping or fishing, or even just a walk through the park. All of these outdoor learning activities provide children with the chance to learn more about nature and how everything works in tandem. I have teamed up with an independent school in Hertfordshire to explore the benefits of outdoor learning in further detail below.
Outdoor Learning For Kids Improves Health and Wellbeing
Nowadays, a key concern for parents is that their children are spending far too much time on their digital devices, meaning they’re not getting enough fresh air and exercise. Outdoor play is a great way to counteract this global problem because it encourages children to engage their bodies, not just their minds. Vitamin D, fresh air, exercise, and the sounds of nature all contribute to improved mental and physical health.
Here’s a great post about why you should teach your kids to love the outdoors.
Outdoor Learning For Children Can Improve Personal Skills
When outside, children are faced with a new set of risks and problems to solve. This is great for them because it helps them learn how to identify certain hazards, overcome challenges, and think critically. These are things that can’t be learnt from books. As a result, they become increasingly more confident in their own abilities and allows them to develop realistic expectations of the world around them.
Outdoor Learning Enhances Sensory Experiences For Children
Younger children, most notably, are better at absorbing information they have learnt through sensory experiences. They will be able to attach what they have learnt to a fond memory of playing outdoors, which will make it easier for them to retain the information.
One of the best ways to encourage outdoor learning for children is to enrol your child in Forest School. As Vick from Blossom Education explains, “As well as the freedom to explore and learn within an area equipped to allow and encourage children to take risks, forest school allows youngsters the chance to lead their own play. A stick can be absolutely anything they want it to be. In fact, didn’t Stick Man by Julia Donaldson prove that with so many people mistaking him for something that they needed in their lives?”
Outdoor Play Encourages Children’s Imagination
Kid’s Corner, explains how outdoor play can encourage children to use their imagination. Simple things like using woodchips as currency, or pretending to be a bear in the woods. These great outdoor games that kids invent themselves are all actually outdoor learning activities that they don’t even realise are learning from.
Becky from Emotionally Healthy Kids has this response when your kids tell you they are bored, “Get your kids out in nature f they say they are bored. Simple sticks can be turned into dens or even paintbrushes let their imagination run wild and their creativity run free”.
If you’re looking for some old school games that we used to play as kids, click on the picture below for a full list of great ideas!
And don’t worry, you don’t have to go far or spend a load of money to get your kids to enjoy the outdoors, Jennifer from Rice Cakes & Raisins has some great ideas on how to create an outdoor play area in your own garden if you’re fortunate to have one.
I think you can agree that the benefits of outdoor learning for children are innumerate. Fresh air, sunshine, creativity and imagination are something all children can benefit from, even if they are the type of children who do well in traditional school learning settings.
Let me know in the comments below what your child’s favourite outdoor learning activity is.