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Play is a skill that comes naturally to every child. Children love to explore and investigate. They do this to find answers to the questions they have and obtain through other experiences such as talking with parents, other children, as well as reading through books. Play is important for many developmental skills such as building on fine motor, cognitive development, and more. While many parents and teachers observe their children, or students, play within the indoors, many children are not getting a lot of outdoor time. Outdoor play is as important as indoor play. Outdoor play allows a child to be one self and take lead of his or her own learning. Children are also building on large motor skills as they jump, skip, and hop around the outdoor play area. Teachers can also bring their indoor tools outdoors to provide children with additional experiences such as looking at a bug through a magnifying glass.

Through outdoor play, children’s learning does not stop. Many teachable moments can happen in different content areas such as math, science, and literacy. When a child notices a bug flying a teacher can ask open-ended questions such as, how many wings does this one have? Why does this bug have four wings and this one only has two? What would happen if this one had four instead? The options, with outdoor learning, are endless.

Recommended Citation

Hooven, H. (2017). Outdoor learning in early childhood (Master's thesis, Northwestern College, Orange City, IA). Retrieved from