Early Years Outdoors

Young children are happier and healthier when they have regular opportunities to play outdoors. By making outdoor learning and play a regular part of your early years practice, you will help ensure positive intellectual, emotional, and social development whilst building the foundations for a lifelong connection with nature and our planet.

We’ve created this page to support early years educators in taking advantage of the benefits of outdoor learning and play. Find everything you need to take children outdoors in your setting, including outdoor activities, guidance, training, and more.

For even more on outdoor learning and play in the early years, visit our YouTube channel or sign up to our newsletter. Alternatively, for resources to support outdoor learning and play at other stages, visit our primary school and secondary school hubs.

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Resources

Below, you’ll find a wide range of resources to support your early years outdoor play and learning practice. These include outdoor activities developed by early years educators; tips, tricks, and advice from our blog; and more in-depth guidance on outdoor play and learning in the early years.

Getting started on improving your school grounds for outdoor learning and play

Looking to make improvements to your school grounds? Discover why an audit is the ideal first step in any school grounds development plan.

How getting muddy supports children’s mental health

Explore how mud play can support young children’s mental health, including ten activities to try ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week.

Reclaiming school grounds for children’s mental health

Ahead of Children’s Mental Health Week, discover why we must maximise the potential of our school grounds to support children’s mental health.

Training

We provide a wide range of online and in-person training courses to help you develop your early years outdoor play and learning practice. The training options below include courses for individual practitioners, whole early years settings, and wider organisations such as local authorities and nursery chains.

If you are looking for a more consultation-based approach, our Advisory Visit service includes an audit of your school grounds, observation of how they are currently being used and consultation with staff and children to produce a set of recommendations around your ongoing practice and development. We can also provide bespoke consultation services as required – please get in touch to request this.

Projects

We work closely with international partners to develop and deliver outdoor learning and play projects that connect children and young people to the natural world. Take a look at some of the work we’re doing in the early years.

Forest Kindergarten

Forest Kindergarten is a child-centred approach to learning through play. By offering regular opportunities for play in natural outdoor spaces, the Forest Kindergarten approach provides young children freedom to explore, and delivers numerous benefits to health, wellbeing, confidence, resilience, and nature connection in the early years.

If you want to learn more about the Forest Kindergarten approach, visit our Forest Kindergarten hub where you will find resources, events, and more information about our Forest Kindergarten qualification.

Keep in the know

If you’d like to get involved or want to stay up to date on our projects, sign up to our free newsletter today.

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