In an age of iPad games and on-demand television, children are spending less and less time outside. However, outdoor exploratory play provides children of all ages with a range of endless learning opportunities and can have a real positive impact on their lives.
Due to playgrounds being out of bounds and outdoor venues like safari parks, farms etc. being closed, outdoor learning might not seem as easy as it did pre-COVID. Despite this, there are still many ways children can still connect with the natural world and have first-hand experiences with life and growth.
The Scandinavian outdoor-orientated approach to learning and play focuses on ‘friluftsliv’, which translates to “free-air life”; the desire to connect with nature and get the experiences you wouldn’t find indoors.
For young children, nature is where they learn critical early life lessons to support strong developmental foundations. Nature enables children to extend their cognitive development by using critical thinking and problem-solving. Through outdoor explorations, children can make connections, form new ideas and develop strategies during play.
We must make space and time for nature, as it allows children to feel free when expressing their independence, self-esteem and self-confidence. This freedom is vital during a child’s Early Years as it encourages independent exploration and gives them the chance to experiment with language using pitch and volume amongst their peers.
The well-known Scandinavian mantra “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” is never more prevalent than for young children with our wonderful British weather, if we wait for the sunshine to get children outside, we’ll be waiting until their adolescence!
Ensuring daily outdoor playtime not only supports their learning development but also helps children absorb some much-needed Vitamin D to nourish their brains, support muscle and bone growth, strengthen the immune system and boost their overall mood and wellbeing.
How do Bright Minds encourage outdoor learning?
At Bright Minds Daycare, we understand the importance of creating rich experiences that develop curiosity, spark interest and encourage investigation – outdoor learning is a fundamental part of our curriculum and we encourage children to be outside as much as possible.
Across all of our nurseries, we create a stimulating yet natural outdoor environment that enables children to discover, experiment and connect to nature during their daily outdoor experiences.
Alongside our experienced and passionate Nursery Practitioners, we can construct meaningful play opportunities to enhance learning and development, whilst also following the children’s interests along the way.
To find out more about our passion for outdoor learning, please get in touch and one of our fantastic practitioners will be more than happy to talk through our approach.