Learning through Play- Activities for Outdoor Education

Outdoor education opportunities push forward ideas of a holistic approach to learning. This is based on free play and independence as key to health development for kids.

Educational outdoor play equipment is essential to provide learning experiences students will thrive with and enjoy. Schools should provide a fun and active environment for their students. But crucially, should continually reinforce their passion for learning by providing room for exploration with educational toys and activity areas.

Get your students outdoors on the playground with these educational play activities and playground toys for EYFS, KS1, and KS2 children.

How Tactile Games Benefit Outdoor Education

The Montessori approach is a learning method that combines children’s innate curiosity with a child-led, hands-off approach that fosters independence. The provision of sensory, imaginative, and creative playground equipment

Parallel play is a common phenomenon that, although involving independent activity, is a natural aspect of socialisation in young children. Schools should provide a variety of different educational and non-educational outdoor play equipment in a school’s outdoor learning space. This allows each child to choose the type of play that appeals to them while still playing alongside peers.

A range of different educational play equipment provides all children with new, inventive opportunities to learn in their own way. Bringing a fresh perspective to learning with tactile and sensory experiences helps students appreciate what they learn in lessons.

Playground Maths Games

image of school playground number markings onto tarmac playground

Embracing an exploratory play approach to abstract subjects like maths and sums brings a practical experience to studies that students become more engaged with. These playground games encourage your students to make their own choices and can be combined with educational tools and activities in a range of different ways to provide a fun environment beneficial to education.

Playground markings provide a practical and active way to explore and teach number skills through play. Large, colourful 1-100 number grids, number snakes, and a variety of games provide kids the opportunity to play with numbers at thire own pace

Creating an EYFS maths area on your playground helps students familiarise themselves with numbers and maths and practice what they learn in lessons in a variety of ways. A maths playground allows kids to interact with numbers in a range of games and mediums. Both playground markings and maths play panels familiarise children with addition and abstraction. Learning through play with tactile activities introduces maths in a new way that children may understand more intuitively than typical classroom learning.

Some options to create a maths playground include:

  • Abacus play panels 
  • Colourful number grid floor markings
  • Shape game play panels with tactile shapes
  • Basic sums instructor panels
  • Number maze sum puzzles
  • Hopscotch floor markings with creative designs
  • Interactive clock play panels
  • Snake or caterpillar number lines of various lengths
  • Rotating number boards for sum practice

Phonics Games and Reading Areas

Colourful rubber spotted mushroom seats

Learning phonics is an essential basis for writing and reading skills that can require a more practical approach to help all students understand and connect to the mechanisms of language. A tactile approach to phonics group learning with practical applications with interactive play panels is a great way to allow children to work out how words and letters fit together through exploration and free play.

Providing a literacy learning space in the outdoors enhances creativity and inspires a personal and imaginative approach to reading and writing. Creative design features like Hobbit House outdoor classrooms or mushroom seats inspire independent storytelling and exploring imagination together with peers.

Phonics learning should be accessible and understandable to students, introducing language by relating it to the world around them. Creative play panels with nature designs in an outdoor learning space gives students an opportunity to relate what they see around them to the educational play equipment and phonics games designed to challenge and help build students understanding of language.

Some options for inspiring reading and phonics play areas include:

  • Storybook-inspired reading areas with creative fairy-tale playground markings and furniture
  • Quiet reading areas in outdoor classrooms
  • Alphabet learning playground markings
  • Animal word search
  • Rotating letter-matching play panels
  • Phonics learning tree play panel challenge with inbuilt chalkboard writing panel
  • Spelling guide play panels for common words

Create an Educational Playground Area with The School Playground Company

Bringing learning to your play area is a great way to inspire your students to learn and create in new ways. To upgrade your playground with educational play equipment from The School Playground Company, get a quote or book a call with our team with the contact form at the top of the page.

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