09-Designing Outdoor Play Spaces

In this module, participants will examine the varying considerations that influence the designs of outdoor play space. The way in which the outdoor space is presented influences children’s depth of play, ways in which they engage in play, the level of socialization that occurs among peers and adults and how accessible it is for children and families. Planning outdoor play space is more than placing materials in the environment. Pathways, plants, placement of loose parts and stationary material, exploration options, culture and diversity, and children’s individual and group interests are all considered when planning effective outdoor space. When early learning teachers develop core principles of designing outdoor play spaces, children’s experiences will be enhanced and the potential for learning about space, environments, social engagement and connections, exploration and experiences will be deepened. Poorly designed space results in chaos for both adults and children, resulting in behavioural issues, less motivated children, and reductions in risk taking, problem solving and active engagement.

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8 Lessons

In this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the types of considerations that early learning teachers examine when planning outdoor play spaces.
  2. Examine how and why inclusive practices, including universal design principles, are used when designing outdoor play space.
  3. Discuss varying perspectives on design features that guide the planning and assessment of outdoor play spaces in early learning programs.
  4. Examine how the groupings of outdoor play spaces influence children’s level and depth of play, behaviours and socialization processes.
  5. Outline the significance of incorporating gardens in children’s outdoor play spaces.
  6. Examine the roles, attitudes, and influences that early learning teachers have on designing outdoor play.

Module Materials

  1. Computer
  2. Internet Connection
  3. Speakers with Volume “ON”


  1. Shirley Suttak

    I feel that I have gained valuable information and resources in this module that I am excited to share with colleagues

  2. Corina Manasseri

    Looking forward in what this module will bring and especially when it comes to city regulations and other protocols.

  3. Vicki Pollock

    I have gained a lot of valuable knowledge in this module. I’m planning to make some changes to my outdoor play space – with the children’s and parents help. I also want to design a more intriguing outdoor play space for winter.

  4. Francine Bolduc

    I feel that I will be better able to help design and get better outdoor spaces for the children, families and adults who might be able to use it. I can see the importance of getting everyone of interest involved in developing it.

  5. DC

    I feel I have learned valuable information in this lesson that will help in my program when planning my outdoor space.

  6. Emma D. Rodilas

    I feel I have gained more insight and meaningful information as an Early Childhood Educator and ready to share and implement many of these methods and strategies into our outdoor play spaces.

  7. Donna Legere

    I feel that I have learnt valuable information as an Early Childhood Educator and am excited to begin implementing many of these strategies into our outdoor play area!!