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.

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.


  1. Cindy Spencer

    I loved all the ideas this sparked in this module. I can’t wait to get back to work to help us set up our play space for the Fall.

  2. Erin Kotyk

    I enjoyed this module. It sparked a lot of ideas and was definitely inspiring!

  3. Rachelle Gregoire

    This was a fun module of things i have thought of, but haven’t spent much time researching. I got lots of ideas! Great resources!

  4. Amanda Funk

    This was valuable information to create the types of atmosphere that is conducive for learning.

  5. Grace Smith

    Thank you I have learned so much from this module.

  6. Angel Huang

    Thank you for sharing these information.

  7. Prabhulata Immaraju

    Really good tools to ponder on and tinker with.

  8. Silvia Martínez

    thank s for all the orientation new ideas

  9. Caroline Driedger

    I have to say that the assessment tools and the play space design have given me hope for our play space.