Setting the Stage for Planning Outdoor Play Space Design

The outdoor play environment is one of the most important spaces and places for children to learn, connect with people and nature and to develop socially, emotionally, cognitively, physically and spirituality. Outdoor environments are the most natural places for children to want to play.  Acar (2013) cited Cooper Marcus as suggesting that children are deeply affected by their environment. Their behaviours and how they connect to people in their community and the space are influenced by their physical surroundings. When we examine Cooper Marcus’s ideas about space, it is evident that from an early childhood education perspective, individuals who influence children’s space benefit from examining aesthetic goals to ensure that they are balanced and merged with ecological needs, contextual issues, and children’s preferences.

There are many disciplines that are now contributing to the literature on outdoor play design, including child psychology, early childhood education and environment-behaviour (Loebach, 2004). Although each of the disciplines differ in focus, a common theme that is present reinforces that the most effective space is designed when those designing the space:

  • Know the children, including previous experiences, dispositions, interests and developmental strengths.
  • Evaluate the options and opportunities that the space has to support children’s outdoor play desires.
  • Create the space in accordance with design principles.

Think about the attributes of the outdoor play space for children in early learning programs.  What does the space communicate to adults, children, and families? What does it communicate about values and cultures?  How does the space support children’s personal identity and curiosity? What are the roles and responsibilities of early learning teachers in planning the space?

Think about the children that you interact with.  Do they have options to explore interesting things along the way in their outdoor play space?  How do the outdoor play design features influence children’s play? Add your thoughts to the comment box below.


  1. Minni Harris

    Our current -lay space needs more opportunities for children to spark their curiosity and creativity. Which we could add through more loose parts to encourage them to explore and be curious.

  2. Angela George

    Think about the children that you interact with. Do they have options to explore Interesting things along the way in their outdoor play space? We do our best as teachers to try and make every area as interesting and eye catching as we can in the middle of the city but we have a tiny patch of grass, across from our tiny garden that our saskatoon bush is in. How do the outdoor play design features influence children’s play? The focus of our play yard before the new playground went in was a bike track that went around the playground space with slide and climbing net etc. The children fought with each other over the bikes they used and some children would want to play on the bike track or draw with chalk on the bike track which led to some first aid calls. They were in constant competition with each other or trying to crash into each other, and we spent a lot of time trying to reason with them about not needing to be first and you don’t want to hurt your friend do you and not really having the best success with either. The new playground and the schedule being almost completely outside now has completely changed the way the play and use the space. There is a lot more loose parts play and imaginative and creative art and play happening in our playspace now.

  3. Christine Norman

    Our outdoor play space has various textures and spaces for the children to explore. We have a large grass area for running and playing, we have a mud/dirt area that has a mud kitchen with lots of loose parts to explore, and it has a large flat area for riding toys and cars. I have built up our loose parts over the years but I find keeping up with the replenishing of new and replacement of broken items can be challenging. The children generally have lots of space and materials to explore so most of the play is very positive.

  4. Cindy Spencer

    Our play space has some opportunities, as our vision of a play space is different than that of our previous director so trying to use what we have as well as add more loose parts.

  5. Michelle Davis

    Our play space is aesthetically pleasing, but it is in its infancy still. The trees are small, the garden didn’t get planted this year, some of our equipment wasn’t installed until recently. When it is a bit older and more mature it will be a valuable space for children to grow and learn.

  6. Jasmine Park

    Yes, our outdoor play space interacts with children. We have a garden with trees and bushes the encourage children to climb or explore. Children use sand to build anything and pick up sticks and rocks to play with. We also put some milk crates and blocks for children for building. All the open-ended materials welcome children to engage in any play as they want.

  7. Jennifer Yarmish

    Our outdoor play space is not terribly large and, at the moment, is about to undergo a major facelift. This is very exciting as we have been allowed input in to what the space will look like. Unfortunately, it has also been a challenge because when we have given our suggestions and picks for equipment and landscaping, there are road blocks in the form of cost, licensing requirements etc.. We would love to see more trees and natural formations (rolling landscape).
    Now that things are starting to open up more in the world we will be able to access more areas with our summer program children where they can explore freely, climb and have many choices. For right now we work with what we have in the form of our garden, sand box and summer water play. We’ve worked hard to listen to what the children need to expand their play and have them work with us to create the space they desire.

  8. Nikki Littlechild

    I think we have some interesting options for things to explore within our playground however they remain the same. The same plants, trees and areas of play. We are waiting for our playground to be recreated through a grant promoting outdoor play. This will be exciting as, although we wish we could, we are unable to explore beyond our playground due to the area we are in. It is quite hazardous to leave our space, not because of general play risk but due to the people in the area that do what they do no matter who is around and it can be very hazardous. The children are fortunate that we have two large paly areas that provide different options for play.

  9. Katarina Ninkovic

    At my centre children have a lot of options when it comes to their outdoor play experiences, we have a huge field and multiple hills along with a mud kitchen and a obstacle course made from wood stumps. The main thing our outdoor space provides to the children is that it encourages free exploration, we try to make it as open yet have areas where children can hide out in.

  10. Heather Diewert

    Think about the children that you interact with. Do they have options to explore interesting things along the way in their outdoor play space? How do the outdoor play design features influence children’s play? Add your thoughts to the comment box below.

    I am fortunate to work in an environment that has access to natural outdoor forested areas as well as a waterpark.
    We are able to take the children to the wooded areas to look for insects, learn about caring for the environment; take only pictures and leave only footprints, the children have gathered branches to recreate dinosaur bones, laid wood branches across a creek to create a bridge…
    I find that during this outside play children’s imaginations really come to life and that that they have much richer experiences than on a playground, or in the classroom.

  11. Rachelle Gregoire

    We have 2 main areas that we go each day. One is very natural, only a few buildings and toys. The children can really investigate and experience things at their own pace and interests . The other yard has a play structure, sandbox and rubber coated ground. The children get lots of running and climbing but not so much investigation.

  12. Dana Wilson

    Think about the children that you interact with. Do they have options to explore interesting things along the way in their outdoor play space? How do the outdoor play design features influence children’s play?

    The children at our centre have many options to explore interesting things in our outdoor space. We have trees, gardens, stumps, mud kitchens, sand, dirt and are lucky to have had parents donate so many materials. We also have climbing structures/slides etc but we find the children use them more as dramatic play areas. The outdoor play design features influence children’s play both positively and negatively. A space that appeals to children, is inviting and has lots of materials for creative play, climbing, running and games inspires them more than a concrete and climbing gym space would.

  13. lisa.rodney

    Our programs are fairly new and we are working with existing school spaces. Our educators have embraced nature play for the most part, unless there are no options to do that. Many are still under development and in some instances there is an opportunity to go off site to nearby trails, fields, beaches or other locations. We are in an area with a large tick population so educators have to be vigilant with checking for ticks when children play in the woods. Children do not use playground equipment unless it is rated for under 5, so educators have gotten very creative with materials and spaces. We do need more work on making spaces aesthetically pleasing though.

  14. Daphne Hachey

    the space at our school is great! we are a nature based elementary school and have a loose parts, bikes and bike ramps, a stage, a large garden with sensory features like a water flume and mud kitchen. we also have a beautiful circle with logs, rocks and more surrounding our stage as a meeting and gathering space

  15. Krista Ambrose

    I do not like our outdoor play space. We walk out a door and it is there. There is a lack of nature. It is in the middle of our town. There are 3 trees and I am positive one is dead. The children do not have a lot of options to explore anything there. We have many fixed structures (climbers, swings, playhouse, stage, sandbox, and shelter). The children spend most of the time running and pushing cars. They spend sometime in the playhouse. We try to get them to play in the sandbox but they just end up throwing sand. We really need to get more natural play elements in the play space but many teachers don’t like the children to get dirty. The other complaint I have heard is there is too much to clean up. The staff do not think about the learning that will go on but what the staff will have to do.

  16. Jody Anderson

    Do they have options to explore interesting things along the way in their outdoor play space? How do the outdoor play design features influence children’s play?
    Although we don’t have a designated outdoor play space that is just ours we do live in a National Park that provides many opportunities to explore thing along their way to the outdoor play space, We allow for time to discover insects or talk about what we see in peoples yards, at businesses or other interesting discoveries in all of our variouos locations around town.
    Depending on where we are the outdoor play spaces will either encourage more dramatic play scenes, more whole body movement or more hunting and gathering types of play. In the forest or the creek areas there is more small group play and less one large group play. They tend to spread out more and are able to discover what they wish to discover. There could be several different types of play going on and the childrenn are always very involved in most spaces. When we are at the playground area I find there is a lot more running and chasing that goes on then in some of our other areas.

  17. Anna Mary McKenney

    Currently I do not like our outdoor space, I find it very small and not well designed to allow children to explore. They have difficulty growing grass and so children have little diversity in the space as its mostly sand. We try to provide loose parts but because it is a shared space with other programs it can be difficult to manage the parts. I do like our structures which are open ended and we do not have slides or climbers and so children must manipulate the large loose parts we have to build those things.

  18. Amanda Funk

    In my area we have access to many natural elements. ocean, forest, rivers, rocks, we are very fortunate.

  19. Grace Smith

    In our center, we a huge fenced backyard with playground structures, sandboxes garden boxes, few trees and logs scattered around the area. There are also picnic tables and mud kitchen play structures. I would say there’s plenty of play opportunities for our children to explore. We also add a range of loose materials for them to manipulate. We are also very lucky to have a walking distance access to the river banks where we take children for a walk to explore nature. There’s so many options.

  20. Angel Huang

    Think about the attributes of the outdoor play space for children in early learning programs. What does the space communicate to adults, children, and families? What does it communicate about values and cultures? How does the space support children’s personal identity and curiosity? What are the roles and responsibilities of early learning teachers in planning the space?

    At our centre, we have a couple places for the children to be when they are outdoor, our outdoor wood chips area where we have our sand table, slides, a doll house, a fence up area for toddlers, then we have the garden with flowers, grass field and trees, also we have the short forest trail beside us and a playground that is build for the elementary school beside us. All these areas for children help build them with their physical, socially, emotionally, cognitively and spirituality . The adults love the idea when we spend more time with their children at the outdoor environments. For the ECCE, we tried to think about different things for them to do at different location, such as scavenger hunts at the forest, tea party at the garden and so on.

  21. Lisa Goldsack

    At my centre the children have access to a water barrel to fill their containers, lots of loose parts such as tires, pallets, bridges, logs, planks, branches, as well there is a sandbox with more loose parts and rock pathway leading a grassy area.

  22. Maria Agustin

    We have space for bikes, we have some trees where the kids can climb. We have water tables. There is sandboxes the back of our daycare. We also add loose parts for the children to play with.

  23. Amanda Christison

    I think that with the way our playground is now to when I first started working there has definitely improved in terms of a productive and stimulating outdoor play space. When I first started working there, it was literally just a swing set that 30 children used to fight over. Now there is a bigger climber, monkey bars, slides, etc for the children to challenge themselves with their gross motor skills as well as a built in road for bikes and cars. There is also a natural hill we have created that the children love using in all seasons but especially winter as they love using it as a ramp and slide when it’s icy. We also have a lot of loose and natural parts for the children to engage themselves with like tires, milk crates, PVC pipes, tree stumps, planks etc. There is a mud kitchen with old dishes the children like using and a garden as well that the children help set up and take care of every year. I have definitely seen a huge improvement in behaviours as well as active and ongoing learning and challenging with the children with the inclusion of all these things – there is something for everyone now.

  24. Nicole Robinson

    Do they have options to explore interesting things along the way in their outdoor play space? How do the outdoor play design features influence children’s play?

    The children in my care, arrive for the day and leave for home from outside. Right now we are 100% outside. However, the space I have provided for the children needs a little work, it’s not as natural as I would like.

  25. Amanda Funk

    I am very fortunate that I live in an are with old growth forest, ocean and rivers. I think of the exploration my children have done in these settings and it cannot compare to the images in the photo. The fence, concrete, proximity to buildings and few toys bring an institutional and directional feel to the space. Outdoor spaces covered in trees, natural rock and forest ground cover are undesignated and can be anything a child needs.

  26. Ruth Novak

    I think an outdoor play space should have a lot of loose parts such as branches, sticks, leafs, etc. I do also think that outside should have some options for the children to choose from. I don’t think having a plastic structure is a bad thing, I just believe they need more to play with. I also picture chimes or pots and pans for them to make music with. A water area as well!! The children need items that makes them curious to try!

  27. Betty-Ann Ryz

    An outdoor play space should be as natural as possible with trees, rocks, paths, and a creek passing through. Perhaps a mud kitchen, natural loose parts available and ample time given to explore.

  28. Amanda Funk

    Children are led by their curiosity. If given the space and time they will explore any place they are.

  29. Karin Freiberg

    I think a play space that is as natural as possible with trees, bushes, natural pathways, tree stumps, large logs to climb over would be great. Then begin adding building materials and complementary loose parts.

  30. Shannon Stewart

    The grrenspace adjacent to our centre is a 300m walk between the back of a seniors centre and their lawn bowling arena. There are large trees that have over between these spaces creating an inviting walk. The children collect spruce cones and berries along the way. On a rainy day, we bring buckets to collect the water from the eaves as it rushes down…

  31. Jessica Garner

    I have always had the pleasure of working in interesting, engaging play spaces. I’ve noticed that picnic tables and benches tend to influence where children gather. Sharing space on public school grounds mean that community members may become a part of our play. Areas that allow for water play intentionally (fountains, troughs) or unintentionally (pavement that collects puddles, dripping eavestrough) are always engaging for children.

  32. Silvia Martínez

    I have a very good space for play, grass, garden and trees, cement area for bikes this area it is safe close whit a fence and a gate , sand and water area and loose parts .

  33. Ginette Pelletier

    We have 3 play areas that covers all 3 age groups.
    They are all enclosed with a fence .
    We have pathways for bike, doll strollers and for walking.
    We previously had climbers but they have been replaced with a more natural environment.
    We also have loose parts that the children can play with.

  34. Kimberley Thompson

    Our play space is great we have a lot of access to outside areas. We have a enclosed fenced in area that provides a sandbox, art area, rocks , sticks, garden area and tires. We also have a storage area for loose parts, toys , art supplies and bikes. We are connected to a elementary school so we have access to the playground climber equipment as well.

  35. Tammy

    I am not a huge fan of our current play space. Previously we had a very large yard, with a traditional climber, paths for gross motor play, lots of grassy areas and a big sandbox. All of that was ripped out with the promise of a ‘more natural” space. We are left with a very sparse looking “natural space’ with fewer stations for the children as well as some very unused things that just don’t make sense. We were promised some features that were not delivered and some that were oversold. I think it could have been better planned by consulting the educators who work in the space with the children. I believe they could have ADDED the natural materials and kept the traditional structures as well because we have such large outdoor areas. I think that the executives who planned it didn’t see the range dramatic, co-operative play that the children had with those original spaces. There are some loose materials in play but we could be better and do better for sure.

  36. Julia Kunz

    Yes, there is lots to explore in my space. (lots of plants, flowers, birds/insects, loose parts) Lots of hiding places and a small trail for the children that leads around the space. The children are free to move things and leave them (no cleaning up) This affects their play because the children can revisit projects and not have to “re start” each day.

  37. Charlene Durrant

    Our play space was poorly designed. It lacks natural materials. We are in the process of adding to the space. We are able to go for nature walks and explore on a daily basis.

  38. Amanda N

    I’m lucky to work in a centre that has a beautiful outdoor space. It’s fantastic to see the difference in children’s behaviour when they are inside and outside. I love working outdoors with children.

  39. Prabhulata Immaraju

    I personally love our play yard. I always say this, that I would have been very happy as a child in this play yard. We have a fairly big sand box area, a play house, a mud kitchen, trees to climb, rocks, a water feature that allows for endless play, sprinklers ( summer time), undercover areas , grassy area , our vegetable garden etc. A shed filled with everything they can take n play. We go for nature walks into our surrounding forests and we are able to block traffic to the parking lot for a couple hours each day where the children enjoy riding their bikes or play ball or have the sprinkler turned on. At the end of the day children n staff come together to put toys away n tidy the yard.

  40. Mizuho Kashiwagi

    The children tend to have more freedom in outdoor space than indoor play space. Therefore, I see more child-initiated play. More collaboration with peers. More imagination with natural materials.

  41. Svetlana Babikova

    We like being in the forest every day with children in my care. Children have lots of opportunities to discover, collect natural materials, build structures from the rocks, climb the trees, make a fairy soup from the flowers, make a collage from the leaves, find objects in the forest that look like letters. Every day children do discoveries and learn new aspects about nature.

  42. Nikki Meyer

    The outdoor design of environments sets the stage for the types of play children will experience in that space. Some of my programs have incorporated elements for children to use in open ended ways, fostering their creativity, problem solving and encourage risky play with those materials. Other programs have limited opportunities for meaningful play – having only a few pieces of static equipment and the odd additional material like balls and chalk.

  43. Andrea Preissl

    Yes, there are lots of things around the play space. There is the sand box in one area, a slide in another, climbing rocks/ logs further along, and a small bridge that takes them towards a group of trees. The design features influence children’s play by creating different type of interests spread out around the yard rather. This allows children to have their own space while they develop their interests.

  44. Nadira Ramnauth

    The children I work with have a variety of interesting toys, climbers, sandboxes, and other materials to explore with. We always rotate the toys and other equipment so the children have something new to learn about. We are adding lots of nature items and loose parts in the outdoor environment for the children to explore with.

    The setting up of the environment plays an important part on how the children play and explore, we have to make sure the environment looks inviting by arranging the toys and other materials to capture the children’s interest. We always have to ensure that the environment is set up for risky play, dramatic play, music and movements, etc. Once there are materials for the children to explore with, they will use their imagination to create other types of play.

  45. Joanne Falk

    The center I work at does not really have interesting options for the children to explore. We are in a small town and have a few slides, a tunnel, sandbox, and a boat in our playground. I would really like to change it up to add more interesting items for the children. They do enjoy going down the slides and having races with their friends as well as playing in the boat and pretending to go on boat rides with teachers and friends.

  46. Kathy Barnhart

    I am aware of the influence the outdoor play environment has on the quality and quantity of play that I see happening in the programs I visit. I am always delighted to see loose parts and real grass and trees for the children to explore. I also find that more and more educators are aware of the importance of outdoor and risky play and are planning activities outside the fence.

  47. Erin Lihou

    We do have a fairly large space that offers many things for the children to do like a climbing park with monkey bars and slides, swings, tunnels and standing structure for them to climb. Many trees throughout and a sandbox. The kids can always find some new thing in our playground and I always enjoy watching them use their imagination in that moment.

  48. Deborah Fehr

    Do they have options to explore interesting things along the way in their outdoor play space? How do the outdoor play design features influence children’s play?
    The centre I have in mind has a number of opportunities for exploring interesting things. There is space for natural discoveries e.g. large old trees and leaves and pine cones and needles and spaces for bugs and insects to hang out, squirrels jumping from tree to tree, a garden that get planted each spring. There are natural climbing areas and slides. A place for a fire pit and a roof to protect from the elements. However, the best space is across the street in a small green space with many many trees and rocks and open field. The children could stay there all day. There is no end to the opportunities for discovery.

  49. Janice Duncan

    Currently I am not working with children directly, so I am thinking of a past experience: Mature trees that provided shelter and attracted birds to the play space, sand, loose parts, some fixed equipment, small patches of grass. a bike path that went around the sand area, an area that had a large water table that was filled with dirt and seeds were planted, areas that were built up a bit higher to provide spaces for children to sit away from the hub of activity. This space was very flexible and offered areas where many different provocations could be set-up for children. There was access to a community park, a hill and a ravine-many rich opportunities for outdoor play.
    Play designs influence children’s play in terms of what types of materials are provided which influences children’s play choices and the types of play they engage in.

  50. Jaclyn Geiger

    My experience as a preschool teacher and student teacher has provided me with some valuable outdoor experience. Both terms of working incorporated outdoor learning as a priority with hands on learning in a safe engaging environment. I think that the design and intentionally of the play space is really important as time is not always available to adapt during the learning. There were trails to explore nearby in the community, beaches and parks and designated space for outdoor learning. Having the ability to change up the loose parts or a new space opens up the invitation to learn in different ways.

  51. Alphonsine Hategekimana

    Our playground at the daycare center has climbing and sliding play structures, a sandbox, some loose parts materials and a toy shed.
    Beside the daycare, we have a soccer field and a forest around. We take the opportunity to go for a walk from time to time.

  52. Kathryn Armstrong

    I still think that too often outdoor spaces for children are dictated by safety concerns and maintenance. As my programs are community based we do not have input into the spaces. The ones the children enjoy the most have the least amount of traditional playground equipment and more natural spaces.

  53. Laura Mcintosh

    In the space I work there are a lot of opportunities for children to learn and catch their interests. There is a sandbox, a structure to climb and slide down and many loose parts they can use to be creative.

  54. Kamaldeep Sidhu

    Our play space has some opportunities to explore for children.like:sand boxes,tunnels,slides etc but we have a large field beside our play structure,usually we take children for soccer and other physical activities.

  55. Nicole Morrell

    I think in my old center when I think about the yards there was definitely interesting things to explore but we always used to make sure that we were rotating materials and keeping things interesting. I think that we want outdoor spaces to be set up like indoor as much as we can. Everything children can do indoors they can do outdoors so we need to work to ensure that they are afforded the same opportunities in both places.

  56. Hilary Geddes

    i believe our centre would benefit from more natural play opportunities. While the children do enjoy outdoor play and find many areas to explore i wish we had a larger more open natural environment.

  57. Stephanie Vieira

    In my Centre we’re I work we have a lot of areas we’re children can explore with their interest. We have a lot of forest areas, play structure, a lot of paths. They go on a lot of adventures and explore the wilderness with their imagination.

  58. Ai Paul

    A lot of centres I have worked or nearby parks have permanent fixed structures (slides, swings) and areas are divided. So as children’s play is more individualized and segmented. Some places took out sandbox due to safety issues. I believe in open-ended natural materials, so it is quite sad to see this.

  59. Heather Howard

    One of the programs I am working with has just completed an outdoor play space renovation. They have included natural materials such as a large sand box with tree trunks around the sides for the children to sit on, a mud kitchen equipped with pots and pans, and other containers and utensils that is at the bottom of a slope that the water play leads to. The water play area has a shallow pond-like space for the children to access. Water then flows from this space using pvc pipes and rocks to help guide the flow of water to a lower area which is close to the mud kitchen. All of the space and trees included in this space have a purpose and provide different experiences and opportunities for multiple kinds of play. The children can’t wait to get outdoors each day and are so engaged and busy in this environment.

  60. Christine Villeneuve

    In one program I work with there was a complete redesign of the outdoor space. There are more trees, areas for shelter and shade, stepping logs, tunnels, climbing walls, rock climbs, and much more. There are many loose parts for children to use. Children seem to enjoy the space much more than when the environment only had plastic play equipment.

  61. Carrie Maclellan 

    Yes our children definitely have interesting things to explore, our playground has two different sides and one side I would say is more “interesting” but both sides offer different varieties of opportunities. I think spaces that are mostly “newly designed” do not really have children in mind. I think of a lot of “playgrounds” where natural materials are moved and replaced with large, stagnant climbing structures that leave little to the imagination in terms of creativity and scaffolding.

  62. Heidi Dueck

    It makes me sad. It looks generic, uninspiring and unnatural.
    It makes me want to plant trees, bring in plants and write “climbing allowed” on the slide.

  63. Patricia Lynch-Staunton

    Do they have options to explore interesting things along the way in their outdoor play space? How do the outdoor play design features influence children’s play?
    Not much opportunity exists for the children to co-construct their outdoor play environment. There are static structures as the main festures. Yet, the children do find ways with requests to bring things outdoors, to be curious about and explore. Some educators are willing and bring aesthetically pleasing materials to the environment. Some do not. Those that do seem to have greater participation on the play, which supports the children’s investigations and deeper thinking.

  64. Carli Olson

    I would say our children have not much to look at during our gander to the big play ground as they call it. One side has 2 metal and plastic play structures, picnic tables, a play house, sand box, and grass area and the other has a few stationary grass motor toys, a garden and a huge hill of grass. We are currently awaiting some new pieces to make the area more friendly and exciting. They do however LOVE both sides, they have their own rituals and memories that seem to come to life each and every time.

  65. Daniela Rodriguez

    Children will always have with them the curiosity factor. Therefore, outdoor play will only keep on motivating that. Outdoor play gives children felxibility to explore and know their limits when playing. They are the chiefs of their playing experience.

  66. Alison Rinas

    I find many of the programs I work with are evolving their play spaces around the traditional playgrounds that currently in place. Adding more loose materials such tire, planks, buckets, mud kitchens with pots and water and mud. It has taken some time, but I feel the research and reflection of why children need outdoor play that allows them to freely explore and learn through their senses and the elements of outside can offer.

  67. Romy Ralph

    Our outdoor space provides many opportunities for exploration. We are located just off a beautiful beach and we have a playground that has gardens, trees and areas where water gathers when it rains. There are places where the children can sit on the grass as well as hide away under a structure. It can get very dry at times, so I wish there was a hose and tap so we could keep the sand damp.

  68. Kim Hoey

    The centre Is within a school, so our play space is very commercial. Asphalt and fake grass. We do have a nice big sand area which the kids love. But…….. not any interesting things along the way. We do have a garden which we plant with the kids. Also….. we have a few flowers in the summer as well.
    We go out in the community for our green natural spaces.

  69. Susanne Saunders

    The children have many options to explore. We use the back yard and park for the children to have a variety of natural play. Building a stronger outdoor environment with the children’s input is an ongoing event.

  70. Charmee Penner

    Our centre is in collaboration on renovations to the backyard space. I think that an environment that has nature would allow for children to develop a deeper sense of connection to nature. In my experience families that witnessed this often commented and gave feedback that they were impressed with the knowledge their child was discovering outside whether it be about bugs, frogs, gardening, weather patterns, trees etc.

  71. Laurie Millions

    Currently, we are re-building our play space. We asked the children for their input then had my teacher from Red River and other parents and staff on a committee plan out our outdoor space for the children.

  72. Jessica Popp

    Currently with the children in engage with, there is a variety of loose part available to create and manipulate in the space. The space it self is large, with shrubs and trees, unfortunately in a new area many of the trees are smaller, but we do fill in with a lot of greenery in different seasons. The child have access to the space in all seasons, as it does grow and change with them. The children are encouraged to select materials, and contribute to the collection, from time to time we do have to organize the loose parts as it can look like a bit of an junk yard but the children and educators work together to determine what and how to tidy the space.

  73. Taylor Aichelberger

    The children I interact with have options to explore interesting things along the way in their outdoor space. Recently at the Centre where I worked, we had a new nature path built with wooden fencing and plants to separate the trail from the parking area. The children love using the trail to go for walks, go to the playground, and walk to the beach or field. Design features strongly influence children’s play by inviting them to be creative and explore. Just as adults do, children find certain spaces aesthetically pleasing and this inspires them more than a space that is not.