The Connections Between Children’s Life Experiences and Outdoor Play

Children’s life experiences influence their present and future desire to engage in outdoor play. Children’s dispositions are influenced by the relationships with the people, places, spaces, and materials within their settings.  Think about the role of adults providing children with stimulating “plans of learning” (Katz) that supports children in adding to their current ideas and knowledge or constructing new knowledge from their varied experiences outdoors (Katz, 2010).

An outdoor play environment that is rich with experiences and space for mucking about and learning contributes to children’s development.  Children that have access to the outdoors during their early years have opportunities to experience:

  • A sense of freedom and well-being.
  • Thinking about and experiencing the environment and play experiences in different ways.
  • Real-life experiences to learn about the weather, seasons, the environment and how these elements influence opportunities for play.

In essence, the African proverb “It takes a whole village to raise a child” reflects the importance of early learning teachers, programs, parents, families and communities being connected to and engaging with children’s options for learning.

Examine the PowerPoint Imagine, Invent, Create below.  Then, add your comments in the Comments box below.

When you think about children and outdoor play, how do their life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time, experiences and desire to try new ideas in their play?  Type your answers in the shaded box below, then click the Comment button


  1. Brigitte Levesque

    If children are not exposed to outdoor play at an early age they find it difficult to understand what it is. As educators is our job to start them slowly and encourage them and try to expose them to as much outdoor play as we can.

  2. Brigitte Levesque

    If a child has been exposed to outdoor play early in their lives by there parents, caregiver the are most likely to enjoy going outside to play and use the imagination and their confidence to play freely.

  3. Angela Hutton

    Children, in my experience, reflect what they see and live in different environments. Children that have displayed higher levels of confidence and inquisitiveness in the outdoor environment tend to have family experiences that include consistent outdoor experiences. Stories of camping, hiking, park adventures, fishing and daily/weekly walks are a few examples. Children that experience family time primarily indoors tend to show greater signs of avoidance to outdoors when the weather or Season isn’t favourable. Encouraging a more reluctant child in exploration and play outdoors when there is a reluctance can be a longer process but a shift does happen slowly over time. Providing a range of outdoor environments to explore definitely helps with engaging them for even a moment and helps plant a seed of curiosity even when the weather is less favourable than they would like.

  4. Candy holloway

    Children’s experiences can lead them to have a positive, negative or indifferent attitude towards outdoor play. If children have been exposed to the outside in a positive manner such having fun during walks, playing in the snow, splashing in puddles, as well as experiencing alone time, exploring and discovering this will likely create a desire to do the same and an enjoyment of the outside world and different ways to interact with it. If a child has not been exposed to outside, including play time and enjoying the natural world then they may view it as not important, not worthy of experiencing and some depending on family and caregiver attitudes may have adverse feelings towards outside especially the not so comfortable weather conditions that may present.

  5. Geri-Lynn Cajindos

    After observing such a variety of children grow up with varying backgrounds and mentor philosophies around outdoor play, there are significant visible outcome differences depending on the role of the supporting adult’s views, exposure to the outdoors, and of course positive experiences associated with them. Those who have had limited and/or restricted access to free exploration outdoors have shown greater apprehension and confidence to try new things, take risks, and creatively problem solve. Attitudes towards Stewardship and Kinship are greater in those who have spent a significant time playing outdoors. How can one know what to protect if they haven’t experienced it first hand? Passion and empathy towards others and our surroundings become more significant, as one’s ability to see who greatly we affect the world around us.

  6. Corina Manasseri

    Recent research from Dr. Gwen Dewar suggests that active exploration of children’s play outdoors wires the brain, and helps children develop powerful intuition about concepts central to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I agree children who play outdoors are more active with hands-on learning which associates concepts more visceral and intuitive by using different tools toppled, using new movement for motion and grasping new skills to problem solve in their outdoor environment.

  7. Susan Holt

    The family play a huge role in the life of children as they are their first supporters in their lives. As the children grow, the outside world plays a bigger part in their growth and development. All influencing facets of children’s’ lives are important and help to make the child who their will become…..so I feel it is important for the families, the early educator and the children to be in sync when exposing children to new things in all areas of their lives; this will help to make them more likely to try new things outdoors when the opportunity presents itself. The child will feel confident that they can handle themselves in the outdoors and this will translate into self confidence in other areas of the child’s life.

  8. Shirley Suttak

    I think children`s life experiences do greatly affect their disposition and view on outdoor play. Positive outdoor experiences will encourage and stimulate children to want to be out exploring and learning. I think of my childhood growing up in the country and all our family camping trips and how my parents encouraged outdoor exploration. These are very positive memories of outdoor experiences which I have also modeled and offered similar experiences for my children. I know a appreciation of nature was fostered in me at a young age that has carried on in to adulthood. As an Early childhood Educator I would also support that positive disposition on being in outdoors with the children .These positive and stimulating experiences will foster their confidence and desire to try new ideas in their play.

  9. Wendy Gilchrist

    Children’s dispositions are greatly influenced by their experience being outdoors. Looking back at my own childhood experiences of hours and hours of unstructured outdoor gave me so many opportunities to develop reasoning and problem solving skills, be connect with nature, to be alone and content with that. I had opportunities to take risks (and yes I took many and I am still here) , to build on my imagination skills, my observations skills, and my social skills. As educators we need to place the importance of outdoor learning on the same level with place indoor learning. We need to increase opportunities for children to engage in meaningful outdoor experiences.

  10. Jackie Eaton

    Having the experience of playing outside will increase children’s sense of adventure and confidence in learning and trying new things. Every day provides new experiences and lessons as the environment and weather continually change.

  11. Heather

    Children need to experience outdoor play, to explore and take risks. I saw children in these photos trying new things, exploring, taking part in risky play. With these experiences it will help promote healthy development and will grow up with more confidence.

  12. marie-france bourgoin-leger

    “When you think about children and outdoor play, how do their life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time, experiences and desire to try new ideas in their play?”

    When a child is being told from the beginning, that everything outside is dangerous, they grow up being scared of everything. If caring adults have bad perspective on outdoor play, it tainted the child experience. Instead of seeing danger, let’s see opportunities to learn about safety measures and embrace the risk and the freedom to play outside.

  13. Marie-Claude Pilon

    As a facilitator exposing children and families to the great outdoors, will be beneficial to all. Parents will be more confident and hopefully they will let their child explore, take risk for gross motor development, be more self-confidence, be curious, creative…
    The parents will be able see the positive effect of free outdoor play on their children. When adults, they will pass on to their own children the benefits of free outdoor play. With time it will become a lifestyle.

  14. Francine Bolduc

    When I think of out door play, it makes me think of camping as a great experience. There are different sets of rules where children are more free to do things they would normally do. Children can explore, take more risk, get to use more of their imagination. There is so much to learn within nature; the sounds, the smells, what you can see. Swimming, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, playing in the bush, meeting new friends, being able to do stuff on their own, etc. Those are the lucky children, the ones who are exposed to nature and the outdoors compared to those who live for their electronics.

  15. Casey Holland

    If children experience a life in which they do not spend a lot of outdoor time with their parents, or worse experience negative thoughts/feels about being outside, they tend to show signs of disinterest or dislike for being/playing outside.

  16. Gaye Ferguson

    Young children innately follow along with their parents and close caregivers attitudes and likes/dislikes, in order to be close to them, to please them. Children who are given the regular, even daily opporunity to explore and play outside with their caring adults, who can genuinely be enthusiastic and generous with their time and energy, will develop a positive, life affirming attitude to the outdoors, the envirmonment/ nature.

  17. marie-france bourgoin-leger

    Let’s be a role model by being excited to go outside. If the adult involved has a negative view on going outside, or spend her/his time looking at hie watch, you’ll have children wanting to go inside. Let’s have story time outside, or a picnic, when possible.

  18. Rashida Samar

    Children learn from practical experience . During outdoor play, they encounter with different materials and activities to play that promote healthy development.

  19. Vicki Pollock

    Depending on what children are allowed or encouraged to do outdoors is bound to have an effect on their dispostion. A child constantly told no to risky play may develop a “sneaky” attitude out of frustration for example. Or a child who is sent outdoors often to give his/her caregiver some peace and quiet may develop unwanted behaviours out of need for boundaries. Perception of the outdoors and a desire to try new things while playing outside, will depend on the amount of time a child gets outdoors, the caregivers attitude about playing outdoors and what the child is allowed to do while out there.

  20. Talor Benson-Harper

    Children who have the opportunity to play outdoors and explore are more likely to see being outdoors as a positive experience. They also will be more likely to appreciate their time outdoors.

  21. Farnaz Karimizadeh

    Children’s life experiences have a great impact on kids’ dispositions and perspective on outdoor play and it influences the way they try new ideas.
    Parents who take kids outside every day will give them this positive message:
    1:It is great to play outside and explore new things.
    2:Playing outside is always good ,rain or shine.

  22. Sasha Patterson

    Children who are given the opportunity to engage in outdoor play have a much better relationship to the outdoors and the role it can play in their lives. It starts with parents and caregivers who are willing and able to give that opportunity to them so that they can start to develop that relationship.

  23. Jade Brass

    Children who have caregivers that play outdoors with them, explore outdoors with them and challenge them to try things out can really help influence their peers I have witnessed. They can also bring that excitement to outdoor play and tell stories of past outdoor play that they have experienced and when children become their own storytellers so many opportunities are now available.

  24. Sharon Evenden

    Children who have the opportunity to explore outdoors will be comfortable and eager to learn and explore. It is important to encourage and enhance the learning so they gain from the experience. They will be happier outdoors if they are provided with positive experience and opportunity.

  25. Kayley Bach

    Children are very intuitive when it comes to adults attitude towards things. If an adult dislikes outdoor play and expresses that around the child the chances are their dispositions and perspectives of outdoor play will be similar and they may avoid it like the adult. If the adult shows interest and excitement when going outdoors the children will probably feed off that and also enjoy it.

  26. Brie Schuler

    The disposition of the child may be altered due to adult attitudes and perceptions of outdoor play/messy play/risky play. From this, the child may grow a love for outdoor play or may avoid it. Also, life experiences of the child come into play when decided whether or not outdoor play is something they enjoy. For example, if the child had an incident where they hurt themselves outdoors such as falling, scraping their knee etc, they may be cautious around outdoor risky play experiences because of their past life events. The educator plays a role in consistently encouraging the child to challenge themselves and explore their environment in a supportive, welcoming nature.

  27. Crystal Thring

    Children will pick up for the adults (parents/educators) the attitudes about outdoor time. If an adult is positive and shows how to have fun with being outside, the child will follow. If the adult resists and is negative, so will the child. The outdoor environment teaches us so much about how the world works and there is endless discovery if we just open our eyes and look. We need to be children once again and get to their level. Promote outdoor respect, promote endless learning and encourage imagination.

  28. Yiyun Zhang

    Children’s life experiences have a huge influence on their perspective on outdoor play. The more positive experience they gained from playing outside, the more time they are willing to spend outside. As educators, we should observe the children closely in order to offer the necessary help or scaffold their learning and development. In this way, they have more opportunities to experience the benefits of being outdoors and try new things.

  29. Tara

    I think foremost, the parents have a huge impact on a child’s disposition regarding the outdoors. For children who are raised in a family that loves the outdoors, I think I tend to see them openly exploring, and being confident in their decisions and play while those children who are not as exploratory or seem to have a dislike for the outdoors, I usually tend to think their parents are that way. Of course, this isn’t true in all situations, but I think no matter who the parents are or their own opinions on the outdoors, we should all encourage children to participate in outdoor play for the benefits and contributions to their health and well-being alone.

  30. Shannon Jarvis

    Typically, you can tell which children spend time outdoors with their family based on their comfort levels when outdoors. The children who have spent more time outdoors exhibit more awareness about their limits (ex: how high can I climb). Children who have had positive experiences outdoors with their families, tend to actively seek this kind of play.

  31. Jennifer Dyson

    If we, as educators, see the joy and value of outdoor play then we pass along those feelings and ideas to the children. If educators are standing around talking to one another instead of showing enthusiasm and excitement for being outdoors then the children may be influenced by our examples. If we are excited to go outside and set up the environment for rich play and learning children will develop a sense of enjoyment and excitement to get outdoors! The more time spent outdoors and the more positive experiences presented to children through all adults in their lives will set them up for an appreciation and love of the outdoors when they are older.

  32. T Y

    When you think about children and outdoor play, how do their life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time, experiences and desire to try new ideas in their play?

    Children who play outside benefit from a sense of well-being and renewed energy. A sense of community with other children and adults around them. Outdoor play also provides so much for discovery, learning and exploration, growth and development. I believe that the more time children spend outside, they more they would want to be outside.

  33. Katie Dowdle

    I find that when children have plenty of time for outside play they not only are able to build on their learning while outside, the positive interactions with peers and educators continue when inside, and the children are in general more focused on their indoor activities.

  34. Judith Frey

    I think the children are more confident.Their behaviour is more balanced.They are more creative and curious.

  35. Shawna Diduck

    When you think about children and outdoor play, how do their life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time, experiences and desire to try new ideas in their play? Type your answers in the shaded box below, then click the Comment button

    A child’s life experience is going to influence their disposition and perspective on outdoor play in many different ways. If a child is always outside with their family you will see them being more comfortable and eager to go outside but if a child is from a family where outdoors isn’t important and they aren’t used to playing outside you can usually tell by their actions/uncertainty. When you are used to being outside children tend to be more eager to explore and seem to feel more comfortable stretching what they know and digging deeper into new experiences.

  36. HeidiK

    If kids don’t have exposure to outdoor play in their home lives it’s hard adapting to the daycare center. Outdoor play may seem like a nuisance or inconvenience if imagination is never been stimulated or allowed to be provoked. Also the way we approach outdoor play has a huge impact. If we make it a positive experience with potential for experiments, open ended play, imaginative play the children will see it as an adventure not a task.

  37. June

    how do their life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time?
    Life experiences have a huge influence on children and their perspectives on outdoor play. If being outdoors and exploring is not part of their daily life experience, at daycare, they will be less inclined to participate in activities outdoors. At the same time though, as presented in the last module, children may cope much better in the outside environment, especially if they face some sort of trauma in their home life. Therefore it’s important for educators to be aware of these various dispositions and to help foster a positive attitude towards outdoor play time.

  38. Kerrie Sinclair

    I think children’s life experiences play a huge role in their disposition and perspective on outdoor play time. For example, we had a student start in our centre and it was very apparent that she didn’t spend much time outdoors. Whenever we went out, she’d ask us why we always went outside and was it necessary. We’d explain to her that it was nice to have a change of scenery from the indoors and would encourage her to explore. After many months, she has become very comfortable outdoors and it is no longer an issue. Her parents have expressed their gratitude to our exposing her to the outdoors because they don’t like to be outside themselves!

  39. Kaio Esau

    I often work with the school age kids in our after school program and it’s easy to tell which children have a lot of experience being outside. In a world of technology and gaming, it has gotten incredibly difficult to engage children in outdoor play. However, we go outdoors as frequently as possible and it’s amazing to see the creativity that emerges after even just a short time. There’s also a change in their dispositions and actions after enough time outside. I’ve seen the benefits in front of my face and it has just made me more passionate about learning all the benefits and making sure kids are getting enough time out there.

  40. Donna Legere

    “It takes a village to raise a child” has a huge impact on the experiences that children have outdoors. Each part of the village brings about many dynamics and different areas of learning. Part of the village may teach cultural areas, another part may teach risk taking and yet another may teach science and being “mucky”. Different groups of people in a child’s life take them on a journey of outdoor play experiences. Older people may remember when they were a child and go down the path of what they enjoyed as a child in the outdoors, taking a young child to an area yet not experienced, yet another younger member may remember risk taking activities and encourage this area.

  41. Amy

    The role of the “village” is paramount in providing valuable outdoor play experiences. Often, older family members do not understand the value of risky play especially outside. A child’s sense of wonder is amazing when they are trying to climb trees, uneven terrain, or trying to break a huge snow bolder apart. Exploring the great outdoors with the “village” makes it even more exciting. Demonstrating this so others can see it’s value is an important part of the process. We try to keep children “safe” and “warm” all the time. Unfortunately, this same sense of protection prevents them from building resiliency in an environment full of adventure and lessons!

  42. Kirsten Rosberg

    I think children’s life experiences and their dispositions greatly affect how they view outdoor play and if they want to go out. If, for example, their parents don’t want to go out in the rain, or comment “oh another ‘bad ‘ day outside “then this will become how they view rainy days. I think if children are taken out everyday and the adults show that they are enjoying themselves then the children will learn that they can have fun in all weather. I think their disposition also comes into it as well. Some children who are timid or careful will want to stay with somewhere they feel safe and where they know what to expect. This makes it even more important to teach them the outdoors is a great space to feel connected to nature, listen to what our bodies need and to feel calm; outside in nature is a safe space.

  43. mvll

    In my work with infants and toddlers, especially as they newly enter the program, I feel that it can be evident which children have already spent a significant amount of time playing outside with their families based on their excitement to transition outside and how they navigate the environment. In speaking with some families I have noticed a correlation between their comments on not spending much time outside with how their child reacts to outdoor programming; typically the child trips and falls a fair bit at first, they may avoid putting their hands on the ground or “dirty” surfaces. On the other hand, children of families who I know to spend more time outdoors tend to excitedly run out the door to explore the environment and are willing to take more risk in their play. This is of course not always the case, but is a correlation I have noticed in some families/children.

  44. DC

    I have the opportunity to work in both a preschool program and an After-School Program. The children in the After-School Program, complain about having to go outside, they find it boring they would rather be inside. The children in the preschool program do not want to come in, they often request what it is they want to play with/do outside, bring the toys out, go on a hike/walk, or just have fun on the snow hills/puddles, who knew that sitting in a puddle for an hour could be so much fun.

  45. Louanne MacRae

    When children are shown, by example, the importance of outdoor play and nature, they will be more inclined to view nature as an exciting and engaging experience. Children’s experiences play an important role in their ideas of outdoor play. Children who have the chance to explore the outdoors with freedom learn to be more carefree and independent.

  46. Laura Barthelette

    If a child has had positive outdoor play experiences (freedom to choose and follow their own play, uninterrupted play, positive adult responses to play) they will enjoy outdoor play. They will anticipate outdoor play and fully engage when outdoors.
    I a child has had negative outdoor play experiences (adult directed play, interrupted and stopped play, negative adult responses) they will prefer to remain indoors.

  47. Emma D. Rodilas

    When you think about children and outdoor play, how do their life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time, experiences and desire to try new ideas in their play?
    The Educator’s role for the children in exposing them to outdoor play is to guide them. However, give them the freedom to utilize their time in playing by themselves through self-exploration and imagination. By encountering some ups and down through play children use their self-assessment if they accomplish or not. You can see to their expression if they accomplish something and keep trying the activities being offered.

  48. Tanya Morash

    When you think about children and outdoor play, how do their life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time, experiences and desire to try new ideas in their play?
    Life experiences such as their parents attitude towards outdoor play and if they value that environment plays a huge part on how the children see and value the outdoors. If parents value the outdoors then the child is more likely to be provided opportunities to engage in that setting however if parents see more value in scheduled activities or put emphasize on indoor activities then this would limit the outdoor experience. Environment and setting play a part as well.

  49. melissa gallant

    A child’s childhood memories play a big part in their youth and adult experiences. If a child spends most of their free time playing video games or watching tv then they dont understand the possibilities they could have outside. As parents and educators we have to give children at a young age outside experiences in all weather; then as they grow they will continue to enjoy outdoor play.

  50. Bonnie Boyd

    Children’s early life experiences set them up for what they see as “normal” and acceptable as they become adults. If a child is exposed to being outside in all sorts of weather, they will carry that “normalcy” into their adult lives and be more inclined to be comfortable outdoors in all sorts of weather. Being outside is the best place for creative thinking and problem solving, and this is another important attitude that children will carry through their lives.

  51. Nikki Meyer

    Childrens life experiences influence thier dispositions and perspectives on outside play through either nurturing or diminishing thier natural inclinations towards learning in the outdoor environment. If the caregivers in the child’s life provide opportunities for children to explore and make meaning of thier surroundings they will be able to scaffold and build on them when they encounter new situations and feel competent in thier abilities. If the caregivers are uncomfortable in the outdoors, they may diminish thier child’s inclinations and interest in activities outside of what they are exposed to.

  52. Wendy Flegel

    Children that have the time to play outside in a safe and engaging space will have a way more positive experience and they will want to explore more and want to be outside!

  53. Alison Rinas

    When I think of children and how their life experience influence their dispositions and perspectives it brings me back how children learn and take in so much of the outdoor experience through there senses of smell, touch and moving within the different setting in which nature provides to us, Chidlren feel more free to challenge and try new things in the outdoors. there are no walls to confine their movements and they “feel” less supervised and more confident to explore and learn more about their abilities and successes when they challenge themselves and learn something new about themselves.

  54. Andrea Sabean

    The more positive experiences children have playing outdoors, the more they will want to be engaged in outdoor activities, both for themselves, and their children as they grow older. These experiences become a part of who they are. Conversely, children who spend most of their time inside may have the perspective that the outdoors is cold, wet, too hot, no fun, etc.

  55. Colleen Maclellan

    A child’s life experiences most definitely influence their disposition and perspective on outdoor play. The children’s exposure to the outdoors and their caregiver’s attitude will have a great impact on the child’s own appreciation for outdoor play.

  56. Adriana Carrillo

    Their life experiences definitely influence the children dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time depending on the lifestyle they lead at home and the example of parents and family members. If the parents have and active life and enjoy outdoor activities, the child will reflect it in the same way.

  57. Linda M. Mason

    Children’s dispositions and attitudes towards outdoor play often begin at home. But even children who have not been exposed to outdoor experiences before coming to daycare which emphazises outdoor play still embellish and learn very quickly to enjoy outside play. I have heard parents remark,, “ we don’t worry about taking our kids outside to play as we know they get these experiences at their daycare”. Children very quickly enjoy the sense of freedom and the wonder of playing outside.

  58. Kate Domingo

    Children disposition definitely influence by their outdoor experience. In the long run dispositions are the frequent and voluntary habit of thinking, they are not considered to be as mindless habits that a child know when not cross when the red light is on. Dispositions among children is very important for them to be sensitive in their environment. In our daycare where we adopt the Reggio Emilia-inspire curriculum, children’s interest are supported by the teachers. Playtime of the children may awaken certain interest that children follow through with the supports of educators.

  59. Nicole Morrell

    I believe that a child’s life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play because if their family members do not encourage risky play, if they prefer sedentary activities, if they do not do activities with the children outside then that is all the child knows until they come into care and then sometimes doing these things becomes a struggle because it pushes children out of their comfort zones. If a child has never gone sledding down a hill and then they go to daycare and the educator takes the children sledding for example, the child who has never been exposed to this might not be willing to try or might feel nervous. The more families expose children to the more willing children will be to try these things when families aren’t present and the child is with an educator and peers.

  60. Angela Gower

    Life experiences definitely influence children’s dispositions and perspectives on outdoor play time. It is usually pretty evident which children spend time outdoors with their families outside of daycare and which children do not. Children who have had role models who are enthusiastic about spending time outdoors or provide experiences (ice fishing, hikes, gardening) enjoy being outdoors.

  61. Karen Koehli-Kozack

    Children learn from the role models in their lives. If everyone around them goes outside and enjoys experience children are more likely to succeed outdoors on their own. For children that haven’t had those outdoor experiences with role models they are more likely to be lost or timid to try anything new.

  62. Paula Watson

    When you think about children and outdoor play, how do their life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time, experiences and desire to try new ideas in their play?

    I find that the children that have had more opportunities to play outside are more confident in themselves. They seem to make friends easier and are happy to play alone or with peers. I have noticed they are the ones other children want to play with or aspire to be like. I believe the more opportunities given to a child the greater their growth.

  63. Ashley Barfoot

    Children’s life experiences play a huge role. If a child grows up in a family that spends a lot of time outdoors they are more likely to want to be outside. The opposite also occurs, if children are growing up in a family setting where being outside is not a priority, the children will not want to go outside because they will not have prior experience with it.

  64. Rochelle Muhlert

    Children who have been encouraged to play outside, and played with outside, want to play outside. Children who have been protected by their parents can be very concerned with things like mud splatters on clothes, etc., and fearful of challenging themselves in an outdoor context.

  65. Mallory

    Children learn through observations and trial and error. Their life experiences will shape who they are and what they do, an early start to outdoor play will promote confidence and exploration later in life. Children need to be exposed to everything as early as possible, this will keep them curious and excited about exploring the world around them. If children see adults scared or unwilling to try something or even to go outside, they will pick up on these behaviors and copy them.

  66. Kathleen Couture

    The key to building confidence and competency in any domain is through life experiences. Those children who have had many outdoor experiences and are familiar with the outdoors tend to take the lead with initiative, confidence and ability. Children who have led a more sheltered life may need more time and support while exploring the outdoors as they would be more cautious. Both types of children can learn from interacting each other and working together as they play outdoors and ignite each others curiosity. Children have a natural instinct to be hunters, gathers, discovers, and explorers, we simply have to open the door to allow the opportunities.

  67. Mandi Bollinger

    Children who have spent much time being free to explore and learn outside have a more confident and comfortable disposition when it comes to outdoor play. Exposing children to new things in all areas of their lives will make them more likely to try new things outdoors.

  68. Karen Koehli-Kozack

    Children’s life experiences have a huge impact on how children interpret and are able to enjoy the outdoors. When children have only experienced indoors or screen time they don’t know how to have fun and explore in the outdoors. Our love for the outdoors need to be role modeled and children need to be played with and made curious in order for them to develop their love of the outdoors.

  69. BL

    Children with more exposure to outdoor play tend to be more free, curious and confident. Outdoor play gives children so much more opportunity to explore and learn from their natural surroundings.

  70. Jessica Brosch

    Children’s relationship starts at an early age and will set them up for a lifelong of love of the outdoors. Each person in contact with a child will have an influence on their perspective of outdoor play. Creating positive experiences s helps build a healthy love of playing outside!

  71. jen.g

    Showing children what they can do and including everyone around them can help children learn to have fun and by providing these experiences children learn it’s ok to explore and be creative.

  72. Szandrita

    Outdoor playtime experiences influence children in learning to be more observant, more flexible in society, more hungry to learn and explore, more adaptable in different social environments. Also, children become more humble and more resilient in their life experiences.

  73. Hafiza Yusra Ali

    the more we give chances of outdoor play the more likely are the chances there for not only brain development but development in every area and great experience

  74. Hunter Goodine

    I believe children need to explore what it feels like to have freedom to invent, create, use there imagination, they need to be able to take risks, learn how to reason/problem solve, learn how to be alone in nature to see all the beautiful things it has to offer, etc. If children don’t go outside and experience these essential life skills they wont be able to develop good communication skills with there peers or with other adults around them, be engaged or persist in nature, and wont be able to observe or interpret what they find interesting.

  75. Danielle Rostron

    The view of outdoor play of the caregiver directly influences that of the child. An educator who only takes the children outdoors on sunny days could potentially create a view that rainy days = indoor days. Rainy , snowy, cold etc should not dictate indoors / therefore negative connotations. As a child, I was sent outdoors in all weather with the promise of being home when the streetlights came on. I still embrace being outdoors in all types of weather.

  76. Sarah Crumback

    Children who are given the opportunity for outdoor play and are encouraged to explore and have fun will develop a love for being outside and will be more creative and adventurous in their play than children who are not given much exposure to outdoor play.

  77. Sheila Maputi

    I think outdoor play has a big influence in a child’s life experience that can contribute in their disposition and perspective on outdoor play time, the desire to try and be involve in new ideas. I remember one kid in my care, every easter we do egg hunting. We go to the park to hide all the eggs. Its a forestry park with a lake near by, so there’s a lot of possible hiding place for the eggs. At first, I’m afraid to go far checking the proximity of each egg (putting red yarn as landmarks). The kids totally had so much fun doing that activity. One kid told me that next time we do this, he ask me not to put red yarn so it would be more exciting. It really made my day and I feel fulfilled that they enjoyed the activity. The story didn’t end there, the kids our happy to share that experience to everyone they meet. It’s an over and over storytelling of adventure of finding those eggs and the surprise gifts inside it. There are times when I have to do back up care for my fellow provider, a regular kid from my dayhome will usually orient our new friend with these wonderful story stating “You know what we do this egg hunting activity and its so much fun…” and the story goes on and on and on.
    What I’m implying here is that kids collect this wonderful experiences like a foundation of their childhood, activities they really enjoyed, learn from it, and successfully pass all challenging adventures. The more experience they have the more stable their preposition and perspective in life and in their future.

  78. Kendra Crooks

    If children grow up in an environment where outdoor play is tossed aside then that is how they will continue to view it. If you show the children how fun the outdoors is and how many opportunities they could have because of it the opportunities for them will be endless.

  79. Wendy Slavik

    When you think about children and outdoor play, how do their life experiences influence their dispositions and perspective on outdoor play time, experiences and desire to try new ideas in their play?
    When I was growing up I was told to go outside to play and be back for lunch; there was no supervision, but the rules were strict that if not back in time I would miss out on lunch. I had total freedom to explore my neighborhood and get to know my surroundings. I still like to know my surroundings to this day and enjoy regular walks to do so. I think that children who have the opportunity to go out and play similarly will desire to explore around them more, where as those children whose families do not spend much time outside tend to be more reluctant to do so and therefore miss out on the joys creation brings. That said, even when children are allowed to go outside, some parents may get upset if the child comes home dirty due to exploratory play. So I think there is both attitude and opportunity to consider.

  80. Alana Cornett

    The children experience outdoors with their families and early learning centres the more they will seek out those opportunities on their own. For example in my own family where we live we don’t always spend a lot of time in forested areas. At some point we started doing a lot of sports outside with our children. Now they are naturally inclined when we go outside to play basketball, soccer, lacrosse, baseball etc. This isn’t a bad thing but they don’t necessarily associate outdoors with exploring, experimenting, inventing and so forth. If I could go back in time I would change the make up of our backyard to induce more exploration based play.

  81. Tina Gouzecky

    Children will learn what to appreciate and enjoy based on their environment. If we don’t enhance outdoor play or provide ample time for children to enjoy outdoor play, children will be less likely to enjoy it or wish to participate. Our role as educator is important because we can set a good example by preparing ourselves for the outdoors by dressing appropriately for the weather. It is also important to engage with the children during outdoor play and support the relationship with child, educator and the outdoors.

  82. Lena Hirst

    Children who have had the opportunity from an early age to explore the outdoors in any weather will be more inclined to continue to do so throughout their lives, therefore creating healthy lifelong habits and a positive approach to the environment. Children who have been shown that outdoor time only happens when the weather is nice will start to associate rainy and snowy days with being inside and will miss out on opportunities that only occur on rainy days such as puddle jumping or playing in the mud.

  83. Cindy Piwowar

    Children’s life experiences play a key role in their dispositions and perspectives on outdoor play. Children that have the opportunity to play outdoors without the direct supervision of an adult, develops a sense of freedom ans an awareness or connection to their environment. Whereas children that haven’t had those opportunities need the security of an adult or familiar space. Children that have had repeated opportunities outdoors are capable of trying things in different ways because they are aware of their own capabilities. Children that have not spent a lot of time outdoors are cautious and not aware of what they can do on their own. When children have the opportunity for real life experiences it influences the depth of their play. For example: I will climb a tree to the second branch but with the more opportunities to climb, in a short period of time I will be climb to the tenth branch. A child who is not given a lot of outdoor play and only climbs sporadically might not move past the second branch.

  84. Deborah Boyles

    Most of the children at our school enjoy going outside but there are a few that always come up with a reason why they should stay inside. It can be quite a challenge to get these children outside they prefer to do anything but that. When outside they will usually stay close to me chatting away but I try to get them involved with some of the others in an activity. It takes extra effort but it is worth it. After a few weeks they usually want to go outside without complaint.

  85. Kim Janzen

    I have noticed that so many children complain about “having” to go outside. They don’t view it as a fun experience, and they constantly complain that they are “bored”. These children typically come from families that are not very outdoorsy people, and it shows. They don’t know what to do outside. They will walk around with staff, or just sit on a bench or the ground, while all the other children around them are playing and having fun. They may have been told to not get dirty, or say they don’t have anyone to play with, or say they would rather be playing video games. They have no desire to want to be outside, or to even try to join in a game with their peers. These are the children that need to be outdoors more, because they are lacking in the skills that are learned from it. We as the adults need to create positive experiences and influences in the hopes of changing the children’s attitudes of wanting to play outside.

  86. Janet Edge

    I have found that children who don’t spend time outside with their parents seem to be lost and and not engaged in the outdoor play. They will complain of tiredness, or weather and tend to hang around the childcare professional more. They don’t know how to socialize and be engaged. Children that are more active outdoors tend to take more risks and socialize and be less reserved. Positive experiences encourage children to be excited about play opportunities as well as being a role model. Creating opportunities to make a mess, build and take risks are part of this positive process and great memories for the child.

  87. Jodene Muri

    With outdoor play we find their life experiences will play an important role when they first start. You can always tell which children don’t play outside at home. We will hear things like, I cant get dirty, its to cold to play outside. We have to encourage them to explore and discover. We even have to change the views of parents sometimes.

  88. Rondo

    Children’s life experiences influence their disposition and perspectives on outdoor play as past experiences set the stage for future learning and their competence when trying new things. Positive enriching past experiences will encourage children to be excited about new play opportunities and will have the motivation to create, explore and interact. If children are exposed to positive situations that are intriguing and supported by the adults around them it will become a memory that creates a feeling of satisfaction and joy and will have children waiting with wonder and excitement about the next time they are able to play outdoors. Children will try new play ideas with confidence and energy if they have positive past experiences to draw from and will increase their self confidence and curiosity for all new experiences.

  89. Brittany Godfrey

    When I think of children and how their life experience influences their disposition, perspective and desire to try new things while playing outside , I right away think to family life and lifestyle and how that influences children. We have a lot of families that are outdoorsy and it shows versus the children whos families are less outdoorsy. Children who have experience outdoors are generally more excited about going outside in all weather conditions, they tend to have a lot more confidence in outside play. Children who have less outdoors tend to not want to go out , not engage in play as much, stand around or stay close to a teacher. Being a role model in positive outdoor play as an educator does also help, sparking interest like finding bugs or making up certain games, or gardening. I love how the children with little outdoor experience can learn through watching peers that are more confident in outdoor settings.

  90. Ashwak

    Outdoor play opens up many learning dispositions for children such as, caring, seeking, participating, being playful, and being persistence. Children learn how to be responsible members in the society when being exposed to outdoor opportunities and are encouraged to investigate, explore, and imagine about the possibilities of being outdoor.

  91. Kim Dolezal

    Role play is big. We go out and model to young children the desires and fun one can have in the outdoors. There are some children that have not had someone model play outdoors.

  92. Cindy Schlamp

    In my experience children that do not go outside with their parents seem a bit lost during outside time when they start but then it’s neat to see those children asking their parents at pick up time to go to a park or play outside.

  93. 786naznindhanani

    The educator’s role, the family and extended family (elders) have a huge impact on how children learn and have the desire to learn. The environment and the people set the stage for children to want to explore outdoors.