Considerations that Influence Outdoor Play Designs in Early Learning Programs

Topic Progress:

childrenpaintOutdoor play is more than children “running off excess energy”.  Outdoor play contributes more to children’s overall development than physical fitness and cognitive development.  As identified by Kellert (n.d), children’s interactions with the natural world contribute to their development in the following ways:

  • Emotional capacity
  • Identity
  • Moral and spiritual perspectives
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Formation of self-confidence and self-esteem

Kellert (2002) and Acar (2009) identified that children need to experience nature in direct, indirect and representational or symbolic ways. Kellert’s perspectives suggest that parents and early learning teachers benefit from thinking beyond the notion that children’s connection to nature is primarily through an organized visit to the park or play in the forest. Children require outdoor play spaces that support them in being free to be spontaneous and connect with their environment in the context of their culture and everyday life. The development of children’s personalities and characters is directly related to the levels of experiences and learning opportunities that they are exposed to.  As outlined below, Kellert suggested that we think of children’s outdoor experiences from a direct, indirect and symbolic perspective.  Each of these types of experiences has a relationship to learning.


Think about how each type of experience contributes to children’s modes of learning.  For example, the more direct connections children have with nature, the more they engage in thinking, observing, problem solving and wondering about ‘what will happen if’ questions.  The physical contact with nature provides children with an emotional response.  Think about children when they see the first snowfall or when they splash in the puddle.  Conversely, think about the emotional response when children are outdoors when they are not connected to the environment. How might those emotions be different from a child that thrives on being outdoors?  When children have limited contact with the outdoors, they may not develop the same sense of appreciation for the outdoors as those that are exposed to the outdoors in all of the seasons. Children that do not have physical contact with nature are less likely to develop important learning about the environment and their values about environmental stewardship are less likely to be well developed.

Read the case study below and then answer the questions that follow in the comments box.

Case Study

One of the most significant examples that I reflected on that illustrates the direct, indirect and symbolic experiences applies to a young school-aged child that was new to Canada. We had been discussing snow over several days because there was a large snow storm predicted. Although the child knew there was snow in winter, he had never experienced it.  As the snow fell, he engaged in many exploratory experiences, from sticking his tongue out to have the snowflakes fall on his tongue, to observing children making snowballs and then making one himself and putting that snowball in his pocket. In the classroom, he became upset when he realized that his snowball was melting in his pocket. He did not have the experience of touching, feeling or understanding the composites of snow, nor its relationship to temperature.

Could a child gain such information without hands-on experience?  What types of knowledge about snow might the child lack without the actual experience?

Outdoor play lays the foundation for children’s learning and the process which they use for learning. Outdoor play environments that are designed to be experiential and that do not require adult intervention increase opportunities for children to experience:




Further, outdoor play environments that are thoughtfully planned for children and with children, provide children with opportunities to:


Kellett (n.d.) determined that the design of outdoor play needs to include a chance for children to experience a sense of wonder, joy, exuberance, awe, even fear and trepidation, all and more, the raw stuff of normal and healthy development.  We also need to realize that contact with nature is not just about direct physical contact in the outdoors and with living systems, but as well the representational and symbolic expression of shape and pattern of the natural world revealed in story, picture, myth, legend, and more (p.3).course9-lesson2-photo2

In essence, children’s engagement and ability to function in outdoor play is directly influenced by the environmental conditions that are present.  Greenman (2005) indicated that “childhood is when human beings should fall in love with the world and all its untidy and sometimes scary complexity, delights and mysteries” (p. 2). When children are in environments with limited play options or limited freedom for them to play, the opportunities for them to meander, experience a sense of journey and the exploration “along the way” are reduced, along with their play and discovery options.

When you look at this play space, what images come to mind?  Would you want to spend two hours a day there?  Why or why not?  What do you envision you would see children doing in this space?  What might you change? Why?


  1. Minni Harris

    The -lay space is boring and uninspired or in inviting, it needs sand, dirt, and water and loose materials also some green space and trees.

  2. Barb Keller

    The play space is very plain there is nothing for them to explore and to use their creative minds.

  3. Angela George

    It is really a very uninspiring space, not very welcoming for families or children it would take some brainstorming and the bringing in of some loose parts and other items and activities to make it the kind of space that I could spend a couple of hours in.
    The way the space is now the children could be sliding, doing chalk on the platform, table for water, snack and maybe quiet time when children are overwhelmed or upset. Maybe those are blocks in the corner they could do a little bit of building as long as they do it together, or maybe its another climber? Hard to see in the picture.
    If I were to change the space I would add some soil around the tree and put out buckets and shovels maybe some seeds or seed tape. Change the picnic table to a longer table that they could do projects on. Loose parts like branches, or plywood and blankets and tarps for building a shelter with. Slinkys with the little staircase, the table could have ribbons and scissors and they could tie ribbons to their little bush with their names or with messages to loves ones. Could put a box by the climber with different things that could roll down the slide and the little mats around the slide could be put together and a little village or farm set up for small play. A mud kitchen against the big wall and a small garden under the windows, artwork displayed in windows. A small display board for events and information for parents and families under cover up the stairs next to the door.

  4. Christine Norman

    I do not find the play space very inviting. It seems limited in its choice and use of materials and experiences. The children would most likely try to seek more risky entertaining ways to use the space such as climbing and sliding on the banisters of the stairs. There may also be more conflict between the children with not enough materials and also trying to find things to do.

  5. Cindy Spencer

    The play space looks very bland and uninviting to me. I see children going to check out the materials and becoming bored very quickly. More loose parts are needed. More materials so there is enough for all the children otherwise the children would fight over toys. The materials look like they were placed there just to say they had a play space and not motivating any type of exploring or natural play.

  6. Michelle Davis

    The play space is sad. It is boring. And I envision very sad and dis-regulated children being in it. It lacks so much. Put in some trees or tree stumps. Sand and water play. Things that promote movement such as swings and slides or some trikes.

  7. Jasmine Park

    The playground looks so boring. Nothing to do. Not enough play materials, natural elements or even running space! I will add more toys including loose parts, play elements such as sand and water and natural materials as tree logs, sticks and rocks to connect with nature. Chalks or painting materials will be also good to provide various play experience.

  8. Xintong Wang

    Could a child gain such information without hands-on experience? What types of knowledge about snow might the child lack without the actual experience?
    The child cannot gain any information without hands-on experience, if they don’t have the actual experience, they cannot know how snow feels, the temperature of the snow, the texture, and it might even be harder for them to understand the concept of solid-liquid.

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?

    I think the play space is boring and i’m not sure what age group those are for but if its for older kids, its not age appropriate, there’s not much to do there. I wouldn’t want to spend two hours a day there because its very boring and have limited space. I would see children just sitting there and do nothing.
    I would put in more elements and more loose parts.

  9. Nikki Littlechild

    Could a child gain such information without hands-on experience? What types of knowledge about snow might the child lack without the actual experience?
    There is no way a child could learn what snow feels like, the temperature of it and what happens when it’s warmer or colder through a book or lesson. This is a necessary hands on experience to learn what snow is really like.
    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?
    Looking at the space I feel it’s boring, stagnant, unchanging, uninviting and unchallenging. I would not want to spend 2 hours a day there, when children are bored you tend to see more behavior challenges and this playground would create lots of that. I would add loose parts, different tactile spaces, some greenery and fun activities that are changing to help keep them engaged and not bored. That being said, loose parts would be my first addition.

  10. Jennifer Yarmish

    “Could a child gain such information without hands-on experience? What types of knowledge about snow might the child lack without the actual experience?”
    A child could be told about snow and what it might look, feel, taste like but without the actual hands on experience, the way that child processed the concept would be lacking. They could not have that sense of cold, wet, slushy, solid etc without actually handling the snow. Their brains would be missing the piece of actually seeing and experiencing all of those wonderful sensations.

    “When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?”
    When I look at this space I think about boredom…there is nothing truly natural about it at all. After the first half hour I can’t imagine that the children would be stimulated at all by their surroundings because there is a lack of colour, organic activity areas and even pride in ownership here. I can see the children becoming very easily disinterested in the space and beginning to have conflict with each other because the play and discovery options are so limited. Even bringing in planter boxes…some you can plant with the children and some they can just dig in and ‘plant’ for themselves, would make a difference. Loose parts of any kind, rocks, sand, water, seeds, even paint…anything to make the space feel more ‘alive’.

  11. Shirley Robinson

    I see this very small and uncared for playground, i would like to more play swings, at least one slide. may more grass too,.

  12. Rachael Ewan

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?
    The space looks uncared for. I would not want to spend two hours a day there. I see the children would find the leaves in the box to play with. There are also some plastic blocks that they would likely create with and I am sure some would use the slide. Some loose parts, natural materials and a little maintenance would lift up the energy of the space significantly.

  13. Katarina Ninkovic

    To me that outdoor space feels very limiting and not inviting at all, it feels very closed off. I’d like to see some more greenery and a lot more opened materials, a lot more large loose parts!

  14. Heather Brekkaas

    There is not much inviting about the play place pictured, unless there was a steady stream of sidewalk chalk to brighten it up. I am sure children would be bored fairly quickly after exploring it because there is so little to do. They could add items to the sandbox, add an outdoor play kitchen so the kids can make mud pies or play with water, and add some loose parts for experimenting.

  15. Heather Diewert

    As an adult looking at the play space presented in the picture I get a feeling of sadness and bleakness, and imagine that a children using this space would feel incredibly uninspired.
    There is nothing that sparks the imagination, or would make children want to explore.
    There are no natural materials and I would describe the environment as an Indirect perspective of Outdoor learning.
    I think the space could benefit from natural wood structures, wooden stumps, or used tires, adding a boxed in garden area with wood and plants, a sandbox, a water table, plenty of loose parts and some trees in large planters to supply some shade and a place to watch insects.

  16. Melissa Vail

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?
    I think plain and boring. I would not want to spend much time there because it does not spark creativity and wonderment. I just envision children fighting over the items that are available. I would add a variety of loose parts, some tires, some space to create art along possibly one of the walls on the building, mirrors, and even a mud kitchen.

  17. Dana Wilson

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?

    When I look at that play space I immediately think of children who are bored, who are not being challenged or are not inspired to create or play. I see children who will get into disagreements over sharing few toys or materials. I would add art bins, with chalk, paint brushes, paint, water etc. I would add more natural materials such as tree stumps, blocks of wood, building supplies. Tubs filled with material and other loose parts. I would add gardens so the children have dirt to dig in and explore.

  18. lisa.rodney

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why? When I look at this space I see that it is hard and there are very few play options. Even the options they have are not ideal as the climbers are not fixed, and in my experience with items like that, they are probably tippy and the area the are places on is paving with no cushioning. There is very little opportunity to interact with nature and with the few options for play, I can see children running around, pushing to use the limited materials and probably fighting. I would not want to spend a couple of hours there. The space could be improved by removing some of the paving and adding grass, by adding a garden in the planter, adding a butterfly garden or bird feeders and wind chimes. adding loose parts and storage for them, some sensory play options like sand pit, plant some trees for natural shade. The plus for this space is it looks to have good proximity to the school.

  19. Rachelle Gregoire

    The space gave me the feel that there isn’t enough areas to play in or things to do.
    The space has so much potential. A garden would be a easy and great addition. Some toys or other loose parts would also fit well. Currently, It is only good for small children without room to advance in skills.

  20. Daphne Hachey

    that play space looks boring and does not give children space to have open ended and independent ideas and play. they need space to be creative and explore. if this is the only space accessible to the school adding open ended loose parts and some things like sporting equipment and maybe some sensory objects would be great

  21. Krista Ambrose

    When I look at this play space, I see boring. I see nothing to excite the children. I also see fights. I would not want to spend two hours a day there because the children don’t have a lot to explore. They would fight over the few toys that is there. I see the children spending a lot of time running around or playing on the steps. I see them fighting over the limited amount of toys. I would add logs, wood pieces, rocks, milk crates, cloth and many more loose parts. I want to add some plants (in pots) so they can see bugs. I want the children to enjoy there outside time and discover as much as they can.

  22. Jody Anderson

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? The images that come to mind are dull and boring. Not inviting at all and nothing to draw me in and want to explore. There is nothing in there to soften the space or encourage any type of creative thinking. It looks like a temporary play space that would only be used for a half an hour or less while a parent is having a meeting . There appears to be no shade so I would imagine on hot days there is no children utilizing it.

    Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? I likely would start pacing after about 15 minutes in that space. I would feel like a caged animal and would try to invent things by myself that may or may not be appropriate, No color, no nature, nothing to do and it looks like nobody cared when they put that space together.

    What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? I would envision children arguing, fighting, pushing, running and crashing into each other, I think there would be a lot of bahvioral issues that would arrise do to poor planning of this outdoor play space.

    What might you change? Why?- I would add some greenery to start with, if that is in the form of portable pots or wooden planter boxes it would instantly add some natural color. A tree or two would also be amazing. I would try to created different surfaces for the children to play on, wood, sand, GRASS, maybe a portable garden plot that the children could help to plant and harvest or use the exsitsing planter box as a large science experiment of planting and lifecycles-maybe have a butterfly garden in there. I wold add some outdoor art experiences that could be changed frequenlty, some bird feeders, hanging plants. loose parts that would have conveniant and portable storage options. I would make the entrances look more inviting maybe some outdoor mirrors with a nice welcoming sign, plants hanging from the building? I would add some sort of shade in the form of an awning that would allow the children to still get outside with some protection from the sun.

  23. Lindsey Cooper

    Two hours seems like a long time to spend in that little space where there is not much for exploration activities. I would add a water/sand table and loose parts. I would also look into something for the children to climb.

  24. Anna Mary McKenney

    I see images of children bored and displaying negative behaviours due to the lack of creative space, loose parts, and room. I would not want to spend two hours of my day there and would find it difficult to program within this space to make engaging to children. I would add more to the garden and perhaps a water feature. Some more vertical space such as open ended art along the walls. You can have a rock wall or obstacle type play next to the stairs

  25. Bonnie Willson

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?
    When I look at that play space, boredom comes to mind. I wouldn’t want to spend time there, why would I expect the children to spend time there. There is nothing to catch the imagination or to get you excited. I envision children sitting around and maybe throwing dirt, misbehaving because they don’t have anything to keep them entertained. I would add loose parts, lots of loose parts, I would add dirt and water, loose parts to climb on, to sort, to build with, just anything I could think of to let them enjoy their space and interact with their environment.

  26. Grace Smith

    The play space is not very inviting. I would sand boxes, natural materials like logs, rocks, lots of loose materials, water table and some more plats.

  27. Angel Huang

    Could a child gain such information without hands-on experience? What types of knowledge about snow might the child lack without the actual experience?
    A child for sure gain some information if there is hands-on experience, if there is none then all they can think about is just an idea, and with their world still absorbing all the information, they maybe still confuse, especially he or she has never see snow.

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?
    The space is not welcoming, looks boring to me, I don’t think the children will think is fun. I wouldn’t like to sit there and watch the children for two hours, i probably take the children for a walk around the neighbourhood than staying there for two hours. There is really not much to do in this “playground” or i should say area. If i can change it, i probably bring in some log, stumps, rocks or sticks or even bricks for the children to build something with these materials.
    Maybe some hanging decoration or ribbons for them to hang and decorate the tree there.

  28. Lisa Goldsack

    I see a very boring play yard, it doesn’t look very loved or cared for. It almost looks abandoned. I could see a lot of bored, crying children who just want to go back inside. I would add a sandbox, tires, planks, plants and fix the garden area.

  29. Maria Agustin

    The play space doesn’t have lot of stuff to play with. The children could only spend maybe thirty minutes to play and they already get bored.If this is our outdoor space we will make a garden. I put more loose parts, sand boxes, water tables, mud box. So that the children can more.

  30. Amanda Christison

    I see a lot of stationary equipment that is not challenging for the children – and I also see the children fighting a lot over the equipment as that is all that seems to be offered outside for them. As there is nothing challenging or interesting, I too see a lot of wandering children looking for something to do or engage themselves in. I would definitely add some natural and loose parts to the environment to see what the children do with them. With the table there too I would add some art materials so the children can create art outdoors as well. I would also add a garden area as well that the children can help in creating and maintaining.

  31. Nicole Robinson

    The picture of the playspace provided does not offer any challenges for the children, there is no risk and no stimulation. While it is outside and there is dirt, those are the only aspects of nature involved. Boring playspace

  32. 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.

  33. Ruth Novak

    In a way it reminds me of my playground. It looks empty and nothing special about it. There’s not much for the children to really choose from and not enough for everyone. I picture yelling and fighting for toys. Not a lot of natural objects.

  34. Betty-Ann Ryz

    I see boredom, arguments over the equipment, looks cold, and uninviting. I could see play being all done after 15 minutes. Children would resort to playing on the steps. Changes would be sand box, grass, mud kitchen, planter boxes, and natural loose parts. All these items would provide tons of open ended play options.

  35. Karin Freiberg

    This space does not provoke inquiry and I see many children fighting over the slide. I would suggest adding large pieces of fabric, cardboard tubes, large boxes, yarn/string – I can see this space becoming a cardboard box city with opportunity for educators to observe the children’s play and add materials inspired by observation.

  36. Shannon Stewart

    This play space has potential though it is not desirable. I envision the children drawing with chalk, climbing on the table, playing bouncy balls or digging in the planter. I would create a living garden that the children could care for, develop a sand box by digging out the dirt from the space that the table sits on. Remove the plastic play structures and add natural loose parts, blankets/sheets and stumps.

  37. Mikaela Reyes

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?

    I see children still getting excited to go to the slide but will for sure be chaotic when they all want to go at the same time since there is nothing else to be engaged with. Spending two hours in this play space can be difficult for children as they will continously look for things to do and when they can’t find any, that is probably when they will have difficulty expressing it. If given this space, I would add a plant box, an area where they can explore with loose parts, and mud/sand area so children can explore with textures as well.

  38. Jessica Garner

    Unfortunately, this play space looks similar to many I encounter in my work. I imagine it would be very challenging to keep children engaged in this space. As an educator, I would feel like I would have to do a lot of work to plan and keep children engaged, and would probably limit my time in this space as a result. I envision children might play on the climber, wander, play with balls or draw with chalk. I also imagine the children might do things the educators would find challenging, such as try to climb on the planters/bench/stairs. To change this space, I might add more greenery, a sandbox, loose parts, an easel, or sheltered “den” spaces.

  39. Silvia Martínez

    I am think the problem it not the size to the place, it is nothing to do , this place don’t invitee to the children to play , the environment need some add loose parts, natural resource , and few toy.

  40. Kimberley Thompson

    When I look at that outdoor play space I see a boring non-inviting area. I would not want to spend two hours a day there , and I don’t think a child would either. The reason why is because the space is lacking imagination, creativity, risky play, vegetation, there are no sign of natural materials or loose parts. I envision children in this space would lose interest very fast and develop behavior issues. I would plant a garden for the children where there are leaves , give them more to climb on such as big rocks, tires or stumps, as well as put a sand box in there and some shaded place , water table, outside art area and so much more can be offered for this area.

  41. Gretchen Conti

    The image presents a play space that is human created without moveable parts or a design to encourage imagination. Children will quickly bore of the space and, as we learned in the previous module, look for opportunities to play with risk. Some spaces are limited in their natural capacity, but as educators, it is our responsibility to spruce things up and create a more engaging environment.

  42. Tammy

    I see the space as very sparse. I do see some areas that look inviting for conversation or looking in the garden for bugs, but that would not keep me entertained and engaged for 2 hours. It would be nice to see some greenery, more loose materials and some sort of shade structure.

  43. Lucie Pendergraff

    The space looks almost too industrial. It is just grey buildings with cement ground. There are not enough natural elements added to the space to balance it out or draw the attention away from the bland look. I would add a sand area, garden boxes, flower pots, loose parts such as cut tree trunks, rocks, a tent/teepee/shaded space.

  44. Annette Casey

    Bringing in planters, mud kitchen,,loose mterials for area. The child with snow do more exploring, experiment to understand what happens when it snows.

  45. Nazia Mir

    I would like to add some plants and natural things such as grass plants and rocks.

  46. Charlene Durrant

    Case study-in order for the child to be able to experience the snow s/he would need direct experience with it by doing the things that children who know about snow would do, building a snowman, gaining sledding etc.
    Play space-this play space does not look very inviting. It is dull and lacks natural things such as trees and grass and the toys don’t look very inviting either.

  47. Amanda N

    I wish the outdoor space in the picture could have more plants, rocks, and logs for children to explore. It has too much concrete and very little nature, and the plastic materials limit children’s sensory experiences.

  48. Prabhulata Immaraju

    The space for play looks, uninviting, unplanned, uncared for, shows signs of neglect and lack of interest on part of the educators and or lack of funds. Neither children nor I would like to spend 2 hours trapped in a place like that. I see a potential for fights among children due to boredom.
    I would bring in plants, or if possible add trees to the space, have a collection of natural materials as loose parts in bins, add colourful fabric to liven it up, add logs; tires and have ropes with knots so they can use it for tying someplace n climbing etc.

  49. Mizuho Kashiwagi

    I think this space lacks green grass(or any plants). I like to give children opportunities to feel dirt, leaves/flowers, and trees! This place doesn’t excite me as an educator.

  50. Svetlana Babikova

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?
    When I see the photo of the space, it doesn’t look interesting, children can feel bored there, especially if children spend 2 hours a day there. I can’t see natural materials, no open-ended materials, etc. I would change this space by adding loose parts materials, sensory materials (sandbox), arts and crafts corner with the chalkboard, easel, crafts, and art supplies. Also, I would add some materials for risky play such as old tires to jump on, rope for climbing, or make a swing. Besides, I would add fabric, mud kitchen and other materials to support dramatic play.

  51. Nikki Meyer

    Case Study – Children would not gain understanding of concepts like snow melting until they have had direct experiences with feeling the cold melt against their hands.
    Play Space – the play space looks very limited in activities that would engage children for extended amounts of time. I would not want to spend 2 hours a day there as a child or as an educator. The boredom would lead to behavioral issues. Responsive materials should be added to facilitate play that children can become engaged deeply in and explore to test ideas and skills.

  52. justine devenport

    The “play” space is lacking in the ability to influence curiosity, imagination, and adventure/thrill. This space supports repetitive actions and is uninviting for young learners.

  53. Lucie Theroret

    The play space look so boooring no i wont like spending two hres to a playground like that .it is not invited for the children i will add at least loose part and dirth ,if the monet is a problem ask parents to bring stuff that they dont use anymore and stuff appropriate for children

  54. Andrea Preissl

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?
    I would not want to spend 2 hours a day there, it looks boring. There is nothing of interest. Sure maybe for a child on their first day they may find it interesting but as soon as they have done it all there is no way to change it up or expand on it. I feel like the children would just end up fighting with each other and just running around. I would add bins of loose parts. Maybe bring in some planters to add some greenery. This would help with the boredom and create opportunities for interests to arise and get the children engaged and learning rather than running in circles and fighting over the few toys they have.

  55. Nadira Ramnauth

    No I can’t spend two hour a day there. The environment is not properly set up for outdoor learning. I can envision the children getting into conflicts with each other because they all want to play on the tiny slide. In this play space the children will be doing a lot of running and screaming. I will change the slides and add a larger play structure so the children can climb and explore freely. I will add more toys and loose parts to the outdoor environment.

  56. Nadira Ramnauth

    The child does not have the knowledge that snow needs a cold temperature in order for it to stay frozen. We use to take snow indoor and let the children play and explore with it. We would leave it to melt and teach the children that if the snow does not stay in a freezing temperature, it will melt and become water. Hands on activities are great learning experiences for children. I know the child was sad but it was teachable moment. The child will be curious to find out why the snow ball was melting in his pocket. That is where the teachers can explain everything about snow to the child.

  57. Joanne Falk

    The play space looks very boring and uninviting. I would not want to spend two hours in this kind of playground. There are only a few toys which I’m sure would cause fights. The playground does not have a lot of loose parts which could easily be added to make it more fun for the children

  58. Kathy Barnhart

    That space looks all too familiar. I have seen many play spaces where the experience with nature is limited to the sun and fresh air, which is better than being inside all day but certainly not as interesting as it should be.

  59. Caroline Driedger

    i would not want to spend 2 hours out in our play space, I do see a lot of potential and would love for the team to get together and spend 2 hours arranging our play space. We need to add more exploration and loose parts. We have a great base but need to build. We have stumps and rocks but we need more loose parts and the heavy kind.

  60. Erin Lihou

    No I would not want to spend 2-3 hours there but I could see the potential as there are many milk crates to stack upon each other and there is many leaves in the garden area where they could make into a fairy garden. But it does lack other larger climbing apparatus’ and does not have a large variety of things for them to do.

  61. Deborah Fehr

    No, I would not want to spend two hours a day there. It lacks opportunities for exploration, joy, wonderment etc. I expect there to be a lot of mindless running, pushing, shoving, teasing. It feels like the educators who would be working in this space would also be bored and disengaged. I would guess that they spend a lot of time telling children what they shouldn’t be doing.

  62. Janice Duncan

    This play space is lacking, it looks like it is just a pit stop for children to run around with little else to do. I think though the area could be improved by adding planter stands with flowers and vegetables, loose parts like big tree stumps, a sandbox with a cover, a picnic table.

  63. Janet Huffman

    This play space looks boring and un-inviting. I automatically assume that the person who created this space created it so that children could ‘run off extra energy’ instead of creating an offer a place that is filled with awe and wonder. I would add more natural items and loose parts: sand, water,mud, sticks, buckets, perhaps some shade guard or an area that is for quiet reading and reflecting.

  64. Carrie Maclellan 

    This play space looks so drab and uninviting. There are not many opportunities for creativity, risky play and exploration. I could see quite a bit of complaining and the children getting bored spending two hours a day in this space. I could also see the children displaying negative attention seeking behaviour as it seems there wouldn’t be much of an opportunity for a release.

  65. Jaclyn Geiger

    The play space is outdoors, that looks like the positive of the picture. Other than that it really seems to lack inviting areas of play to explore. Adding loose parts, element tables like water exploration, greenery even potted trees, a shade cover and sand would bring much for fun, play and exploration to this outdoor space.

  66. Kamaldeep Sidhu

    This play space looks boring and does not seem inviting for children. I think this space needs a variety of materials (grass,concrete path,mulch,trees,loose parts materials) I wouldn’t spend one hour here.

  67. Alphonsine Hategekimana

    This playground is not attractive. They should add like climbing and swing construction, a sand box, a place for loose parts and some natural things like gardening. The playground would be interesting and the children would have a lot of fun. I think on my side the two hours would be an eternity and boring.

  68. Kathryn Armstrong

    This space does not seem inviting to children. I would bring in more items for the children to manipulate, loose parts, opportunities for fort building. I do not see much in the way of natural substrates such as grass, bark or even sand. All the seating options are static (picnic table), they would benefit from having tree stumps for the children to arrange as they wish.

  69. Laura Mcintosh

    I think this play space could use some work and it wouldn’t be a space I would want to be in for a couple hours. I would add a water table, different loose parts and a sandbox for the children could interact more with the environment.

  70. Nicole Morrell

    I think that this picture lacks excitement and intrigue. I would not want to spend two hours a day there. I feel like it looks like there are minimal things to do and playing on cement for two hours isn’t ideal either. When I envision children in this space I see them likely fighting over the climber, sitting at the table with nothing to do, and pushing around some of the materials along the wall but it is hard to see exactly what is there to choose from. I think the first thing I would do is add grass, I would add bins of materials to do on top of the table, I would add a place for a cozy spot for children to read or relax (perhaps a hammock) and I would add a mud kitchen or a water table.

  71. Hilary Geddes

    i wouldn’t want to spend two hours there and i cannot imagine children being engaged for over an hour in this environment. i would transform this area with loose parts, plants maybe a sandbox. if this was my childcare environment i believe we would take many feild trips to parks, and open natural playground such as trails and fields.

  72. Stephanie Vieira

    I wouldn’t want to spend two hours a day here, I think I would get bored because there isn’t much to do or look at. I would envision children doing in this space is just running around or going down the slide all the time. I would put a lot of different materials and try to add some plants, or some type of colour.

  73. Ai Paul

    I don’t know what age group this place is for in the photo. It is uninviting and I would easily see children are bored. I would start changing this place by bringing sand, water, ropes, milk crates, chalks, bubbles, other loose parts. It could have a sandbox, mud kitchen, kitchen tools, a water table, water hose… Maybe let children create a garden. Also bikes, tricycles, jumping ropes, hula hoops help children for movements.

  74. Heather Howard

    The play space isn’t very inviting at all. It does not represent a space that could engage children in learning, exploration of new experiences. I see children becoming bored quite quickly in this space with the lack of materials. I would be adding natural and loose parts materials such as tree stumps and cookies, boards and planks, water and sand, materials for a soft shaded area to allow for the children to engage in multiple types of play with many choices.

  75. Lorraine Kok

    The play space looks very uninviting, there is not a lot for the children to do, I see a lot of conflict potentially happening. I would plant flowers shrubs, loose parts perhaps make a sand box bring out bins. for water/ mud play. By adding more play spaces and plants would make outdoor play more interesting for the children.

  76. Christine Villeneuve

    There is little inspiration, the equipment is plastic and can only be used for one purpose, and there is little to explore. Some potted plants, loose parts, and invitations to play that allow children the opportunity to explore the environment may help. Allowing children to help design and have input in creating their outdoor space may also be beneficial.

  77. Heidi Dueck

    No I wouldn’t.
    Perhaps there is a lack of funds or care.
    Yes would want to transform this space.

  78. Patricia Lynch-Staunton

    When you look at this play space, what images come to mind? Would you want to spend two hours a day there? Why or why not? What do you envision you would see children doing in this space? What might you change? Why?

    This outdoor play space reflects a poor image of the child and lack of understanding about experiential play. There are few and probably over-used resources; the children have little to be curious about with the materials. It is not inviting – it is cold and drab looking. I suspect the children are not invested in their play and misbehaviours occurr. There is little opportunity for the educators to participate and support their play.
    This space needs a variety of surfacing (paths, mulch, grass etc.), loose parts, shaded areas, plant life, hideaway spots.

  79. Carli Olson

    the play space is similar to that of a child jail, if you will? Its very plain, pavement, and boring. If there are large numbers of children I can not see how anyone would enjoy this! Adding some pots with flowers, a sand box, different sized tree stumps, a loose parts section and even a mud kitchen would give this space some more life to it

  80. Daniela Rodriguez

    I wouldn’t. The play space doesn’t spark any interactive or engaging activities children could do. Furthermore, children’s creativity and curiosity are limited and can’t be fully explored.

  81. Alison Rinas

    i imagine children becoming bored very quickly. I envision for this space, level of texture and heights, areas for the children to explore and discover new experiences, such sand or mud, add kitchen or area to play with water and sand, tires, or wood stumps to allow children’s to challenge and grow their strength and balance in how they choose to explore them. Area for outdoor art, where children have a space to bring nature into their drawings or painting.

  82. Romy Ralph

    I imagine the children being bored and it must be very hot when the sun is out. The plastic needs to go unless the children love it. I would add tires and a garden of some sort. Maybe some paths could be made just to soften the hard scape.

  83. Randi Robertson

    I think that this outdoor play space is a little boring, it has no colorful vibe to it. I feel like this space needs more loose parts and more things to do. This outdoor play space looks sad.

  84. Kim Hoey

    One could plant flowers in pots and small shrubs even. You could have a nature mural panted on those walls there too. Loose parts could be adders. Water table. Tree stumps, rocks, sticks, sea shells. All great natural loose parts.

  85. Leisha Kozier

    The child had never experienced snow so he had no prior knowledge of the sensory awareness, or cause and effect.

    The play space in the photo is very limited, needs loose parts, natural parts, sticks, stones, rocks, it looks rather boring, I can imagine adults sitting on the stairs or at the picnic table.

  86. Susanne Saunders

    The space has not color. it looks boring with every little for a child to get involved. Adding some flowers for color, balls, sand, sticks and much more loose parts to interest the children.

  87. Charmee Penner

    I feel that the space is barren. There is not many items that would be interactive to children. I think that if there was a group of children in the space that there would be fighting for resources such as the small climber. I think that children would not be engaged.

  88. Anita Morgan

    The space has no colour and no life. It seems like a boring place with limited options and no loose parts or items to explore other than the slide that doesn’t provide much

    Hands on learning can’t be replicated, without the actual experience, there’s no real connection

  89. Laurie Millions

    The play space pictured does not have a lot of natural objects for the children to play with and create their own things .
    The children would just play on the slide a few times, maybe draw chalk pictures on the pavement.

  90. Taylor Aichelberger

    A child could gain a lot of knowledge and information about snow through hands-on experience. Without the experience, the child lacked the knowledge that snow changes form due to temperature. This is something that children who have grown up observing and playing in snow would likely understand, even if they were not yet able to explain the reasons behind it.

  91. Jessica Popp

    The play space is uninspiring, and uninviting. There is nothing that says, we value out door play and encourage the children to explore. I would add a variety of loose parts for the children to engage and be inspired by. Also if possible more natural items are required to embrace the outdoor environment.

  92. Devina Soares

    The play space in the photo is boring. There is nothing to experiment with or explore. I feel that children playing in this space would probably fight over the few toys available. I would add some loose parts and some natural seating options such as tree stumps to start with.