Outdoor role play: benefits and ideas

16 Jul 2020 | Early Years, Expert Advice & Opinions

Outdoor role play, and role play in early years settings in general are crucial for igniting a child’s imagination and developing life skills. Children love role play, and it often gives them skills which help them in everyday life.

Taking play outdoors

Taking activities outdoors can be exciting for young children; they get to explore different surroundings, connect with nature, and have space to develop their play. What’s more, when children take their role play adventures outdoors it can really bring the experience to life.

As well as giving them a little more freedom, allowing children to engage in outdoor role play has huge learning benefits. Being outside means that children can experiment with nature and incorporate items such as leaves, twigs and sand into their role play. The addition of natural props and being outdoors itself will add to the fun and give them a sensory experience.

Letting children spend time outside in the summer is common amongst practitioners, but why not do this during cooler months? Children can use their imaginations to theme scenarios around the weather, allowing them to get used to the different seasons we experience.

Ideas for role play outdoors

If you decide to enjoy outdoor role play on a cold or wet day, encourage children to build a den together. After communicating and helping one another to create the den, children can then use it to shelter as well as part of their role play story.

You can also take trips to the park or a forest school and take some resources with you. Our Wooden Barn is a great resource for role play activities. It can be transformed into an elves house, a farmhouse or whatever the children’s imagination comes up with. The best part is it folds down flat, so it is easy to transport outdoors or set up in the nursery.

Kids Planet Nursery in Cheshire
 encourages outdoor role play in all weathers. “There are lots of children who you can take outdoors and it’s like you’ve unlocked their imagination, it allows them to do stuff that they may not be able to do indoors. It’s never children who complain about the fact it’s raining, it’s adults that might not like to be outside in the rain. Children like to be out in all weather and they learn a lot through that.”

If you’re looking to add to your collection of outdoor role play resources, take a look at our latest outdoor range where you will find many products which are exclusive to Hope Education.

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