5 Ways Outdoor Learning Benefits Character Development

5 Ways Outdoor Learning Benefits Character Development

Outdoor learning benefits children in many ways.

Increasing evidence suggests that spending time outdoors and specifically outdoor learning benefits children in many ways. The benefits of outdoor learning include better health and well-being, social skills, better grades and increased creativity just to mention a few.

children playing in muddy puddle wearing puddlesuits

In this article, we have looked at how outdoor learning helps children with character building. Read on to find out about 5 ways outdoor learning benefits character building in children.

1. Imagination Play becomes child led and confidence enhancing

A stick becomes a prop, a sword, a stirring implement, a musical instrument, and gives us a chance to learn how to use and carry things safely. Mud becomes natural clay, an ingredient for pies, something to stir, to jump in, to squelch between our fingers and toes. We want to finish our activity, and learn how to persevere.

2. Nature becomes a chance to learn about ourselves and how to be resilient

Rain becomes our friend, we run, dance and skip in it, we hide under shelters and trees, and we watch it as it drips from leaves. We learn what we need to wear to keep dry and carry on playing. The sun warms our skin, gives us a chance to learn how to keep cool, how to shade ourselves under cool green leaves. It creates shadows for play and dries our wet art. The cold snow allows us to make igloos, shows us how we can make tracks, and allows us a chance to learn how to keep ourselves warm and dry. 

children playing in mud wearing waterproofs

3. We learn how to nurture and respect

Trees give us shelter, food for our wildlife friends in our area, something to climb to help us understand our limits and assess our own risk. Flowers give us their beautiful scents to smell, fallen petals give us a chance to create natural picture and understand and identify which plants we can touch and smell. We can see the relationship between plants and insects, and watch a bee collect the pollen. We can learn how to look after our wildlife, to give it a place to live, to be gentle to the bugs we find. We find a consequence to our actions. We learn by doing, feeling, seeing, instead of from pictures and books. We are naturally curious about what we find under rocks, dead wood, and want to learn more about it Being outside with our friends becomes a chance to learn how to compromise, share and understand each other and ourselves better. Games can be with each other or alone, we are allowed to create our own world within our natural space. Activities give us a chance to work together, in fresh air, to create and explore together, and be tolerant of each other.

4. Outside space gives us freedom to be ourselves

Outdoor learning benefits our sense of being ourselves. Being outside gives us breathing space, a chance to reflect and listen to the world around us. We can learn to relax and just sit and observe and experience our feelings. We become more confident and focused, and develop a natural honesty about how we feel. 

5. Looking after our outdoor area benefits our whole school

Learning to look after and develop our natural area gives us the understanding that we all share the space, and we can all have a positive impact on our space. When we visit local community areas such as woodlands, rivers and streams, beaches, allotments and wildlife reserves we learn we all have a job to do to help look after our areas and we help encourage our families and neighbours to join us in. We have an ambition to look after our natural spaces both within our grounds and in our community, and this gives us integrity and optimism in our future, that one day we will be the ones who are responsible for helping and maintaining our natural spaces and wildlife.

Watch this video to find out more about what children think of their outdoor nursery.

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