How to Optimise your Playground for Outdoor Lessons

Outdoor learning areas enable the development of many essential skills. Here we explore how your school can optimise its play space to enhance outdoor learning opportunities. 

All learning is important whether it takes place indoors or outdoors. However, sometimes the outdoor environment can be a more effective and stimulating place to learn than indoors.

Frequent and regular outdoor learning encourages children to engage with their natural surroundings and brings a host of benefits in terms of health and wellbeing. The outdoors also provides excellent opportunities to use a wide range of skills and abilities not always relevant in the classroom.

However, it may be a relatively new concept to some, so we have outlined a few ways you can optimise your playground for outdoor lessons. If teaching outside of the classroom seems daunting, and you need some evidence to get started, then read on!

Outdoor Learning Areas in Schools

Install an Outdoor Classroom

Outdoor classrooms are an ideal way to optimise your playground for outdoor learning. They provide protection from both UV light and rain, making them a viable all-weather option.

Outdoor Classrooms come in various standard sizes and styles, but created exactly to your school’s requirements as a bespoke structure. From simple gazebos to fully enclosed structures, there are a huge range of possibilities.

We can provide large timber structures where a full class of pupils can receive their ‘normal’ lessons – with the added bonus of being in an outdoor environment. In addition to the classroom, Playcubed can install seating options for staff and both chalk and dry wipe boards. These outdoor structures are widely used by children at playtime, as well as for scheduled lessons.

Storytelling Chairs & Reading Circles 

Above all else outdoor learning areas should be fun for both staff and pupils. Children love to read, and books can be an incredible asset to any literacy lesson. Even those that take place outdoors. Reading can help with spellings, improve grammar, as well as encourage both creative and imaginative thinking.

Therefore a storytelling area is an ideal way to optimise your playground for outdoor learning. Children can read quietly alone or take part in a themed literacy lesson. Our Storytelling Chairs and seating options can be placed under a designated shelter, or alternatively you could add it to your outdoor classroom! In addition to this specific seating area, installing play sculptures can also help to improve story time.

Music & Drama Zones

Music and performance lessons are a vital part of a child’s progress. They can offer an alternative place to shine for pupils who may struggle in academic lessons. The arts aid in a child’s ability to think creatively, encourage problem solving and also encourage both teamwork and social interaction. All of which are vital ingredients in a child’s development process.

At Playcubed we offer many different items of play equipment which can encourage outdoor music lessons. Various drums, and xylophone style instruments as well as bells and singing stages can be placed to encourage children to enjoy music lessons outdoors.  Role play stages are perfect for drama lessons and acting out scenarios (maybe from the book you are reading). You can place any of these equipment pieces under a shelter.

Science & Maths Spaces

Outdoor learning areas don’t have to be all about arts, crafts and drama. They can also facilitate academic lessons, including both maths and science. As previously stated, outdoor classrooms enable you to simply take your pre-planned indoor lessons outside. However why not make them more interesting by adding some science and maths themed playground equipment? For example, planters, minibeast hotels and other nature play equipment you can prep your playground for outdoor science and maths lessons.

Our nature panels help children learn about the life-cycle of a plant, photosynthesis, food chains and wildlife. In addition to this, pupils can learn vital maths lessons, including patterns, sequences and other naturally occurring mathematical elements.

Outdoor learning area specialists

Over the last 40 years, Playcubed have created many outdoor spaces that have given thousands of children the opportunity to learn outdoors. If you school is looking to create an outdoor learning area, get in touch today!

Speak to the play experts