Outdoor play

Outdoor play is essential to the healthy physical, social and emotional development of a child. Children with more complex needs, in particular, benefit greatly from exploring sights, smells, textures and sounds in natural environments.

Time to relax

It’s important to spend time relaxing. On a warm day, lay the child down on a blanket, under a tree. They can look at the leaves, hear them rustle, and feel the breeze in the shade. Try hanging different coloured scarves or wind chimes on the branches.

Sensory trays

Set up a selection of sensory trays, each with a different theme and items. A tray might include sterile compost or clean ‘mud’ (made from toilet paper and brown paint), sticks, clean feathers, leaves and large stones. You can create open-ended play, with a number of trays for the child to come back to and choose from. Sensory trays always require supervision. Be mindful of hygiene, sensitivities and choking hazards.

Top tip

You can try many of the activities described in the play toolkits in an outdoor setting. Messy play using sensory trays, for example, can be great outside.

First published: Monday 17 October 2016
Updated: Monday 31 October 2016