Social-Emotional Benefits of Outdoor Play




Orchard, Gina M

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Today’s children do not spend enough time outdoors, even though it is acknowledged that spending time outdoors is beneficial. Forest Kindergartens create an opportunity for children to play and learn in the natural outdoors, yet there is limited space in these outdoor classes, and it is only for one school year. The goal of this paper is to draw from current research and literature to examine the relationships that children develop with the outdoors, as well as the social and emotional benefits that nature provides children. I investigate how all early childhood educators can use time outdoors to support children’s development through play and learning, including child-led learning, and opportunities for physical challenges. Finally, I recommend that nature playgrounds should be built on school grounds to provide all children with the positive experiences that nature can offer.



early childhood education, outdoor learning, outdoor play, social development, emotional development