Learning Environments

Going Outside Strengthens Children's Development and Learning

Outdoor play and exploration benefits children in many ways. Researchers have identified outcomes1 that connect with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) domains, including:

  • a boy lifts two plastic scoops of dirt and sandIncreased creativity and imagination (Approaches to Learning)
  • Developing a sense of wonder, which is an important motivator for lifelong learning (Approaches to Learning)
  • Increased social interactions between children (Social and Emotional Development)
  • Enhanced opportunities to make decisions, solve problems, and collaborate with peers, which also promote language and communication skills (Cognition, Social and Emotional Development, Language and Literacy)
  • Improved awareness, reasoning, and observation skills (Cognition)
  • Positive effects on children's ability to focus and pay attention (Approaches to Learning)

1Moore and Cooper Marcus, "Healthy Planet, Healthy Children," 157–158; White, "Young Children's Relationship with Nature."