Friday, March 15, 2013

Be Reggio-Inspired: Outdoor Environments

Welcome to the third of the series Reggio-Inspired Preschool Environments.

Reggio-Inspired Outdoor Environments

"The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky"
- Margaret McMillan

The principle of environment as the third teacher can - and should - be applied just as readily outside as inside by placing value on aesthetics, organization, thoughtfulness, provocation, communication and interaction.

The care and attention we pay to organising space outdoors stimulates children's stimulate imagination, creativity, exploration, discovery, engagement and sense of wonder, as the following images show so beautifully:

In the outdoor kitchen, a peg board makes cooking utensils easily accessible; a table cloth adds a welcoming touch

1.  Flights of Whimsy   2.  Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning

Inviting spaces can be created for one or two children:

Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning

Imaginative touches, colourful plantings and children's artwork:

"There is a garden in every childhood,
an enchanted place where colours are brighter,
the air softer,
and the morning more fragrant than ever again.

- Elizabeth Lawrence

Sensory gardens, herbs in pots and vegetable gardens delight the senses, offer hands-on learning experiences and help children to form lasting connections to the natural world:

Natural materials are delightfully open-ended and can be used by the children in a myriad of ways:

Top:  Marla McLean, Atelerista  Bottom:  Extraordinary Classroom and Happy Hooligans
Stomping in the Mud

Loose parts - man made and natural - that are available for children to use as they please encourage creative and imaginative play:

Top:  Extraordinary Classroom  Bottom Left:  Extraordinary Classroom

1. Stomping in the Mud  2. Teacher Tom  3. Let the Children Play

Magical play spaces that beckon children to come play can be defined using simple materials such as sheets, old curtains or scarves and lengths of fabric:

Careful choice and display of materials invite children to investigate, explore, discover and experiment:

Blue House International School

Small, secret, comfortable places where children can get away from the action outdoors:  

Busy Bee Day Care

Little Trekkers

Stomping in the Mud

Creative storage and display solutions outdoors make it easy for children to make choices in their play (and to pack away afterwards):

Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning

Add the element of sound to an outdoor area:

Child Central Station
Mirrors can be added to fences or the sides of cubby houses:

Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning
 Over to you.
Do you have any tips to share?


  1. I completely agree that there is a garden in every childhood, I used to spend hours and hours every day in my garden when I was a nipper. Love some of these ideas above, the invitations to play are so inspiring.

    Popping over from the Outdoor Play Party on 'No Such Thing As Bad Weather'.

    1. Me too! I'm happy you are enjoying the invitations to play.

  2. Oh my that is a huge list of fun ideas for outdoor play throughout the seasons!

  3. I am so loving this series......thanks Jenny xoxox

  4. I am loving this series too Jenny...but this has to be my favourite! I so wish i could incorporate all of these wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing them with us x

  5. Glad you are enjoying it Jodie. This is my favourite too - well, it is outdoors so that goes without saying really :)

  6. Wow, what an amazing post! Can't wait to check out the rest of the series!

  7. wow, i love all of it, i want all of it. Especially all the loose part logs. You've inspired me to look again at our outdoor play areas. Thanks

  8. These are even great ideas for parents in their backyards. The more you set up for kids play, the richer their experiences will be.

  9. I love it...does anyone have more ideas for environments for young babies?

  10. These pictures reawakened memories of childhood places to play in a simple time when trees were variously, ships or jungles or forts and quiet shady places well known to be inhabited by fairies offered space for much make believe: tea parties and fairy art for all who fancied it; when little friends could roam freely in each others back gardens. Lovely ideas thank you.