Topic outline

  • Outdoor activities: enhancing physical activity and the relationship with nature

    In the following video, we learn about the pedagogical importance of outdoor activities. Children can play, exercise, and learn healthy lifestyles and much more when spending time outdoors. 

    In the video:

    • Positive outdoor and nature experiences promote learning and wellbeing
    • The importance of daily physical activity
    • Outdoor areas as a part of pedagogical planning 


    Outdoor environments provide children natural places for directing their energy to playing and learning with an appropriate level of challenge.  During the time spent outdoors, children can engage themselves in diverse learning experiences, which help them to develop their motor, cognitive and social skills in diverse and motivating ways. Simultaneously, their relationship with nature is enhanced, which is essential from the perspective of sustainability. The children may explore nature and its magnificent diversity with their own hands in the soil, contemplating plants, trees and rocks. It is also important to learn to appreciate not only the natural environment but also the human-made environment, such as parks, statues, and buildings. By exploring the built environment and architecture, children also learn spatial thinking skills, as they consider geometrical shapes and sizes of different buildings as well as learn spatial concepts. These in turn enhance mathematical learning. Challenging oneself by climbing or building a sandcastle may result in feelings of success by exceeding a child's own personal limits, a process in which trial and error are important. The time spent outdoors enhances the opportunities for physical activity. Outdoor spaces must also reflect our educational values and holistic vision of the child and learning. With space solutions, we can either prevent or promote children's agency, social relationships, inclusion, active participation and physical activity.  Areas nearby the ECEC centre, such as parks, theatres, libraries and museums, are important learning environments in Finnish early education and pedagogy.