The Importance Of Outdoor Play: Learning In Action

From nursery to five years old the importance of exploration in a child’s development is paramount to their emotional, physical, social, language and cognitive growth.

Exploration is not all about providing an environment to allow them to run free… but an area that is safe, supportive, educational and above all else fun!

Through innovative, field-proven programs, the skills developed through outdoor play have been shown to impact a child's current and future development significantly.

“Outdoor activities play a vital role in children’s healthy growth, wellbeing, and development. The benefits of exploring and playing in outdoor environments are unique and abundant”, explains Dr Lesley Jones, Senior Advisor Pedagogy & Practice at Affinity Education Group.

Outdoor play is so important to a child’s education, Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) have included it within their Early Years Learning Framework and is a part of their centre assessment criteria.

Dr Lesley continues, “Playing outdoors is a great way for children to learn from real experiences. Whether it's throwing balls, sandpit play, climbing structures or playing with other children, there are so many new skills to develop and so many new experiences to discover outdoors.”

At every Affinity Education Group Centre, we offer a diverse range of outdoor activities to stimulate the imagination of little learners.

Water Play 

Splashing through puddles, running through sprinklers, or playing with water blasters are all fantastic ways our centres provide a fun filled day while also developing on the child’s coordination and physical fitness - all key aspects of our Healthy Bodies program! For those children that require a more structured, low impact style of play, introducing water pouring, turning taps, or creating their own physics driven water fountains is as equally important for fine motor skills and educational development.


As important for our environment as it is for a child’s growth, the incorporation of a garden within our centres provides a range of unique learning opportunities that can only be applied through hands on outdoor interactions.  As part of our Healthy World program, many Affinity Education Centres have their own seasonal vegetable and herb gardens in their outdoor play areas. The knowledge of how to grow vegetables and herbs, including caring for the growing plants and harvesting, are important skills in patience, responsibility, and care that a child and the environment will require in the future. It helps build an understanding of garden to table, life cycles and the intricate connections between all living things – from slugs and snails to agriculture and people!


Whether it's throwing and kicking balls, building castles in the sand pit, climbing, sliding, and descending structures or simply playing with other children, our playgrounds have been specifically designed for skill development but still in a fun and safe way. Our Lifelong Learning Healthy Bodies program encourages children to take calculated risks, while developing on their physical fitness, social interactions through teamwork and explore their imagination. Outdoor play areas allow for the development of spatial awareness and physical exploration, allowing a child to learn their own limits within the safety of our care. Rigorous physical play not only builds coordination, strength and fitness, but can also help establish healthy habits for life. At Affinity Education Group we feel so strongly about the positive effects of outdoor play on a child’s early development, we have a dedicated team that orchestrates the development and maintenance of our centres outdoor play areas to ensure that our own standards, are Meeting or Exceeding the Australian Quality and Safety Standards.


Want to learn more about our Lifelong Learning Curriculum and how we use outdoor play experiences to create exciting learning opportunities? Find your local centre online or call 1800 CHILD CARE today to book a family tour!

Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation, the Affinity Education community acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land sea and community.

We pay our respect to their elders past and present and the extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples today.