Spending time outdoors and particularly in natural environments is good for all of us and especially for children. The Care Inspectorate recognises the benefits of accessing the great outdoors and this resource aims to make a positive contribution to the further development of outdoor play as part of early learning and childcare in Scotland. We have a specific role to play as the national regulator, providing direction and advice to registered services, including childminders, playgroups, nurseries and out-of-school provision. We can report on the development of outdoor play from our oversight of the 9739 early learning and childcare services we inspect. Through our inspection activity we support and report on a range of activities and outcomes that children experience, including access to outdoor play. As well as registered services, this resource would also be beneficial to anyone caring for children in a group or individual setting.

Outdoor Play is positively associated with improved self-esteem, physical health, development of language skills and a disposition to learn

We strive to provide an outdoor learning space promoting enquiry curiosity and creativity

Splatter painting in the garden 
Early years schoolchildren playing outside the classroom

Sustained periods of play in a rich and stimulating outdoor environment offer a wide range of benefits


Regular opportunities for sustained periods of play in a rich and stimulating outdoor environment offer a wide range of  benefits to young children.

The  Curriculum, which covers a  strong emphasis on the importance and value of daily outdoor experiences for children’s learning and development.

Learning outside the playroom supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles by offering children opportunities for physical activity, freedom and movement, and promoting a sense of well-being. It gives them contact with the natural world and offers them experiences that are unique to outdoors, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons. Outdoor play also supports children’s problem-solving skills and nurtures their creativity, as well as providing rich opportunities for their developing imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness.

Outdoor Learning November 

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