Outdoor play areas are designed to be places of beauty, where children can intimately interact with nature, experience a sense of wonder and reconfigure parts and pieces. They are places where children can just “be” rather than achieve. as they take part in cooperative games, competitive sports and share outdoor materials and equipment. Outdoor play needs to address opportunities for exploratory, sensory, construction and pretend play to be offered on a consistent basis.
At the end of the day, many school agers have one thing in mind—outdoor play. Due to the current focus on traditional academics and standardized testing, opportunities for outdoor or “big body play” are disappearing in schools. Providing an outdoor environment that offers a variety of activities is the goal of a school age program. Recent findings from research indicates the need to rethink outdoor play spaces and points to the value of creating more naturalistic play environments.