Young children love to play and learn in nature. When you head outside, the natural world is full of exciting learning opportunities.

When children are collecting sticks, listening to wind chimes, or stomping in puddles, their imaginations and curiosity are fully engaged outdoors in ways very different from inside.  

These tips and resources can help families and early childhood education professionals encourage outdoor play and keep children healthy during the fall and winter seasons.

Resources to support outdoor play

  • Check out the Sesame Street’s Get Moving! handbook for lots of creative ideas.
  • Introduce simple games such as Simon Says or Follow the Leader, or movement songs like the Hokey Pokey, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, or If You’re Happy and You Know It.
  • More ideas for games and active play can be found in the Sesame Street’s Healthy Habits for Life Child Care Resource Kit (check out the “Mango Tango” song on page 76)
  • This article, State Parks and Forests Offer Abundance of Activities During Winter, from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, shares how with proper clothing and other safety precautions, there are plenty of benefits to spending some time outdoors during the fall and winter season.
  • Learning is Everywhere from Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children, has early learning activities to do outside with children, infants to Kindergarten age. All the activities align with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards. There’s even a list of book recommendations for being outside for when outside play isn’t possible.

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