Why children need to play in nature

Blissful freedom!

This is why we get outside as much as possible. Inside a house is a very practical place and although we may try to create a lovely fun and exciting environment for our little one…their toys inevitably have a short life span. They soon get bored with the limitations of a man made toy. Then much to their parent’s frustration they then start looking for more interesting things to play with. Playing with inappropriate oven switches, emptying fridges or splashing in the toilet water is not uncommon! These are moments when parenting becomes very challenging and all parties can become frustrated! Inside is full of ‘Nos’!!!


Outside is full of endless ‘Yes’s!!!


YES Go and explore! YES Enjoy this feeling of freedom! YES Breath, Learn, Grow, Expand, Discover, Run, Laugh! The outdoors provides endless learning opportunities. Whilst they play and explore they are learning balance and coordination. As they make new discoveries they have Mother Nature as their teacher…they start to see their relationship with nature and the effect they have as they touch, trample, grab. They see how being gentle they can observe more. They are surrounded by natural toys to explore…search for sticks, jumping in puddles,  collecting leaves, squidging mud! 


They discover more than we can even imagine!


Get them in the right gear…warm, waterproof  or sunhat. Find some open natural space and witness their joy!

 Laura Lattimer 


 Miriam Kuikman 

 (Steiner Waldorf teacher) 

Outdoor Learning in

Steiner Waldorf Education.


In nature children of this time and age can experience what the reality of being human is. Through the changing of the seasons, the progression of plant growth and through making a connection with both domesticated and wild animals, the child learns it is part of the world. Through play, they also experience how minerals, plants, animals and humans are connected and depend on a balanced ecosystem to maintain health and wellbeing.


Children who are growing up with nature, whether it be a park, forest or farm, have no trouble entertaining themselves with whatever surrounds them to invent an imaginative activity without adult intervention. Meanwhile, they explore the boundaries of their abilities. Knowing your personal boundaries, only to learn through experiencing them, give the adolescent a fundamental feeling of security and this is the basis for the formation of her adult identity.

Resilience, Responsibility and Imagination


I feel extremely fortunate to have grown up on a remote small holding in rural Galloway. It was three miles to the main road and we were surrounded by boggy, heather-covered hills. With my brother and a small band of friends, I was free to roam around the barns, the burn (small Scottish stream) and the forests. With the aid of whatever stories we had recently heard, we’d have numerous thrilling adventures: be the Famous Four catching baddies; explore the secret gardens hidden in the forest; play out all sorts of stories and games in ‘Leaf City’, or the usual sorts of stream messing around of damming, ‘fishing’, making swings.

I look back on these times fondly because the joy of imaginative play, of looking after friends when things go wrong, or being looked after, of coming home exhausted and filthy just in time for ‘Superman’ at six, is embedded in my sense of self now. I feel like it gave me a steady confidence in my own abilities, and a love of fresh air; and most of all the wish for all children to experience the exhilaration of free play in the natural world. They don’t need to learn to code in primary school or spend all of their free hours doing extra-curricular classes, groups and sports- they just need to play!

Catherine Fenton

Bumpkin Tumblepants Founder

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