There are many benefits to outdoor leaning in early years and primary school, both mentally and physically. Outdoor learning and play have shown to be key in reaching development milestones through fun activities and free play.
Here is list of some of the key equipment designed and created by Louka Treehomes and how they can be beneficial in improving sensory skill and cognitive development.
Climbing frames and climbing walls help a child to develop key skills through fun and exercise. The act of climbing makes a child have to think about, and become more aware of, their body. Choosing the position of their feet and hands carefully also develops their fine and gross motor skills, the ability to control our motion. Not only do climbing apparatuses help with physical development, they can also teach kids important life skills. An example of this would be, problem solving. There are many routes and options on a climbing wall, but which is the best way to the top? A willingness to change a plan must be present, instilling flexibility and creativity into a child.
Climbing walls can also help a child to reach their development milestones; climbing a ladder, being able to jump from a step and land with both feet. These are all achieved though fun on the climbing frame.
Monkey Bars and Other Play Overhead EquipmentA classic feature for any playground, and an addition to a climbing frame, monkey bars help to develop fine and gross motor skills through gripping the bar and swinging the body to move from bar to bar. This can also generate core muscles that are helpful in everyday life.
Rope bridges, cargo nets and stepping stones can all help a child to develop their balance, coordination and body positioning. Choosing their foot position carefully whilst maintaining balance is great exercise for key muscle groups.
Slides serve as a great motivation for getting to the top of a climbing frame, but they also give a child a new perspective of the world and expose them to new forces and directions they may not have experienced before. This is not only fun but is good for cognitive development, allowing the brain to gain many experiences from an early age. Zip lines offer this same opportunity for cognitive development with an element using teamwork, getting a friend to push them along the line or sorting out who will have the first go are important social skills that will be useful in later life.
Swinging is a fun activity for any age group, but the act of swinging unassisted requires a surprisingly complex set of movements. It requires balance to stay on the seat, fine motor skills to grip the chain, gross motor skills to swing the body and create movement and body awareness and timing to be able to swing back and forth at the correct moment. A swing set can also teach children about sharing and cooperation, deciding who’s go it is or pushing others, all of which improves communication and social skills, vital for any human interaction.
Louka Treehomes are experienced in the design and creation of large tree houses, perfectly suited for outdoor learning and forestry schools. These create an engaging atmosphere for learning whilst being protected from the elements. Learning outdoors has been shown to improve the learning experience for both students and teachers with significant improvements in conflict resolution, cooperation, problem solving, self-esteem and attitude to learning. Teachers have reported better connections to students and renewed enthusiasm for teaching and the curriculum.
Ultimately, any exposure to the outdoors and nature is beneficial for the development and learning of a child. But, through the use of play equipment and task involving nature, the key skills a child will need in life can be developed in a fun and engaging way. Louka Treehomes have a team of specialists that work alongside schools and other educational systems to design and create purpose-built playground equipment and tree houses that blend into the ecological system and create an immersive outdoor leaning environment.