Active outdoor play


By Helen Little

Play is an essential part of young children’s lives and an important context through which they learn and develop. The outdoor environment allows children to engage in physically active play that promotes their development in many ways.

Currently, children’s access to outdoor environments is being restricted by increasing urban density and they are spending more time being transported in cars or sitting in front of screens. It is, therefore, important that early learning settings provide children with ample opportunities for spending time in natural outdoor environments.



This Everyday Learning Series title

  • issues linked with lack of opportunities for play
  • the benefits of outdoor active
  • physical characteristics of the environment
  • resources that support physically active
  • the importance of adult engagement in children’s active outdoor play.

The book also outlines the health and learning benefits of active outdoor play. It will provide educators with knowledge and ideas about outdoor environments and experiences to encourage children to step outside and be active.

About the Everyday Learning Series:

Early Childhood Australia’s Everyday Learning Series acknowledges that the most important early learning happens through day-to-day life experiences and provides ideas and strategies on ways educators and families can make the most of these experiences to support children’s development. By ‘making the ordinary, extraordinary’, the Everyday Learning Series is an invaluable resource for educators, students of early education, beginning practitioners, and families by assisting them in maximising young children’s play, exploration and discovery, and development within learning environments.

Subscribe to the Everyday Learning Series:

The Everyday Learning Series (EDL) is a 12 month, four-issue subscription. Subscribers also receive bonus online resources which may be shared with educators and families. Learn more here. 

ECA offers libraries and institutions a perpetual access fee. Please contact ECA directly on 1800 356 900 (free call) to obtain the licensing agreement or to order.

Additional information

Weight 0.1 kg
Dimensions 17.3 × 24.5 cm



Paperback, e-version



About the author

Dr Helen Little is a Senior Lecturer of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Educational Studies, Macquarie University, where she teaches units on child development, outdoor learning and professional experience. Prior to this, she was an early childhood teacher with experience teaching in preschools and primary schools in Sydney. Her research examines individual, social and environmental factors that influence children’s risk-taking behaviour in outdoor play. Helen’s current work is focused on how the physical features of the outdoor environment and teaching practices impact children’s experiences of risk-taking in play. She is an acknowledged author and her most recent publication, Outdoor learning environments: Spaces for exploration, discovery and risk-taking in the early years, provides an Australian perspective on outdoor learning. Helen is also currently the Early Childhood Australia representative on the Standards Australia Committee for Playgrounds and Play Equipment.