Great games for outdoor literacy
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Great games for outdoor literacy

03 July 2020 By Yellow Door

children playing outdoors with hula hoops

Children thrive on outdoor experiences and as we are being actively encouraged to spend more time outside at the moment, it is especially important that we consider all areas of the Early Years curriculum in our outdoor spaces.

We’ve teamed up with our friends at Yellow Door to create a series of blogs sharing inspirational activities for key areas of learning, including literacy, maths and investigative play. Our first blog focuses on early literacy skills and includes four easy-to-implement ideas to make your outdoor areas exciting, literate environments for learning. The activities are also available to download making them easy to share with colleagues and use with different groups/bubbles of children at the same time.

The Authors’ and Illustrators’ Toolkit

Encourages mark making, storytelling and group work.

What you’ll need:

  • A plastic toolbox with a handle. If you are planning to stay outdoors in all weathers the kind with a variety of compartments and a snap-down lid is best.
  • Pens and pencils in a variety of sizes, sticky notes, string, sticky tape, envelopes, postcards, writing paper, spiral bound notebooks, etc. Scissors are great too but make sure to also include left-handed ones.

Download the full activity here.

Chalk and Talk

Improves motor and manipulative skills necessary for later work in handwriting.

What you’ll need:

  • Some playground chalks.
  • Spaces for the children to draw, mark-make and write – this might be the pavement, playground, or specially prepared boards painted with blackboard paint. Try and make a variety of sizes available so children can use a mixture of large movements (gross motor) and smaller fine motor skills.

Download the full activity here.

Wet Paper, Dry Paper

Promote language for explaining and messy play!

What you’ll need:

Download the full activity here.

A Little Squirt

Have fun, make patterns, and let their imaginations flourish.

What you’ll need:

  • A selection of empty washing-up liquid bottles with their nozzles.
  • Water.
  • Outdoor Space.

Download the full activity here.


Maths is just as important as Literacy and can be taken outside too! Our second blog in this series from Yellow Door, 'Great group games for maths', focuses on the rich mathematical learning potential in the outdoors and how children can use the space to naturally problem-solve and make discoveries about numbers, shapes, and measures.

Outdoor play provides fantastic opportunities for exciting open ended learning, but we understand that it’s not always easy, for more guidance on encouraging outdoors play, see our advice on how to tackle common barriers to exploring the great outdoors.
Categories: Early Years

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