Should You Plan for
Preschool Outdoor Activities
As You Would An Interest Learning Center?

Well, why not? ;)

Every interest center you have inside your classroom would be wonderful as preschool outdoor activities as well!

We hear so much about bringing the outdoors in; however, bringing the inside out is even more fun!

When planning preschool outdoor activities, we usually think of gross motor games and activities to bring outside such as the Parachute, balls, bubbles, etc.

Those ARE GREAT outdoor activities!

Preschool Outdoor Activities and Ideas

What I'm suggesting here is more of an outdoor classroom, if you will!

Sure, we want the children to run and burn off energy, use their large motor skills and outside is a great place to do that!

I guarantee that they will still do that, even with indoor interest centers set up outside!

What Do Children Learn By Using Indoor Centers OUTSIDE?

They will help the children in the same ways as they do inside.

Outside will add to the opportunities to become involved in a different environment.

How Should Teachers Prepare for an Outdoor Interest Learning Center?

There is some preparation involved.

For example, if you do not have a locked storage area outside to store items, the items could end up missing the next day.

Bringing an easel or water table outside takes before class preparation.

Preschool Outdoor Activities: Provide traditional outdoor items and more!

Have traditional items, such as balls, hula hoops and other items outside as well.

In our area, leaving these things outside would almost guarantee, unfortunately, that they would disappear by the next day.

One way to do this is to enlist the help of parents.

Set up a schedule of which items you want outside on which days and ask parents to bring them to your play area before they leave!

Planning is the important piece. You can't take you entire classroom outside every day but you can plan new experiences for a day or a week!

Materials to Use Outside

The materials to add for your preschool outdoor activities are limited only by your imagination!

Here are some ideas to start with an "outdoor classroom" idea!


Provide an easel or you can use clothes pins to secure paper to a chain link fence. Paint with brushes or try spray bottles with watered down paint.

Provide brushes, paint and paper to use at a picnic table or on the ground outside.

Provide a covered bin of collage materials (include paper and glue in your bin) for a collage. OR--have the children use items from outside to make their collage such as grass, small pebbles, wood chips, leaves, etc.

Water Play

Bring a water table outside for sensory fun. You can use the same materials you would inside--water, shaving cream, etc. Try adding bubbles to the table.

If you have a sand box outside, don't ignore your water table! Add some sand and water to your water table for a mud table! You are in the best place you could be to clean up: Outside!

Preschool Outdoor Activities

Dramatic Play

You don't have to have a full out kitchen area or fancy dress up station! Just bring out some of the props for your theme; the kids will make up the rest! Cooking will happen on a rock that they pretend is a stove. They will run around turning rocks (or friends!) into frogs with a magic wand!


Yes, bring out a variety of blocks. This will extend their outdoor construction in so many ways!


A blanket, a small book bag and the shade of a tree is all that is needed....and perhaps a few stuffed animals or puppets!

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Provide board games, manipulatives, sorters, counters or other activities that you would be working on in the classroom this week!

Science Center

Outside is a science center in and of itself! You could provide a bin for the children to place items that they find outside. Bring these back inside to explore further inside your classroom.

Bring the indoors out!   Have fun setting up your outdoor area! 

Preschool Outdoor Activities


One resource I simply could not do with out is The Creative Curriculum by Diane Trister Dodge.

I believe every classroom should have one!

If your program does not have a copy, check your local library or bookstore.

It is a wealth of information on interest centers and could not be more developmentally appropriate!

You can purchase a copy through Amazon. Click on the picture to the right to go to their website.

Other Pages You Might Like:

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