Early Childhood Educator Resources
Outdoor play is an essential part of healthy early childhood development. Find out more about the benefit of outdoor play and check out resources to support best practices as well as free workshops and webinars.
Child and Nature Alliance of Canada
The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada has a free Introduction to Risky Play Workshop which provides the research, tools and language you need to support risky play with confidence. Topics include Understanding Risky Play - What It Is and Why Does It Matter?, Quality Practices in Risky Play - The Tools, Quality Practices in Risky Play - The Strategies and more.
The Child & Nature Alliance of Canada has created Thrive Outside with resources for Educators, Early Childhood Educators, Caregivers, Recreation Workers and Parents.
- A Teacher’s Guidebook for Bringing Learning Outside
- Frequently asked questions about outdoor play
- What to Wear for Teaching and Learning Outside
- When You Want to Say “Be Careful” (how to approach it differently)
- A Guide to Dynamically Assessing Risk (how to teach kids to assess their activities)
- Recommendations for First Aid Kit, “Ouch Kit”, “Trauma Kit”, “Loose Parts Kit”
- Working with Challenging Behaviours: Setting Up for Success
- Supporting Children with Disabilities and Exceptionalities Outdoors
- How to Pitch Learning and Playing in Schools
- How to Set Up A Tarp
- Starting from Play: Planning and Reflection Template
Canadian Child Care Federation - Outdoor Play Training Course
A self-directed, 12 module, 45 hour, online professional development opportunity for those working with children who want to increase their knowledge and confidence engaging in outdoor environments. Interactive content includes slide shows, interactive graphics, discussion boards as well as self-reflection and assessment opportunities. Upon completion of 12 modules, certificate of completion noting 45 hours of professional development will be available for download by the participant. A $100 technical fee is charged to support the learning platform and course facilitator.
Canada’s Non-Profit Outdoor Learning Store is a charitable social enterprise that offers outdoor learning equipment and resources for educators and learners while supporting Canadian outdoor learning non-profit organizations.
Top 10 Outdoor Learning Resources for the Early Years
- Early Years Get Outside & Play Pack
- The Sky Above and the Mud Below: Lessons from Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens
- The Big Book of Nature Activities – A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning
- Dirty Teaching: A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors
- Provincial & Regional Laminated Nature Guides
- Bugs & Slugs Laminated Guide
- Butterflies & Pollinators Laminated Guide
- Animal Tracks & Traces Laminated Guide
- 2-way Nature Viewer
- Durable Field Magnifier
Canada's Non-Profit Outdoor Learning Store - Free Virtual Workshops
Canada’s Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store often offers free virtual workshops. In the fall of 2021 these workshops included Outdoor Learning in the Early Years with Christina Pickles, Q & A with Dr. Jane Goodall, Place Based Education with world-renowned expert David Sobel, Get Outside: Learning Outdoors in Winter and more.
If you missed the live session, you can view recordings of these free virtual workshops as well.
What is risky play?
Should I worry about my child getting seriously injured?
Should I worry about my child getting kidnapped?
Isn’t my child safer inside at home?
How can I get started if I am nervous and afraid of my child taking risks?
outsideplay.ca was created to help parents and communities reverse the trend that is limiting children’s chances to play outside and take risks in play.
outsideplay.ca was a collaborative initiative between the University of British Columbia (UBC), BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) and the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit (BCIRPU). The project was led in partnership by Dr. Mariana Brussoni’s Research Team and the Digital Lab at BC Children’s Hospital.
Canadian Wildlife Federation - WILD Family Nature Club
The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) - WILD Family Nature Club program is designed to support volunteers who want to work with CWF and inspire a love of nature in others by connecting children and families to a world of outdoor play and exploration.
Get inspired with activities including:
-Become a Birder
-Build Your Own Backpack
-Discover the Night Sky
-Get Gardening with Kids
-Leaf and Flower Pressing
-Nature Treasure Hunt
-Plan a Picnic
-Take a Hike
-Visit the Beach
-Pick Up a Paddle
A step by step guide to reintroduction of children into the wild. Tried-and-true strategies from experts like Richard Louv, Scott Sampson and Angela Hanscom to get kids outside. The website includes parenting strategies, the data about the benefits of spending time outside, ideas and inspiration and backyard hacks and more.
Saskatchewan in motion
Saskatchewan in motion began in 2003 when a group of partners joined forces to increase physical activity in our province.
-Sending Them Out to Play
-Letting Them Walk to School
-Inspiring Kids Who Love to Move
-Balancing Screen Time
Nature of Things
Find out more about the scientific research about the power of play and its benefits for kids. What do the experts have to say? The beginning of the episode focuses on the benefits of play for animals and how this research affects children. The second half of the episode explores the scientific data about the benefits of play and healthy childhood development including the development of resilience, decision making and impulse control.