Play based learning is a great educational tool. Children learn to construct their world through play. Play is among children’s greatest passion and interest. Play provides children the opportunity to be creative with play equipment and materials in the outdoor play area. Vygotsky (1976) stated that the free expression of social play provides chances for children to be socially competent and creative in their imaginary play world. Play based learning is linked to a range of social discourses and practices about their social and cultural background.
Through play based learning, children construct multiple identities for the usage of language. Through creative play, children use language to negotiate, pick up speech, and interact with other children as well as sharing their diverse background through play. Norton (2000) and Kendrick (2005) discussed the importance of complex negotiations that show the relationship of speech, speakers, and other social factors linked to identity in play. Outdoor play not only promotes flexible landscape to play, but also provides multiple opportunities for children to develop skills in negotiating.
Children’s Perception of Outdoor Play
Children prefer to play in natural, outdoor environments. However, these spaces usually are under adult supervision that makes the idea of outdoor play as uninspiring. The concept of prearranged playgrounds is boring and sounds unattractive for children, especially when they start to explore the environment’s context. Outdoor play based learning areas enable children to learn in a natural environment with the potential for adventurous exploration. Outdoor play based learning areas are unstructured spaces that facilitate innovation, creation, and imagination. It is a place driven by children and with minimal adult’s supervision.
Natural outdoor play is achieved using The Venture. The Venture had been nominated as one of the best outdoor adventure playgrounds in the UK, and there are similar playground projects located around the country. Playgrounds have proven successful for play based learning among underprivileged neighborhoods, and they provide a sense of belonging. Children growing up under stressful environments are prone to develop destructive behaviors. Playgrounds encourages children to develop positive behavior, and it reduces the risk that they will destroy their environment.
The favorable acceptance of outdoor creative playgrounds supports desirable behaviors such as social skills and cognitive thinking. Natural landscapes are among children’s favorite places. Therefore, it is important to protect outdoor play spaces from degradation and to promote safe sites that sustain child development. Play based learning is a way for children to have fun while learning.