Outdoor Play

Outdoor Play Requirements:

Childcare programs in Ontario must dedicate 2 hours of their daily program to outdoor play for children attending more than 6 hours a day and 1 hour daily when children attend less than 6 hours a day. This is a licensing requirement from the Ministry of Education for all childcare centers. Along with free play, activities and equipment should be developmentally appropriate and accommodate fitness levels and interests of children.

This requirement aligns with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidelines recommending a minimum of 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity for children. It is also consistent with the principles outlined in How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years, which include creating opportunities for children to engage in active play that allows them to connect with the natural world and their community.

Outdoor Play Considerations:

How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years notes that children thrive where they can engage in vigorous physical play in natural outdoor spaces. In addition to providing physical benefits, active play outdoors strengthens functioning in cognitive areas such as perception, attention, creative problem solving, and complex thinking. Children have access to drinking water, shade and appropriate outdoor clothing.

Winter Play And Keeping Warm

Children need to play outside even during the winter months. Fresh air is important for their well-being. The ability to have large spaces for running and playing is an important part of their development. Sometimes, parents may not know how to dress their child in warm winter clothing or may not know what kind of clothing is best. With our years of experience with children, we have come up with a list of recommendation to assist parents and guardians.