Outside Play – 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool

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Welcome to Day 2 of 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool. I am quickly realizing I could take most of these topics and expand them into individual series. I may do that in the future, but for now I hope this overview is helpful. Outside play is so vital for young children, and it is an important part of a Charlotte Mason preschool.Outside Play - 5 Days of Charlotte Mason Preschool

Today we are talking about play! We are going to start with outside play, which is vital to a Charlotte Mason preschool!


Outside Time in a Charlotte Mason Preschool

Charlotte really emphasized the importance of outdoor play and nature study. She recommended that children be outside for the majority of the day. 

“They must be let alone, left to themselves a great deal, to take in what they can of the beauty of earth and heavens.”
(Vol 1, II, Out-Of-Door Life For The Children, p.44 )

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What does that look like today? I know I personally will not allow my preschoolers outside alone most of the day while I am inside doing all of the things I need to do. When they are older, yes, but for now we make sure to get outside for at least an hour and more often two hours each day. If weather permits, we eat lunch outside, too!

When we are outside, I take it upon myself to draw my children’s attention to nature. I have written about how we do nature study with preschoolers, but I will elaborate a little more.

We take the time to casually talk about what we observe. My children understand the changing of the seasons because we talk about the trees and their leaves. They are learning cardinal directions because I have shown them that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. We talk about what time of day it is in relation to the position of the sun in the sky. They are observing flowers as they bloom, they are watching chicks turn into chickens, and they are learning about the different birds and the pesky squirrels that visit our backyard.


You really do not have to do anything formal. Just point out observations and let them do the rest. If they have questions, answer them. If you don’t know the answers, look them up! I often just sit outside and let them explore on their own. They find sticks, rocks, and bugs. Their imaginations are so inspiring to me.

We also love taking little field trips to awesome outdoor places! We visit local gardens, farms, and of course, the zoo!

Items to Encourage Outside Play

I do have a few things you could add to your backyard to encourage more outside time and nature study. 

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A birdfeeder – we have a few for birdseed and also a hummingbird feeder

A garden – You can have anything from a flowerbed, a vegetable container garden, a raised bed container garden, or a full garden patch. Whatever works for your family. Just grow something and let your children participate in the process with you!


 A swing set – We have a basic metal swingset and my children are happy with that. They need to be able to exercise and climb!

Balls – My children love playing with balls. They throw them, kick them, and chase them all over the yard!

Bicycle/Tricycle – Kids love riding on these and they are awesome for exercise, too!

Sand/water table – This is not a necessity, but this has been my favorite purchase. My kids love playing with ours. They build sand castles, go on dinosaur digs, have car washes, and all kinds of other fun things!

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 How can you get your children playing outside?

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for A Charlotte Mason Companion and The Peter Rabbit Classic Gift Set!

Charlotte Mason Preschool


Please check out what some of the other Crew are blogging about!

Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story ~ Making Homeschooling Fun!
Marcy @ Ben and Me ~ Helping Children in Uganda
Wendy @ Simplicity Breeds Happiness – International Meals
Melanie @ FinchNWren ~ Finchnwren’s Fabulous Family Movies
Sarah  @ Delivering Grace ~  learning about England
Victoria @ Homemaking with Heart ~  Connecting with the Creator through Nature Study
Gwen @ Tolivers to Texas ~ A Happy, Peaceful Home
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses ~ Homeschooling 4 FREE resources

April Blog Hop

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  1. Joanie, we had that exact same sand/water table! It was SO fun. (Naturally the 12yo doesn’t have ANY interest in it any more.) I love your ideas. Where we live, it’s been so cold (and always is in the winter) that we haven’t been able to be out as much as we’d like. However, today, it’s 60! We have a playdate on Friday planned and I am praying for a beautiful day, so we can go to the park!

  2. Water is always a hot favourite for outside play. These days my son is into photography so we spend time looking at nature through the lens. It’s so good to be encouraged to go outside thank you 🙂

  3. This is very much what my hubby did with our toddler today while I was “doing school” with the older boys. They hung out outside and he let the baby lead to things he found interesting! We learned that his favorite flowers are tulips :).

  4. Beautiful children, Joanie! Our kids are outside a lot – it helps to live in the country – and I love to see their creativity and resourcefulness when they’re provided w/ very few outdoor toys. The things they build (or dig) and games they play amaze me! Necessity is the mother of invention, right? 😉

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