How to create an eco-friendly outdoor classroom

How to create an eco-friendly outdoor classroom

When you’re creating an outdoor space for a school, nursery or playgroup, it’s important to create an environment that inspires, encourages and motivates. Developing a creative outdoor space is a must for any educational setting, especially early years, as it enables children to learn about the natural world while encouraging their development. At Kedel, we’ve worked with a number of education providers to create fun, eco-friendly outdoor spaces. From outdoor seating to products designed to aid discovery and adventure, our recycled materials are designed to last a lifetime. 

Let’s take a look at how to create an effective outdoor play environment.

Why does outdoor space matter?

A great outdoor space is a perfect environment to encourage child-led play. Not only will it allow them to make their own decisions, but it also gives them to freedom to develop new interests away from pre-planned activities. Unlike a classroom, the outdoor environment is ever-changing - whether it’s through the changing seasons or unpredictable weather. An effective outdoor space should adapt to these changes, offering children a variety of play experiences whether it’s sunny, cold, muddy or covered in snow!

How to design an outdoor play space

Whether you’re updating an existing space or planning a brand new outdoor area, there are some key elements you should consider. 

First of all, your space needs to naturally ‘flow’ to allow children to move freely between creative zones. The space should be open while still offering a range of different activities and social areas for children to choose from. 

Natural resources should be utilised as much as possible in your space, especially materials that will allow children to unleash their imagination. Recycled wood, sand, stone, rope, mud, buckets, water and stones are all great ‘props’ when creating creative play zones

Another key element of outdoor play is ‘Investigation’. This is all about encouraging children to uncover and explore their surroundings. A digging area is a great choice for any outdoor space, as it will allow little ones to get their hands dirty and learn about habitats. Our raised garden planters are a popular choice for nursery and school settings. Made from 100% recycled plastic material, these planters can be filled with soil, leaves, mud, sand or even water to create curiosity stations. As children get older, our raised planters can then be used as growing areas for fruits and vegetables, further developing their understanding of the natural world. 

How to encourage outdoor creative play

One of the best types of outdoor play is recreating experiences they have learned at home. This could be through the use of an outdoor mud kitchen, where children can pretend to cook meals, serve food and get messy with natural resources. Dens are another key element of outdoor play, where children can transform a structure into anything they can think of. This type of imaginary play is perfect for the outdoors, as well as it being a lot easier to clean up; it doesn’t put limits on the different combinations and materials that can be used. 

It’s also important to provide opportunities for outdoor arts and crafts. Adding chalkboards to fences is a great way to develop mark-making skills, while pots of chalk, washable paints and crayons will allow children to express themselves on the walls, floor and other natural surfaces. Remember, an outdoor space is all about giving children the freedom to unleash their imagination. The more materials that are available, the better!

How to create outdoor social areas

Seating is another key component of effective outdoor space. As well as encouraging children to sit and play together, outdoor seating can also become an extension of the classroom, perfect for warm days or for encouraging discussion about the natural world. From picnic benches to round tables and chairs, we have everything you need to add colourful seating to your outdoor space - but why should you choose Kedel for your nursery or school’s outdoor setting?

Unlike traditional wood, our recycled plastic material won’t warp, rot, splinter or fade. From our seating to our imaginary play products, you can rest assured that children can play safely without worrying about splinters. Our products also require little to no maintenance; simply wipe clean or let the rain work its magic after a messy play session! The wipe-clean nature of our material makes it exceptionally hygienic, especially if children are eating outside. 

Our products are available in a wide range of colours, from classic wood shades all the way to bright multicoloured shades. Unlike wood, our UV-protected materials will not fade, which is perfect if you’re looking to create a bold, colourful outdoor space. 

Finally, our recycled plastic material is very eco-friendly and using it is incredibly beneficial for the environment. Choosing recycled materials helps reduce our carbon footprint by preventing plastics from entering dangerous landfills. 


Take a look at our full range of school products today and discover a full range of coloured picnic tables for schools as well as raised garden planters.