EHS TA Paper No. 14: Supporting Outdoor Play and Exploration for Infants and Toddlers – Head Start


TA Paper No. 14 discusses the benefits of outdoor time for infants and toddlers. It offers tips for creating outdoor play spaces, safety considerations, and strategies and policies to support this part of quality programming. Early Head Start and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start professional development staff may use this paper with teachers, family child care providers, and home visitors.

Head Start and Early Head Start (EHS) have long recognized the importance of outdoor play experiences and appropriate, safe outdoor play spaces for young children. Two Head Start Program Performance Standards—1304.21(a)(5)(i) (center-based settings) and 1304.21(a)(6) (home-based settings)—specifically address providing time and opportunities for outdoor active play and guidance in the safe use of equipment and materials. A number of standards focus on the outdoor play space. Still others, although not specific to the outdoors, speak to developmental and learning opportunities for infants and toddlers that could easily take place outdoors, thus taking advantage of the unique qualities that the outdoors offers.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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