The Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Classrooms

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, schools are constantly seeking innovative ways to enhance the outdoor learning experience for students. One approach gaining popularity is the concept of taking lessons outdoors and the outdoor classrooms.

What is an outdoor classroom?

An outdoor classroom provides primary schools and nurseries with practical, covered spaces for outdoor learning, socialisation, and play. These classrooms can vary in form and size, offering schools the flexibility to adapt them to their available space. Whether you require space to sit and learn or shade from the sun, Playdale offers three distinct forms of outdoor classrooms to cater to diverse needs, spaces, and budgets.

Benefits of outdoor classrooms

Outdoor classrooms form a vital and increasingly popular part of the wider world of educational play, and can bring a number of advantages to the education of your school or nursery children.

Learning takes on a new dimension when it’s fun. Outdoor classrooms provide an immersive and enjoyable experience, taking indoor education outdoors and making it exciting for students of all ages.

Beyond the fun element, outdoor classrooms contribute to a holistic learning experience. Children can benefit from improved focus, enhanced creativity, and increased physical activity, mental health, and environmental awareness.

A change of scenery from the everyday classroom stimulates new learning practices. Outdoor environments encourage hands-on experiences, fostering a deeper understanding of a wide range of subjects through exploration and discovery.

Children of all ages learn through exploration, experimentation, listening, and play. Outdoor classrooms form part of a wider outdoor environment, seamlessly integrating with play and educational playground equipment to support curriculum-based learning experiences.

Outdoor classroom design ideas

Outdoor classrooms in all forms offer a refreshing and engaging alternative to traditional indoor and outdoor learning environments. From Modular Shelters to Sun Shades, students can study in the fresh air and experience an exciting change of learning environment no matter the weather with our range of outdoor solutions.

large modular shelter in school playground setting

Modular School Shelter

Modular School Shelters stand out as versatile spaces, offering adaptability for varying numbers of children. With its polycarbonate roof, this design effectively keeps the rain away while still allowing light through, ensuring that students remain comfortably dry and focused on their activities even on rainy days.


Timber Shelter in school playground setting


With a variety of floor and seating and cladded side options to suit your school, our Timber Shelter offers a charming blend of comfort, nature, and sustainability, creating an inspiring atmosphere for teaching and learning.

sunshade on grass

Sun Shade

The outdoor Sun Shade provides a balance of shelter and open space, allowing children to engage with their surroundings while staying protected from the sun when required.  Also serving as a central hub for den building, this space captivates children and offers endless possibilities, sparking their imaginations and fostering creativity.

Outdoor classroom features

Creating a personalised and engaging outdoor classroom can enhance the learning environment even further through outdoor art lessons. Here are some unique DIY features and decorations that teachers and students can create together to elevate their outdoor space.

Encourage students to collect leaves, twigs, and stones to create nature-inspired art installations. For example, they can make a mandala or mobile using different natural materials that can then be hung from the outdoor classroom.

Transform your outdoor classroom into a hub for local wildlife by having students build and decorate bird feeders. Using recycled materials, students can craft unique feeders, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the outdoor space. Through observation and identification, they’ll learn about the diverse bird species that visit, fostering a deeper connection with nature. This interactive project not only instils creativity but also imparts valuable lessons about ecology and community engagement.

Outdoor Classroom Day

Did you know there’s a global day dedicated to inspiring and celebrating outdoor play and learning, at home and school? Celebrated around the world, this day encourages schools to embrace the tremendous potential of outdoor spaces. By breaking away from the traditional classroom setup, Outdoor Classroom Day aims to reintroduce students to the wonders of nature and ignite a passion for learning in an outdoor setting.

3d image of children learning in an outdoor classroom

Outdoor Classroom Day ideas

Elevate the excitement on Outdoor Classroom Day with these engaging playground ideas! From nature scavenger hunts to cloud watching and stone painting, there is a wide range of activities designed to infuse energy and enthusiasm into your outdoor learning experience. Get inspired with a comprehensive collection of teaching ideas for outdoor classrooms.

Choosing your school’s outdoor classroom

The adoption of outdoor classrooms is a transformative step in enhancing and diversifying your school’s educational experience for students. Playdale offers versatile solutions, including Modular School Shelters, Timber Shelters, and Sun Shades, catering to diverse needs and budgets.

The benefits of outdoor classrooms are substantial, promoting holistic learning experiences, improved focus, creativity, physical activity, mental health, and environmental awareness. These classrooms seamlessly integrate with play and educational equipment, fostering exploration and discovery.

To explore these outdoor classroom options further and discover how they can benefit your school or nursery, contact our team today. Embrace the potential of outdoor education, and let Playdale inspire a passion for learning in the great outdoors.

FAQs on outdoor classrooms

How much do outdoor classrooms cost?

Outdoor classroom costs vary depending on several factors including size, design, materials, and amenities. We recommend reaching out to our team for a tailored quote based on your specific needs and requirements.

Do outdoor classrooms require planning permission?

We are often asked as to whether outdoor classrooms require planning permission. With a successful track record of installing more than 150 outdoor classrooms, our customers have consistently encountered no planning permission issues. However, we recommend reaching out to your local council for guidance in case any reservations or concerns arise.

Why are outdoor classrooms important?

Outdoor classrooms offer numerous benefits for students and educators. They provide opportunities for experiential learning, fostering a deeper connection with nature and the world around us. Outdoor learning environments promote physical activity, improve mental wellbeing, and enhance creativity and problem-solving skills.

Is learning outdoors more important than learning indoors?

Both indoor and outdoor learning environments offer unique benefits and play complementary roles in education. While indoor classrooms provide structure, access to resources, and protection from the elements, outdoor classrooms offer opportunities for hands-on exploration, experiential learning, and connection with nature.

A balanced approach that incorporates both indoor and outdoor learning experiences is ideal, as it allows students to develop a diverse set of skills and perspectives. Ultimately, the integration of outdoor learning can enrich the educational experience and support holistic development.

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