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From Playhouse to Outdoor Classroom: Educational Possibilities

A Wendy House is not just a delightful retreat for children but also a potential outdoor classroom that enriches learning through play. In the heart of your outdoor area, a wooden playhouse can transform into a vibrant educational space where younger children engage in creative play while exploring the natural world.

This article explores how a Wendy House or garden playhouse can become an effective tool for education, seamlessly integrating subjects like plant science and mathematics with fun activities led by parents. Let's discover the educational possibilities of these charming outdoor spaces.

How Can a Playhouse Become a Tool for Education?

A Playhouse, often seen merely as a venue for leisure, is in fact, a dynamic learning environment that encourages children to develop a variety of skills. By being designed as safe spaces where children feel at ease, playhouses naturally foster an environment conducive to learning.

The essence of a playhouse as an outdoor learning environment offers a fresh air of perspective on education, blending indoor safety with the invigorating freshness of outdoor spaces. Such settings where younger children can play and learn are particularly effective, as they are instrumental in their cognitive and social development. 

Kids playing in wooden tower playhouse

These playful settings also provide a unique opportunity for children to engage in imaginative play, which is crucial for emotional growth and developing empathy. Moreover, the informal setting removes the pressures often associated with more structured learning environments, allowing children to explore and learn at their own pace. This autonomy builds confidence and a love for learning that can last a lifetime.

Through structured activities and free play, children learn to negotiate, solve problems, and cooperate with others, skills that are vital for their future success in any endeavour.

How Can Playhouses Be Used to Explore Plant Science?

Integrating plant science into the realm of a garden playhouse can transform a simple wooden structure into a hub of scientific exploration. Encouraging children to plant flowers, herbs, and even vegetables around their playhouses turns the immediate surroundings into a hands-on learning area. This not only teaches them about the life cycle of plants and the importance of the natural world but also instils a sense of responsibility and the basics of ecological sustainability.

Parents can enhance this experience by using parts of the playhouse, like window-sills or small attached planters, to create a mini-greenhouse effect, thus expanding the learning into areas like weather, climate, and the importance of sunlight and water. 

Moreover, parents can facilitate discussions about different soil types and properties, helping children understand why certain plants thrive in specific conditions. By labelling plants and tracking their growth, children can also learn to observe changes and record data, nurturing a scientific mindset from a young age.

These activities collectively foster a deeper connection with nature while providing stimulating outdoor learning areas.

What Maths Concepts Can Children Learn in a Playhouse Setting?

A Wendy House is an excellent resource for introducing foundational maths concepts in a tangible and engaging way. Spatial awareness can be cultivated through activities such as organising the interior space of the playhouse, measuring distances for placing items, or even planning a small garden layout.

Concepts of geometry can be introduced through play activities that involve shapes, such as creating shape-based decorations or identifying different shapes in the structure of the playhouse itself.

Furthermore, involving children in the setup or enhancement of their playhouses can teach them basic counting and measurement skills, problem-solving, and even the basics of budgeting if allowances are considered for certain additions or decorations.

To elaborate further, mathematical concepts like sequencing and patterns can be demonstrated by arranging items or decorating the playhouse in specific orders or designs. This encourages not only mathematical understanding but also artistic expression.

In a playful, hands-on environment, children can also explore concepts of volume and capacity, such as how many small toys fit into a box or how much sand fills a bucket, making abstract concepts more concrete and understandable.

What Fun Activities Can Parents Lead in a Playhouse?

Parents can lead a variety of educational activities in a playhouse that not only entertain but also educate. Storytelling sessions can be transformed into interactive and thematic lessons where elements of the playhouse are used as props or settings. Dramatic play can be encouraged to enhance linguistic skills and emotional understanding. For instance, children can enact fairy tales or historical events, using their imagination to add depth to the story, thereby enhancing their understanding and retention. This kind of role-playing helps in developing empathy and social skills as children step into different characters.

Children playing in plastic garden playhouse

Additionally, simple scientific experiments can be facilitated within or around the playhouse, such as observing weather changes or studying insects and plants. Artistic activities like painting or crafting with natural materials found in the garden can also be hosted in this safe space, promoting creativity and fine motor skills.

Parents can also organise mini treasure hunts that involve clues based on nature and science, leading to a fun and educational exploration of the environment. Such physical activity not only makes learning enjoyable but also stimulates curiosity and a love for discovery among young children.


The transformation of a garden playhouse into an outdoor classroom is an imaginative yet practical approach to education. In these wooden playhouses, young children find a safe space that not only supports their developmental needs but also enhances their learning through creative play, problem-solving, and interaction with the natural world.

These outdoor learning environments serve as a foundation for what some educators refer to as the 'forest school' methodology, which focuses on the holistic development of children through outdoor play.

By incorporating educational activities into the playful setting of a Wendy House, parents and educators can significantly enrich children's learning experiences, making every moment spent in an outdoor playhouse both fun and fruitful in their formative years. 

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