21 Outdoor Learning Statistics To Inspire Your Classroom


Outdoor Learning Statistics

You’ve been looking for the latest statistics on outdoor learning, haven’t you?

We know the feeling. It’s hard to find relevant statistics on a topic that’s so broad and can be interpreted in so many different ways. That’s why we compiled this list of outdoor learning statistics for you! 

We’ve taken out all of the guesswork and hard work involved in finding relevant statistics on outdoor learning—all so that you can spend less time researching and more time enjoying the great outdoors!

These are the most recent numbers available on the topic, and we’re sure they’ll help take your outdoor learning strategy to the next level.

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Encouraging Outdoor Learning Statistics To Know (Editor’s Choice)

  • American children spend an average of only four to seven minutes daily for outside play.
  • Globally, 16% of elementary school teachers report conducting outdoor lessons less than once per month.
  • Children participating in outdoor learning report a 27% increase in science test scores.
  • Two-thirds of teachers stated that outdoor learning improved the behavior of their students.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 teachers observed that children are happier after learning outdoors.
  • 72% of teachers who regularly conducted outdoor lessons reported improved physical and mental health.
  • 95% of parents agree that their children can’t reach their full potential without opportunities to play outside.
  • 70% of teachers report that the weather is a major deterrent to outdoor learning.

General Outdoor Learning Statistics

1. American children spend an average of only four to seven minutes daily for outside play.

(Child Mind Institute)

As technology gets more advanced, fewer and fewer children—not only in America but around the world—spend time outdoors playing. Children nowadays prefer to stay indoors in front of a computer, cell phone, or TV screen.

The average American child spends more than 7 hours a day in front of a screen, but less than seven minutes a day playing outside.

Thanks to technological advances, children have access to more entertainment options than ever before. While this allows them to stay entertained for hours at a time—and even opens up educational opportunities—it also means that children are spending less time engaging in physical activity than ever before.

This statistic is alarming, considering the many benefits children can get from spending time outdoors. 

 

2. Psychological research shows that 25% of school time should be spent outside for learning or playing.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

Physical activity is important for children, and their mental well-being benefits greatly if this optimal level for outdoor play and learning is attained. They can focus more, and learning is less stressful when it’s done outside.

 

3. Globally, 16% of elementary school teachers report conducting outdoor lessons less than once per month.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

In Australia, this percentage is 17%. However, 72% of the same teachers in the country report that they conduct outdoor lessons at least once per week. This number is higher than any other country included in the Outdoor Classroom Day survey.

In Canada, 18% of primary school teachers report having outdoor lessons less than once per month, while the same percentage (18%) report doing outdoor lessons every school day.

Among the surveyed countries, the United States had the least reported time spent outdoors. In particular, 29% of American primary school teachers report that they conduct lessons outside less than once per month.

 

4. 87% of teachers globally state that they’d like to increase time spent on outdoor learning.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

In the United States, this percentage has increased to 93% of teachers. However, the US remains to have the least amount of time spent on outdoor learning among the surveyed countries.

This shows that additional research is necessary to understand why there is a variation between these countries, even those with the same educational systems, and among those who agree that outdoor learning is necessary.

 

Benefits of Outdoor Learning Statistics

5. Children participating in outdoor learning report a 27% increase in science test scores.

(The Stable Company)

Children who are given the opportunity to attend outdoor classes did better in tests, particularly in science.

Students themselves report feeling a positive change from outdoor learning because they learned more, were more engaged, and made more friends than in classroom learning.

The study shows that 6 to 10 weeks after the outdoor learning program, the students still had increased science knowledge and were able to maintain higher test scores.

 

6. Children who grew up with low levels of greenery in their environment had a 30% higher chance of developing stress-related, psychosomatic, or neurotic disorders.

(Parenting Science)

In a large study involving nearly one million Danish children, researchers calculated the level of greenery the kids were exposed to around their homes. They found out that those who were exposed to lower levels of greenery were at a higher risk of neurotic, psychosomatic, and stress-related illnesses.

This was the result even after researchers adjusted for socioeconomic status. Additionally, these children also had a higher risk for substance abuse and mood disorders.

 

7. Two-thirds of teachers stated that outdoor learning improved the behavior of their students.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

They reported that outdoor learning has improved children’s self-regulation, communication, problem-solving, and cooperative play behaviors. They were also reported to be calmer and more open to learning.

 

8. Outdoor learning induces a better connection with the environment.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

Although there were small variations in the percentage of teachers who believe this outcome, countries are generally in agreement that children have a better connection with nature as a result of outdoor learning.

In Australia, 92% of teachers believe so, while 88% of Canadian teachers pinpoint this as an outcome. Additionally, 83% of teachers in the UK and 82% in the US believe this outcome.

This could be reflected in the fact that Australia and Canada enforce outdoor learning as part of their curriculums.

 

9. Nearly 9 out of 10 (89%) teachers observed that children are happier after learning outdoors.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

The variation across countries in this statement is only minimal as well. When given proper access to outdoor learning, children are happier and take less time off school due to illness.

They are more excited about learning and are able to bond with classmates and build social groups. Students don’t think of school as work since they’re having fun.

 

10. Outdoor learning helps children develop essential life skills.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

Globally, teachers highly agree that outdoor learning has a tremendous positive impact on a child’s life skills.

For example, 97% of them agree that it improves social skills, 94% agree that it enhances creativity and imagination, 90% report that it improves fine motor skills, and 65% believe that it encourages children to have a higher focus on tasks.

 

11. 72% of teachers who regularly conducted outdoor lessons reported an improvement in their own physical and mental health.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

Outdoor learning is not only beneficial to students; it also improves the well-being of the teachers who regularly conduct them. While it’s true that students are taking less time off from school, the teachers are too.

Sixty-nine percent of teachers also reported that it increased their job satisfaction, and 79% said it allowed them to be better at their teaching practice.

When students are engaged and happy, it radiates to the teachers since they feel like they’re doing a good job.

 

Outdoor Play and Learning Statistics

12. 95% of parents agree that their children can’t reach their full potential without opportunities to play outside.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

Additional worldwide statistics show that 93% of parents think that without outside play, their children’s learning will suffer. This shows that parents appreciate the value of outdoor learning and play.

It’s not just parents, though. Many governments worldwide support outdoor play and learning actively.

 

13. 65% of primary teachers globally reported that their students only have less than an hour of playtime per day.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

What’s worse is that 12% said their students are only allowed to play outside for less than 30 minutes.

These statistics are quite saddening, especially knowing that 97% of teachers worldwide agree that playing outdoors is important for children to reach their full potential. In Canada, Australia, the US, and the UK, this percentage is a little higher—at 99%.

 

14. Primary school teachers in the US stated the shortest playtimes.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

A whopping 89% of these teachers stated that students were only given less than an hour of playtime, while 40% said that less than 30 minutes of playtime per school day was all the children were given.

 

15. Primary school teachers in Australia reported the longest playtimes.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

Globally, Australia had the longest reported playtimes among elementary or primary school students. In Australia, 58% of teachers reported that students have more than an hour of playtime per school day, while 11% reported that children have more than 90 minutes of playtime.

No schools in the country reported that children only have less than 30 minutes of school playtime.

 

16.  55% of American parents are worried their kids aren’t spending enough time playing outside.

Time to get outside!

The results are in, and it’s official: American parents want their kids to spend more time outside. 

A new survey from Claritin found that 55% of American parents are worried their kids aren’t spending enough time playing outside, and 74% believe their kids don’t appreciate the outdoors as much as they should.

Other findings from the study include:

  • 85% of parents said they think it’s essential that their child spends time outdoors.
  • 78% agreed that their favorite childhood memories involved playing outside.
  • Three-quarters of parents said that creating memories of playing outdoors with their children is a top priority for them.

85% of parents said they think it’s important that their child spends time outdoors.

But why does this matter?

Well, for one thing, it’s important for kids to get out and be active—and being active helps them build confidence, self-esteem, and social skills. But it’s also important for kids’ cognitive development—playing games helps them develop problem-solving skills and learn how to work with others or alone.

Plus, when they’re outside they can explore nature and discover new things about themselves (like maybe they actually like bugs). They also get more exercise than if they were just sitting inside all day on the couch watching Netflix!

(Claritin)

 

17. There are only 6 states in the US where children spend more than 6 hours a week playing outside.

If you’re a parent, you know that getting your kids to play outside isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s often downright impossible—especially if they’re busy playing video games or watching Netflix.

But some states are doing a better job than others at getting their kids outside. And those states are Alaska, Arizona, Missouri, North Dakota, and Wyoming!

That’s according to a new poll conducted by Claritin. They found that kids who live in those states are getting outside an average of six hours a week, which is more than anywhere else in the country.

So what does this mean for you? Well… maybe it means you should consider moving to one of those states if you want your kid to get more time in nature!

(Claritin)

 

Possible Deterrents to Outdoor Learning

18. 20% of teachers stated that they’re worried about the extra preparations necessary to conduct outdoor lessons.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

In the US, this percentage is increased to 26%.

Although outdoor learning is beneficial in so many ways, it can also be quite a disadvantage for teachers who aren’t confident about conducting their lessons outside.

Teachers have to make sure that lessons are conducted in a safe area, and necessary materials like whiteboards, seats and other add-ons have to be noted as well.

 

19. In the US, only 2% of teachers consider parents’ perceptions of outdoor learning as a problem.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

This is because a huge percentage of parents believe that outdoor learning is vital for their children to achieve their full potential. In Canada, 10% of teachers are worried about parents’ perception, while 11% of teachers in Australia report feeling the same.

 

20. 70% of teachers report that the weather is a major deterrent to outdoor learning.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

Outdoor learning isn’t as appealing when it’s raining outside or when the weather isn’t good. It also puts the safety of the children and the teachers at risk in some areas. In Australia, 21% of teachers say that nothing prevents them from encouraging their students to play outside.

In the UK, this percentage is slightly higher at 24%. On the other hand, teachers in the United States are least likely to report that nothing can stop them from conducting lessons outdoors—only 6%.

 

21. The most frequent deterrent to outside learning is the lack of clothing and other protection from the weather.

(Outdoor Classroom Day)

Teachers reported that their school lacks areas where children could sit during storms.

Some countries have pretty hot summers, and some schools lack trees or areas outside where children can hide from the scorching sun.

Air pollution and a lack of outdoor space are also pertinent issues to outdoor learning.

 

Related Questions (FAQ)

Is outdoor learning effective?

Numerous studies have been conducted to show the effectiveness of outdoor learning on children’s academic performance and mental health. Students retain knowledge more effectively when classes are conducted in nature and outside the classroom. They can focus more and are a lot calmer.

 

Why is it good for children to learn outside?

By going outside to learn in nature, children are able to develop better in terms of intellectual, emotional, and behavioural aspects. Outdoor learning helps children develop their creativity, confidence, independence, and problem-solving skills. This results from our innate desire to be in nature.

 

What are the benefits of outdoor education?

Outdoor learning enhances children’s academic performance, mental health, and behavioral patterns. On top of that, it also builds community, raises standards and expectations, increases connection, establishes culture, and helps children feel positively toward school and being outdoors.

 

What did Froebel say about outdoor play?

Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel believed immensely in using the outdoors to give children the freedom to learn, explore, and enjoy. According to him, the outdoors is a vital environment that should be taken advantage of for children’s learning. This interest is renewed nowadays with young children.

 

What percent of kids play outside every day?

Compared to the generation our parents grew up in, children today spend 35% less time outside playing. Previously, 65% of our parents played outside every single day when they were young. What’s even more worrying is that almost 20% of kids nowadays go outside only once per week to play.

 

How much time does the average kid spend outside?

It’s quite sad and alarming that kids nowadays don’t find outdoor play as appealing as older generations. Nowadays, the average American kid spends only about four to seven minutes per day playing outside. However, when it comes to using their phones, tablets, or computers, they spend seven hours per day.

 

Conclusion

Whether you are an educator, school administrator, or parent, we hope that this article has given you some useful insights into what works best in order to encourage outdoor learning.

We know that outdoor learning is important, but it can be hard to know where to start and how much of a difference it will make. Now that you’ve learned about some of the exciting possibilities for outdoor learning, you can take these ideas back to your students and teachers and help them make the case for outdoor learning in your school district or community.

Thank you for reading, and we hope to continue providing valuable content like this in the future. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to reach out.

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