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In recent years, there has been an increasing recognition of the value of unsupported, child-led play. Evidence from around the world has shown the benefits of such play to children's physical, mental and social development. We have seen in our own children - and in those that we teach on a daily basis - the positive effects of being outdoors, but we also know how difficult it is to find suitable places for free play, particularly in an increasingly risk averse world.

What we do

At Outdoor Cleghorn, children are allowed to explore and discover the world for themselves; to play however they wish. 


If they want to build dens, they can. If they want to climb trees, they can. If they want to whittle a stick or light a fire, they can with supervision. We stand back and let them do whatever they want to do.


They will be supported in taking risks should they wish to. They will develop an understanding and enjoyment of their local woodland areas, and will learn about their surroundings as well as their place in their environment and their responsibility for it.


Overseen by Alex, and other experienced professionals, children will be supervised as they negotiate their way through the environment using aspects taken from Forest Schools and Loose Parts Play, identifying what's around them, playing with the things they find, learning how to use tools and skills safely, purposefully and in inventive ways and giving them confidence to take risks, lead, be led and collaborate.

What is Loose Parts Play?

"Nature, which excites all the senses, remains the richest source of loose parts."

Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

Loose Parts play refers to the use of what children commonly refer to as "stuff" and "rubbish". When used as the basis for child-led play, this stuff becomes anything that the children imagine it to be. Tyres, ropes, poles, sticks, buckets and pipes as well as tarpaulins and anything else that can be got, can all be used to enhance play and to spark the children's imaginations.

Boy and bug
Tinderbox Fungus at Outdoor Cleghorn
Boy holding mud

TEDxBasel, May 2017

In May 2017, Alex was invited to talk at TEDxBasel on the subject of play.

His short talk gives an insight into Outdoor Cleghorn's ethos with regard to play and the sorts of things that children (and adults!) can expect when they come on one of our camps.

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