Looking for more outdoor time for your children this summer? For imaginative play and unhurried days? Out to Play is a Farm, Forest and Nature School program that offers outdoor arts, storytelling, and deep immersive, unstructured play in the forest and meadows, accompanied by experienced and enthusiastic educators. Children ages 4 to 12 are welcome. 1:1 spaces are available.
Yes, specialized support. A few of our campers have special needs.
LGBTQ+ friendly community
What do you do differently or uniquely well?
"All Out to Play programs are child-centered, play-based, curiosity-led and educator-supported.
Each day includes a morning storytelling circle and a small hike to a play space in the forest. We gather together for snack and lunch, and later to share our favorite part of the day. And at the end of each day, we shout out our gratitude to the land together before we head on home.
Who are your staff and counsellors?
"Our staff are experienced, playful and intuitive facilitators with diverse backgrounds. They have their First Aid and CPR qualification and they've either completed or are studying to be Forest and Nature School practitioners, teachers, child and youth workers and/or early childhood educators."
What do families need to know about registration?
"An advance code for registration is sent to all families in the Out to Play Farm and Forest School, and all summer day camp families from the previous year. Registration opens to Returning Families on Feb 10 at 10am.
Registration opens to all families March 2 10am.
Returning families: Opens Feb 10 10pm
Open registration: Opens March 2 10am
To register quickly:
Nestled in the urban expanses of Ottawa, Out to Play provides a sanctuary for children and families to connect with the land and revel in the joys of outdoor play. They offer a range of services through an independent school, field trips, summer day camps, as well as respite and psychotherapy services at their Nepean centre and across the city’s green spaces. Adhering to the Forest and Nature School principles, Out to Play places the child at the center of a curiosity-led learning journey, deeply rooted in land-based play. This approach cultivates a life-long stewardship for the environment as children learn to care for the land through their playful interactions. Out to Play is inclusive and open to all. Their summer day camps are a medley of farm and forest adventures, where children from 4 to 15 years old can immerse in imaginative play, storytelling, hiking, and various skill-building activities. The Foxes program weaves in circle time and art, while The Wolves and the new LIT (Leader in Training) program for teens focus on autonomy, creativity, and mentorship. The staff, comprised of skilled facilitators from diverse backgrounds, prioritize safety through supportive risky play and intuitive guidance, while also integrating a strong commitment to environmental preservation into every aspect of their play-based, child-centric approach. Through thoughtful play and learning, Out to Play not only champions environmental conservation but also ensures a welcoming and enriching environment for every child.
Is Out to Play technology free? Yes
The Out to Play approach nurtures connection with the land, each other and self. Children are not permitted to have phones, tablets and smartwatches Out to Play, with the exception of devices that meet communication or health needs.
More details about property: Out to Play programs take place in forests and in meadows. We wander trails through the farm and into the shade of the forest, play beside the beaver dam or snack beside the river. Our shelters are canvas wall tents and the bathrooms are composting toilets and outhouses.
Lara Purvis, Director of Education Programs BA in Child Studies, BEd in Primary Junior education, MA in Global Development Forest and Nature School Practitioners certificate
Out to Play Children’s Programs are undeniably a community creation with the first steps taken by Lara Purvis, and so many hands pitching in since then.
Lara is a qualified teacher who has also worked for the Child and Nature Alliance as an educator and writer. Lara was the Lead Educator at the Ottawa Forest and Nature School, before founding Out to Play Children’s Programs.
Lara believes in the magic of Story, power of play and the simplicity of connecting on the land together to support the mental health of children, families and communities.