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hi. i am new to this site, have spent hours reading different posting some really useful ideas and help thank you.

 

i am hoping someone can help. i am trying to organise our outdoor area a lovely large area but at the moment it just has a climbing frame in the middle and a muddy mound. i have managed to talk some friend into building me some raised planters. my foundation stage coordinator wants to buy lots of plastic roleplay equipment and resources - but i would like to use other things so the children can develop their own roleplay but not sure what to do. i just want the area to be used free flow and enhance their learning not just be a race course for the bikes. any ideas? i have been given 15 sets of waterproof outfits and wellies so the weather is no object.

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Hi Tiggersmiff and welcome to the Forum.

 

We have just enhanced our outdoor area with new fencing, playhouse and pergola for sunshade, all wooden. As money permits, we will enhance the area with planting, old tyres. We would like to provide open-ended resources for the children to use their imagination creatively, such as lengths of guttering, crates, ropes, would love rope and pulley, a gulley system for sand or water to flow along. I understand why you would not want too much plastic. Half of our playground is divided by a line and used for bikes etc which are also very important and very popular, I do think children need them too.

 

Your wet weather outfits sound great. Am sure you will get lots of other ideas soon.

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thank you for you help and ideas

 

i am a member of a great web site www.freecycle.org.uk it is a site where you can post unwanted items and people come an collect them, it is all for free, you can also post wanted items on there i have just read your ideas and posted a wanted for drain pipe, etc i have used it to get flower pots we got 120!, material, toys, dressing up clothes, 2 digital camaras which the children use, the list goes on and on.

have a look

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hi. i am new to this site, have spent hours reading different posting some really useful ideas and help thank you.

 

i am hoping someone can help. i am trying to organise our outdoor area a lovely large area but at the moment it just has a climbing frame in the middle and a muddy mound. i have managed to talk some friend into building me some raised planters. my foundation stage coordinator wants to buy lots of plastic roleplay equipment and resources - but i would like to use other things so the children can develop their own roleplay but not sure what to do. i just want the area to be used free flow and enhance their learning not just be a race course for the bikes. any ideas? i have been given 15 sets of waterproof outfits and wellies so the weather is no object.

 

 

A really good resource is A Place to Learn which has some great ideas for the outdoor area. You get it from LEARN ISBN 090 1637106 Cost 15.00.

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I completely agree re plastic and even painted metal or wood. The more natural the better if that is possible, although I know it isn't for everyone. See if your local grounds maintenance people can get you some very large logs for sitting on, or small ones sliced up for building with, or parents may be able to help. Smile sweetly and say it is for the children. (Check that they haven't been treated with anything) Tyres can be useful for rolling, climbing on and using for planting. Those willow structures start at around £50 for an igloo shape. Bring in some branches at this time of year and let the children make dens, play homes, look at the leaves as they fall off. If you have a mound could you get the children to help you to plant a clump of bushes?

We have a very low table and large safety mirror and we put an investigative display on the table in front of it with appropriate books and magnifiers, or small world play, and the children really love it, often adding their own things. I think a climb-in sandpit is a must outside. I have seen old pot sinks used very effectively for water play (the type you pay a fortune for now as they have become 'designer') lots of old plant pots can be useful and make up some weather boxes for instant resources.

Limit the bikes as they don't need them everyday. You can also take some of your indoor resources outside as well, like the blocks, a few chairs, a book basket and rug, a few dolls and prams. You are quite right though in making it as open ended as possible. Have a look at the Learning through Landscapes site or look up forest schools- sorry not got the links but just google.

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We have been developing our outdoor classroom. We have tried to provide all 6 curriculum areas outside. We have a trolley with resources for writing/drawing, book shelf and carpet( under shelter ) sand, water and paint, role play. These things are available every day. Then we add resource boxes (stored in shed outside) which cover other leaning areas, eg big building blocks, bats/balls/beanbags, cars,footballs, etc. We also have a garden area with a textured footpath and stepping stones, digging area and planter. We try to have freeflow every day and also have some sessions where children go out in groups for a focussed activity with an adult, while the other adult is inside with other groups. When the children got used to the outdoor area being freely available, they were not so desparate to get out and run round in circles! They are now more relaxed and move in and out during free choice times

 

Any other ideas that we could copy would be very welcome. I have also noticed that this cohort of children use the outside area differently to last year's class.

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thank you again so many helpful people.

if you have any photos of textured path/stepping stone area would love to see them.

how do you manage your freeflow (staffing) as at the moment nearly all our children want to be outside do you think this will change as i introduce a more varied learning environment? there were only 2 children inside on friday!

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thank you again so many helpful people.

if you have any photos of textured path/stepping stone area would love to see them.

how do you manage your freeflow (staffing) as at the moment nearly all our children want to be outside do you think this will change as i introduce a more varied learning environment? there were only 2 children inside on friday!

 

Will get some photoes for you. I have found that usually all the children go out when the outdoor is open but drift back in. I end up with about 2/3 out and 1/3 in most days, but the adult inside will call children back in to work on a focus activity. The children happily comply as they know they can go back out later.

 

Karen

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Am green with envy at reading about all your ideas for good outdoor play provision. All our outdoor play equipment has to be packed away at the end of the session into our tiny playhouse (which we needed planning permission for!). What I need is an outdoor play fairy who can come along before the children arrive and set up all these fantastic resources and then a tardis to pack them away into after a couple of hours...

 

Maz

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we have to put our resources away too. and even when they are wawy they are not safe we have had our shed broken into more than once and resources broken. what is wrong with people?

 

i have noted the good ideas and written a piece for our newsletter asking parents for pipes, guttering milk crates, material, pot and pans. thought these things may be in garages or sheds!!

 

what else can i ask for any ideas?

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Last year one of our Dad's was a builder and he very kindly gave me some breeze blocks. The children loved building with these, even though they were very brittle, the children had a lot of pleasure from them. I also purchased some binnoculars and walkie talkies last year; we also have some flourescent waistcoats. The amount of creative play that the children get from these simple resources is an absolute joy to behold.

Like everyone else, I struggle with trying to organise outdoor provision. This year, I have two groups out and two groups in. We cannot have freeflow because of the legistics of the building and the outdoor area. I have also managed to extend the time to allow for children to extend their play. I have tried having a focus, but somehow this seems to restrict the children. I have found it much better to simply provide certain resources and then allow the children to explore. My TA is not as happy with this arrangement as she is more secure if she is given a directed task. However, I am "working" on this, but always provide a focus if she needs it. This focus will generally be linked to an area of learning from the week's focus.

 

Hope these ideas are useful. :o

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love the building block idea - did the children hurt themselves though?

 

we have freeflow in the afternoon like you our TA is more confident when she has a focused activity to do. She is getting better and is begining to understand how to develop the children's play/ ideas although she does like to take over and often finds herself doing something and all the children have moved away! We are trying to help her find the balance between stepping back and stepping in.

 

Today we used the raised planter which has stood empty for the last year!! (i have only just move back to foundation after 2 years away) just like the wet weather gear which has spent 2 years in a cardboard box how could they! it is now out and hung by the door. (sorry a sour spot) well back to our planting we managed to plant bulbs and we did weaving with natural materials, planted up some tyres too that i got at the weekend. we also gave the children the ingrediance to make playdough and pictorial instructions and left them to it we had some really good results and mess! - worth giving it a go i would say. have started to make up some weather boxes thank you to everyone for the ideas and websites.

 

we also had paintbrushes out with water and the children wrote on the playground. kitten792 i tried to include the 6 areas think we did quite well?

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Guest Darlington

Hi have you tried Sally Feartherstone's Little Books; Outdoor Play, Outside in All Weathers, Living Things etc. etc.

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Well our outdoor area is due to become a building site (Children's Centre being built onto the nursery entrance) so we loose our large wooden sand pit, we loose our benches, we loose our "springy" play equipment we loose the trampoline area and worst of all they are cutting down our lovely mature trees :oxD

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We have been assured that we won't loose any space outdoors they are compensating us with land from the adjoining field. The trees are irreplaceable and the rest will be lost for the next 6 months while building is taking place. On the positive side we will have a building site to observe and hopefully materials to scrounge!

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Had playground chalks out last week.As play developed we drew around a child.Then someone asked to draw around me :o Looked like a scene from CSI by the end of the session but was great fun (especially being a big kid myself xD ) Not laughed so much in ages :(

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