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We have just opened our new outdoor area. It is quite small but we have been using it over the last few weeks and the children are loving it. I am trying to sort out planning for it's use and have decided that as it is small we should have weekly themes so that all the areas of learning are covered over each half term. Here are my ideas so far:


Builders yard with wheel barrows, bricks, construction etc

Gardening with tools, compost, planting

Mark making with chalks, paints etc plus large paintbrushes to paint ground with water etc

Physical with large apparatus

Physical with small apparatus

Sand and water plus other gunky stuff like gelli baff and soap flakes

Small world play


Can anyone think of anything else? I have just ordered the little book of outdoor play so I'm hoping that will give me some more ideas.

Thank you :o

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You will find some resources overlap.The difficulty we have is when everything has to be set-up and put away in a difficult to access store daily.

We have a trolley on wheels at the front that we push out for basic provision then use extention.It allows us and the children instant access to resources as we play.Also means if the day starts poor but the weather improves we can react quickly and get out good provision.The current trolley only fits 4 boxes which are tweeked for seasons-briefly

Mark making-paper selection, pens, playgound chalk, crayons, chalk boards,clip boards

Books-fiction and non fiction (firemen, mini-beasts etc) We have a photographic number line that goes out daily in this box too.

Exploration -magnifiing glassses, collecting pots, extras for bird table, trowels

Small world-cars, dinosaurs,animals


We are hoping for a bigger trolley to add more.These boxes are in the store at the moment (with many more) but we would like these as constant provision.

Role play-masks and tabards

Home play-teaset and food

Contruction/garage-tool set hats small bricks

Small apperatus-varietyof balls, beans bags, quoits etc.


Bikes/prams/hoops//table & chairs/tuff spot/matting are also basic provision but Friday is 'Wheel Free Day' :o when the climbing frame comes out plus other things for gross motor.


We find with this arrangement we can plan for outside and ensure we cover each area daily yet still set up and packaway.


Good luck with your new arrangement


ps whats gelli baff?

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the children made some shakers using bottles with rice, soup mix, dried peas, pasta and we hung them on some rope with tin cans, a wok and things we can continue to add to it. The children use whisks and wooden spoons for taping and making music and it encourages them to sing. ger

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Thanks for your replies so far. I tried to add a picture of the children using the area but I can't work out how to do it.


We also have to pack away everyday so the trolley sounds a good idea. I like the music line idea to. We have humg hooks over the fences and are hanging streamers and ribbons and other things to brighten up the area. My mum also just bought a butterfly bead curtain for it to which will look lovely.



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And one or two "hiding places"? :o I was looking through some Learning Through Landscapes material this week and they had some lovely, simple ideas for creating little dens/hiding places. The best photo was of a huge hollowed out log, with a group of children snuggled inside, but I'm not sure that they'll be that easy to come by!

Edited by Wolfie
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Everyone seems to have the same problems with outside play- having to get everything out and put it away. We use the little book of outdoor play and find it invaluable. One of their ideas was to put some quick-drying concrete in a bucket with a broom shank in the middle- thus making a post. You can attach string between 2 posts and hang things from it.

One of our staff came up with the idea of threading 10 plastic balls along the string- the ones with holes in that older children use in PE for bats and ball practice. It's now a giant abacus as the balls can be moved along the string. We place it near a blackboard with chalk so the children can write numbers but you could also use it for tallying to keep score in a game. Hope you can picture it.

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Ask the children what they want, what they enjoy about the outside area. What schemas are they displaying at the moment that you could extend in your outside area? Try and be child led..........


We are trying to work on the premise that what is available inside should be equally available outside although we recognise this is harder in the winter. We have a portable writing area (box full of resources for lots of forms of markmaking), and one with whiteboards, pens and rubbers which work really well outside. I read somewhere about taking painting outside when its raining and seeing what happens.

We are applying for a grant for outdoor equipment including a trolley and all-in-one rain suits so that the parents can't get cross when (not if) the kids get dirty! The parents have donated loads of pairs of old wellies so we only need to buy the bigger sizes which helps.

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Our problem with our outdoor area isthat although we have security high fencing around the school - anything left out often gets damaged / stolen xD so we have to take everything in each night andput it out the next day. Our area isnt secure so we all go out together and with only 2 staff we sometimes get ready for outdoor play when we suddenly realise we havent put out the resources!! It is soo time consuming especially when we have to go in the dreaded 'outdoor cupboard' - enter at own risk - even our very flexible parent helper shudders when we mention it!!! :o


Good idea about wellies being passed on


Where do you get these grants from ???

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