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Outside Area Advice Needed!


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Hello!

 

I hope this post is in vaguely the right place...sorry if not, first time! :o

 

I am an NQT who has just joined the forum. I am in a 3 form entry school and started teaching reception in January. Our setting is very much in keeping with the new EYFS and we have free flow inside/outside between the three classes. Our outside space is large and well equipped. Sometimes we have up to 40/50 children outside. Most of the children will be involved in child-initiated activities but I am struggling with the children who just want to run around and don't seem to be doing anything purposeful - I will always encourage them to the areas and more constructive activity, challenges etc but they 'choose' not to do this. I would be grateful for any advice anyone in a similar setting may be able to give me, or anyone else who thinks they may be able to help!!

 

Thanks in advance

LittleMiss

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Hello Littlemiss, A warm welcome to the forum, and thanks for your first post. xD

My brain's a bit frazzled at the mo, so may get back to you later, I just didn't want to look, then leave your post without saying Hi. :(

 

I am sure there will be lots of ideas from others quite soon though, so 'watch this space'. :o

 

Peggy

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Hi, firstly welcome to the forum.

 

I'm trying to rack my brains trying to think of some wise advice. Is it always the same children who just want to run around? You may have tried this but could they perhaps make up a game that involves running, an obstacle course type of thing. Another thought is that when the children are inside I'm sure there are certain rules that they have to adhere, could you not have rules for the outdoors, one of which could be that perhaps there are only certain times of the day when they can run about. With continuous provision, I think it's still really important that the children have boundaries (which I'm sure they do) after all there are boundaries and rules in every walk of life. Anyway that's just what I think, it will be interesting to hear from others.

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Hey

Thank you for the warm welcomes!

 

SP61HJ, thank you for that advice - it is generally the same children and a re-think about the rules outside at certain points in the day would be very valuable. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. It will be interesting to hear from others too....

 

LittleMiss :o

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Hi there littlemiss, welcome to the forum and yes you found the right place.

 

Good advice there from SP61HJ.

If your area is large, is the a space you can section off with cones for running games? Obstacle course which they can create themselves might focus them to 'build' their own course, but also running games, maybe ball games. They obviously need to run about, and for them the running is their purpose, its just hard sometimes if they chase about and in the process cause problems for other children who actually don't want to do that. Being able to dress up often gives them a focus (often as superman or batman or whatever). Do you have places to climb? This also can help. Also do you have an adult who engages with them in running around?

 

Finally have you spoken to the children and asked what they are doing? My guess would be that they're not just running about but probabaly ARE playing some sort of game.

 

Funnily enough one thing I did find was that my quite boisterous boys (which did as you describe) loved to dance and when we put out music and ribbons etc, were more than happy to do that some of the time.

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It's always possible that for these children this is the only opportunity they actually have to run about like mad things! We shouldn't stifle this if it is the case, as this gross mobility is very important to them. Is it possible that you can do a 'mad ten minutes' every now and then, in an area and then have 20 minutes of a different activity then a mad 10 again - If they know they are going to get this opportunity again maybe they'll settle to do something else in between times

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It's always possible that for these children this is the only opportunity they actually have to run about like mad things! We shouldn't stifle this if it is the case, as this gross mobility is very important to them. Is it possible that you can do a 'mad ten minutes' every now and then, in an area and then have 20 minutes of a different activity then a mad 10 again - If they know they are going to get this opportunity again maybe they'll settle to do something else in between times

 

Hi

I just wanted to add something to your note Cait - I have a 'boy' boy who lives in a second floor flat and spends much of his time at home on the computer, watching TV playing with his mum but not outside - he spends much of his time running about and so would I in his position - I play chase games with the children where there are rules - running games no bikes or scooters in the area. He also enjoys hunt the letter, word and number games and digging in the mud!! finding insects and picking them up using tweezers (plastic) so it is possible to have boys on the move or any child who requires it - join in its good exercise for adults too and great fun ( by the way just to let you know I am over 50 and after a running game the children allow me to have a rest and bring me a drink)

hope this helps

g

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Thank you so much for the good advice. I take on board the reminders of being mindful of children's home environments too. This forum is great, I appreciate the time you all spent in replying to this post.

 

LittleMiss :o

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Just wondering if things like hobby horses may be useful and dressing up capes (just materialscraps) steering wheels, trundle wheels, wheel barrows the types of things that you can run around with but may also hook into a story!

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I usse the old system of children recording what they have done using an old painting easel with an outdoor visual timetable and velcro space rockets to attach when completed The kids love attching their rockets and completing activities or playing in different areas and i am seeing already that the boys who have poorer concentration are staying longer at different activities

 

doesn't work always but is an idea

 

 

welcome x

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In the autumn term I had a group of boys who loved to run up and down the long stretch of path we have - again and again and again... I asked them what they were doing and they said they were having races so that was easy to extend as I provided them rosettes with ordinal numbers on (sparklebox, of course! :o ) a sheet of paper to write the name of the winner of each race as well as air-flow ball beads on a string to keep score of who had won the most races. This actually focussed these boys a lot as it literally did just add a little extra to what they were wanting to do anyway, rather than me try and squeeze it into being something else more purposeful... Don't know if this would work for you, but you could have a racing lane set aside so it didn't disturb other children's play.

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Hey again thanks so much, some more fantastic ideas and lots I will definitely be trying out. I especially love those ideas for extending the boys races. Thank you thank you!!

LittleMiss Tired but Happy :o

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Hi LittleMiss - welcome to the forum xD

 

I am in a pre-school but have many boys of 4+ who seem to have an abundance of energy :o

 

I would agree they definately need a time to 'let of steam' but it is good to give them a bit of structure too! How about giving

each child a coloured piece of chalk and ask them to draw a 'lillypad' on the tarmac. They then go to one end of the area and

take it in turns to jump onto a 'lillypad'. They continue to jump onto each pad until they find one too far to jump, they will then draw a line from one pad to the other and carefully 'tight rope walk' along the line to reach the next pad! Sounds a bit long winded when its written down, but they focus on this activity for ages :(

 

dottyp

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Hi LittleMiss - welcome to the forum xD

 

I am in a pre-school but have many boys of 4+ who seem to have an abundance of energy :o

 

I would agree they definately need a time to 'let of steam' but it is good to give them a bit of structure too! How about giving

each child a coloured piece of chalk and ask them to draw a 'lillypad' on the tarmac. They then go to one end of the area and

take it in turns to jump onto a 'lillypad'. They continue to jump onto each pad until they find one too far to jump, they will then draw a line from one pad to the other and carefully 'tight rope walk' along the line to reach the next pad! Sounds a bit long winded when its written down, but they focus on this activity for ages :(

 

dottyp

Ooh - I like that one - will try it asap!

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Sorry to hijack this discussion, but I could do with some outdoor advice too! We have a large outdoor area with grass and a small area of paving. We have recently reorganised all our resources into boxes that we thought would simplify the system and encourage more child-initiated play. Unfortunately all that happened, was that all the resources were scattered across the area and became covered in mud! The answer is obviously rules - but when do rules become inhibiting to a child's play and learning? Do others restrict the children to only using certain resources in designated areas or are the children free to use them as they wish?

Can I also ask how you manage to staff free flow outdoor play? I have rumblings from colleagues who feel this is unworkable with 3 reception classes and a 39 place nursery in one area!

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