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Your Outdoor Playarea 'must Haves' !


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we are designing our outdoor space -at the moment its just tarmac, with a few pots of plants,herbs + veg.

we have access to a large garden -so do not need to include anything along those lines in our new area - but what do other settings have that they have found to be a great idea (or any bad ones ?) what would you have if you had the option ?

we would like to have an outdoor raised sand pit, some seating, outdoor toy storage etc etc

we dont have loads of money to spend -but any ideas can be stored for when we get extra money to spend.

 

cheers !

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We have a large blackboard under cover and perspex attached to wall with clips so we can paint out there.

 

Crates are great and tubes and we have some wooden channels/ ramps.

 

We have a tractor tyre with sand in it.

 

Lots of boxes of resources that the children can access freely.

 

Oh and the water butt is brilliant!! (its actually a recycled wine barrel)

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A digging area! we finally made one last week and it has kept the most challenging boys really engrossed every session since! we've just provided old saucepans, bun tins, metal spoons etc and they make mud pies. I've buried "Treasure" for them to find too - and it's a free resource lol

 

Also tyres have been a fantastic addition to our outdoor area, they roll them with balls inside, get in them, hold them round their tummies to be space ships etc

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i would definately go for moveable items so that you can be flexible - we did the opposite and although the area looks lovely it does limit our play. Have you looked at the TTS spaces and places catalogue ? i was drooling over mine yesterday......teepees made of willow, stands for the builders trays, bamboo water channels aaah anyone got the winning lottery numbers for tonight???? xD:o

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crates and lots of them- milk and bread ones can be begged borrowed and .... quite easily- these go brilliantly with guttering/ drainpipes and tyres of all sizes :-)

pots and pans as mentioned (car boots are great for these or just ask parents). pieces of decking or similar are also great as the children can create different pathways with them.

 

A log area to encourage mini-beasts, small pond made from an old basin or even better a belfast sink. Even the soft plastic trugs used for gardening can be made into a pond- I have seen very shallow wide trugs so these would be ideal for creating a habitat for water based mini-beasts.

 

Can you plant up an area with wildflower seeds to create a mini meadow? this would be lovely to encourage more insects into the grounds. :o

 

mud pit too xD

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We also have a large digging and sand area and is always in use

maybe funds might allow for an outside tap, ours is always in use

 

And i would say go for natural items because these things have many uses as opposed to bought products that have limited use

 

we have a box of musical instruments too.... these are made musical instruments, metal trivets, metal chimes, metal fruit bowl with a variety of tools to bang with, this always proves popular

 

I would also spend some money on factual leaflets books downloads on nature, trees mini beasts along these are alaso well used and helps support the science box we have

 

lucky you enjoy your spend

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like you we had to be very carefull how we spent our money so we bought the essentials, special play surface and a super blind that we can unwind so we can play outside in all weathers. we collected items for weather boxes that can be bought really cheaply from the pound shop!

we also use guttering, plastic tubes, cardboard tubes,tyers, crates etc in fact all sorts of objects that we would normally throw away, crinkly paper, plastic milk bottles, cds threded and hung in the trees, we have blackboards and paint boards up on the walls. and we bought a moveable trolley to store everything that just gets wheeled out everyday. we have lots of water play too. We do plan for outside play but invarably the children make up fantastic games with our trolley full of recyclable objects. cardboard boxes,string, tubes,etc etc

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Knossington!

Can I ask you where you got your trolley from? Am looking to buy some. Have found some in our local cheap and cheerful shop, but am wondering if I should go for a more expensive version from a 'reputable' source. I don't want it falling apart after a term's pushing around!

Many thanks

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Hi we love our soft tufts too have used them with sand in one and water in the other and the children take their shoes and socks off great fun, have to say they have been one of our best investments. We are also in the process of having a new outside space which i'm very excited about, but am very conscious of buying the best equipment in terms of play value, so i have been looking at more natural products, items the children can explore without any predisposed intention and wait to see what happens, items already on my list are: New windable awning as we are a packaway setting, whiteboard, new soft all weather play surface, large raised planters, we are very lucky to have another outdoor grassed area for veg/fruit planting and large physical play, wood, bark, shells, large pebbles, guttering, saucepans,[threading looms with the vouchers collected], bits of pipes, milk crates, tyres, a large storage chest on wheels with other resources such as large pieces of materials for den making, pegs, string, ropes, love the idea of a perspex board suitable for painting. Mud pie area a must as the children just love to dig [looking for items to add to this to give a new dimension] so any other ideas would also be gratefully received many thanks and good luck.

Edited by bridger
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another excellent use of freebies are skips, and any area that is being or having diy done i have collected wheels that cable was wound on, tyres, guttering and piping,, all free!!

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careful you check first or you could be charged with theft, even though it's in a skip and obviously not wanted, it remains the property of the owner until the skip is removed and even then, I believe, 'ownership' is still legally binding if what was 'dumped' is illegal waste

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Guest jstree3

Does anyone know where we can get a-frames from. We were advised by our Early years advisors to get them for our outside area.

We have washing lines outside with a variey of stuff to peg up on it. We have a story corner under our covered area with a large seat and carpet.

We have a creative area and construction area and role play. We are looking forward to having raised bedding areas as we have a concrete area. Our shed houses small world play i.e. for our builders tray.

Hope this helps but we are working on our outside area too. So getting lots of new ideas.

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We have also redesigned our outdoor area recently and have got rid of a lot of the plastic items which the children didn't really use and have replaced with more natural items. We have a story circle with tree stumps, an area for attracting wild life using logs, a bug hotel using palettes, bricks and twigs.

The best thing which I am currently working on (it's going to be an ongoing process I think!!) are the grab and go boxes for our cupboard. I've attached the sheet I am using to plan and resource the boxes if it's any use to people!

Grab_and_go_boxes.doc

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We have also redesigned our outdoor area recently and have got rid of a lot of the plastic items which the children didn't really use and have replaced with more natural items. We have a story circle with tree stumps, an area for attracting wild life using logs, a bug hotel using palettes, bricks and twigs.

The best thing which I am currently working on (it's going to be an ongoing process I think!!) are the grab and go boxes for our cupboard. I've attached the sheet I am using to plan and resource the boxes if it's any use to people!

 

You have clearly put a lot of work into these boxes but I just wondered if maybe it was a little too prescriptive and that you are making work for yourself, when as you know we all have plenty of that to do! I would be tempted to have a 'dressing up box' rather than a Shiver me timber, off to the shops and 3 little pigs box. Just a load of dressing up clothes so that the children can decide what to do and along what theme they choose.

I too have a box with builders hats and tools in but I also have permanent maths drawers outside where the children go to access tape measures, spirit levels etc. Maybe this is another way of doing it? Having permanent resources outside (in wheelie drawer units) and teach the children to move resources about and gather what they need themselves, rather than putting it in a grab and go box.

However, I love your weather box, den box, explorer box, music box and weaving box. I also have these and find them very useful.

Another box I find useful is a writer's and illustrator's tool box, which the children can pick up and take anywhere.

Hope that was helpful!?

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  • 2 weeks later...

In terms of my outdoor environment, I initially look at the development matters statements and decide how these can be taught in the outdoors, for e.g. I may concentrate on 30-50 months so I go through the curriculum and identify how my environment outdoors enables children to learn. Physical development is the easiest, for example, under 30-50 months, it states, 'ch moving in different ways, pushing and pulling objects, balancing,' etc so I ensure the environment has resources that enable ch to push and pull e.g. wheelbarrows, bikes, prams etc, balancing I may put out planks, stilts etc.

 

Again KUW is easy as it is about allowing ch to find out about living objects, to describe and talk about what they see, so in my investigation area ( which changes with seasons) I have magnifying glasses, plastic spoons and plastic cups for collecting minibeasts, worms etc, non fiction books, clipboards etc. ICT I want to get some large remote control toys and a camera kids can use themselves. Just spent alot of time improving my water area and it includes 3 different lengths of guttering ( this links to PSRN, ' compare two or three items by length'), different sized buckets, tubing of different lengths, large wall paper brushes, ( had hoops and bubbles in summer, ice in winter!) etc etc. DT ensure there are large crates, blocks, large pieces of material etc that allow ch to,' build and construct for a purpose,'

 

I would ensure that your basic continuous provision outside enables children to learn all six areas of learning, another good one is Creating music and dance, I have a CD player, sticks with ribbon on the end ( boys loved them far more that scarves), laminated cards with nursery rhymes on, junk instruments etc etc. This then allows ch to, I quote, ' sing familiar songs, join in with dancing, make songs up etc etc)

 

I hope this makes sense, I guess what I am trying to say is look at the statements within development matters and then consider how your environment outdoors supports this.

 

I am planning to refresh my long term plans for outdoor so will post a few when I have done!! :o

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You have clearly put a lot of work into these boxes but I just wondered if maybe it was a little too prescriptive and that you are making work for yourself,

 

 

Just wanted to add, that while it might seem the boxes are a prescriptive, there are also a couple of points to consider:-

 

1. Within ECERS, there is a suggestion to have 'prop boxes' available (can't find actual wording....)

 

2. To respond to chidren's interests it is important to be able to 'grab' resources as necessary.

 

So 'grab and go' boxes are valuable, tidy, resources for the staff and will ultimately be a time-saver as you don't have to think about what is available when little Johnny decides he is going to be a pirate all day!! :o

 

Great idea, thanks for shairng!!

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Hi All,

 

Our nursery play area is very much, soft tarmac with movable toys and sand pit; which is good and very easy to change the toys available. The main natural objects/living things are plant pots of flowers and plants. I would like to develop this area to include more experiences of nature and natural objects outdoors. Does anyone have any ideas?

 

We have an abundance of spare tyres which are mainly used to section of an area foor the cars and bikes, but I have thought of filling some with natural things such as grass, soil, wood chippings. Does anyone have any other suggestions which they have found children to enjoy experiencing?

 

Sorry to change the conversstion ... I might then look at our water play area after reading this thread for inspiration.

 

Thanks :o

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Hi, I would like to get your views on the type of "large" outdoor play equipment you might have in your settings. We purchased a large sandpit which doubles as a stage last year and its brilliant the ch really love it, we had large plastic climbing frames that the ch loved and used to explore different ways of moving and could also manage their own risk. We have now got rid of these in favour of wooden equipment - however I am a little concerned as the new set includes swings. The play surface is tarmac with an inch or so layer of rubber surfacing.

We really like exploring the garden and have used quite a few of the earlier ideas, we have chalk boards which we hang on the railings and the ch also use large chalks to make marks on the ground. We have a raised flower bed but this has really now become a digging area and is very popular. Water play is also really popular and the ch are able to access an outside tap, however this is well supervised.

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