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Planning For The Outside Environment


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Hi everyone, just wanted to see how others planned for the outside environment. Up until recently we have always had an allocated time for outside play, this was mainly due to the fact that we are in an upstairs flat and only have access to the outside via the fire escape stairs or the stairs leading to the front door. As you can imagine this could prove difficult allowing the children free access to the outside. We also share the area with the public and have swings, slide, climbing frame etc situated within the space. We have just had new fences erected and the area is now for us to develop, hence having a summer house for role play, a sand hill and digging areas, in fact the whole of the outside is going to be developed which is very exiting. We are also aiming to have independent play for both inside and outside for one hour of the session, this is proving difficult at present due to the stairs and play park equipment, we find that although activities are set up, the children are easily distracted by the slide etc and the area is difficult to 'police'! I am interested to see if anyone else has this type of problem and how they manage it. Also how others plan for the outside, is it an independent choice throughout the sesion or an allocated time.

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Hi Sunny,


We have recently moved from being up stairs to a one storey building and it is Heaven!!


I know how difficult it is for you, outside time used to have to be at set times in order to supervise it safely. Whenever possible though we have always offered the same activities outdoors as inside. We also found that some children would play with the same equipment every session, what is your climbing equipment like is it possible to change the type of play by decorating it? ie making it a pirate ship, tuning the underneath into a home corner etc...


We also used outside during small group times for specific activities like mini beats hunts, hide red objects and then hunt for them. With a smaller group and a couple of adults it is easier to keep their attention on the different activities planned instead of a staff member being stationed at the frame.


We are now lucky enough to have a decked area which is available to the children all day but we still have set times where all the children go outside to our larger play area, having said that if occasionally a child really doesn't want to go outside we don't make them and will arrange for a small number of children at a time to stay inside with one member of staff. We find that if one child wants to stay in there are always a few more that want to too! We do make the outdoor area accessible and inviting to all children by following the rule that aswell as the outdoor equipment the same opportunities inside are offered outside. This does mean moving alot of equipment around twice a day but it is well worth it.


Well I feel like I have waffled on a bit now!! I hope your new outdoor area changes your working day as much as it did ours!!



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