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Outdoor Play Area

Guest terrydoo73

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Guest terrydoo73

We have a wonderful outside enclosed area, not very big but it has special matting so no grass, trees etc. It is surrounded by a wooden fence which is a bit bland. I have put up the large wheelie bin numbers at one end and butterfly mirrors on another part. At the lower end we erected a small football net (tied to the fence) and a few wash baskets with their bottoms cut out for basketball. At the end next to the building we have 4 windows, 2 of which have grills so we put on these 8 hanging bright colourful baskets which the children planted up - our nasturtium and sweet pea are coming up but the violas are crowding them out a bit! We do have some old pots and pans hanging along the fence for music and a few windchimes, windsocks and twirly things that shimmer in the sun and move with the wind but that is it.


We are now finishing up for Easter but am starting to wonder about next term which will last for 9 weeks. I had thought of something like a beach windbreaker attached to the fence but my mind went blank after this. I really want to break up the bland fence.


Having said that I have two large planters to be put in place tomorrow before we finish up. We are taking out the compost from our sand tray and putting it in there to be able to wash the pit out before we leave. The children planted sunflowers and I have a few extra so was going to put them into the planters. They also tried some lettuce which have gone a bit spindly but I am going to plant the yoghurt pots with the lettuce inside in the soil and hope they make some progress - I will do another line of lettuce leaves just in case. We also hid some onion bulbs in our compost which we got all the children to plant up in pots so they will go into the plants as well - giving us 2 vegetable planters and 8 flower hanging baskets!!


We do have a couple of tyres in the area which children love to roll and there is a plank for them to balance and walk along. As the area is so small we cannot have ride ons so opted for wheelbarrows and pushchairs. We do hang out a piece of old cardboard on the fence and attach some paper on top for the children to do some art work. I was just wondering - would canvas painting be expensive. I was sort of thinking about getting the children to do their own and then hang them along the fence or perhaps I could just laminate large pictures of each child?? We have gathered up the lilt bottles and I was thinking of maybe hanging these up with the laminated words of the Ten green bottles poem below them. I just want to create something of interest that would be appealing to the children but also colourful if we had visitors?


Any suggestions anyone ...

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Not sure what kind of fence you have, but here are some ideas:


Grid for weaving (plastic coated ones from garden centre cheaper than those in catalogues)


Gutter for rolling balls down


laminated pictures / photos / numbers / etc last quite a while


Hollow balls (the small plastic ones with holes in) work well on string for counting etc.


den building equipment - fabric, pegs, clothes horse etc.


Ten green bottles - use the plastic water bottles and number them.


just a few - might think of more

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Guest terrydoo73

Thank you for your replies. We have the panel type fenceboard so they are tight together - no-one can see in or out!! There is a wall at the bottom and the fence is on top of it. The fence was also put against the wall for health and safety ie smooth surface.


I have the little chalkboards for the children to use on their own - we have 2 picnic tables which they can sit at and draw at.


I am not sure about the grid for weaving - will investigate it over Easter and see what I can find. Also I like the guttering so I will source this too. I guess what I could do is use the inside of the tyre and let the children roll a ball down the guttering and into the tyre?


What you say about the plastic bottles is what I was thinking of too in terms of the Lilt bottles so will go ahead with this idea. Might also consider laminating large pictures of the children and put them up around the outdoor play area - just need to get them actually doing something active in the outdoor area rather than posing perfect for them.

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bread and milk crate - soe supermarkets will give you them for free

large cardboard boxes and those big cardboard inner tubes - ones get inside material rolls- most material shops will give you a load for free is you ask.


my children make waterways with the crates and guttering/ drainpipes into trays and buckets


material/ chairs/ bulldog clips to make dens - if you peg one end of material to fence and the other end to some chairs then use a cardboard tube to prop up the middle


washing line tied to the fence or bars on your window


mine love just unrolling a roll of lining paper and painting ontop or on the floor with brushes/ various objects/ spray bottles/ washing up liquid bottles/ brushes on the end of garden cains or brush handles if you add washing up liquid to the paint it helps the brushes glide and helps the paint to be washed away by the rain.


spray bottles/ squirty bottles/ washing up liquid bottles filled with water.

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