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Developing The Outside Area


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We are moving to a new area within the school soon and are moving from an all tar macked playground to a large grassed area. The area also has the bonus of a willow walk way, a small raised deck area for play and jumping off and a tunnel. The area has huge potential but we do not want to get a company in (can't afford it either) I am thinking along the lines of an area with bark chippings, sand area and an area with gravel and rocks. The area has just been fenced with a picket fence so we are self contained. Would love to hear some of your ideas or see some pictures of your outside areas just to give us inspiration. We are really committed to developing this in a natural and cheap way and doing it with just a group of willing helpers. We will also sqeeze in some vegetable and flower beds.

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How exciting! We were fortunate enough to have funding to develop our outdoor area last year. I went on an LA course which was invaluable to giving me ideas. Does your LA offer any such thing?

 

We have quite a small garden but perfectly formed! Our EY consultant called it 'a little gem'. There are different zones. First of all we have a covered decking area as a transition between the inside and outside. Children can decide what they want to do in this space. We have some large hollow blocks here. Some children want to be outside but not play on the grass and put wellies/dungarees on. We then have a made to measure storage area/water play area (still under cover) for children to access materials, many of which are open ended resources so cheap. We have an interesting, meandering block path which children enjoy following from one end of the garden to the other with their trolleys, pushcarts, and a couple of ride on toys. An important part of the garden is quiet area at the far end for quiet play and stories. We have a horseshoe shaped bench set on pebbles and stones of varying sizes (to develop large muscles on uneven surfaces) and colours , and a sensory flower bed/bird table, alongside a large blackboard. Another important aspect is the large walk-in sandpit down one side of the garden, with a gravel pit next to it (which does not get used much), with a log pile 'insect hotel' for mini-beast hunting. On the opposite side of the garden are raised flower/vegetable beds and a digging area, though On reflection I would have had the digging area lower like the sand pit rather than as an extension of the raised beds. We have a willow tunnel, and grass in the middle of all this. We also had an existing wooden playhouse. We have, as much as possible, used wood and natural materials.

 

 

Much of this could be done quite cheaply, especially if you know of a friendly carpenter.

 

Good luck with your project.

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Wow that sounds fantastic Deb. Your large walk in sandpit that you mentioned, does it have a cover that protects it from cats getting in? I am thinking of having a large sand area but it would need to be able to be covered when we are not there. Thanks for the information it gives us something to aspire to. :o

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Wow that sounds fantastic Deb. Your large walk in sandpit that you mentioned, does it have a cover that protects it from cats getting in? I am thinking of having a large sand area but it would need to be able to be covered when we are not there. Thanks for the information it gives us something to aspire to. :o

 

 

 

Hi Zigzag

 

Yes we have a good quality cover, heavy enough so as not to blow away. Our sandpit is such a peculiar shape that it had to be made to measure but it was only £140. It also has rope on the edges to secure it down but we don't use that. When it rains it makes a lovely splash pool for the children!

 

http://tarps.cunninghamcovers.co.uk/tarpau...CFVFc4QodyFixHQ

 

This was the company we used. They were very good. Sent us some material to make a template of the sandpit as it was such an odd shape - bit like a dog's leg.

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