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Planning For The Outdoor Area


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Hi everyone

After a year teaching outside the Foundation Stage i'm pleased to say i'm returning to it with a Reception class. Yay!


Just wondering if people could share ideas for how they plan for the outdoor area. In the past I've done it in two ways:


1. To plan activities based around the six areas of learning.


2. To plan activities based around the foolowing learning bays:


Imaginative play; building and construction; gymnasium; small apparatus; horticultural; environmental and scientific; art; quiet, and made sure the six areas were covered within these. (They were suggested in a book by Helen Bilton).


I can't decide which way is best and just wondered what others do, or if there is a format preferred by OfSTED as we're due an inspection this year.





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Hi Kelly,

Like you I would welcome some advice. I am not happy with our outside planning (or lack of it) at the moment. We just have a section on our planning sheet for each of the six areas for a focus activity outside - which runs along side our continuous provision for the outside area.


We have considered making up 5 big boxes or storage containers with the themes - travelling, creative, finding out (can't remember the other two - its late) and then during Child initiated letting the children collectively choose one theme/box for that day. But this is still in the pipe line.


I think we need a whole separate plan for our outside - especially as it has had a wonderful 'make-over' during the summer holidays.


Sorry I wasn't any help Kelly, but lets hope we get some replies!



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Hi there


I try to ensure that the areas of provision are accesible outside, so we have mark making ( paint, large sheets of paper, paintbrushes and chalks etc.) Numeracy box with dominoes, large dice, skittles. Construction is my large blocks as there isnt much room for them inside. Also have lego, stickle bricks, wooden blocks, small world etc. water, wet / dry sand dependent on what i have inside.

I too was thinking of making boxes ( easier for setting up and tidying away!!!) for the areas and making the following



literacy / mark making

music box

investigation ( magnifying glasses, seed trays, spades, mini beasts, clip boards, torches etc.

home corner theme ( cottage etc)

water toys

sand toys

malleable/ clay


does anyone else think along the same lines.


The difficulty is always setting uo, so anything that can aid this is better,

if anyone has any other ideas it would be lovely to hear them!!!


I also do a planning sheet for outdoor continuous curriculum and was thinking of pinning up on laminates my learning objective for day/ week!!!


Of course all this whilst im profiling, making observations, settling children in etc etc etc ha ha

charlotte :):)

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Hi Matilda


I tend to keep some of the basics out for continuos provision, but generally change most resources every 2-3 days as appropriate. Some things are kept out for the week depending on their success, e.g. a make-shift builder's yard was very popular with boys and girls and kept them motivated throughout the week and more.

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We plan our outdoor provision on a weekly basis(sometimes we carry over some activities for two weeks). We plan activities for work shop areas and incorporate the areas of learning - some areas are hit through several workshops


Our outdoor workshop areas at the moment are -

small world(construction, building bricks, dolls house

literacy(outdoor reading and writing corner)



gross motor skills(large construction, obstacle courses, bikes)

Curiosity Corner


fine motor skills(skittles, balls, hoops, beanbags)


These are planned for on a continuos provision planner that also shows classroom and shared area workshops. The idea being that wherever the children choose to work they can access all the areas of learning. Hope this makes sense.

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