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Spending Spree On The Outdoors!


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We have just been given £2000 to spend on outdoor play. At the moment we have a small shed, a fairly small tarmaced area, bikes and scooters. We want to spend the money wisely and would appreciate any ideas on things which you have bought or made which have worked really well. We would love to make the playground more 'natural' however the head isn't keen on us digging up a patch of concrete to make a very small grassy/woodland type space. Any ideas would be welcomed!! :)

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As you can't "dig up" maybe it would be useful to spend some of the money on large tubs/containers to plant herbs etc.

 

Why not ask the children, do a mini survey using lots of pictures of things that can go in / be used in a garden, children choose only one or two of their favourite item.

 

I did a competition once involving children and parents to "design" a garden for play. I had some really good responses in drawing, lists and a grand model form. :D When we het our garden finished we are going to name it after the child who was the winner of the competition. :D

 

I'm still fundraising and extremely jealous but also extremely pleased for you in receiving such a nice windfall. :o

 

Peggy

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Hi Lola,

How lovely to have some spending money! (It won't go far, though :o ) I say nag the Head for your little patch of nature - the learning you will get from it will be fantastic!

There have been various discussions about improving outdoor provision - have you tried a forum search?

You can make lots of cheap improvements, such as putting up chalk boards/ painting the wall with blackboard paint, putting up screens, washing lines, free standing planters etc etc.

Sand and water trays are a MUST :D

Tents? Picnic table/ outdoor table and chairs. Climbing wall.

 

Just a few thoughts to get you started.

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If you can't dig up what about growing things in old tyres? Also using them for crawling through, over etc.

I do envy you-we don't have a secure outside area. I would give anything to have one!!

Linda

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I was recently on a course for developing the outdoor classroom and the basic message was bikes/trikes are out! If buying wheeled vehicles get the type that has more than one seat (so its more sociable I guess) and can take on different roles rather than just be something to zoom around on.

The lady who took the course suggested putting together boxes of things to be used in the outdoors.

We have just put together a windy day box, a rainy day box, a outdoor mark making box, garage box and a jungle safari box.............great fun.

I agree about old tyres our children find lots of exciting things to do with them (I picked up 5 from behind a motorbike shop that had been left out with the rubbish..........with owners permission :o ) and parents have donated others .......... one granddad has offered some wagon tyres :) (the girls in general prefer the ones we spray painted lilac and pink)

You can buy potato barrells and raised beds which will stand on the tarmac and provide growing areas. We bought a cheap wooden sand pit which we filled with compost as a digging pit.

We are currently involved in developing our area and are lucky enough to have both grass and paved areas so our next big project is a living willow dragon :)

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Edited by Marion
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Lovely pictures, Marion :D

We use big tyres for painting too - splosh on paint and roll tyre along a long length of wallpaper :o

 

Your living willow dragon sounds good fun but beware - living willow sculptures are high maintenance!

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We have just been given a grant of £400 for our outside area, and we are going to put up a pergola which we hope to theme on a termly basis. Initially we are going to make it an outdoor 'sounds' area. We are going to hang items such as bowls, spoons whisks etc from it, so that the children can experiment with sounds, after making their own 'strikers'. We also hope to grow sensory plants over it - e.g touch, smell, taste.

 

We hope to change it into a 'writing' area in the future - wipe boards, black boards etc.

 

Hope this gives you more ideas. Good luck Lola

 

Sue

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Lovely pictures, Marion  :D

We use big tyres for painting too - splosh on paint and roll tyre along a long length of wallpaper  :o

 

Your living willow dragon sounds good fun but beware - living willow sculptures are high maintenance!

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I am really lucky the head has agreed to major investment in the outdoors. We are getting 2 fountains, a pavement cafe type area with 2 large storytelling thrones and a garden swing/hammock all bespoke. We plan to cover the walls with scented plants and add mirrors to form a sensory/quite area. We are also getting a large outdoor classroom built (subject to planning permission) and hope to develop our wild area to include a wet area. Thats phase 1. :)

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I am really glad that some of the powers that be are recognising the importance of the outdoors and are beginning to invest in it. My jaw dropped to the floor when our head gave us our new budget today and he had allocated £2000 for outdoor play. i gave it him back thinking he had made a typing error!!

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Congratulations Lola! You must be very excited about your outdoor fund!

We have a lovely large outdoor area, but because it is shared with the community centre and the young people that attend, we can't really do anything with it :o . Would be nice to have a section specifically for the pre-school, but the powers that be won't allow it.

 

I've got nothing to add, everyone has thought of the same things I have, so this is just a good luck message really. Hoping to see some lovely pics when it's all done!

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Guest tinkerbell

Lucky you Lola you will have fun spending that amount of money...we have a small enclosed outdoor area and have blackboards on the walls for BIG writing and drawing,water painting.

Marion I envy you too..we have a willow tunnel in our field which has amazing numbers of ladybirds every summer...it is high maintenance if you dont keep at it weaving the new branches in.....we left ours for a couple of years and it went bonkers.

Tinkerbellx

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Guest flutter

Hi Lola,

Don't be too quick to spend all that money. Sometimes you need to be out there using it fully to see what you need. My school spent a fortune setting up the outdoor area - tarmac, flower beds, climbing frame etc. I now could do with the money that the climbing frame cost to spend on equipment that needs replacing!!

 

A covered area is the most important then you can use it all the year round. The children don't mind getting wet but it keeps the equipment dry.

 

I recently visited a school that had put up one of those small open fronted barns you can buy as a garage - it made a fantastic rustic covered area where the children could read and do writing, puzzles etc.

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You right flutter the temptation is to spend it all at once but i really want it take my time and get it right. I went to a course on outdoor play last night in which they said outdoor play is swinging more towards nature rather than buying fancy resources whihc are actually very limited with what children can do with them. I agree with you about a covered area. On the course last night they said that they children will stay outside for hours no matter the weather. I do not believe this to be true - with our children anyway, We put on our wellies and raincoats and took our umbrellas out in the rain the other day and the majority of children were not impressed!!!!

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Guest flutter

Jackie H

 

I aslo use windy day/ rainy day bags. These can contain anything you can think of

 

Windy day bag - scarves, flags, small kites, windmills - can't think what else is in there.

 

Rainy day bag - bowls for catching the rain, whisks for bubbling up the puddles! mirrors, magnifying glasses, different materials to listen to the rain pattering on them, wellies for splashing in the puddles, umbrellas...

must be much more but can't remember at mo.

 

I bought large zip topped bags from a cheap shop and labelled the bags. Our shed is small so anything that will hang up, does!

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Do you do a daily plan for the outdoors Flutter or do you plan retrospectivley and put things out according to the weather?

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Guest flutter

Lola

 

They do get used to it if they are able to access the outdoor area frequently, although each cohort is different. Last year the majority of the class wanted to be outside whereas this year it is very few.

 

I am positively discriminating at the moment by taking a group out each day, encouraging them to develop their learning outside for about 15 mins and then they can choose to go back in.

 

However once out there they all want to stay outside!! So soon I will give them free choice again.

 

I think they just needed a little encouragement.

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Guest flutter

Sorry I just missed your thread.

 

Yes we plan retrospectively although when getting out equipment we try to take into consideration what had been available on previous days and children's requests. We offer activities for each area of the curriculum plus extras and try to be as innovative with our equipment as our imaginations will allow. (Getting worse as the year progresses!)

 

However, the children want bikes or scooters every day and we don't give them this choice!!

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we've just aquired 8 railway sleepers that we've managed t get cut so they fit snuggly together to make two large squares :)

 

one of them we've filled with gravel for the large tonka trucks and diggers... but we're still thinking about what to do with the other one... we already have a sandpit and two big tractor tires filled with soil for digging. We also have bark pits.

 

Any ideas?

 

I thought of lining it and having very very shallow water in it and growing swamp/water plants and maybe attracting flying pond life like dragon flies etc...

 

any other ideas?

 

Paul

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I'm really not trying to be a party pooper or a job's worth but I'm sure I read somewhere about not using railway sleepers for stuff because they can be carcinogenic - something to do with oil or something. I'm not sure if it depends on the age of the sleepers.

 

Of course, there's always the chance that I imagined it and that I'm thinking about something completely different - it has been known!

Edited by Guest
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I'm really not trying to be a party pooper or a job's worth but I'm sure I read somewhere about not using railway sleepers for stuff because they can be carcinogenic - something to do with oil or something. I'm not sure if it depends on the age of the sleepers.

 

Of course, there's always the chance that I imagined it and that I'm thinking about something completely different - it has been known!

55476[/snapback]

 

 

No you are right Moose but.......... you can buy untreated NEW railway sleepers (more expensive)

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Marion,

please can you list the things you have put in your windy/rainy day box.

Thanks Jackie

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Sorry Jackie just saw your post when looking for something else

Our windy day box has things like

windmills

windsocks

ribbons

bubbles

kites

those cheer leader tassel things pom-poms :o

umbrellas

rainy day box

umbrellas

water guage

bowls to collect water

chalk to mark around puddles

waterproof sheet to sit under and listen to the rain

 

will need to check back at school as thats all I can remember off hand

 

 

Actually came on to report that our willow has been built today! :D:D:D

We have had a wonderful sunny day lots of parents came to help and we fired up the BBQ.

Just as everything was packed up and the children had left the heavens opened .............so dont have to water it tonight :D and could leave at a reasonable time

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Edited by Marion
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  • 2 months later...

Rainy Day Resource Box

 

funnels

plastic bottles

tin trays

buckets

tubes

drain pipes

guttering

umbrellas

paint

brushes

plastic sheets

washing up liquid

oil

sponges

cloths

jugs

brooms

magnifying glass

waterwhee

rubber or plastic gloves with holes (allergies)

objects that float 9feathers, leaves, boats, )

containers for catching rain

pattern makers (tyres etc)

chalk (to draw around or mix with puddles)

rain guage

waterproofs

wellies

 

Water resource box

 

in addition to the above

hose pipe

transparent plastic tubing (various thicknesses and lengths)

water barrel

water way construction

warering cans

spray bottles

food colouring

ice or snow (salt)

paddling pools

 

related role play

car wash

window cleaning

washing day

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