Outdoor Enviroment is wonderful for the under 5's to explore - the
warmer days and sunshine motivate us to get out side. Just being outdoors
is often the only motivation some children need to explore the fresh air
and discover what their bodies can do - some children do not have an outdoor
space at home, and therefore really benefit and enjoy the space and freedom
an outdoor play area can offer.
It is important to remember
to use the outdoor enviroment whatever the weather, if you can - it is
as much fun to young children to jump in puddles on a wet day, to feel
the snow and frost on a cold day and to feel the wind through their hair
on a windy day as it is to be outside on a warm, sunny day - the best way
to learn about the weather and seasons is to experience it for themselves.
Can children learn outside
- of course they can - learning in the Foundation Stage can take place
anywhere! In fact Ofsted are actively looking for evidence that you provide
outdoor provision regualrily for children if you are working in a Early
One of the factors often
holding back the use of the outside area is the expense, but there are
lots of opportunties to offer as learning experiences to children, that
are relatively inexpensive and quick and easy to use. To start your ideas
flowing - I have listed a few below...
of water and Paint brushes
||Send the children
outside with this simple resource and encourage them to make marks - painting
patterns, their names, and shapes on the ground or fence. They can experiment
freely and then watch and learn as it evapourates away in the sunshine.
Their imaginations developes as they become builders and decorators, styling
the outdoors in their unique way.
||Books are wonderful
resources and can be taken anywhere - reading a story under the shade of
a tree, or on a rug in the garden, can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience
||Have you ever
encouraged the children to just stop and listen - there are so many sounds
you can hear and can talk about
- the birds singing, you
could be inspired to make your own music,
- the bees buzzing could
lead on to a chat about how honey is made or what they had for breakfast,
- a passing helicopter or
ambulance makes a different sound - can they guess what it is they are
listening too ?
range of balls, bats, ride on toys, are great fun to play with but if your
supplies are limited how about providing ropes to skip with, planks of
wood to balance along, guttering to role balls along or pour water from
one container to another, chalk marks on the ground to follow or drawn
as targets on a wall.
||A favourie outdoor
toy for us is an old two man tent - it provides all sort of imaginative
scenarios as the children take a holiday, cook a bbq and share their holiday
experience with others - ask around as you never know who may have one
hidden away in their loft.
and Water Play
singularly - offer children the opportunity to discover about its properties,
experiment with volume by adding different size containers, learn how to
pour, manipulate equipment and by adding small world toys - such as boats,
dinasaurs, and bugs, provide an opportunity for imaginative play and lots
of descriptive language. Expensive equipment is not needed - a washing
up bowl, with water in, is adequate for one or two children, and is great
for washing small toys and dolls clothes.
||A range of cardboard
boxes can really inspire the children's construction skills - a big one
could become a house or a space rocket and you could encourage the children
to decorate it. Several could be used to build a den, a hideaway or even
just a tunnel.
is wonderful, a favourite from my childhood and still a favourite today
- you can encourage the children to practise blowing to see who can make
the biggest bubble, or the most bubbles and then you can chase after them
and catch them. Making them aware of the space they are in.
seeds, preparing the soil, harvesting the crop, the children have the opportunity
to learn first hand about growing - a story about Jack in the Beanstalk
could inspire you to plant some beans, observe the difference as they grow
and then to harvest the crop and eat it together.
||These can be
easily performed outside and often benefit from the extra space - challenge
the children to hop to the tree, jump to the bench and walk backwards to
the door. NO equipment is needed just a wealth of ideas.
||'Here we go
round the Mulberry bush' could be sung aroung a real tree, the 'Farmer'
could have a really large den, and the cows could really be in the meadow
picking buttercups - if you had some growing nearby! By utilising the enviroment
you can bring real meaning to the songs.
can easily be taken outside - dolls and teddy bears could go outside with
a picnic of toy food, large construction materials could be used to build
bigger more inspiring objects, dressing up costumes could go outside to
allow firefighers and police officers to put out fires and to stop traffic
with the ride on toys - the list is endless.
As well as your immediate
outdoor environment - don't forget you may be lucky enough to explore further
afield - visit the forest, the park, the beach, the library, the shops,
your local area and discover the potential learning experiences that are
on offer there too.
Accedited Early Years Provider