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Digging area - what's yours like?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by hyssop_puppy, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Having lots of discussion with our SSO, who is about to build us a digging area.
    I'm favouring a raised bed type affair made out of the sort of wood they make planters out of, in a paved area.
    SSO thinks soil on paving will be dangerous. My plan is for there to be an ordinary flower/vegetable bed near that this could be swept into.
    I would be very inerested to hear what others have for digging in their settings. I have a bet on with our SSO because he thinks most schools don't have one at all and I'm relying on all of you to prove him wrong on that score!!
     
  2. Having lots of discussion with our SSO, who is about to build us a digging area.
    I'm favouring a raised bed type affair made out of the sort of wood they make planters out of, in a paved area.
    SSO thinks soil on paving will be dangerous. My plan is for there to be an ordinary flower/vegetable bed near that this could be swept into.
    I would be very inerested to hear what others have for digging in their settings. I have a bet on with our SSO because he thinks most schools don't have one at all and I'm relying on all of you to prove him wrong on that score!!
     
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  4. sadika

    sadika New commenter

    We have a digging area - only started a couple of months ago and at the moment looks something like WW1 trenches - MUD MUD and ... MUD!!! But we have great hopes for it come spring!! We have rectangular beds with wooden plank walls ... and have dug out a circle for out future willow dome ... !!!
     
  5. We used to have a stand in digging area.
    They got quite far down and I started to worry that they'd make a bid for freedom under the fence!!
    Also there was the day the twins went home literally caked in mud from head to toe. Their favourite activity wasn't so much digging as adding as much water as the deepening hole could hold and then get in. Mum wasn't exactly thrilled to receive two mudlarks at home time! I'm glad to say Mum works at the school in the office and has since forgiven me!
    But that's why I think I favour the raised bed version.
     
  6. We have a long raised bed.The children can access it from alsides and it was a great dinosaur sawmp last term. It works well and any spills are easily swept up. Our only issue with a digging area is cats. Would be interested if any body covers their digging area up when not in use?
     
  7. In Perth WA we have HUGE sandpits for digging. Lucky, yes. My classroom sandpit was altered a couple of years ago and these are the main issues that have arisen in hindsight
    ;1} Put a base in (eg weed matting/mesh) so that the kids KNOW that they have reached the bottom/ It also saves soil and sand being mixed together and ending up with poor soil or 'dirty' sand, 2) rough textured concrete around the edge means that the kids DON'T slip; flagstones ARE slippery especially when dry 3) we always use white (beach) sand which is readily available here and v few weeds grow in it 4) we always provide a large water container the size of a dustbin and when it's all used there's no more to be had. This is the only way we can be waterwise, otherwise the kids would continually pour water into the sand. Hope this is of some help. I appreciate that our locations are v different but the basics are the same. And as for your SSO questioning whether EY classrooms have a digging area ... please say it's a fundamental tactile/sensory activity.
     
  8. Thanks for the response julia pearl. It's really interesting to hear about your digging experiences!
    Textured flagstones/concrete may be possible, but our slipping problem would be a wet mud thing, not a dry sand thing! So I think sweeping it off smooth paving would be easier for us.
    A raised bed will hopefully overcome the need for weed matting. And the fact that it will be a soil digging area (have a climb-in sand box) will mean sand and soil won't mix - unless kids move one to the other!!
    I LOVE the idea of a set amount of water for mixing. Children adding water was one of our biggest problems with digging before. They found making mud irresistable. Mind you, they always fetched the water themselves in watering cans from the classrooms. So they would still need watching even if we think we've limited the amount of water they have access to!
    And don't worry about the SSO - he may think other schools don't have digging, but he'll still go along with what I'm asking for. He's very good like that!
     
  9. we have 3 raised beds , 2 are for plants for gardening club and general looking nice but i have nabbed the centre one for digging despite my TA trying to nab it back for planting up now. I am going hoping to let them use water in it but am also going to take down some saucepans and wooden spoons my problem is that they like flicking it really high into the hedge and it tends to come back down on anyone near!
     
  10. Yes, kind of expecting it to go everywhere. I get that in the classroom with the sand tray! There's one child who just can't control their digging so hopefully they'll enjoy the outdoor digging area when it's built.
     
  11. Not sure I'm brave enough to do that inky!
    I think they will just be excited to finally have somewhere to dig they won't care that I've decided where it is!
     
  12. I don't think my SSO's nerves could stand that!!
     
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Luckily we don't have a SSO
     
  14. What is an SSO? We had a large planter made out of sleepers but i don't think it was that successful. The children did small digging if you know what i mean, filling pots etc but it didn't allow for gross motor digging, i like the idea of getting into the pit (and tunnelling under!).
    We are redesigning our outdoor area this term with lots of input from the children it is really exciting but we have a small budget and lots to do!
     
  15. Site Service Officer.
    Actually ours is really very supportive and is helping me to plan and carry out improvements including making a digging area of some description, hence the original question asking what others have.
     
  16. we have a digging patch that the children started themselves and that we have now put a log edging around.
    we have waterproof suits and wellingtons that the children wear (helps with profile points weering right clothing and undressing and dressing )and an assortment of equipment like real child forks and spades as well as plastic ones and yes they add water to it but again seem to know when enough is enough .
    we have found it very intresting with the frozen ground recently and learnt alot of science as a result
     
  17. Hi, for our digging area we have a large tractor tyre. The children have wellies available for them to put on so they can either sit on the edge of the tractor tyre or actually get in the tyre. Great hit and really cheap if you can get hold of a tyre.
     
  18. suffolksmiler

    suffolksmiler New commenter

    Are any of you in schools? Our nursery children wear uniform but do bring wellies. We have a big sand area, that we cover with plastic tarpaulin to prevent cats. In the winter the rain weights it down, but great when it freezes (lots of science). Last year we had lots of discussions about where ice came from and where it would go? The best bit was when it was so thick that we took out large thick sheets, we put them on grass and the children ice skated on it. Think that we were the first nursery to create their own ice skating rink. In term of digging area we put gardening tools for digging, I tried dinosaurs etc but they prefer to just dig. In the sand pit we put sauce pans, baking trays and they spend ages "cooking". We do have a problem with them carrying sand around the garden, which means we "lose" at lot of sand. Both areas are made using railway sleepers.
     

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