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Your Ideal Outdoor Space?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by lastgasp, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. lastgasp

    lastgasp New commenter


    We have been offered funding for our drab outdoor space. We have a fenced playground with no grass, a raised deck area and tree. We split the playground, half for bikes and the rest for everything else.

    What essential resources have you found to be most effective for your outdoor space? Looking for ideas and inspiration.

  2. May2

    May2 Established commenter

    We had a large sandpit purpose built that about 8 children could use at a time. It has wooden sleepers edging it for children to sit on, change shoes etc. We have large tractor tyres filled with gravel for the children to sit on and play with trucks and diggers.
    Use your fences as much as possible for different activities such as music area, hang old saucepans, pan lids etc also a metal dustbin lid to drum with wooden spoons. Use backs of wallpaper rolls and fix to fence for communal long drawing. If you have walls we got a large piece of marine plywood and painted with blackboard paint to make an economical blackboard for the children to practise their pencil skills and drawing. We also acquired a redundant white board from a class room and attached that to another wall.
    Do you need bikes everyday? We had ride- ons 3 times a week and then had dolls and buggies and more make believe play on other days with perhaps other physical play such as balancing beam and large wooden blocks from Community Playthings. They were expensive but worth the money we thought. We got the wheely cart so they could be wheeled in and out of our shed.
    You didn't say what you already had so I don't know how helpful these ideas are
    calamansi likes this.
  3. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Lead commenter

    Invest in the biggest set of community playthings blocks you can manage and fit in, they wil probably outlive you maybe even your chldren!
    Then see if you have a scrap store and get open ended resources for building, climbing, den making, guttering.
    Do away with bikes or at least limit their use otherwise they take over.
    look at anna Ephgrave video of setting up the outdoor space, I can't remember the name. It will give you ideas.
    make a space for growing,
    calamansi likes this.
  4. calamansi

    calamansi Lead commenter

    Doing away with bikes. - an excellent idea in a limited space. However, if you have enough room, a couple of slight inclines can be really fun, and little legs get tested by peddling up the smallest hill!

    Don't make the mistake of having everything in bright primary colours. Natural colours are far nicer to children's eyes when used in conjunction with plants etc.

    Encourage wildlife. Plant a couple of buddleias and mallows. Invest in a wildflower roll (see online). Or get an area of natural earth to scatter wildflower seeds with.
    Gsr25 likes this.
  5. lastgasp

    lastgasp New commenter

    Thanks so much for your ideas already guys. We have LOADS of water and sand toys although our children often fill up the sand tray with water. It seems that not having bikes everyday is a unanimous idea. I think we need some kind of climbing area to help upper body strength and gross motor skills. I like the idea of a growing area. Any other ideas are gratefully received.
  6. calamansi

    calamansi Lead commenter

    They fill the sand trays with water? Good for them!
    Gsr25 likes this.
  7. didi1866

    didi1866 New commenter

    reading den?
    den building in general is a hit
    treasure hunts
    story stones
  8. zippygeorgeandben

    zippygeorgeandben Occasional commenter

    I'm still looking for inspiration myself - are there companies out there who provide (although for a fee) a ready made area they can install?!
  9. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    Every child in nursery and reception that has ever lived does this!!
    calamansi likes this.
  10. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    I think having a rota for things like bikes and scooters is a good idea, so perhaps they only come out on Tuesdays and Thursdays so you have room for other things.

    Tuff trays filled with small world play or natural materials are great.
    One I saw recently was pumpkins, nails and hammers, something that needs close observation of course but an excellent way of teaching children how to follow instructions with how to use tools safely and a good assessment in fine motor skills also.

    I’m helping our year 1 team to develop their outdoor space further and we have a load of tyres which we will fix and fill with earth, some will be filled with herbs and the larger ones filled with earth then topped with gravel or wood chip to provide an space for small world play. We are also going to construct a den area for role play in a corner where we have some small trees.

    One thing I would be aware of is not having too much in the area. You can get so many wonderful resources but I’ve seen areas where they go mad on the resources and it can be really overwhelming, keep it simple, you don’t need to spend a fortune to create an enriching environment.
  11. calamansi

    calamansi Lead commenter


    Use ideas from this site and save enough money to install monkey bars!

    And have them at a challenging height that not all children will manage by the time they leave the nursery.

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