Developing outdoor areas
14 October 2011Add to My Folder
The outdoors is a fantastic environment and resource for young children, full of a wonderful range of sensory inputs. They can breathe in the fresh air and watch how the sky looks with the ever changing weather. They can listen to the birds sing, dig in the mud and see plants grow through the seasons.
The outdoors is also an ideal space for messy and mucky play, for having fun with water and splashing in the rain. In addition, the outdoors offers a great chance for your children to learn about managing risk and keeping themselves safe.
Creating a new outdoor area
Just over three years ago, I helped my local preschool create a brand new outdoor area. You can see the details about our project in these articles from the Nursery Ed resource bank . With the help of parents, local volunteers and local businesses, we built a lovely garden and outside space for our children.
When you’re planning to create a new outdoor area, consider the following practicalities:
- How will you fence off the area and keep it safe? As a packaway setting, we use sturdy but lightweight metal barriers.
- What will you do about shelter in the winter, and shade in the summer?
- How will you involve the children in planning for your new space?
- What risks are there, and how can you overcome these?
- How will you resource all areas of the EYFS?
- Where will you store your resources, and how will these be accessed?
- Can you include an outdoor tap? We have found this invaluable for all that mucky water play!
- Can you include spaces for planting? Will the planting be temporary (crops, annual seeds) or permanent (fruit trees, perennials)?
- Who will maintain any garden areas?
- What can you include to ensure winter interest?
- Is there space and finance for permanent structures, such as a climbing frame or playhouse?
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