Our playgrounds offer an outdoor space where children can explore in a natural playscape. This environment offers sensory stimulation, diverse
physical skills, and many opportunities to grow the mind and imagination.
Sand box (www.weewatch.com)
Children learn through play, and sand is no different. While playing with sand children have the freedom to explore, create, and ask
questions. Here are some ways children benefit from playing with sand and the skills they can develop and practice:
- Development of fine motor skills
- Hand & eye coordination – watching and doing and coordinating these actions
- Promotes creativity and imagination – using wet sand to mold sand into different shapes and objects, use colored sand to make patterns,
or use a fork, small rake or pencil to draw designs in the sand
- Sensory- development of the sense of touch through feeling and manipulating objects and molding the sand. Try different types of sand;
dry sand, wet sand, moon sand, sand foam, etc.
- Socialization – children love sand so it creates a great gathering place that encourages children to communicate, work together, share,
be creative and witness other children being creative
- Language development – playing with sand is a social activity requiring speaking and listening, which helps develop
- Overcoming challenges – problem solving
Dramatic Play/Mud Kitchen (theimaginationtree.com)
Kids need to have freedom to enjoy and engage with nature in as many ways as possible, even though this life is fast-paced and jam packed with busy-ness. Outdoor dramatic benefits children
in the following ways:
- Good mental health, freedom to be children, exploring outdoors and PLAYING freely!
- Good physical health- recent studies have shown we absolutely NEED to have dirt in our systems in order to develop a healthy immune system. Indeed the lack of
interaction with mud is causing deficiencies and weaker immune systems in kids worldwide.
- Allowing curiosity, exploration and experimentation in an open-ended way
- Mathematical opportunities for measuring, filling and emptying and exploring capacity
- Endless imaginative and role play possibilities starting with a blank play space structure which isn’t too prescribed in its usage and allows kids to create in
any way that suits their play
- Language development through descriptive words, scientific questioning and exploration, and storytelling through imaginative role play
- Rich and genuine messy, sensory experiences through combination of natural materials
- Scientific investigation as materials are combined, mixed, transferred and changed
- Fine motor skills developed through use of real tools in play situations
The connection between children and climbing involves more than curiosity or pent-up energy. Kids use skills like climbing to explore and test their environments as they grow. Playground climbers
allow children to conduct this important exploring in a safe yet stimulating setting.
Because of the crucial purpose exploration serves in childhood growth, climbing offers a number of multi-faceted benefits.
- Increased muscle tone and strength as ikds pull up their body weight.
- Improved fine motor movements as children use hand-eye coordination to grasp handholds and wrap their fingers around them.
- Improved gross motor movements as kids scale climbing structures and engage their entire body.
- Sharpened visual perception as kids scout areas to place their hands and feet while climbing.
- Refined speed, coordination, agility, and balance as children climb and continually improve.
- Practicing decision-making skills
- Completing an activity that requires a specific sequence
- Solving low-risk problems
- Visualizing solutions to a challenge
- Gaining confidence in their ability to face challenges
- Learning to cope with fear and stress when working through difficult tasks
- Developing self-reliance as they work to scale a climber on their own
Open space (aussiechildcarenetwork.com.au)
When outdoors children are able to run, skip, jump, climb, throw, hop, and catch while using their outside voices, which provides a healthy break from being
inside. Being outside gives children the opportunity to stretch their muscles, breathe fresh air, and enjoy the freedom of space.
- Children develop decision making (choosing an outdoor activity).
- Enables children to re-enact life experiences (playing as a firefighter, painting a fence with water).
- Encourages children to develop and co-ordinate hand/eye movements (catching, throwing etc).
- Helps children develop gross motor skills (climbing, swinging, jumping etc).
- Children have a better understanding of spatial awareness (swinging, climbing up, down, over or under).
- Develops children's balance (using the balance equipment, walking on different surfaces).
- Increases children's vocabulary (learning new names for natural objects, plants, birds animals).
- Demonstrates children's social skills (participating in social play with other children).