Outdoor Play

The Foundation Years Team at 4Children (The national charity
all about children and families) say that “Being active regularly is good for all of us, but for the under fives it can be vital to their future health and wellbeing. 91% of children aged 2-4 are currently not meeting the UK physical activity guidelines for their age group of three hours of activity a day. This means that they are missing opportunities to positively benefit their health and establish healthy behaviours that carry on into adulthood.”

They say “Being physically active at a young age is proven to support brain development, enhance bone health and muscular development as well as have non-physical benefits to social and cognitive skills development and emotional wellbeing.”

In light of this and in order to ensure that every child has the opportunity for the best start in life the British Heart Foundation National Centre (BHFNC) and its Early Years Advisory Group last week launched its manifesto for physical activity in the early years. This sets out the Centre’s key asks to ensure every child has access to high quality physical activity opportunities from birth.

Read more about the manifesto here.

Here at Aston Childcare, we love the great outdoors. We visit the local park to play on large scale play equipment (ropes course, roundabout, swings etc) and we walk to and from school. We also enjoy lots of village walks.

I recently completed some training on Playing and Exploring which made me consider my immediate outside space and prompted me to do an outdoor audit to consider what activities and opportunities I offer in my garden.

For safety reasons, I operate a “one out, all out” policy, this means that if I have a baby indoors napping we will not go out.

Parents provide me with all weather clothing so the weather is never a hindrance to us getting out.

In the colder weather we obviously consider how to keep warm and in the hotter months we consider water provision and sun protection (including shade and suncream). In rain and ice we consider the surface underfoot.

The garden is secured by gates with locks and children are within my sight at all times.

A full risk assessment has been completed and is reviewed every 6 months.

Here are just some of the outdoor resources and activities on offer –

  • Painting and drawing
  • Number and letter magnets
  • Chalks
  • Gardening and gardening tools
  • Hopscotch
  • Den
  • Ball pit
  • Tunnel
  • Various ride on toys
  • Balls
  • Sand and water play
  • Blowing Bubbles
  • Gymnastics ribbon
  • Picnics
  • Magnifying glass
  • Paddling pool
  • Making mud pies
  • Skipping rope
  • Box of books
  • Picnic blanket

I am constantly reviewing the garden to ensure I am providing an enabling environment with opportunities to learn and explore.

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