Changing hearts, minds and practice
Early Years Outdoors
This blog is getting too big! To help pre-school practitioners, this page is dedicated to you, to save time searching and wondering whether a post is going to be suitable. In Scotland, the Early Level within Curriculum for Excellence includes Primary 1 where children may 6 years old. So this section is also relevant for those practitioners who are working with this age group.
Here’s links to different posts in this blog:
This blog post is a useful reading list for anyone wanting to learn more about this aspect of provision.
10 Ideas for….
Perfect for International Mud Day 29th June.
Lots of wet weather challenges and exploratory activities.
Enjoy the excitement and freedom of playing with the wind!
Just the ticket for any time of year.
Lots of lovely ways to learn around and about puddles
Ideas and suggestions for using puppets outside. Check out the link to the video clip. It’s inspirational!
Story stones are one of the most versatile creative literacy resources. Time to create some and get those stories flowing!
It’s surprisingly hard to find lots of ideas about using shells – I hope you enjoy this selection.
Finding out about seafood through exploring the leftovers! Not as gross as it sounds!
Activities on the go for young children
Looking at earth processes taking place all around us
Everybody needs a rock
Heads down and walk through the town to see the history of activity
Using these seven themes advocated by David Sobel to plan and develop outdoor learning and play opportunities.
looking for and matching leaves outside
When older children made one for the nursery and P1 classes
Reflecting on a water wall activity
Take Tom Sensori Bedard’s work and making it even bigger and better outside
Enjoy inventing water games now that summer has arrived
Congratulations Mile End Nursery!
Give children a challenge and see where they take it
Creating labyrinths from rope and chalk
A sensory reflective experience for adults as well as children
Using ropes, ribbons and enthusiasm
How can we improve bike play for our children?
How to improve bike play inspired by Macquarie Lake Variety Playground, Newcastle NSW, Australia.
Lots of uses and suggestions for activities for all ages
Top tips from RSPB Officer, Claire Marsden
Car washing in school
Linking stones to their potential for literacy and maths activities
Using your sense of hearing
Using wordles to support outdoor learning activities
Some basic advice to get this going. (Psst! It’s really very easy!)
Practical tips for organising writing outside all year round
Improving your outdoor space as a place to write
Punctuation inspiration from outside
Outdoor literacy workshop based on circles
Using tyres for poetry work
How to lengthen the life of a book by taking it outside
Making letters from natural materials
The power of abstract designs on story telling
Using landmarks and literacy with young children
Outdoor literacy at its best
Creating letters using double sided sticky tape and natural materials
Using sticks to create capital letters
For seeing letters and outdoor spaces in a different way
A World Book Day activity
Environmental print that is not so welcoming
An Earth Day activity using this book as a springboard
How to keep your secret messages secret outside!
Ideas for developing writing outside – more for older children but some adaptable activities
Beech folklore and public art used to inspire writing outdoors
Using books as a springboard into learning outside.
A super context for fantasy small-world play outside. It’s been an ongoing project in Westpark nursery.
Time to get outside, get active and enjoy reading or finding out more about books. 10 suggestions to get you started.
The story of the holly, the pine and the robin. A little Christmas tale to warm your heart.
Practical suggestions to support children as they move into this process
A budget approach to books bags or story sacks. Just add nature play ideas – no need to worry about missing jigsaw pieces anymore.
Brilliantly simple concept! Perfect for learning about patterns, relationships and mathematical rules.
Using natural materials to practise cooperatively counting 20 objects
An ancient strategy games for 2 players
Where symmetry begins
Moving onto to play based experiences in the outdoor space or school grounds
Infinite possibilities for recurrent patterns
Lets get the mental maths going with stick tapping fun!
Making a fraction wall from sticks
Creating triangles from sticks
A simple clock to tell the time outside
Incredibly simple activity for young children
One big stick for measuring everything and anything!
Shiver me timbers! A landlubbing activity looking at sycamore leaves for work on numbers
Explore shape, position and movement in different ways through designer playground markings
Looking at traditions around money and trees
Exploring pattern outside
An open-ended picture play game with sticks
A good way to introduce or revise the concept of pairs
Infinite possibilities for learning about patterns, rules, attributes and number recognition
The brilliant dance of potential when nature is used to explore maths and art concepts. Just sit down and play! Perfect for the beach or sand pit.
Introducing Sammy the Snake to help your children learn about measurement, fractions, forming numerals and many other aspects of maths.
When a play-based activity turns into a mathematical game. Lovely guest post from Niki Willows.
Lots of beastly maths ideas for different ages and stages…
An nature-art approach to learning about and exploring the properties of 2D shapes
Brilliantly simple approach to exploring properties of 2D shapes especially if you have an old tarp that could be re-used. Perfect for free play or continuous provision.
Never has long threads and textures been so appealing. Lots of ideas from different EY settings.
Inspiration for leaf art from Alan Kain’s Go2Play session
Very simple, wet outdoor activity
A great outdoor art project for all ages
The ultimate environmentally friendly solution
Creating felt insoles for winter warmth
A must-do fundraising textile project for all ages
A simple way of making portable mats for sitting on, using heritage breeds of wool
Collecting and admiring the beauty of litter
More ideas, especially art ones for using stones
An arty activity in the snow
Stencils, sprays and syringes and using them outside
Ideas for using fences
More fab ideas from Inverallochy School
Shared play through a big fence
Beautiful fence displays
Fraserburgh South Nursery fence gets a huge makeover
More than just fences and so worth a look!
When you see vandalism and all you have is a bag of clay
Beautiful displays to make your mouth water from Durham EY Outdoors Conference
Clay worms for leaving outside
A random act of discovery of a pebble mosaic in Lytham
The Lakeland Panorama in Morecambe, challenging play for everyone
A bag of sand can be placed and used anywhere
When public art and play features come together on an accessible woodland walk. Great ideas for transferring to other places such as school grounds
An essential item when working with natural materials outside
The art of rock balancing – suitable for all ages
Creating sculptures for your outdoor space using recycled wood off-cuts, Perspex, CDs and a lot of imagination.
Celebrate our environment through a children’s art project.
An interactive old-fashioned mural, designed for stimulating imaginative and dramatic play.
An arty activity in the snow
Lots more snowy activities
Ideas for a festive season outside
An alternative outdoor calendar of sorts
What to do with non-native sitka saplings
Star gazing events for schools and clubs
And it’s not even Christmas. This works well throughout winter.
Stencils, sprays and syringes and using them outside.
Inspiration from Norway
Several of my favourite activities, all in the one place!
All year round activites for exploring properties of shadows
Photo Booth provides an alternative way of investigating an capturing shadows
A few simple resources for developing imaginative play
How to collect and prepare conkers
An engaging activity collecting berries and autumn fruits
Autumn and dealing with death
Mushrooms in schools are a lot of fun
Creative thoughts about leaves
A war time solution to avoiding scurvy!
A nature jigsaw
A simple follow-up activity to help children remember an outdoor experience or walk and to celebrate autumn
A belated Earth Day activity
How to make the perfect Pace Egg
Why snowdrops show that spring is coming
A lovely end to the term with older children creating a trail for younger ones to follow
Reflections on flowers and the humble crocus
Games, recipes, activities and challenges galore!
Ideas for using digital technology outdoors
Fantasy iPhone game to play in a local park
Using a camera to view the world differently
Using this iPad programme to explore place outdoors
Thoughts about our relationship with digital technology
Capture those outdoor experiences with Photo Shaper
Using Photo Booth to explore clouds
Skitch Those Water Walls!
Annotating photos of design ideas
A natural alternative to traditional hangers and bird feeders with curriculum ideas included. A must read.
Advice for establishing a wormery
what to do when you find a worm
Squirrel proof bird feeders
Advice and information about biodiversity gardening with young children
Celebrating a new garden in style
Have a look at this West Coast example
Some thoughts about the play and learning value of these items
The ins and outs of making compost
Some thoughts, ideas and examples
My mini pond is growing!
An adult learning project leads the way for practical and enterprising approaches to gardening that schools can use for ideas and inspiration
An amazing indoor experience!
The answer is likely to be “yes” and everyone is just fine
A reflection upon creating meditative landscapes
A spot of guerrilla gardening!
Former professional wildlife gardener turned RSPB Officer, Ella McLellan, gives some useful advice and food for thought about wildlife gardens in schools
The old-fashioned log pile is an essential feature in any school ground or outdoor space and great for biodiversity.
Exploring a variety of man-made minibeast dwellings. Upcycle, recycle, be artistic and creative and enjoy seeing the wildlife move in.
A simple way of making packets to collect and store seeds. Brilliant!
Riverbank Primary School’s garden trug show! Before long they could rival Chelsea Flower Show!
A selection of very simple and doable ideas for making your outdoor space more welcoming for our little creatures.
Using a natural soap for hand washing – easy to grow and use.
Woodland play and learning, nature kindergartens, etc. in the UK
Ideas about the unique nature of a woodland which gives it high play potential?
Nature Nurture Project, Camphill Aberdeen
A free play project for vulnerable children
Family fun in the woods with lots of pre-school children
Super example of a woodland developed by a school in partnership with rangers
A couple of clips
An afternoon spent with St Paul’s nursery
What happened in Scotland when the children met Skogsmulle
A free play approach to literacy acquisition outside
Come and look!
Changing perceptions about features in our environment.
Finding nature in the heart of the granite city. In the middle of winter. Amazing and inspiring.
A positive, peaceful tradition which can be established in a peace garden or other special place.
Have you got any of these wonderful play features in your neck of the woods?
A transformation from a traditional to nature-based practice at this establishment. Great example of supporting and empowering staff through the process.
A list of the outdoor EY settings in Scotland. Please let me know if you know of others.
Fabulous messy play area at Fort William Stramash Outdoor Nursery.
The travelling fellowship
Using trees for shade and shelter
An Interview with Sharon Danks, author
The interview continues. Great advice about school yard transformation
In celebration of International Mud Day
International training for children and nature
An account of a morning on a Mulle Walk!
A Swedish outdoor pre-school
A quick tour to satisfy your curiosity
A little reflective thought about system change needed in education
First of three post about outdoor activities in CZ nurseries
A much-loved village nursery that developed its grounds
A photofest of ideas from a Swedish pre-school’s outdoor space
Find out more about the German approach to outdoor nurseries
Finding the wild side of Aberdeen through the use of a local beach
A beautifully constructed compact and bijou playspace for children.
An international school that has a 2-week immersion in the forest at the start of every year.
Great examples of dry creeks and practical advice from Australia
A specially designed free play space in the bush – in the heart of Perth, Western Australia
Glendale EC Centre in NSW, Australia, provide inspiration for use of pallets in their outdoor space.
A core part of any outdoor space are places to slide. Enjoy the examples in this blog post.
Kookaburra Korner in NSW Australia – lovely example.
A run down of resources which are tough, can be left outside and withstand high amounts of use
10 useful bits and pieces for outdoor play
Buying resources at sale times from supermarkets
Portable outdoor seating
The ultimate environmentally friendly solution
Some tried and tested examples
A simple homework activity
What would you do to re-use these seats?
A portable storage solution
An essential outdoor resource
The fun of magnifiers
General advice about continuing the frequent access to outdoor play
How do you use yours?
And this is what happened…
A wonderful resource – a must for any pre-school or school
The variety of uses continues
Big water experience for all ages
Ditch the parachute and balls for this challenging alternative
An essential resource for water and other big play experiences
Versatile, tactile, lightweight and suitable for all ages
a quick way to make a den, hang things, etc.
Ways of using a discarded climbing rope in pre-school
Rope work ideas with children of all ages
A big play experience with the little sticky stuff.
The story behind one day in nursery
The open-endedness of a flexible resource
Recycling household items and unwanted clothes into toys
Wherever you look, there’s stones to be seen
For outdoor play, display and learning!
Lots of materials that can be reused outside
Lots of nature’s treasures!
Scrunchy crunchy man-made material
seats that facilitate a child’s ownership of a place
A versatile resource in any outdoor space
Repurposing a garden object
A super play garden made from wooden palettes!
Essential for storage and play
A big, tough piece of kit designed for years of play
Much more than den building goes on with this resource
Great big loose parts for great big play experiences
Create a little dazzle-dazzle outside with these weatherproof dance resources.
Big or small, you can now press plants easily and quickly when out and about.
Lots of “crate” ideas for outdoor play!
Health & Safety – and getting outside anyway!
Thoughts and advice for schools and nurseries
Mushrooms, children and schools
health and safety in education
End of year thoughts
You can use them. The children won’t die.
Safety when walking outside with young children
Teenagers in cold weather
Lynn McNair writes about the approach to risk, challenge and outdoor play.
Finding out what myths are out there.
The latest batch of “believe it or not’s!”
Ways over overcoming issues around sand play outside
A few stinging comments about children, wasps and bees
A sustainable way of having an outdoor fire
A sticky subject about a versatile resource!
the need for educators to be risk takers and rule breakers
The answer is likely to be “yes” and everyone is just fine
What dynamic risk assessment is all about
Focusing on the little matters to develop personal safety.
Or should I let the children in my setting play with tyres, crates and other open-ended items?
Practical guidance to save a wasted trip!
Let’s not stop outdoor play!
Children being boxed up and in instead of being allowed out
Everyone is a teacher! Or should be…
Dilemmas of wearing hats
Bushcraft and food for free
An Earth Day story
One nursery uses the floor as additional display space
A sticker campaign launched by the Geography Collective
A few reflective thoughts and photos
Looking education within the context of relationships between people, places and activities
Is your school making this an unconditional right for your children?
supporting your school to take learning and play outdoors
A wonderful setting for a training event outdoors.
A hindrance or a help to learning?
Your advice is needed
Ensuring dialogue and change with children being fully involved
The real play park around a play park
how we can all play a part in making change happen
Thanks to a bear called ‘Fred the Ted’
Would you be up for doing this as part of your teacher training?
Thoughts about signs seen and what they mean.
Inverallochy’s informative newsletter
The Scottish Early Years Framework
Barriers to learning outdoors
Aberdeen Early Years Conference May 09
Nature Nurture Project, Camphill Aberdeen
Scottish Government’s outdoor learning document
2010 Mindstretchers Conference with Richard Louv as keynote presenter
The need for looking after these native mammals
A Conversation about Scottish Education: A view from outside. Reflections on what matters in education
Brought to you by me! And the Creative STAR team
Making the most of different places and spaces for learning
School Grounds and Playspaces
A special place for special people. Wonderful natural outdoor space for little children
Funding school grounds developments
The benefits of not changing the school grounds
Join Grounds for Learning, the Scottish school grounds charity
Clare Revera’s guest post
A look at stones for children’s play
Ideas for using tyres to improve play opportunities for all ages
An example from Southmuir Nursery to give you some ideas
Suggestions for a mossy patch of ground
My first go at developing school grounds
Making the Changes and Learning from my Mistakes
Advice wanted for an area of ground where babies can see activity
Black Horse Hill Infant School, West Kirby
Introducing the Inveraray Primary School grounds
A willow museum and other activities based upon willow
the start of developing a tarmac area on zero budget
Some very creative and open-ended examples from Fraserburgh North School
Spot on advice from one of the world’s leading nature playscape designers
Reduce crime by design
Inspiration from North Uist to include community features in an outdoor space.
Beautiful stonework in the Lake District and school grounds
and other free play systems
This is where you find me on Fridays
An ugly patch gets a beautiful makeover on a budget!
How to brighten up a school grounds with a bit of paint and artwork
A one tonne sand pit at Gardenstown Playgroup now is an outdoor home corner
Great examples of what swings can be about!
A wide range of ideas beyond what you will normally find in a playground equipment catalogue.
A newly created outdoor space in an Aberdeen children’s centre.
The entrances to and within a school send a hidden message about the values of an establishment. What is your school entrance saying?
The building of a Hobbit House using recycled materials and with the involvement of children
The ultimate mud kitchen – more sophisticated than it looks at first glance.
Research about vitamin D
Research about myopia and being outside
Why we need space and nature
Quick review of my favourites
a book of planting and eating projects and recipes
By Claire Warden
Super new book by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield full of activities for all different sorts of weather
A lovely YouTube clip of a wood changing through the seasons
Thought provoking YouTube advert
Documentary about nature kindergartens
Creative STAR blurb
The cloud in the RH column
Join us on this social networking site
3 years of blogging
The blog is shortlisted!
A little more info about the training offered by Juliet
An outdoor thank you