Surfaces for Bikes and Trikes

9 May 2012 · 7 comments

in Developing School Grounds & Outdoor Spaces, Play Resources

Yesterday, I received this query from a colleague. Given that lots of people read this blog, I wondered whether some of you would spare a few minutes to offer some suggestions as I think it’s such a good line of thought.

She’s looking for quick solutions an ideas rather than a digging up of the ground and landscaping (it’s a PPP school).

This bike area is part of Alfreton Nursery’s amazing outdoor space
I’ve noticed that the kids really enjoy triking (and scootering) over the blue net that you’ve left with us. It got me thinking that it might be nice to place different textures on the ground in the trike zone for them to drive over. But then I got a little stumped. I suppose we could try pockets of gravel, mud and sand. Ropes would just get tangled in the wheels, I think. I tried looking on blogs and googling but it’s not an easy question to type into a search engine. Have you seen anything in your travels or do you have any suggestions?

I also tried squirting paint onto the ground in the trike zone so they could do some mark making by riding their trikes and scooters through the paint. But the paint didn’t really spread, it just soaked into the concrete and stayed there, even when I diluted it. Any suggestions on that one?

Naturally my friend will probably go and see what the children in her nursery think and do some shared brainstorming and experimentation, but what thoughts spring to your mind?

Thank you in advance…

Also recently I’ve been thinking a lot about bike play and interesting possible lines of development that allow the play to be extended creatively. So if you have any good stories about how one thing led to another in terms of bikes and trikes, it would be helpful to know.  I saw this YouTube video clip which does make one think about the level of challenge we offer children.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

beingbelongingbecoming May 9, 2012 at 08:28

There is a firm here in Melbourne that makes rubber pieces (out of recycled rubber chips) including pieces designed to be curbs, rubber stoppers in car parks, or traffic calming humps. They are heavy and freestanding – no installation would be required.
Perhaps there is something similar in your world.


beingbelongingbecoming May 9, 2012 at 08:29

Another option might be a large piece of fake grass. Might need something on the edges to stop it from curling up.


Juliet Robertson May 9, 2012 at 18:58

Thanks so much for your ideas – by sheer chance I have acquired some fake grass today 🙂 I also went to visit Adventure Aberdeen and have more inspiration 🙂 from their dirt bike track.


Nicky May 10, 2012 at 05:08

If you could fix it down somehow, bubble wrap (the larger bubble size)might be great fun. For the paint I’d try squirting it on a tarp to stop it soaking into the ground…then you could use other things on the tarp such as shaving cream or even flour maybe for track making (something my 3yo is obsessed with :-))


Nicky May 10, 2012 at 05:10

Now I come to think of it the flour and shaving cream probably wouldn’t need a tarp!


Kathryn Patterson May 10, 2012 at 12:30

For painting the concrete, I suggest having an area where the toddlers can get paint on their wheels – similar to dipping a roller in a paint pan. Then they can ride around spreading the paint on the concrete from their wheels.

What about putting a large sheet of bubble wrap down and letting the kids drive over it? I know I’d want to do it. 😀

I hope these help.


Jen May 17, 2012 at 07:33

Maybe try thinking from the top down, a pergola or arches to ride under perhaps. Set up a sprinkler and ride under your transparent tarp, maybe set up a whole car/bike wash! Or suspend and ride and run through strips of ribbons like beads hanging in a doorway.
If you have a hose, even driving through water and making tracks could be fun. From the pictures it looks like the bike path has a bit of an incline… Putting the bikes away and laying the hose down at ground level creating a river could lead to dam building opportunities. At our PPP, we recently added flashing red bike lights to the handles of the trikes turning them emergency vehicles as we try to bring our community into our school. You might also try thin plywood and 2×4’s to make ramps and bridges to ride over. We made stop and go signs for the children to hold and direct trike traffic with. I like the roundabout, in Canada they’re rather new and even adult drivers could use the practice!


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