Four summers ago I sat down nervously to write my first blog post. I had no idea what I was doing. I had only seen marketing blogs and a few hardcore outdoor blogs by real outdoor education instructors – the ones who get paid for canoeing and rock climbing.
My blog’s birthday is a wee bit fuzzy. It began life on an edublogs platform then switched after a few months to this Blogger site. As with most things in life, it was all a bit of a long, drawn-out experiment. I only really got going with it all in my second year. For this I have to thank other Early Years educators for showing me the true path of the blogger.
So in recognition of these bloggers and their blogs, I’d like to flag up those people who have been continuously supportive of this blog and have reached out in friendship and kindred spirit. Not all are especially outdoorsy but I’ve trawled their sites for some fab posts regardless. Thank you all very much.
1) Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning. Donna and Sherry are two of the warmest and most supportive and responsive people in the education blogosphere. Have a look at their Facebook page and you will understand why.
- Make it irresistible – with a water wall. I love the photos of children making this with a power drill
- Greenhills Pre-school. Oodles of mouthwatering photos. I reckon Donna could make a blank piece of tarmac look irresistible.
- Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud. One of the earliest outdoor posts
2) Teacher Tom. This guy is the original superhero of the education bloggers world. He writes prolifically in a gutsy and outspoken way which warms the cockles of every practitioner’s heart as connects his pre-school work to events and issues in the world at large.
- Building a “Crazy Daisy”. A fun way to share the water hose
- Dangerism. One of his earliest posts about risk and reality
- Our new outdoor classroom. Tom has shared the developments taking place in the outdoor space. Be impressed!
- How to be the best parent in the world. A good example of how Tom listens to and respects children’s parents
3) Let the Children Play. Jenny Kable’s blog has probably more outdoor pre-school posts than the rest of the blogosphere put together. My favourite are definitely her posts about activities at her own progressive pre-school such as:
- Never underestimate a rock – The story of a rock shop
- A pause in nature – Bush play at a creek
- How to create an irresistible outdoor playspace for children – Lots of ideas and links to other posts
4) Teach Pre-school has to be the mother of all pre-school blogs. It is hugely popular and comprehensive. Deborah J Stewart is a remarkable, professional blogger and educator, giving others advice and assistance. Her outdoor posts are often reflective and reassuring for other practitioners:
- Finding balance between outdoor safety and adventure in pre-school
- Outdoor adventures with rope – Experiments beyond the outdoor space
- A colourful outdoor game for preschoolers to play – And one I didn’t know!
5) Childhood 101 is a very organised Australian Pre-school blog established by Christie Burnett,
“to celebrate the joys of family and childhood, providing information and inspiration for modern day parents as their children play, learn and grow.”
The outdoor activities are easy to find and well-worth exploring.
- Inside the cover: playing with water – Take a hammer to rescue the ice animals is one of several suggestions!
- Playopedia Picks: outdoor play ideas – The Playopedia is a useful reference source for themed ideas.
- Literacy #29 Literacy Learning Outdoors – A range of straightforward suggestions
6) ABC Does. This is one of my favourite British early years blogs. Alastair Bryce-Clegg does a fantastic job spelling out expectations around quality play in the early years, indoors and out. He gives lots of warm shout outs for people and settings. So my outdoor play picks have to be:
- Make your own dinosaur eggs – Just a great idea!
- Outdoor makeover on a budget – Simple, doable suggestions
- Outdoor play fixed structures – Creative open-ended play structures outside from Infinite Edge
7) Child Central Station. Amy has one of the best blogs for practical recycling ideas. Her garden is incredibly child-friendly and just looks like fun! Have a peek at the posts but have a tissue ready in case you start drooling…
- Outdoor Chalkboards – This shows Amy’s ingenuity. Who says blackboards have to be big and square!
- Let me count the number of ways you can paint in the snow – Have a look at all the suggested links at the bottom of this post too
- Mud Pie Kitchen Renovation – Another beautiful DIY post
8) Learning for Life is all about Kierna’s nursery in Northern Ireland. I have found Kierna to be particularly supportive on Facebook over the past 2 years and I’m sure many others would agree. Her blog is going from strength to strength and these posts reflect this:
- Forest Adventures – Kierna is a Forest School practitioner so this post gives a flavour of these sessions
- Polar Bear Educator – Most of Kierna’s posts have photos of her outdoor play space which always looks like a thriving outdoor environment
- Learning through Play – A good example of how Kierna uses partnerships and people to provide interesting experiences for her children
9) Flights of Whimsy. I know Karen Green may blink with surprise when she sees her blog listed here. This is the power of a blogroll – Karen kindly has the “I’m a teacher…” button on her blog. Many thanks to Karen and her readers for coming to visit. Flights of Whimsy provides provocations and food for thought as well as plenty of ideas and suggestions. Have a look at:
- A Puddle for Two – Karen’s latest post which typifies her reflective approach
- The Thinking Child – A blend of research, practical examples and food for thought
- Autumn Playscape – A good illustration of indoor and outdoor links being made by children in their play
10) Child’s Play Music is a refreshing approach to music inside and out. Alec Duncan makes his own instruments, blogs and creates helpful videos about his work. Enjoy the following:
- The Best Playground in Perth – A photo fest of natural play opportunities.
- Take the Music Outside and Play – A guest post on Pre&K blog but ever so useful!
- Water play, Music Play and Children – You will be itching to try this out yourself!
My deep appreciation goes to these other bloggers who provide support, inspiration, good humour, a love of being a pre-school professional and are on an eternal quest for understanding children. Four years of blogging – thanks to all of you and many more!
- Scott at Brick by Brick
- Niki at Precious Childhood
- Greg at Males in Early Childhood
- Lesley at Child Art Retrospective
- Tom at Sand and Water Tables
- Candy at Aunt Annie’s Childcare
- Maria at Forskoleburken – Put her blog address into Google Translate. It’s a very popular Swedish pre-school blog and check out the post on toilet tubes!
Finally, many thanks to the silent, supportive thousands of visitors. I am touched that you come, visit this blog in your own time and hope that you are able to take an idea or two with you when you leave. Please say hello here or face-to-face should we ever meet.