Schemas Outside – Help!

13 July 2011 · 6 comments

in Early Years Outdoors, Outdoor Play

A friend has just started working in a local nursery. She’s been in the job for 11 weeks and has asked for help in terms of creating interesting challenges and possible lines of development in the schemas listed below for outdoor activities.

  • burying, hiding and finding objects, covering themselves (enveloping
  • being/hiding in small spaces, building dens (enclosure)
  • filling containers with material/water (containing)
  • transporting material/water/children (transporting)
  • construction, train layouts, bridges (connecting)
  • collecting, sorting, arranging items (placing & sequencing)
  • sending material/water along a pipe/guttering, going through tunnels (going through)
  • throwing, kicking, running and climbing (trajectories)
  • things that go round (wheeled toys, hoops, being swung around) (rotation)
  • adding water to sand or soil, mixing paints (transforming)
  • putting things on their head, walking around the edges of things (positioning)

Have you any suggestions or ideas that you know work well? Ideally she’d like to focus on the development of maths concepts through schematic play.

Wheelbarrows are great for transporting objects!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Juliet Robertson July 13, 2011 at 19:56

Thanks Catherine W for suggesting:

Activities based around Water would be great. Schemas are a pattern of repeatable behaviour – so a selection of containers with available water would enable the observation of a variety of schemas. Mathematical encouragement could then be encouraged with volume, prediction, size, weight, distance carried/transportation, sorting, counting, mixing etc. We’ve got a water wheel in our water tray which is great for ‘containing’ and ‘rotation’


Juliet Robertson July 13, 2011 at 20:30

Catherine has also suggested:

!….Also a Pirate theme would be good for outside activities – burying / sorting treasure, filling and carrying a chest, map drawing, walking the plank / counting paces and coins, making a cave, dressing up etc. Developmental progression can be assessed by referring to the ‘Development matters’ in the Problem solving, reasoning and numeracy Area of Learning in the EYFS

Much appreciated! Thanks again!


Juliet Robertson July 14, 2011 at 06:40
CatWay July 14, 2011 at 07:02

I hope I’m on the right track here but what about a potion lab – coloured water, measuring the right amount, adding ingredients – flowers or leaves. Kids could follow a recipe or make up their own.


Juliet Robertson July 17, 2011 at 22:07

Potion lab sounds great. A friend on Facebook suggested a tubing and tub link up which is really clever. I don’t know whether it’s possible for everyone to access the link below.

Also thanks to Sherry and Donna for all the play based learning ideas above! Creative Stars – all of you!


Juliet Robertson July 17, 2011 at 22:16

Some more ideas from Irresistible Ideas Facebook page:

What about a garden? My kids love gardening – and depending on if you use seeds or plants you can measure growth though time and length, use a rain gauge, even create an irragation system (Angel Smith)

What about dinosaur bones in the sandpit , burying them and finding them , or treasure re : pirates…a teacher i worked with made dinosaur eggs with the children and placed plastic dinosaurs in them, the children kept which ones they found. For transforming she could get the children to build a volcano in the sand and add bi-carb and vinegar and some food colouring for effect (Jennifer Dalgleish)


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