What do children like to DO outdoors?
  • Well, since NW have very kindly set up an outdoor forum, it would be rude not to use it!

    I'm in the middle of writing a book of outdoor play ideas... I have lots, just need to get around to writing them up :-( So my question isn't really 'please share your ideas' so much as 'please can you tell me what your children love to DO outdoors'. I ask because I'm interested in the types of activity they like or the kinds of play they engage in (rather than the resources or fixed features they HAVE) - which should bring out a different set of answers.

    It will be interesting to hear how children are playing outdoors. I'm keen that the book has a good balance of types of activity (e.g. I have ones focused on creativity / manipulative play / problem solving / collaboration) with plenty of new ideas for the areas of development practitioners feel are most important outdoors.

    Thanks, and may the outdoor play conversation flow!

    NB: this is me www.playlearninglife.org.uk and I am happy to answer questions on here if I can help anyone.
  • Our outdoor garden has mounds, tyres, logs, tree stumps, green house, planting and digging...There are planks, crates tubes, guttering and all things recycled....we have old garden furniture and adult wheel barrows, we have old bicycles, prams and adult tool boxes for tinkering, we have little hideaways behind hedges and wisteria covered trellis creating spaces for communication - its the children's space, a sacred space where adults are only there by invitation (or hovering at a distance in awe and wonder!)...... all our outdoor resources are open ended.... we don't set it up because children revisit what they had left the day before..
  • Our children love the independence when playing outdoors. We have wet weather clothes and wellies and once kitted out they enjoy playing in the water area and the recently introduced mud kitchen.
  • Our children love the freedom the outdoor space allows them. The opportunity to run, explore, create and use their loud voices! Gardening and nature based activities are always popular and it is encouraging to hear them talking about the gardening activities they get involved with at home, particularly with grandparents.
    Another very popular outdoor activity is also the opportunity to use the bikes, however, as practitioners we were concerned that the tricycles were not challenging enough and not enhancing the skills of many of our children (our setting is an early years unit in a school). This year we have purchased some two wheeler bikes and some balance bikes and look forward to seeing how the children respond to these.
  • One bugbear of mine is those nurseries who believe that all activities inside can be done outside. Loose paper for drawing on a windy day and books on a rainy day mean paper across the garden and pages stuck together. You can have art activities, but treat the garden as good but different to inside. Loose paper out, chalk boards or brushes and water for the paths and walls in. Books in a book tent/shed fine, but there are other ways to get language in a garden.
    The thing that annoys me most is water play outside. Fine for the summer, but if a child puts hands in a water tray in January, they will be in PAIN within minutes. In cold weather wet equals cold. Save outside water play for the hot weather.
  • Our outdoor area has a water wall. area for digging, sand, role play. We have a slide and seesaw. We are looking into a mud kitchen and also our children enjoy water and paint brushes on the walls etc so they can write.
  • I have found Forest School is a great idea to do, especially as some children prefer to learn outside and get all dirty.
    I find boys like to play superhero games and ride bikes, where as the girls like to play in the mud kitchen and bake cakes.

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