outstanding outdoor spaces

5 ways to design the perfect Early Years playground

01 August 2016

The recent physical activity guidelines released by the Department of Health suggest that children under the age of 5 should be physically active for at least three hours a day. This physical activity can come in any shape or size, from dance to games to messy play.  Developing an outdoor space that allows Early Years children to take part in daily active play is essential and we’ve compiled five, of many, things to consider when designing the perfect Early Years playground.

 

Free-Flow Play

 

Encouraging young children to move between the classroom and the playground is made much easier with free-flow play. Our Poddely Sets are the perfect example of this. They allow children to create anything they want and their creations can be made anywhere the creativity hits them. Forming ideas in the classroom that can move easily to the playground get children interested and active about the subject in hand.

 

Sensory Experience

 

Children in Early Years are exploring the world around them through their senses and one of the most beneficial ways they can learn and develop is with a hands-on approach. To give your children the best possible experience outdoors, design an interactive space that challenges their sight, touch, hearing and smell (maybe save taste for lunchtime!). If you already have a Poddely set, try adding the Sensory Extras - these colour and mirror filters are a treat for the eyes. 

 

Multi-Purpose Equipment

 

Many of our customers have found that multi-purpose equipment is perfect for young, curious minds. Little ones have a shorter attention span than most, so providing them with equipment that can be used in a variety of ways is perfect for keeping them amused. 

 

“We have found that designing a space with multi-use equipment is far better than something more linear. For example the Sandpit that we chose is currently also being used as a stage, a picnic area and a boat!” - Avonmouth Children’s Centre

 

Sheltered Space

 

The key to ensuring that Early Years children can enjoy physical activity every day? Providing them with a space that can be used throughout the school year. The British weather is far from predictable so creating a sheltered space in your playground allows active, outdoor play to take place for little ones come rain or shine.

 

Keep your surfacing safe

 

We never grow out of the occasional bump and graze but our tiny tots are a little more likely to take a tumble. With the right surfacing and a careful layout, you can reduce the chance of tears without taking away all the fun and adventure of a little risk.

 

“We needed to resolve the health and safety implications of having an uneven playing surface… the children [now] play outside for longer in all weathers and it is a much safer environment.” - Stockenchurch Pre-School

 

Giving Early Years children the opportunity to take part in daily active play is essential to making sure they meet their physical activity needs. Designing a playground that challenges, excites and encourages them can give them the confidence to be budding adventurers in the future. 



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