No one can deny how many benefits outdoor play has to offer for children in their early years. With youth obesity being at one of the highest rates to date and more children becoming addicted to technology, it’s becoming vital for the next generation to be given a chance to not be a part of this number and to make a difference.
Early Years outdoor play is a key part of development for these young children and it can contribute to children’s cognitive learning and physical activity.
Importance of Play in Early Years
As soon as a child is born, they are already looking for ways to entertain themselves. From starting with staring at people’s faces and understanding emotion to physically engaging with objects and understanding more about it, letting your child explore and play is incredibly important. Outdoor play can help improve school readiness, see more about this here.
At this point in their lives, children have no understanding of their surroundings, how to communicate properly, how to act, how to fully control their movement and how to process information. The importance of play in early years is clear as it boosts children’s growth in so many areas.
Children rely on their senses to inform them about the world around them (whatever they can see, hear, touch, smell and taste) and by encouraging them to use these senses more, children will start to interact a lot more often and therefore learn a lot more.
Playgrounds do this perfectly. By allowing children to see and use a wide range of different objects and materials in a bright, interesting and colourful environment with other children around them, they start to learn a lot more about the world around them. See our post here which gives more detail on the benefits of playing outside.
Due to these reasons, the EYFS Statutory Framework was created (learn more about this at Foundation Years). The aim is to allow children to learn 7 key areas through learning in fun ways. These areas are:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Understanding the world
- Expressive arts and design
All of these topics can be covered with activities in Early Years outdoor play. There are several different designs and pieces of equipment which can be incorporated into playgrounds.
EYFS Nursery Playgrounds
Designing EYFS nursery playgrounds may seem like an incredibly confusing and complicated process, due to the wide amount of areas that must be met, but it’s not hard at all. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Soft Surfaces can help you create a perfect EYFS playground with no stress.
A wide variety of surfacing can be chosen from ranging from wetpour to rubber mulch. With so many choices of surfacing to pick from, you not only can make your playground more unique, but a lot more specifically tailored for certain activities.
You might be a bit concerned that the flooring could be installed incorrectly, or it could be unsafe for children to interact with; all our floorings have been specifically tested to BS EN 1177 standards for safety and Critical Fall Height ratings.
We can assure the highest quality when it comes to the surface installation and will make sure that when it comes to the design process that your vision becomes a reality. No matter how ridiculous you might think the idea is, we will try our best to make sure that it happens.
Playground Equipment for Early Years Foundation Stage
When it comes to the creation of these playgrounds, there is a wide variety of different equipment which can be installed to make sure that children have a fully enjoyable and educational playtime.
Playground markings allow kids to use their imagination and their thinking skills to play games with them. Not only do they serve a practical purpose but can look aesthetically nice and appealing for the kids, engaging them even more. Check out this post to see more ideas for imaginative play and activity in the Early Years and beyond.
There are plenty of different types of playground equipment for the Early Years Foundation Stage too. Sandpits and water areas give EYFS children the chance to interact with new materials and understand how things can differ from each other. Through this, it gives them an opportunity to learn more about their environment and maybe spark an interest in science.
Physical development areas will encourage kids to engage in a more physical intensive way. Through this, they can improve and maintain their physical and even their mental health through periodic use.
Role play will help children understand more about society and social interaction with other people. Developments in social skills and interests can be built up by this activity and let children explore areas in which they have a keen interest in.
Music stations present children with chances to interact and hear new noises whilst having the freedom to create this noise without being told off. An increase in creative thoughts can happen, allowing the child to explore other areas of creativity and generate some interest in this section of learning.
It’s important that kids have a wide variety of equipment to interact with so that they aren’t doing the same things repeatedly, as they will end up becoming bored and lose interest. With the equipment above though, EYFS kids will have a wide choice of activities to do meaning that none of them get stale and ignored.
EYFS Outdoor Area
In recent years, an EYFS outdoor area is becoming more and more important for a nursery. Not only do these areas promote social play, physical activity and improvements of children’s skills, they are also something that Ofsted inspectors look out for.
We would definitely recommend looking into the different sensory play ideas for your EYFS area, as these are great when it comes to improving skills and abilities of young people.
A nursery outdoor area should offer fun games and interesting activities for the young people. Any nursery without an outdoor area EYFS children can learn in may not get the best attention from OFSTED. Make sure to get in touch with our team if you require more information on outdoor EYFS areas.
Play and Learning in the Early Years
It’s important to offer children a variety of methods of play and learning in the early years, they are still exploring the world around them and are full of mystery and awe at the simplest things. What we may see as just a regular creature or building may be something completely different to them.
Therefore, playgrounds often have so many things that allow children to get involved as everything there will offer some sort of mystery. New materials, odd shapes, colourful objects, talking to other peers, listen to new sounds, move things around etc. can all be offered in Early Years outdoor play areas due to the fact that children enjoy and benefit from them.
Not only do they entertain the child, but they also allow existing skills to be improved and new skills to be formed. They are learning through the simple act of play and it’s important that people notice this. Find out more about active learning in this post. Parents should allow their children to have a healthy amount of playtime without any interruption to develop themselves. Plus, this gives parents the time to chill out.
Overall, with the government trying to promote EYFS playground developments in nurseries and pre-schools, now is the perfect time to start to develop your ideal playground and watch it before your very eyes become developed.