Having time where children can engage in physical play is essential for their growth and development. Outside activities provide a great opportunity for physical play, however it can be a struggle when children want to play, but do not necessarily know what type of play is appropriate. As a child care professional, children rely on you to create an environment with structure where they can thrive. Below are resources that will help answer some common questions regarding outdoor and physical play time.
Question: What are some resources for outside sensory play?
Answer: Here are some resource websites that offer Sensory play ideas for outside:
Activities for Outdoor Sensory Fun:
Backyard Activities for Outdoor Nature Science, Sensory Play, and Early Learning:
Sensory Play Activities:
Question: Can you provide resources for games that can be played with a group of both older and younger children?
Answer: Many outdoor games can be adapted for various ages. Explore the links below, and use your creativity to find ways to adapt the games so that they are inclusive of the children in your care.
Question: How do you engage children in outside, structured play where they participate in the activity rather than running around chaotically?
Answer: The first thing to address would be the program planning for outdoor time:
Here are some additional resources that are offered in our training, and are great tools for helping with outdoor program planning:
The Process Of Risk, Teacher Tom, March 27, 2015 -http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-process-of-risk.html
No Super Hero Play, Teacher Tom, February 03, 2017 -http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2017/02/no-super-hero-play.html
Question: How do I incorporate outdoor time into an already busy daily schedule?
Answer: Talk with your director about adjusting your daily schedule to see if you can get even just a few more minutes of outside time every day. He or she may have some ideas. If that is not possible, see what you can do about incorporating more physical activity inside the classroom (i.e. brain breaks, combining movement with curriculum, or even just stretching more often).
Question: Is it ok to replace wood chips with shredded bark mulch in WA state?
Answer: You will want to consult the Child Care Licensing Guidebook, specifically pages 117-121 at the following link: https://del.wa.gov/sites/default/files/imported/publications/licensing/docs/ChildCareCenterLicensingGuide.pdf
In addition to these guidelines, WAC 170-297-4950 Playground equipment—Ground cover—Fall zones needs to be followed. Here is the link for that specific WAC: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=170-297-4950
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