Outdoor play

two children making mud pies on a table structure built of outlast blocks and planks

Celebrating mud

Children seem to be magnetically drawn to water and dirt. From their perspective, the activities that result in the messiest clothes are the activities which are the most fun!

“It’s okay for children to get dirty,” writes Michelle Rupiper. “In fact, when you look at the benefits children gain from mud play, it’s not just okay, it’s important.” Science now shows that certain bacteria present in soil are very beneficial to children and can aid in mental health and the prevention of allergies. In addition, the open-ended, malleable properties of mud make it an excellent learning material – encouraging the development of both cognitive and social skills. Read more

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P.S. International Mud Day is 29 June!

A child playing with blocks and pinecones

More than just a theory

Toys and tinsel cluttered the shelves and lay strewn on the floor. Four-year-old Mia and three-year-old Roger were at odds with each other, grabbing and arguing.  Suddenly a collection of shells, forgotten since our last trip to the sea, found its way into Mia’s hands. Peace reigned as she and Roger began to decorate a chair with the shells and when they ran out of shells, they used pinecones—after all who ‘owns’ the things of nature?

Nature offers a wide assortment of loose parts that are captivatingly simple and empowering. Although educators have always known the great play value in natural materials, current research now validates the tremendous learning potential they offer. Read the article.

Outlast sleigh

Blocks are Teachers

Blocks are teachers, not just toys. Block play offers a vast range of experiences, enriching every area of the curriculum and supporting child development. For over 100 years educators have been  promoting the use of blocks in early childhood classrooms as a powerful learning tool. Because modular blocks are so versatile, they offer endless opportunities for a child’s imagination to soar while discovering basic math and science principles, practicing problem-solving techniques and social skills, and building a solid foundation for future education.

Enjoy St Nick's sleigh built by these children with our new Outlast blocks.

Happy Christmas from us all at Community Playthings!

Leaf rubbing with Community Playthings Outlast tables

Why wait until summer?

Picnics are fun, but that's just the beginning of what you can do with an outdoor table. Nature study groups, science experiments and messy craft projects all need a sturdy work surface. Instead of considering tables and benches as static outdoor furniture, try imagining their possibilities as loose parts or props for creative and role play... whatever the weather.

What could that look like? Watch this.

 
children playing in the mud

Put the pencil down
and go outside

All children need nature. Pedagogical pioneers have proven it time and again. Observe a young baby in his pram under a tree; he loves to watch the leaves waving in the wind. Watch any toddler collect pebbles, sticks or pinecones. Children with special needs are no exception.
 
In her article, Kathryn Solly explains how much children benefit from being outdoors. "The emotional nurturing ‘aah’ and ‘ugh’ experiences may not all be pleasant but link better to indoor learning being based upon concrete experience, which later become the children’s own narrative stories."
 
Read the article and consider signing up for Kathryn Solly's two-day training course for EY leaders/managers in November.

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