Active play

boy balancing on Community Playthings hollow blocks and plank

What's wrong with an active child?

“The teacher just informed me that my three-year-old boy isn’t the ‘perfect fit’. They say he’s too active,” the lady related over the phone. “Is there something wrong with him?”

Angela Hanscom, a paediatric occupational therapist, was shocked. “My blood boils at the notion that something is wrong with an active three-year-old boy,” she writes. “We are expecting children to sit still when they are just barely out of nappies?” Children require full body movement, risks, and challenges in order to grow into balanced, healthy, and resilient adults. How can we overcome our fears to give children the outdoor play and unrestricted freedom of movement they desperately need? As a therapist, Angela has successfully treated many children with attention, balance, and sensory issues. What is her unconventional remedy? Read the article.

a nursery aged girl playing with outlast ramps and a waterwheel

Making the most of water play

“Water is one of the basic raw materials for purposeful play. Just like sand, clay and blocks, children can use water without being constrained by the one right way to use it,” writes Sandra Crosser, Ph.D.

“Water is intriguing. It seems to draw children to explore its structure and properties. Because water is naturally fascinating, the thoughtful teacher can structure the environment and materials in the water centre to make the most of water play.” Read more.

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two children doing dramatic play in the home corner

The rules of play – developing self-control

“Mothers and fathers go to work and make the dinner, but not babies. Babies cry, while grown-ups take responsibility for caring for and calming the babies. Even fantasy characters behave according to some rules,” writes Nancy Stewart, experienced teacher, consultant, trainer and author.

“While to a casual observer it may seem that children involved in pretend play are acting totally spontaneously in ‘free play’, in fact they are imposing their own set of rules... Children who show self-restraint in following the shifting rules of the play gain the great pleasure of belonging, as they develop cooperative play with others.” Read this excerpt from Nancy's book How Children Learn – The characteristics of effective early learning.

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two reception aged children experimenting with water flow on the outlast cascade

The outdoor waterplay system

There’s something about manipulating the movement of water that is irresistible. Which child hasn’t discovered the thrill of sticking their thumb under a tap to create a dramatic and drenching spray of water? It is an opportunity to explore, experiment, and observe – science at its best!

Community Playthings set out to discover how we could enable every setting to provide this type of play – even in urban locations with limited outdoor space. Here, finally, we can show you our new Outlast water play system – operated by a group of industrious little engineers completely absorbed in their play and exploration. Get ready for a waterfall! Watch now.

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boy with Outlast

Making it better for boys

You have given him time-out again, and you're beginning to wonder, "What makes him tick?" Most boys love risk-taking. They thrive on rough-and-tumble play and activities that involve lots of movement. They are fascinated with water, dirt, sticks, and loud noises. 

For some reason, many boys struggle in organised settings. And it's just a fact that most teachers and practitioners are women. How can we understand them better, so we can help improve the statistics for boys? Ali McClure has some interesting ideas.

Read more.

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