Open-ended play

young girl on a swing

Qualities that nurture learning

"Surely the greatest reward gained in learning is the satisfaction and enjoyment it brings? I have never been an advocate of rewarding learning with chocolate!", writes Dr Andrew Lockett. "I have never liked the idea of sanctions or withdrawing toys. The ability to use humour, or to redirect children’s attention to new activities often diffuses a difficult situation." Read these interesting reflections from Dr Lockett, a retired teacher and OFSTED inspector.

little girl playing at the Mud kitchen

New for 2019: Outlast mud kitchens and Arbour!

In most settings, the home corner is a popular and firmly entrenched establishment. This spring take your cooking outdoors again, where natural materials, dirt and water are the perfect ingredients for hours of creative play and scientific discovery. And then escape the hustle and bustle to relax, read, or role play in a welcoming, protected den.

 

Watch our new Outlast mud kitchens and Arbour in action at Annan The Froebel School in East Sussex. Everything comes with our standard 10-year-warranty and free 2-week delivery.

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block play

Bring back the blocks!

For many young children, hands-on, sensory experiences with three-dimensional objects have been replaced by two-dimensional screens and worksheets. This is detrimental to their learning.

 

With all the evidence linking good spatial skills with future achievement in all STEM areas, we must find a way to bring back the blocks. “I am more convinced than ever that blocks are one of the most essential materials for the early childhood classroom,” writes Rosanne Regan Hansel. Read more.

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Heuristic play

What is heuristic play?

According to the Oxford dictionary, “heuristic” means helping to find out or discover; proceeding by trial and error. It stems from the same root as Eureka – “I found it!”

In the early years classic, People under Three, Elinor Goldschmied and Sonia Jackson coined the term heuristic play, to explain how to provide a more structured opportunity for this kind of activity. Heuristic play “consists of offering a group of children, for a defined period of time in a controlled environment, a large number of different kinds of objects and receptacles with which they play freely without adult intervention”. It is particularly useful for children in their second year who often seem unwilling to engage in any activity for more than a few minutes.

Interested in running heuristic play sessions in your setting? Read this.

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boy and girl play with Outlast blocks by Storage unit

New Outlast point of play storage!

Effective, durable storage is a must for any outdoor area. The new Outlast storage unit crafted from rot resistant Accoya® wood provides a child-safe, convenient space for your Outlast blocks and crates. Additional resources, such as watering cans, sand toys, outdoor mark-making materials or natural loose parts fit too.

 

“The Outlast storage unit is perfect for us as it can be positioned permanently at the point of play,” notes Heather Forsdick, a kindergarten teacher at Herne Hill School. “ It allows the children to access resources while they're playing….. take things out and then put them back as well, which is fantastic.” See how children at Herne Hill School interact with their new Outlast storage unit and blocks in this 3 minute video.

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