acepuppets

Archive for June 2016


garden-ladder-141

Children already find school really exciting, what with imaginative play, spending time with your friends, practising kissing and of course school playground equipment. After a hard morning doing maths and English, being able to play on school playground equipment is a welcome break. School playground equipment has a duel purpose in the playground and the variety of pieces available reflects this.  School playground equipment can be used to support the curriculum and as entertainment during playtimes.

Music

Children can have music lessons outside with a number of outdoor musical instruments that are both robust and produce pretty good sounds.  Teachers can feel relieved that they don’t have to control the infernal noise generated by music lessons and can have a natural stance to the lessons.  During playtime, children can practice what they have learnt during lessons because the instruments are easily accessible.  Schools can purchase outdoor musical instruments as a group or individual pieces.  If the instruments are dotted around the playground children will, ‘discover’, them at playtime and create music of their own.  If the instruments are installed near to each other,  they are perfect for having a summer music lessons.  Generally choices are made according to space available and the size of the school budget.

Environmental

Teaching children about the environment can often be an abstract affair which can make it difficult to comprehend.  Playground companies have recognised this and developed ranges of planters, compost makers, bird feeders and bug hotels.  Children will be able to plant and nurture seeds while watching them grow every time they go out at playtime.  They will be able to observe birds and see how garden waste is recycled to make food for new plants.  This type of playground equipment is really useful if the school is in an urban area and there isn’t much greenery in the playground.  Also the raised beds mean that they are not prone to having too many unwanted visitors.

Story Telling

Children actually like telling stories, they may not be as keen writing them down but the fact that they love the sound of their own voice means that they love to share stories.  Many schools have story telling corners which are centred around a storytelling chair.  Children can either listen to stories being told to them or they could take it in turns to share stories with the class.  The teacher can guide the children so that they are not so long winded.  Eventually children will start incorporating their story telling skills in their writing.

Balance And Coordination

Using climbing walls and climbing frames teaches children an awful lot about how their body works.  Children see their friends scaling the playground equipment and set themselves goals to be as good as their friends.  In the past climbing frames in school playgrounds were quite terrifying but now they are accessible for all children to enjoy.  Just negotiating different equipment allows children to explore their limits and train their body’s so that they can achieve their personal goal.

Next time you are waiting for your children at the end of the day – have a sneaky peak at the school playground equipment – you will wish that your school playground was just as exciting.

 

Advertisements

 

castle_in_the_sand_by_qqbin

The sand castle we all attempt to make but fail miserably

Since we have been blessed this year with Mediterranean weather my son has chomped his way through lots of orange ice lollies and built castles in his sandpit. We decided to buy Alistair a sand pit because every time I picked him up from after school club he would be knee-deep in the sand pit.  In fact whenever there was an opportunity to dig or water play equipment was available Alistair would be covered in sand and soaking wet.  My Mum informs me that I used to shovel mud into the kitchen when I was small, so this predisposition to digging  was probably inherited from me.

We decided that the day could be rearranged so that Alistair would be able to come home at normal school time, which meant that he could relax more after school and I would be more organised to listen to him read.  This meant that he would miss playing in the sandpit so I decided to get him a smallish sandpit that is big enough for him to enjoy getting covered in sand and dig to his heart’s content.

The sandpit is under a garden tap so I encouraged Alistair to be sparing when adding water to the sand.  This was a piece of advice he chose to ignore and he turned the tap on so high that he couldn’t turn it off.  After following the screams I found him standing in a sandpit that resembled the beach when the tide came in.  We got as much water out as we could but it was still like sinking sand.  Of course sand this wet was not very good for building with so Alistair’s first play with the new sandpit lasted about ten minutes and it took two weeks for it to dry sufficiently for Alistair to play with it again.

At last the sandpit is dry enough for construction purposes and frantic digging has resumed, everything is covered in sand and my son has learnt how to use the vacuum cleaner.   If you ask a child why they love playing in sand and water they just tell you that it is, ‘fun’.  Sand and water play is actually classified in both the heuristic and imaginative play categories and probably many others too.

Heuristic play is essentially having the ability to play with everyday objects you find around you.  Little children are encouraged to play with pots, pans and wooden spoons while slightly older children can make tents with sheets.  Heuristic and imaginative play tends to merge into one when children are left to their own devices, this is particularly noticeable when playing in a sandpit.  As long as your child is not likely to eat the sand you can step back a little and let them get absorbed into their own adventure.

I suspect that this heat wave will dry the sand out again and the whole water episode will be repeated.