Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Outdoor Play Materials

Despite the occasional snowfall, the winter months are now behind us and spring is in the air. This is a great time to take inventory of your outdoor materials available for play. This list is certainly not limited to what is mentioned - be creative with what you offer children to play with and watch their imaginations grow! Most of these items can be easily found at the Dollar Store, Goodwill, or Walmart at a reasonable cost.

Gardening: children's gardening tools, child sized rakes, a variety of seeds, planters or pots, watering cans, gardening gloves.

Natural Materials: pine cones, sea shells, stones, leaves, seed pods, moss

Water and Sand: hoses, spray bottles, sprinklers, turkey basters, paint brushes, cars, trucks, buckets, cups, bowls, shovels, sifters, funnels, sponges, boats, scoops, muffin tins, squeeze bottles, medicine droppers, soup ladle, strainer, containers of various sizes.

Art/Painting: big pieces of paper, foam brushes, rollers, sponges, easel, paint brushes, paint, markers, chalk, bingo dabbers.

Sculpting: clay, playdough, wet sand or mud, cornstarch goop, accessories like straws, pipe cleaners, feathers, etc.

Dramatic Play: boxes, small tent or blankets, play house, toy kitchen set, tool set, dress up clothes, dishes, play food.

Gross Motor: balls of different sizes and materials, tricycles, riding toys, bean bags, hoola hoops, small basket ball net, bowling set, parachute, skipping ropes, bubble wands, bubble solution.

Of course you need to make sure that the materials you provide are age appropriate and that you are adequately supervising the children while they play. If you have a variety of age groups in your dayhome or family, divide your outdoor space into different areas, and distribute the materials according to age. Make sure that some activities are done all together, such as the kitchen play set, a small tent, and parachute games.

With these types of materials available, you will never have to hear "there is nothing to do outside" and your children will benefit from fresh air, exercise, and an expanded view of her or his world.

Coming in our next post....organizing your outdoor space and materials!

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