Ideas for a Fun and Safe Playground Experience
Children love to play outdoors and your role is to make a fun and enriching experience for young children in your care while on the playground. I believe that the playground is an extension of your indoor environment.
In fact, going outdoors is a great way to take indoor activities outdoors; enjoy some fresh air; explore the items that are on the playground and explore nature.
Moreover, going outdoors for at least one-hour a day is a great way to promote gross motor development, such as: running, jumping, climbing, skipping, paddling, digging and so much more.
There are many fun ways to encourage gross motor play and outdoor exploration by simply providing a playground experience that the children in your care will enjoy. Here are some fun playground ideas :
Children love to dig! Having gardening tools will encourage the children to dig for worms, explore or to start an outdoor garden. Be sure to establish safety rules for the gardening tools and that the children are closely supervised while digging with gardening tools.
Along with having a water table outdoors, bring out some pails of water with sponges and encourage the children to wash the playground equipment or bikes; this will keep the children very busy!
Side Walk Chalk
If you have a black top or patio area, having chalk outdoors is a great way to promote handwriting and creativity. So the next time that you go outdoors, don’t forget the chalk.
Outdoor Spray Art
Ahead of time, fill some small spray bottles with water and paint; hang large pieces of paper along the fence with clothes line pins. Encourage the children to spray the paper with the water bottles. The children will love this colorful outdoor art experience. *This activity will be messy, so request that parents send a shirt for painting.
Sea Shells in the Sand
Adding sea shells to the sandbox will provide the children with a beach like experience. Sea Shells can be purchased at the local walmart or arts & craft store.
Bring Dramatic Play Outdoors
Do you have a picnic table on your playground? This will be a great place to promote picnic fun or simply pretending to enjoy a meal outdoors.
Outdoor Construction Play
As the children are playing with the gardening tools, you may have some children that may want to move the soil to another area of the playground. Adding toy dump trucks will be great way for the children to role play as construction workers.
To assure a fun and safe outdoor experience you must develop a set of safety rules for the children and review them before going outdoors. Here is an example of playground safety rules:
- We go down the slide on our bottom
- The sand stays in the sandbox
- The bikes are for the black top or patio area
- We do not climb on the fence, we climb on the climbers
- The gardening tools are for digging
Before going outdoors, conduct a playground safety checklist. Also, be sure to conduct a head count before going outdoors and before going back inside the home or building.