The most exciting part of attending preschool or ECE’s is making friends and making the most out of playtime. For kids, playtime is critical for developing social and practical skills. It is here that they learn how to interact with one another, challenge themselves mentally and physically, and learn about the environment around them. Having a safe and fun outdoor area in your ECE is incredibly important and with Numat’s safety surfacing range you can not only ensure the children are safe, but that playtime becomes as much of an educational experience as the classroom. Here are some ideas of how to make the most out of your ECE surfacing.
Incorporating Shapes, Numbers + Letters
Incorporating educational elements such as letters and numbers and shapes into your surface can help children practice language and numerical skills as well as develop their creative thinking and association skills. Practical markings can easily be added to outdoor surfaces, embellished with colours, allowing kids to use their imaginations to dictate their outdoor time. Colourful markings and shapes can also be used to tell a story. Figures of nature, animals, traditional motifs, and symbolic imagery can really connect students with the values of their learning environment the community around them without having to compromise on space.
Another way to add more to your surface design and gain more value is by integrating games into your surface, helping increase its play value without the need for added equipment. Some possible ideas include adding, obstacle courses, board game designs, hopscotch, or court markings. Incorporating these markings into your surface design adds versatility and a level of multi-functionality to your space. Playing with these shapes and designs is an effective way for children to develop coordination, motor skills, and spatial awareness.
Bike track markings can be added both through the installation of an artificial safety surface or by painting the track outline on an available hard surface. This creates a learning opportunity for kids to get familiar with road rules in a playful way as well as develop physical skills such as riding a bike and other motor skills.
Texture and Sensory Walls
One other way to pack the most into your space is through converting walls into texture and sensory elements in your space. Transforming your walls into space kids can interact with adds more value to your space, without having to give up ground space. Live walls that are full of greenery can include flowers or even edible elements, don’t just add a sense of life into the space, but can also be used to teach kids about how things grow and where their food comes from. It also adds a sensory element or texture and small as well that her help kids develop those skills or association.
You could also add basic musical instruments to create a music/sound wall. This adds another element into play where kids can experiment with sounds, movement, and expression.
A mound, with or without a fixed slide, offers imaginative options allowing children to take control of their own play to express themselves through their ideas. Mounds and surface obstacles challenge and help motor skills development.
Flexible play areas
In the ECE environment, fixed play equipment is a contentious issue. There is often not enough space for big traditional forts or jungle gym type equipment and can often make supervision hard as well as limits the area in terms of space and usability. Children can lose interest when offered the same type of play element day after day, which is why many ECE’s are moving towards setting up flexible areas with movable equipment.
Flexible play areas provide changing play environments that keep it stimulating and challenging for children, facilitating the development of a range of gross and fine motor skills. Loose parts play opens a world of possibilities for social and cognitive play, allowing playtime to be self-directed and encouraging children to take risks, challenge and express themselves in a safe environment.
If you would like more info, or you’ve got a project coming up, feel free to give us a call on 0800 686 124 and speak to one of our surfacing consultants.