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Research shows that outdoor play has multiple benefits to a child's health, development and well-being! We aim to provide a wide range of activities and opportunities outside for all of our children at Stepping Stones nursery!
“…the outdoor environment can be more than a place to burn off steam, with more
educators and architects and designers embracing the ideas that outdoor play space
provides chances for the highest level of development and learning. When used best,
it can be a place for investigation, exploration and social interaction.” (CCRU, 2008)
After attending February's Derbyshire Early Years conference, we have added to our outdoor space a Mud Kitchen. During this conference it was stressed the use of an outdoor space on a child's development.
We can already see all of the benefits of adding this space to our outdoor area. It is amazing that all seven areas of the EYFS are being developed through a fun and stimulating activity.
To provide enabling enviornments for our children the EYFS suggests 'Foster children's enjoyment of spoken and written language by providing interesting and stimulating play opportunities.' The mud kitchen is a perfect example of this kind of activity.
We can see the children are using their Personal, Social and Emotional Skills by seeking out other children to share their experiences. Once one child begins to play in the mud kitchen you will quickly get a line of children wanting to join in and be part of the creation.
Their Physical Development is certainly being activated-both large and small motor skills. The children are using spoons and other kitchen equipment to create imaginative creations. The children have also learnt that all the kitchen equipment needs to be cleaned and used safely.
Many children have used the measuring jugs and are interested in the numbers-using their Mathematics.
Children have also been using many the charcterstics of effective learning to access this activity.
Alongside all of these benefits to their development play in the mud has clear links to increased immunity.
'Children who don’t spend time outside run the risk of serious health issues such as obesity, myopia, and Vitamin D deficiencies more importantly playing in the mud specifically can benefit the heart, skin and immune system' (National Wildlife Federation, 2009 )
Above all-this has been an activity the children have really enjoyed, and have talked about long after they were finished playing.
We have added a lot of fun toys to our water trough to allow children to explore various ways to move water around. The children have really enjoyed using the gutters to make large scale piping and then watching as the water travels through their creation. This has been a great activity to engage the children to all three characteristics of effective learning. Some children first are willing to have a go, and then concentrate on the task they are doing, while having their own ideas of ways to move the water about. All while developing in the areas of the EYFS.