Parents are often aware of the physical benefits which come from regular outdoor play, and often encourage children to play on equipment in local green spaces, parks and recreation grounds.
However, very seldom do we think of ‘the park’ as a place of learning.
But with Hand Made Places equipment, it can be.
For our little ones, learning doesn’t, and shouldn’t stop when the bell rings. Children are constantly developing their minds, and the correct playground equipment can assist in this, without them even realising.
That is why we have put together some key information on which pieces of playground equipment can be used in parks and green spaces, to help children develop key language, mathematics and science skills.
Read on to find out all about:
Outdoor Learning Opportunities in Parks and Green Spaces.
Science: Plants & Wildlife.
Many outdoor spaces will already have an array of plants and flowers.
Though these are often seen as simply a way to improve the aesthetic of an area, they actually provide an opportunity for learning.
Planters which are used to grow flowers offer opportunities for children to inquire about plant life, and the natural world.
Parents/ carers can use floral displays in parks and green spaces to talk about scientific phenomenon such as photosynthesis.
Additionally, planters also provide a natural habitat for worms, spiders, beetles as well as many other insects and wildlife. Children can then learn about natural habitats, the food chain, and other processes linked to our smallest inhabitants.
Furthermore, equipment such as the Minibeast HQ can even provide a ‘man made’ habitat for these insects which will help to protect and preserve these species. From this children can learn about the environment, how to preserve it and to respect it.
All of these activities are great for younger children and parents/ carers.
Children will love finding out all about new creatures and plants, and these types of activities are great for building bonds and relationships between both parents/ carers & children, as well as siblings and friends alike.
Mathematics: Problem Solving.
We’ve all heard that saying that ‘maths is all around us’. But it’s not just one of those sayings, it really is true.
Maths can be found anywhere you look, and thanks to Hand Made Places that is especially true in both parks and green spaces.
Hand Made Places have specially designed ‘finger mazes’ which are created with problem solving in mind. Children will enjoy looking at the fun designs and feeling the different textures which are found on the activity panel.
The act of finding their way through the twists and turns of these finger mazes will help to develop skills which can be transferred into any classroom. Other elements within the board can help improve other key skills, such as counting too.
And that’s not all.
Finger mazes are just the start. Hand Made Places also have Chalk Boards which allow for children to write and draw absolutely anything they want.
Tip: Why not get your child to count the amount of trees they can see from a certain spot, and write that down. They can also count how many birds, flowers, and clouds they can see too.
You can then ask them to add up the clouds and birds. The flowers and trees. Plus any other statistics they have gathered, for a fun new take on outdoor maths!
Literacy: Communication & Language.
Literacy is yet another key subject which can be enhanced using outdoor play/learning.
Performance is an art form which can help to develop key language skills, as well as boosting confidence and enhancing social awareness. Children can work with friends or siblings, or even get their parents/ carers involved in a fun production.
They can perform it in front of the entire community.
Something which everyone is sure to enjoy!
Tip: Local and Parish councils should install outdoor musical instruments as well as animal faces/ play sculpture close to any stages or shelters which they have in their park or green space.
This will help to enhance the children’s C&L even further by adding another interesting element to their play.
Additionally, equipment such as the Storytellers Chair can be added to any park, or green space to provide an opportunity for learning.
Reading areas, or circles are not just beneficial for school playgrounds.
Having a designated reading/ story space within your local park can help to promote a love of literature.
Children can work together with parents/ carers to come up with a story and use the designated Storytellers Chair to relay it to their siblings and/or friends.
Furthermore, outdoor play provides an opportunity for children to develop their communication skills.
Interacting with other children, resolving issues and engaging in role play will all help to enhance their literary development.
… Make Sure Learning Doesn’t Stop When School does!
At Hand Made Places we design, manufacture and install a range of playground equipment which encourages both learning and fun.
Children learn best when they’re having fun! And they love to play on our play units, and different apparatus…
So why not combine the two…
Turn after school park trips, and weekend picnics into an opportunity for learning, with Hand Made Places’ outdoor learning equipment for parks and green spaces.