The importance of play for lockdown babies

The importance of play for lockdown babies
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The value of play in early education is of increasing importance as little ones born into lockdowns and Covid pandemic restrictions approach nursery age.
Society is supporting the recovery of education for children who were already in school when measures were introduced from 2020.
However the areas of development needing extra attention for youngsters starting nursery may be quite different.
In Early Years settings, education providers have reported noticeable delays in speech and language.
And in a report by Ofsted last year (2022), an impact on physical development, social and friendship-building skills, and personal and emotional development was also recorded.
It noted that providers were opening up more opportunities for children to build confidence through play, including the use of outdoor playground equipment.
And Ofsted’s latest research review highlights many ways in which play can support young children’s learning and development.

Play in the early years

Different types of play – from physical play to imaginative play and sensory play – contribute to learning and development.
This includes children leading their own play, play-based learning and play among children during break or social times.
Providing long-lasting, good-quality safe playground equipment is essential for accommodating this.

Communication and language

According to Ofsted, Early Years providers have returned to some learning activities which were commonplace before the pandemic.
To aid communication and language development, this includes supporting role play and reading stories.
At Hand Made Places we have developed a series of playground products which help practitioners to prioritise the prime areas of learning .
Our playground equipment not only contributes to the creation of dynamic outdoor environments but can also be added to the teaching toolkit.
For example, our play castles, such as Adventure Castle or the Townhill Multiplay Unit, can help to bring a story to life as well as inspire imaginative play among children.
Our outdoor storytelling areas, complete with Storyteller’s Chair, are designed to be inclusive as well as laid out in a way so children can see the movement of the adult’s mouths when they speak.
And Playground Sculptures are proven talking points among adults and children, helping to engage little ones and encourage them to further explore the sculptures and what they represent.

Personal, social and emotional development

With many children lacking confidence in social settings after being born when lockdown was most restrictive, our expert playground designers work with Early Years settings to create safe, inclusive outdoor spaces where youngsters can learn to take risks in a protected environment.
This can include the addition of Playground Seating, Fencing and Signs.
Archways, like the Archway Planter and Coloured Archway, help to encourage turn-taking while our Mini Micro World Tables are the perfect tool to discuss and explore sharing during small world play.
Outdoor musical instruments help to nurture creativity and listening skills and our wide range of Easels, Chalkboards and Whiteboards are designed for little one to express their feelings or ideas through art.

Physical development

The pandemic meant many children had little or no access to large-scale play equipment and concerns have been raised about physical development.
Playground equipment designed, manufactured and installed by Hand Made Places aims to get children moving in different ways – crawling, climbing, hopping, jumping, sliding.
This contributes to the development of gross motor skills. Play units such as our Twig Play Unit, the Bloxham Play Unit and Toddlers’ Towers combine a number of features in one play tower to keep play times exciting.
Meanwhile the freestanding Imaginative Play Blocks are a useful addition to Early Years settings, allowing practitioners to set their own physical challenges for little ones in response to the development of particular skills.

With a range of strategies available to support children through their development milestones, Hand Made Places works in partnership with nurseries and Early Years settings to design, manufacture and install playground equipment which ensures learning is purposeful and meaningful.
Contact our team today to discuss your strategies and how we can help create outdoor spaces which support all learning opportunities.