Our play yard provides us with rich opportunities to engage with concepts, explore self-generated questions, and bring ideas to fruition in a more physical, active way than is practical indoors. The whole body can be involved in learning, which is so beneficial to young children. Over the past month, we've been working on adding materials to the play yard to expand and enrich play. Here is some of what we've been up to!
Pumpkins and squashes taught us a lot about weight and balance...so did using our whole bodies!
The following week, we explored weight and balance in a new way by creating pulleys out of baskets and rope. After working with pulleys for a while, children then generated lots of other ideas for using ropes...they created their own swing, a tightrope, a spiderweb, and a tow truck!
Pumpkins, squash, sumac berries, sunflower heads, and corn have also provided inspiration for dramatic play. Children have been very engaged in creating restaurants and cooking in homes that they built using fabric and sunflower stalks.
In addition to the narratives created through this dramatic play, we have been engaging with literacy through writing in the yard. During the week of Halloween, children were invited to create spooky books outdoors.
They have also had the opportunity to make marks and to create with paint on our outdoor easel using fall-inspired colors.
One of our favorite aspects of our work with the children is that they not only have the opportunity to engage in individual learning, but to work together to build their community. The yard is a site of many community projects. We've been working on gardening (with such wonderful leadership from families). We've also been very busy trying to figure out how to tune up the bike that we inherited.
Problem-solving, working together, learning about tire pressure, writing stories...our yard has been a very active place. Next up: exploring light and shadows on a plexiglass panel, creating the alphabet out of found materials, and textured painting!
What are your favorite activities to do outdoors with your children?