Why play outdoors?
As part of Covid-19 response, we listened to our play friends about where they felt safe, through online polls and conversations, hearing about how lots of little ones preferred to spread out and explore rather than being in one space, which is the alternative in lots of indoor play at the moment due to Covid-19 restrictions.
We therefore decided to further embrace the benefits and joys of outdoor play and ensure all play sessions through September and October 2020 were in the great outdoors. This is taken in line with scientific advice that rates of transmission are far lower outside in fresh air.
Thanks to remaining National Lottery Community Funding from 2019-2020 where we were unable to play through lockdown (number 1!) and Millennium Point Trust support in 2020-2021, all of these sessions were funded and so could be accessible as Pay As You Feel.
We were able to play across the city in three locations:
Benefits of outdoor play from research
Less conflicts occur during outdoor play and children tend to cooperate more with each other…During outdoor play, children become teachers and learners, sharing their knowledge and skills to accomplish different tasks or challenges…adults recognized that they felt more available to support children outside, where they felt relaxed and calm.’
We had great moments outdoors and learning opportunities all around us, with a short story and song to start with, lightly themed to the outdoors. We carefully observed (but didn't touch!) fantastic fungi, we balanced, built, experimented, explored, investigated, cooked delicious mud pies and more! Each week had the same play areas, so little ones were familiar and confident in their surroundings, but with slightly different activities as well available such as making natural art in stick frames, a bear I-spy hunt, topping up bird feeders and bulb planting.
Happy Stories and Feedback
Had a really good time at the play cafe today. A lovely hidden garden and the ladies who run it are very friendly. Thanks for having us today."
‘There was a secured gate staff could open as we was greeted. Soon as you come into the area there is a safe cleaning station for hand washing and anti gel. A lovely and warm welcome introduction from lovely staff. It was a safe and wonderful inviting space for the children, parents and carers...there is so so much the children can gain from this and adults under the circumstances with COVID. It’s all cleaned and just a safe and secure space with staff keeping on top of the cleaning. We are looking forward to coming back here.’
Favourite activities chosen by little ones!
"Lots of different outdoor zones for children to explore and use their imagination.. Using the lovely little bags given us upon our arrival with different objects to explore and use within the outdoor space and zones i.e digging, water play mud kitchen. Using child friendly spades, sticks, rake, sieves, chalks and many other resources for children to use safely and securely with adult supervision on some activities in the environment. "
You can join our outdoor play from January 2021 by coming along to our monthly Wolves in the Woods sessions at Gatis Community Space, supported by Millennium Point Trust.
We hope to be able to continue even more outdoor sessions in the Spring! Sign up to our newsletter here to be the first to hear when sessions open.