Friday, 6 July 2012

Outdoor Play link-up - guest post from Down Under.

Well here we are, bloggers from opposite sides of the globe coming together to share our early childhood experiences. While Kierna takes a 8 week summer vacation, down here in Australia, I’m rugging up at home on a 2 week winter term break. So, perhaps at this point I should introduce myself.  I am Karen, and I blog about my experiences in the early childhood field at Flights of Whimsy  I have known Kierna for over a year now through social media and several early childhood blogger networks. Kierna is passionate about her vocation and I have tremendous respect for the wonderful work she does with her nursery class at Windmill Integrated Primary School.  I am also a big fan of her blog and visit frequently for updates on the early learning journey of the children within her care.  So what a surprise, and such an honour to be asked by Kierna to do a guest post on her Learning for Life site. Wow... and Thank-you!
Actually it's me who should be saying Thank-you , to Karen, an inspirational blogger & someone I now consider a colleague & friend.


We have a beautiful large natural playground at our preschool and the arrival of every season brings different sensory delights and changes to the environments ambience. Partially surrounding our preschool building, we have a large covered concrete pathway which is totally shaded through the summer months.  But, as time moves on, and temperatures gradually decrease, the sun progressively descends lower and lower in the sky and its light advances further and further in under the pergola.

Recently, on a particularly glorious sunny winter day, I noticed Jack jiggling about and observing his shadow as it danced about on the concrete below his feet.  I joined in with his game by attempting to jump onto his shadow. A chasing game then followed whereby I was madly running about trying to catch his shadow as he giggled whole-heartedly. 
Eventually this became exhausting (for me!) and I suggested to him that perhaps we could trace around his shadow.  At first he was a little unsure about my meaning, but quickly caught on, standing as still as a statue while I began to trace.  Pretty soon we had an audience gathering, all marvelling at the idea and keen to have a try themselves.
As the children drew we began to discuss the nature of shadows.  We talked about how shadows occur when light is blocked by an object, in this case, our bodies. 
We practiced making our shadows taller by stretching up, and smaller by crouching down. We made funny shaped shadows by twisting and contorting our bodies.
We turned two shadows into one by hugging our bodies tight, and we gave them four arms, four legs and two heads!
After lunch, we came out and discovered that our shadows no longer fitted into our pavement sketches! They had moved, and grown taller! What a surprise!  A few children pondered on this interesting observation for quite some time and were clearly grappling with the question, ‘Why is it so?’  Others lost interest and moved on. The small group that remained were all at different levels of understanding, but a couple of children were eventually able to recognize the correlation between the suns movement through the sky and the changes they observed in their shadows in response to this movement. Jack, was one of them.
Now that is emergent curriculum! In allowing children ownership of their own learning, we can trust that they will take us down paths that we may have never imagined at the commencement of the day. Just wonderful!

To follow up on this interest, the following provocations could be provided:
·         A ‘search for shadows’ game
·         Exploration of shadows with an OHP or projector
·         A box shadow theatre project
·         Introduce the children to Indonesian shadow puppets
·         Build a sundial project
It is getting harder & harder to choose one post from them all each week, but given that it was International Mud Day last week I thought that the one from Having Fun At Chelle's House on building a mud pit from scratch with the help of 2 small children was appropriate. I hope her children come to appreciate this great play space over time & know from my own experience that even the most reluctant children can't resist the allure of mud after a while.

How did your kids play outdoors this week?

  • Any kind of children's outdoor play-related posts are welcome!

We'd appreciate it if you included a link back to this post (either in your post or sidebar) to help us spread the word about the importance (and fun!) of outdoor play! In return, we'll gladly further share your post on FacebookTwitterPinterestPlease feel free to grab the Outdoor Play Party button from the sidebar and/or include a text link back.

Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured. (If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the 'featured' button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week! The linky goes live every second Friday at 12:01 GMT+1. 


  1. What wonderful shadow play it's so simple and yet children have hours of fun with it.

    1. Isn't it a great idea & one that you could do with any age group - I hope we get some sunshine when I go back to school so we can try this. Thanks as always for taking the time to leave a comment. Kierna

  2. I loved the shadow game! It is so interesting! I will try it for sure! I also like your link party very much! It is different than the others and with lots of great ideas! It is my first time participating and I have found so many ideas! Check out my blog if you want to see my work. Have a noce weekend!

    1. Hi thanks so much for joining in the link up this week, looking forward to exploring your blog. I think the shadow fun idea is a great one as anyone can do this - providing you have a little sunshine.

  3. This looks way better than the paper shadow tracing. What a clever idea. :)

    1. It is brilliant isn't it Ana & I bet the children will remember this long after the event. Thanks for dropping by the blog.

  4. Love this idea, great fun and so educational, too!

    1. Isn't it brilliant & yet so simple & one that anyone can do.

  5. We shadow play, too, but we hadn't thought of drawing around our shadows before. What a great idea!

    1. Thanks so much for joining up this week, I think any age group would enjoy learning all about shadows & 'time' with this activity.


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