|You can see it's certainly not a large space.|
I know not everyone can leave tyres, crates or tree stumps outdoors all the time & it would be very different if we did have to bring these in all the time.
|Luckily all the 'loose parts' can be left outside.|
A few weeks ago we made a tiny little hill with some more bark chippings & it is lovely to watch the children rolling down it & running up & over it. It is really a slight incline but to a 3 & 4 year old it feels like a hill.
Sometimes when the children are playing in among the willow dens & cooking with bark chippings or pine cones on the tree stumps it is hard to believe we are sitting inside the playground of a school. It really does feel like we have a little forest in the playground.
We have created a mud patch in one corner, it is most popular on very wet days when it fills up with lovely squishy mud. There is a water butt attached to one down pipe & it has created a water play area & because it is parallel to the mud area water can be transferred easily between the 2 with buckets etc. by walking along behind the slides.
|Our mud patch|
|The water butt is at the side of the slide & across from the mud patch.|
In the warmer summer term the large Community Playthings hollow blocks tend to get spread all over the tarmac area & we can have bowling on there too.
If I was advising someone on how to develop a small space from scratch, I'd advise getting some tyres, palettes & tree stumps. These will create many play scenarios for the children. If at all possible I would advocate approaching garden centres etc. and asking if they could give discounted prices on bulk buys of bark chippings or come to some arrangements on split bags that can't be resold.
Creating an area with a natural feel of bark chippings will be the best investment a setting could make.
We take the class on monthly visits to several forest settings & outdoor play areas and we also have a wooded/wild area for our use within the main school grounds but I can honestly say the playground is my favourite space to enjoy watching young children totally involved in good quality outdoor play.