Friday, 22 May 2015

Farewell to the Outdoor Play Party.

Sadly this is the last Outdoor Play Party, after a few years co-hosting this link up of outdoor play posts from bloggers around the world, it is time to call it quits. I first joined in with the original co-hosts Mama Peapod and Greening Sam & Avery. As their lives got busier they had to leave the party but it kept going with The Golden Gleam and Kitchen Counter Chronicles (KCC) and myself. We have had some other bloggers join in for a time - Flights of Whimsy, Happy Hooligans, Making Boys Men & The Usual Mayhem. More recently it has been Rain or Shine Mamma, Mud Mud Marvellous Mud and Adventure Togs with myself and KCC. But alas all good things have to come to an end, we are all busier and moving in different directions and finding the fortnightly link up party too hard to maintain. I will continue to blog about getting outdoors & some of the adventures of my nursery class & I hope that all those who have supported the Outdoor Play Party and my blog in particular will continue to interact with me on any posts, I always look forward to getting comments on my posts.
So this week we had our second visit to the Wild Woods at An Creagán, I am a big advocate of allowing children to revisit familiar sites and to allow them to have time to explore freely and enjoy trying skills over and over.
For this visit, I could allow the children to run on ahead on the path until they found the gate, I loved that those who got there first just sat down at the gate waiting for the rest to catch up! Peter, the bio-diversity officer had lit the fire so at the gate, I explained they couldn't run on ahead but had to walk with an adult in front because of the fire. Because we have a fire weekly in school these children are used to being around a fire and they knew to walk round the fire to get a seat. 
The fire circle where we sometimes have lunch.
They had been talking about what they were going to do since their last visit - catching a newt was top of some lists, climbing up the steepest bank on another & enjoying tea at the fairy tea party topped a lot of lists!
After listening to Peter talk about how he was going to make them some charcoal, the children had a request for him - they wanted to have lunch in 'the straw house' - a Bronze Age Hut recently built in an authentic village within the larger site. After hearing they could have lunch in there they were free to go and play.
The tree house, the children can really feel as if they are inside a tree!
It is a wonderful site where the children can really feel they are out of sight when really they are visible to all the adults. I love that they can spread themselves all over the site, they will be pond dipping, climbing the banks, playing in the tree house, having tea at the fairy tea party, cooking in the kitchen, digging or playing with water in the barrel. And even with all that is on offer there is also the option to just sit on a rock and watch the world go by. 
A table with beautiful china set up for the children to enjoy.
We allow the children to just be, there is no end result of our visit other than that they have fun and enjoy themselves. It is always so wonderful to see a quiet, timid child having so much fun just gathering stones in a bucket or sliding down a muddy bank. 
We usually have just over an hour to enjoy just playing before I blow the whistle 3 times to signal it is time to go back to the seating area.
'The straw house' where we had a lunch.
This time rather than have lunch around the fire we walked back to the entrance and had it in the Bronze Age Village in the 'straw house'. The children loved this experience - as far as they were concerned it was a much better version than the one the little pig made! This village has been built using traditional materials and methods and the hut is a real work of art - the walls are woven willow and were just starting to sprout leaves.
After lunch the children had a play in the play park before heading back to nursery on the bus.We had lot of tired, wet and muddy children but thankfully most parents are always delighted to see the muddy faces as a true sign of a really fun filled day.
A massive thanks to all of those who linked up to the Outdoor Play Party last time, I hope you will all grab the 'featured at' badge and continue to keep on promoting great outdoor play in your blogs.


  1. Anonymous23 May, 2015

    Hi Kierna,
    It's such a pity that I can no longer join your OPP which rocks! Your linky has inspired me to grow in our outdoor pursuits. Thank You for befriending me. All the best to your endeavours! : ) Still keeping in touch via your facebook.

  2. Oh my this is an end of an era, the Outdoor Play Party is something I discovered not long after setting up Country Kids when Mama Pea Pod was running it. I've watched the changes over the years and to this day it is the only linky I join my Country Kids posts up with as the idea is basically the same. I hope you will continue to support Country Kids, I would miss all your preschool outdoor fun if you didn't! Your trips to the woods are my favourites, I love the space you have created for the children there and it is clearly a time they all enjoy.

  3. It is such a shame when a linky comes to an end.

    I love the children being outside and will make sure I come back to see your posts.

  4. Anonymous25 May, 2015

    Sad about the linky as it is one of my fave to join! I believe on the value that it is promoting. #countrykids

  5. Hello Kierna

    Many thanks for all your efforts over the years to keep this going. I know it is a lot of work visiting every contributors posts and commenting upon them.

    I hope you continue to grow and develop your own professional practice in different ways.

    I, too, am struggling to find the time to actively contribute and always appreciate the efforts of others who do so.

    Long live outdoor play. Long may those places and spaces outside ring to the sound of children laughing, playing and learning.

    Thank you again.

  6. Thank-you all for the lovely comments, sometimes you just have to prioritise things to make life more workable & enjoyable. I truly appreciated all the supportive comments from you all over the past few years & your continued support of the linky.

  7. I will miss the outdoor play party, but will come back again and again for your wisdom and insight on teaching and the beauties of interactions in the natural world. Thank you!

  8. I will miss the outdoor play party, it always gave me lots of lovely ideas and I loved sharing my stories. I understand that blogging can be so hard, I'm finding it a bit difficult and the moment but its always great to catch up with like minded people and see how others are enjoying the outdoors.
    Thank you for letting us share our stories!


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