I’m often asked this question, what part of your backyard is designated for play and learning areas at school? My answer has always been my entire backyard. It is the role of the teacher to think ahead and to prepare the areas and special spaces for children to play and learn. At the same time, we should also leave areas where the children themselves can explore and create their own imaginative play and be allowed to experiment, explore and learn. We should provide them with choices aside from basic anchored play equipment. Giving the children diverse choices helps them learn problem solving skills. Examples of outdoor play areas might include a nook for reading, sand and water tables, a mud pit, an art area, a vegetable and fruit garden, a stage for singing and dancing, a science area, a quiet nook for relaxing, loose parts and a variety of materials for fort building or just building structures …the possibilities are endless!
I found this gorgeous mural and used it as a back drop, with a blanket and some other materials; we set up a play area outdoors. It didn’t take much time, and the children enjoyed playing with the animals and branches.
“Watch out Miss Maria, we have Wild Zoo Animals at the backyard. They might decide to swing and slide much later.”
And they did!