There are many benefits to outdoor play for children including: Well-being, exploration, developing independence, creativity, social skills and learning through play. Being able to get messy is another when creating mud pies and more.
Here is an example of an outdoor tray that I use with the families when we have an out and about session. The resources are set out so that the children can pick and choose what they would like to do and explore.
Contents for my outdoor tray 1 include:
- Large plastic tray (I use a boot tray usually used to put dirty wellington boots or similar on purchased in any hardware store)
- Selection of childrens diffing tools including forks and spades
- Measuring cups found in the kitchen isle which we use as digging tools too.
- Childrens gardening gloves. Although I encourage children and their families that it's ok to get dirty, some children dont like the feel of the compost etc
- Magnifying glasses made out of plastic for the children to view any mini beasts they may find when exploring
- A plastic wash bag which can be used to observe mini beasts, carry any finds in such as leaves etc or can be used to plant broad beans or similar as it will act as a mini greenhouse
- I added some plastic mini beasts
- Old plastic cotton reel to make marks with or use as a sieve
Contents for my outdoor tray 2 include:
- Wood chips
- Wood slices
- Pine cones
- Chopped pieces of a branch
The good thing about these nature trays is that if it's a really rainy day you can play inside.