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Your outdoor space provides many learning opportunities for young children. They learn to navigate new challenges, re-navigate familiar ones, and explore the world around them. Being outside fills their lungs with fresh air, and allows them to use their large muscles for running and climbing. An outdoor space should be equipped to allow the children to explore the area independently.
When you set up your outside space you can save money by building outdoor items yourself, shopping for second hands items, using items from nature, and using recycled materials.
Bring learning spaces outside
Create opportunities for children to do everything they do inside-outside. You can create a responsive space for art, construction, dramatic play, science, reading and music.
Create a space for art-outside
Depending on your budget you can invest in an acrylic outdoor easel, or DIY your own that will withstand the weather.
As an alternative, you can bring your indoor easel outside with you, or attach clips to your fence to hold paper, and supplies.
Outdoor art area created by Felecia J. of Mrs. Felecia's Playhouse Preschool
If you are short on space, create an outdoor tote or cart that contains a variety of paintbrushes, paint, T-shirt smocks, and side walk chalk.
A fun alternative to an easel, is an outdoor chalkboard! Create your own using chalkboard paint!
Outdoor chalkboard created by Naomi G. of Play Matters Preschool
Bring the Art outside! Even if you don't have a dedicated outdoor art space, you can bring your art projects outside. You can create art outside during all seasons. Some ideas include: painting snow, making collages from fall leaves, and sun prints in the summer.
Sheena W. of Building Blocks Family Childcare shared the above process art project. She filled pantyhose with sand, the children dipped the end into paint and dropped it onto the paper.
There are a variety of outdoor structures available to meet the gross motor needs of the children in your care. A quality play structure is a great investment in your business. They often include a slide, swings, climbing walls, and built in play houses. Keep in mind most states have requirements for safety surfacing when adding structures over a certain height.
If you don't have a lot of space for a structure: consider a tunnel, balance beam, trikes, cozy coupes, wagons, other ride on toys,tires, low stumps for climbing, or a natural slide built into your existing landscape.
Other items to have on hand for outdoor play include:
This balance beam belongs to Naomi G. of Play Matters Preschool
Jocelyn T. of Helping Hands Daycare
worked with her existing landscape to insert a slide into a gentle hill.
Music brings such joy! Create a music wall in your backyard, by securing a variety of recycled items to a wall or fence. If you don't have space to dedicate to a music wall, consider a portable option such as a tote filled with plastic instruments, a small battery operated radio, or pans and wooden spoons for an impromptu marching band.
This fabulous music wall was created by community member Annie B.
Create a space for gathering
Create a space outside for your children to gather. Group activities are fun outside!
Your gathering area can be as simple as a picnic blanket on the lawn-to something as elaborate as an outdoor covered area.
This fun outside space belongs to Naomi G. of Play Matters Preschool
An outdoor picnic table provides a place to serve outdoor snacks, and meals. It also provides a quiet space for children to draw or do a table top activity while outside.
create opportunities for small world play,
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Circle Time Binder-Digital Download
The Circle Time Binder combines all of your favorite Circle Time Activities in a portable Binder. It's a great option for educators who are short on wall space, only have 1 or 2 children "ready" for Circle Time, or parents who are homeschooling their Preschooler.
Inside this 57-Page Printable you will find:
4-Cover designs to choose from
A Skills Check list
3-Editable Who's Here Sign in activities
How are you feeling? poster and clip cards
100-Days recording page
The current season is ... activity
Today's weather is .. activity
Days of the week activity
Special Days of the Month (*Editable)
I know my letters uppercase & lowercase posters
Interactive I know my colors poster
Interactive I know my shapes poster
Directions, TOS, and Graphics Credit
Simply insert each page in a page protector, laminate the pieces for durability and attach with velcro.
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Apple Activity Pack-Digital Download
Let's explore apples! Inside this apple themed activity pack you will find an assortment of easy to assemble activities. You can easily turn them into a variety of hands on learning centers, tot trays or file folder games.
Help the children in your care learn literacy skills, and math skills. Some of the skills covered in this pack are: colors, shapes, uppercase and lowercase letter identification, patterning, one to one correspondence, counting, and ordering numbers 1-10.
Inside this 55-Page Printable Activity pack you will find the following 16 activities:
Apple Clip Cards
Apple tree color matching activity
Roll and Color apple graphing activity
Apple tree uppercase and lowercase letter matching file folder activity
Apple Count and Clip Cards
Apple Tree counting mats 1-10
Apple barrel counting mats 1-12
Counting Apples Mat 1-20
Apple Patterning Activity
Sorting apples by size
Parts of an apple
Seasonal apple tree match
Apple Tree Life Cycle puzzle
Apple 3-Part Cards
Also includes Cover, Directions, TOS, and Graphics Credit
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Corn, Scarecrows and Crows Printable Activity Pack
This 40 page printable activity pack includes 11 printable activities, and 2 pages of 3-part cards for your Corn, Scarecrows and Crows themed Week.
Corn Kernel Counting Activity (Can also be used as a craft template)
Color Clip Cards
Count and Clip Cards
Crow counting mats with 10-frames (1-10)
Cutting Practice Sheet
Uppercase & Lowercase Letter Puzzle Cards
Positional Phrases Activity
Scarecrow Counting Mats (1-10)
Shape Matching Puzzles
Patterning Activity Page
2-pages of 3-part cards using real photos related to this theme week.
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Pumpkin Activity Pack
From Tot Trays, to Center Activities this pack includes tons of hands on fun for your Pumpkin Unit.
This 53 page Pumpkin Activity includes 13 activities, 2 pages of Word Wall Cards, and 2 pages of 3-Part Cards.
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