Rain, rain, don’t go away…
… come again we want to play.
At any one of our three Willow Cottage settings you are spoilt for choice as to where to play outside first. From the mud kitchen to The Orchard, the balance beam to the bikes, from Forest School to the sand pit, or snuggled into a cosy den there are a myriad of options for the children to choose from.
Willow Cottage has always advocated for the health benefits of great nutritionally balanced food alongside vitamin D from the sunshine and children playing outside in the fresh air. The pandemic pushed us in a direction we had been talking about going and the results have spoken for themselves. Healthy, happy, independent children exploring and connecting with nature and the outdoors.
Puddles are a never ending source of fascination for children. They seem to be drawn to them, and for good reason. They are simply fantastic fun, but you can also throw in a whole host of learning opportunities.
Children explore water displacement and puddle volume as they tentatively (or not!) see if the puddle is deeper than their wellies. Puddles can be stirred, kicked, swished, patted and stomped in. These are all fantastic movement skills. Jumping is a skill to be learnt and practiced, a big wet splashy puddle provides a tantalising incentive. Big jumps, small jumps, little hops, 1 foot or 2 feet, skips, running and jumping, arms up or arms down.
Below is a link to a YouTube video of Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astronomer, talking about his observations of the importance of puddle play for children.
As is the way, the Great British weather does not always make a nursery day spent outside easy, but we have learned to adapt. On cold, wet, soggy days it is always worth it to see the children’s delight as they splash in puddles or make mud pies or measure how much rain they can catch in their beaker. Children do not see the weather as a barrier to their all important goal of play, so we ensure that they have the equipment to fully enjoy this.
Below is a link to a movement that started with one family in America aiming to match, if not exceed, the number of hours of screen time the average American child is exposed to and so they aimed to give their family 1000 hours outside, totalled up throughout the year.
We know that our children at Willow Cottage are given a good number of their 1000 hours outside throughout their nursery year. Dressed in their waterproofs and their wellies and with a sparkle in their eye at the sight of that big juicy puddle they’re well equipped for their explorations, whatever the weather.
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