With warm weather here children and adults want to get back outdoors. Even with the limitations in place currently, active play and learning is still vital! Most programs are in the process of assessing the tools and equipment that are easy to clean but still support children’s physical and cognitive development. Though the following list is not a substitute for your local safety requirements it includes the basics.
Keep Kids Actively Learning Through Play With:
- Balls, balls, and more balls – choose the types of balls that can be easily submerged in soapy water.
- Outdoor Ramps, your own collection of gutters, or a set of Tubes – all of which can be washed.
- Korxx Big Building Blocks or your own plastic or wooden outdoor building blocks – Korxx blocks and your own plastic blocks can be submerged in soapy water and your own wooden blocks can be surface washed.
- Insect observation jars – a favorite of children and super easy to submerge in soapy water after insects have been returned to their natural habitats under rocks or in leafy spaces.
- Climbing Equipment – wipe down the most used/touched surfaces with disinfectant wipes.
- Plastic golf, bowling, and hoola hoop sets – easily washed with soapy water and hosed off after giving young children a reason to move from head to toe.
- Trikes and other riding toys – clean with disinfectant wipes between riders. (Tip: create a few trike parking spaces using red and green sidewalk chalk marks on the pavement. Red means stop, the trike is not cleaned. Green means it’s free to use.)
- Garden pots, beds, and tools – all garden tools can be washed up or cleaned with disinfectant wipes. Children can wear garden gloves or wash their hands frequently when caring for the plants in your garden spaces.
Many indoor materials get a “new life” by bringing them outdoors for a few hours or a few days. Moving materials from indoors to out, even temporarily, helps children recognize possibilities for grouping materials in new ways, increases options for problem-solving, and encourages children to incorporate natural materials as they play and discover.
Take Indoor Materials Outdoors For The Day:
- Magnifying glasses, tongs, and other observation tools can be collected in a bin, used outdoors, and returned to your indoor spaces after cleaning.
- Musical instruments – plan for an outdoor music making session once a week and include a parade or dancing to encourage large motor play.
- Rubber Ramp – take outdoors for experimentation. Use rocks, tree stumps, Korxx Big blocks or sandbags to elevate the ramp and form hills. Or place a couple sections of it on a grassy slope for some comparative ball races.
- Sorting Stones, Sensory Stones, Calming Stones, Count and Thread Stones, and your own collection of natural rocks, beach pebbles, or polished stones are all easily washable and make wonderful parts for creating giant mandalas or patterns on playgrounds and grassy areas.
Refreshing your outdoor spaces by rearranging materials and something new is often just as exciting for the adults in your program as it is for the children. It offers them entry points to have conversations with children, make observations, and introduce new concepts and vocabulary. These Kodo materials can be easily washed and contribute to active learning outdoors!
Put a little Kodo in your Outdoor Classroom:
- Outdoor Balance
- Sand Shapers
- Farm Canisters
- Outdoor Sifter Diggers
- Outdoor Mobile Magnet Wall
Lastly, re-familiarize yourself with some old-fashioned outdoor group games. Remember playing Kitty in The Corner? Simon Says? Freeze Dance? Red Light Green Light? Most outdoor group games only require a ball or rope, and many don’t require any tools or equipment at all. All they take is a wee bit of planning and an enthusiastic leader. Ten days ago here in Broomfield,Colorado the spring snows were still falling. Now the clear skies, light breezes, and rains are finally here. We’re so grateful to be getting back outdoors and wish the same for each of you! Thanks for reading our blog.