According to the UK Government, the seven areas of learning in the EYFS framework should mostly be delivered through games and play. This makes the playground not just somewhere children have fun, but also an arena in which learning can take place. To make this possible, it is important to choose outdoor play equipment that facilitates EYFS learning. Here we look at the seven areas of EYFS and show how play equipment can be successfully used.
Communication and language
With the right equipment, the playground provides plenty of opportunities for children to develop their communication and language skills. A simple outdoor stage, play towers and shop kiosks, for example, encourage children to participate in role play, either during free play or organised activities. Playground markings for interactive games are also helpful because activities such as football or hopscotch require children to communicate with each other in order to take part.
Literacy, which is naturally related to communication and language, can also be developed in an outdoor setting. Creating a storytelling circle, complete with a storytelling chair and mushroom-design seating is a great way to encourage listening to stories and to inspire children to tell their own.
Additionally, there is a range of specialist literacy playground markings for games involving letters and phonic sounds, as well as outdoor whiteboards and chalkboards to encourage mark making.
The playground provides unlimited opportunities for children to develop numeracy skills, including learning to recognise numbers, count forwards and backwards and even basic adding and subtraction. There is a wide range of maths-based playground markings that display numbers and encourage children to count as they play.
At the same time, there is equipment that can help develop other maths skills, even though the children wouldn’t recognise these as maths, for example, battleships boards and soma cubes.
Expressive arts and design
Children love expressing themselves artistically and there are numerous ways you can use playground equipment to encourage and facilitate this. Outdoor stages and roleplay equipment can motivate children to perform made up plays; the wide range of whiteboards, chalkboards and painting stations provide endless opportunities to create art, and the selection of fun, outdoor percussion instruments, that everyone can play, motivate children to experiment with sound, patterns and beats.
Young children are naturally full of energy so it takes little to get them moving around. However, to develop strength and stamina, as well as balance, agility and coordination, it’s helpful to have the right equipment. One ideal solution is to install EYFS Trim Trails equipment. With balance beams, log striders, climbing nets, tunnels, jungle bars and rope traverses to choose from, it’s easy to create a fun but challenging obstacle course.
A lot of modern play tower equipment also comes with features that encourage physical development, these include traversing slopes, ropes and nets, climbing poles, wobbly bridges and slides.
Personal, social and emotional development
Often their first experience of prolonged time away from their families, going to an EYFS setting requires children to quickly develop their personal, social and emotional skills. Encouraging interaction is essential to help children negotiate this steep learning curve and, just as with language and communication, playing group games and taking part in role play activities are key to doing this. Again, playground markings and roleplay equipment help facilitate this, as does messy play equipment, like mud kitchens and water and sand equipment, that children love to play with together.
Understanding the world
Young children find nature fascinating and there’s no better place to give them an understanding of it than outdoors. Unfortunately, not all EYFS providers have an outdoor space where the children can interact with nature. However, this can be overcome with the latest Nature Garden outdoor equipment, such as planters and trellises that can provide greenery even in hard-surfaced play areas, as well as bird feeders and boxes, insect habitats and butterfly boxes.
Additionally, there is equipment for planting seeds and observing them grow and specially designed products that let youngsters see what happens beneath the soil's surface. There are even simple to use weather stations that can be used to monitor the weather.
With games and play an essential element of delivering the EYFS framework, the early years playground is a key learning environment for young children. With careful thought and clever design, even the smallest of spaces can be transformed into a resource that offers a multitude of fun opportunities that facilitate, motivate and inspire children to learn across all seven areas of the EYFS curriculum.
For more information about our range of EYFS and nursery products, visit our Early Years page.