Keeping our preschoolers active on the playground is fairly usually easy, with the right equipment. However, organizing games for them to play together can sometimes be more challenging. Below are a few ideas for having fun, using our “noggins”, and staying active outside on the playground. Let’s keep the littlest students engaged with games and GameTime Preschool playground equipment from Struthers Recreation.
1. BEYOND SLIDING FUN
Playground slides are always a major attraction for kids, but what about racing your favorite rolling toys down them in a high-speed chase? Maybe racing your stuffed animal on foot would be a challenge. Send Mr. Fluffy sliding while running to catch him before he crosses the finish line. Who is faster, you, or Mr. Fluffy?
Teachers and parents can sneak in a learning experience about the Scientific Method while playing! Make observations, then state a hypothesis – “Since Johnny is bigger, I believe Mr. Fluffy will reach the finish line before he can.” Let your students help make the observations and form a hypothesis. Next, set out to prove it. Don’t stop there! Find other objects to send sliding and use your past experiences (data) to guess (hypothesize) which object will win next. For an added thrill start a slow contest, where the slowest one down wins.
PLAYGROUND FUN FACT: The first playground slide in the world was made completely of wood in England in 1922. (Ouch, splinters!)
2. I SPY
We can #learnthroughplay by taking learning outside! A scavenger hunt can be great fun. Look for your favorite colors, shapes, and other objects on the playground. While playing we can support intellectual development, all the while giving young students the wiggle time they need to focus better as the day progresses.
Create cut-out shapes for groups of students or friends to find as a team. This is a great way to begin a classic game of I Spy (or, I Spy with My Little Eye) by allowing each student to have a turn being the “spotter.” The world around you all can change perspectives before your very eyes!
PLAYGROUND FUN FACT: Do you know what one of the first games young children learn to play might be? You guessed it, it’s “I Spy”!
3. PRESCHOOL NINJA WARRIOR
Tiny ninjas, that’s what preschoolers may be. Think about it, the bouncing off walls, the silent sneaking into rooms they’re not supposed to be in, and don’t forget the quick-as-lightning toddler fist-to-mouth with unknown and/or dangerous objects skillfully masked inside skill. No adult stands a chance. It all makes sense now; they are tiny ninjas. Why not train them to use their skills for good beginning at a young age? Check out the line of GameTime Challenge Courses for not only adults but also for children ages 5 to 12. There are great benefits for children in outdoor obstacle courses and all you need is a little creativity, to create an obstacle course for toddlers and preschoolers.
As an example, you can draw a map with a fun path for kids through the playground equipment at your school. Strategically place adults in the field to help them along and boost those competitive spirits by timing them with a stopwatch. Try a quick game of follow-the-leader for a warm-up to get them used to the route.
It won’t be long, and these kids will be pros, ready to take on any other students on a GameTime Challenge Course at the appropriate age. Who knows, with this early training, maybe they’ll end up crowned the youngest Ninja Warrior Champion of all time!
Preschool Playgrounds are Important, and Why
As they should be, educators and parents are interested in early childhood development.
Doctors are great at letting us know when babies should hit the major milestones such as babbling, crawling, and walking. As they continue to grow, we know toddlers should start learning colors and numbers. Reading and math skills should continue to progress as they grow. Helping children reach their physical milestones can also benefit them in the long run.
There are established guidelines published by SHAPE America for children from birth to age five. Below are five guidelines for physical activity needs in young children and preschoolers:
- At least 60 minutes of accumulated and structured physical activity daily.
- Kids should also engage in at least 60 minutes (up to several hours) of unstructured physical activity daily. Except when sleeping, children should not be sedentary for any more than 60 minutes intervals.
- The foundation of good future motor skills and adept physical activity is created by developing strong fundamental motor skills at a young age.
- Large-muscle activities should be performed in areas that follow the recommended safety standards for such activities.
- As competent caregivers we are responsible for providing opportunities for kids to move and practice the necessary skills for structured and unstructured physical activities.
Together We Can Create a Preschool Play Area
A playground can create a, endless foundation of fun games, physical activity, and outdoor learning through play that is essential to helping young kids develop the necessary skills for life. If you’re interested in talking through these details and finding ideas that will work for you and your preschool, please contact us at Struthers Recreation today!