Blog: Nurturing Children Together

2016 Summer at Allen Creek - outside play!

 

 

 

 

 

For this year's summer camps at Allen Creek, we decided to do things a little differently!  In the past we have had theme-based camps that became a bit too complicated.  This year we decided to concentrate on our outdoor spaces, water play, nature, art, and on our usual preschool activities. We spent part of the school year thinking carefully about how to do this before we made the changes.  Now that the camps are over, we can say that it was successful and the changes were well worth it! The extra focus on outdoor activities and exploration were the best part.

Many water features were offered.  In addition to our usual basins and taps from the school year with bamboo channels, we offered troughs, wading pools, a sprinkler, hoses, and pipes with funnels.

Many water features were offered.  In addition to our usual basins and taps from the school year with bamboo channels, we offered troughs, wading pools, a sprinkler, hoses, and pipes with funnels.

The teachers constructed a "mud kitchen" using materials we already had: fence boards, stumps, shelving and crates, a sensory table tub for a sink, and pots, pans, utensils and dishes.  The children used it every day of camp to make meals and play house and restaurant.

The teachers constructed a "mud kitchen" using materials we already had: fence boards, stumps, shelving and crates, a sensory table tub for a sink, and pots, pans, utensils and dishes.  The children used it every day of camp to make meals and play house and restaurant.

The children were especially receptive to the expanded focus on outside play, including lots of water features and natural materials.  We made sure to spend at least half of the three hour day outdoors, but usually more.  In the play ground, the children enjoyed playing in the sand box with mud and water.  They climbed the structures and practiced their upside-down hanging skills on the dome climber.  They played ball games and drew with chalk on the sidewalk.  They painted on an outdoor easel that the teachers constructed, too.  The children never expressed boredom - they were always engaged in something interesting or challenging.

Children thoroughly enjoy making rivers and channels with the water and mud in the sand box!

Children thoroughly enjoy making rivers and channels with the water and mud in the sand box!

We made sure that our playground had extra shade for the hot summer days.

We made sure that our playground had extra shade for the hot summer days.

In the Nature Area, the children made the most of everything available and had a great time!  In this large space, there is room to run, transport things with a wheelbarrow, or transport people with a wagon.  There is a music wall to play instruments and do performances.  The children played ball games and ran through the sprinkler.  There was a huge interest in running the hose and sprinkler and observing how they work.  The children also played games that they made up, like 'run and jump in the wading pools one right after the other' and 'cover up the sprinkler with the bucket and see where the water goes'.  They used pipes and funnels on the fence to move water.  They made beautiful meals with flowers, leaves, and wood chips in the mud kitchen.  They picked and sampled vegetables and herbs from the raised beds.  They played animal family in the climbing tree.  They chased bubbles.  They built structures with logs.  The Nature Area was full of summertime joy!

There was even more time outdoors to try different ways of building with the logs.

There was even more time outdoors to try different ways of building with the logs.

All of the water play promoted even more learning and cooperative play.

All of the water play promoted even more learning and cooperative play.