For more than 25 years, we have been working with individuals throughout the UK to create amazing playgrounds and educational outdoor learning environments. In this time we have created more than 12,000 quality facilities.
Our Spring 2017 Brochure is on its way to you now and is packed with exciting information and a showcase of recent installations we have completed, truly showing how Creative Play can help with your own playground developments.
SPOTLIGHT: Our Lady and St Edward’s Catholic Primary School Development and Grand Opening
Last month we were fortunate enough to be invited to attend the open day of one of our most recent playground developments. We had worked with Our Lady and St Edward’s Catholic Primary School in Birkenhead to create an exciting play space that incorporated both physical and imaginative role-play opportunities.
In attendance was our sales manager James Gambino, staff and pupils of Our Lady and St Edwards as well as special guest Steven Jennings, captain of Tranmere Rovers.
Our specialist team of playground experts have collated our best-selling and most popular items of playground equipment – making it even easier for you to create your ideal playground, complete with a whole variety of play opportunities. From physical play to outdoor classrooms, from sports and fitness to imaginative role play – we have something for everyone!.
The Association of Play Industries (API) are the lead trade organisation within the Play Industry, actively promoting all matters relating to play. Founded in 1984 they have been ‘the voice of the play industry’ for over 30 years.
Creative Play are proud to be a member of the API and look forward to working closely with this incredibly well-regarded organisation in the future.
Here at Creative Play, we’re passionate about providing schools with quality playground equipment and sensory play items to help their children enjoy safe, fun, healthy and educational play. One of the questions we’ll often encounter is how it will aid in the learning of their children, so we thought we’d go to one of the major authorities in the educational area, Ofsted.
There’s a wealth of evidence that has been gathered and presented by authoritative and respected bodies in recent times to suggest that a more hands-on approach to the physicality of learning in young children is one of the best ways forward. In short, that by actively encouraging kids to experiment in a tactile way can help them to fundamentally understand the world around them early on. Or at least, understand the way in which their immediate environment feels, looks, smells and sounds once they start interacting with it from an up close and personal perspective.
Be it by engaging with and exploring the tangible likes of play dough, water and/or sand play, finger paints, ice or child-friendly slimey substances, sensory play in all of its broad forms and functions is now seen as a vital tool in the way we instigate and spark individual responses in youngsters; vital in unlocking their instinctive (yet sometimes dormant) means of building their expressions and emotional responses when introduced to elements not previously found within their early years comfort zones. So that’s general thought, but our big question today is ‘What does Ofsted say about sensory play?’
According to a recent report drafted by Ofsted, it concluded that ‘Younger children’s sensory play and exploration are promoted very well to help develop and support their emerging skills. Children enjoy being artistic and use media and materials to be creative.’
Another report and its findings highlighted that; ‘Children enjoyed following their own play ideas in shop role play, and also explored sensory play using glue and cotton wool.’ This isn’t necessarily the most in-depth or lengthy summary, but does lends support to the host of independent opinion that strongly believes sensory play is a key starting point as a means of helping young children with descriptive language, motor skills and creativity.
Essentially, it helps with getting them to describe what they’re experiencing, through everything from child-like sound effects, to the formulation of actual words to explain what they’re feeling. Or in more specific terms, describe what the substance is they’re feeling. Another report on the subject published in 2015 cited that children should be encouraged ‘to explore and investigate even more, using all their senses, for example, by extending the range of natural objects, and resources made of different materials, such as wood and metal,’ while elsewhere in the same report Ofsted strongly recommended that early learning practitioners/providers seek to, ‘Extend the range of opportunities for children to explore and investigate a rich and broad variety of sensory materials, such as mud, ice, cereals, pasta, flour and foam.’
So, there’s no doubting that Ofsted’s views on the application of sensory play is a positive one, which champions the cause and under
stands, appreciates and welcomes the personal, social and emotional development which comes from involving kids in the numerous forms of sensory play. Ofsted are just one of many key sources who see the real benefits to communication and other learning that can readily transpire, along with the degree of physical development at the same time.
It’s not surprising to learn that there are many options to promoteand provide the ideal infrastructure whereby sensory play can be adopted. Here at Creative Play, we continually go that extra mile to devise and subsequently construct engaging materials, equipment and installations. We’re committed to catering for the sensory needs of nurseries, schools and even individual private gardens, Creative Play are recognised as market leaders in the sensory play sector, having previously designed and built various pieces of stand-alone equipment that young children can interact with as they expand their early years’ educational horizons.
It’s no secret that the average child doesn’t play outside as much as they used to. We’ve all read stories trying to boil down the causes; computer games, diminishing park space, worries about safety. That said, there are still so many advantages to playing outdoor, benefits that its important not to forget.
Many of us may already be well-versed in the benefits of outdoor play, whether in the back garden or a more public area. For those that aren’t, or for those who want a bit of a refresher, we’ve put together a few thoughts on some of the benefits of outdoor play, something we’ll always be passionate about, whether it’s on some of our fantastic play equipment, or simply rolling around on the grass or chasing a butterfly. Anyway, enough of our day dreams, here are the list of benefits:
The outdoor environment is one that provides children with a host of learning opportunities. Not only is it far more varied than even the most creative home environment, but it lets children be out increasing their experience of the world around them from within safe boundaries. Even while using outdoor play equipment in their back garden, a child can be taking in a hundred different sights, sounds and smells from the world around them, whether consciously or subconsciously.
There’s always room for creativity in the home if you put the work into providing play and craft opportunities, but still, there’s something about stepping outside of the confines of a building that opens up the imagination and the creativity even further. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a day out at the beach, a walk through a forest or enjoying garden play at home, they all unlock creativity. Skills like problem solving, role play and artistic tasks take on a whole new level in the outdoors, especially for a child.
Being outdoors has a host of familiar health benefits, from the Vitamin D of the sun, to just getting a bit of fresh air. But beyond that, there’s also the psychological benefit of making outdoor physical activity appealing. Patterns of behaviour are formed over time, and if you can instil in childhood years just how enjoyable outdoor activity is, then that could have lifelong benefits. So even something as simple as a couple of pieces of garden play equipment can get children building that positive association.
With outdoor space usually being less crowded and confined than indoors, it can actually have a subconsciously calming effect on many children, particularly in terms of developing social relationships. Playing outside, whether in small groups or larger groups, give children a new set of social opportunities and interactions to work out, whether its navigating past another child on a garden climbing frame, or a playing a team sports game on an outdoor field with the teamwork, rule following, motor skills and creative thinking that brings.
Alongside opening the doors to increased learning and creativity, stepping outside indoor confines gives a sense of growing independence to a youngster. Obviously this needs to be managed, there’s a reason they don’t set off on their first solo day trip as a toddler, but that managed extension of independence is healthy for any child, and in many ways healthy for a parent/guardian.
Psychologically, the sense of space and new interactions offered by an outdoor environment has an empowering effect on a child. Even if your monitoring is actually closer to them physically than you are in the house, there’s something about being out and about that helps a child increase their comfort with independence as they explore for themselves.
Following on from the last point, essentially the big standout benefit of the outdoors is the ability to explore. Whether they’re exploring the surroundings of the natural world, exploring their skills and abilities in new settings, or exploring new social dynamics in a more expansive environment, there’s so much at play. This creates a great opportunity to enjoy play and learning together, especially with the range of playground equipment that can be enjoyed in gardens, parks and schools.
So, if that’s got you thinking about all the benefits of outdoor play, why not take a look through some of the many exciting outdoor equipment pieces available at www.creativeplayuk.com
Last month we were fortunate enough to be invited to attend the open day of one of our most recent playground developments. We had worked with Our Lady and St Edward’s Catholic Primary School in Birkenhead to create an exciting play space that incorporated both physical and imaginative role play opportunities. In attendance was our sales manager James Gambino, staff and pupils of Our Lady and St Edwards as well as special guest Steven Jennings, captain of Tranmere Rovers.
Continue reading to find out more about this exciting development!
Our Lady and St Edward Catholic Primary School had recently purchased an old children’s centre over the road to the existing school. This premises was acquired to create an EYFS area. Of course, one of the main developments of the building was the outdoor play area.
Creative Play had previously worked with the school, bringing Our Lady & St Edwards Catholic Primary School to contact us again to help assist with the playground project.
“From contacting the sales team to design, costing and construction, we were kept fully informed and consulted throughout the whole process until the equipment was “signed off” – Our Lady and St Edward’s Catholic Primary School
From the brief we knew the Our Lady and St Edward Catholic Primary School wanted to incorporate a mixture of play equipment ensuring all areas of learning were covered. To do this we created different sections within the outdoor play space. In one section we added one of our new Jigsaw Play Towers as this gave the school the opportunity to add specific components to create the perfect tower system to encourage physical play, helping to develop fundamental development skills.
Within a different section of the playground we added our First Mate ship, this was added along with Blue/Black flecked Wetpour safety surfacing to encourage Role Play and social interaction. This is a real focal point within the playground and looks great!
We also added several Trim Trail products next to the Jigsaw play tower to add additional physical play aspects allowing even more children to play at one time! Picnic Tables were also installed providing a seating area for both adults and children, especially when they will be needing a much deserved break after all the playing!
“The children’s risk taking, physical and emotional development have all improved and, no matter what the weather throws at us, they want to be on it!” – Our Lady and St Edward’s Catholic Primary School
After seeing the design plans and receiving the installation plans, we were extremely excited to know what a transformation we were about to provide to Our Lady and St Edward Catholic Primary School. We worked close with the school to ensure all requirements were met and they were kept happy throughout the whole installation.
During the installation we completed one of our very first time lapse videos which was recorded throughout the whole 3 week development. This is great to see the before, during and after process and a project we will not forget. The children absolutely love the new playground and the teachers have had some great things to say too.
“The oldest pupils have also used the equipment for team building tasks and activities, so developing confidence and resilience” – Our Lady and St Edward’s Catholic Primary School
We’ve been featured!
Read about our playground transformation at Our Lady and St Edward’s Catholic Primary School on the following news sites: