We often hear about the importance of adjusting environments to children’s learning and behavior, but somehow that tends to stop at the door. We head out to the installed, immobile playgrounds and assume that’s just it. However, playgrounds are extensions of learning environments, and there are so many ways to extend their possibilities! No need to stop with your own ideas, either. It is a teachable moment: brainstorm with your children and write down their thoughts and suggestions. Encourage creativity and teamwork to find new ways to use the equipment. Soon, your playground climber will be more than just a climber.
A few ideas to get started:
A sheet can be draped from one side to create a shady reading spot (don’t forget to bring out pillows and favorite books).
Paintbrushes and cups of water are a fun way to “paint” the playground equipment on a sunny day and discuss evaporation as the designs disappear.
A climber is a great place for a zoo. Soft and plastic toys, or even children, make great animals. What do they eat? How do they need to be cared for?
Children may enjoy drawing a rocket control panel to head to space – just stick it to an inside climber wall with contact paper!