Outdoor Play

Outdoor Play

“What a beautiful day, we’re not scared.”

We stomped, squelched, sung and searched with toddlers, parents and staff from NHS Nursery Jack in the Box.

Funded by Slough Borough Council’s Active Communities, Creative Junction organised a Bear Hunt and Picnic to encourage use of the beautiful outdoor Herschel Park Estate in Upton Park, Slough and promote simple outdoor play, creative activity and physical wellbeing.

My daughter had fun being out and doing all the activities’; Good range of activities. No pressure to get involved for the shy ones. Good fun for the parents’; Nice to mix with everyone’. Parent

Inspired by ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, children aged 8 months– seven years and their teddy bears went ‘swishy swashy through the long wavy grass’ and ‘squelch and squerch through the oozy mud’ to find six bears hiding all over the park and through letter clues try to discover the name of our Bear lurking in his cave.

It was great, thanks so much, we loved it, I wish we could stay.’ Zara, age 6

We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one, we’re not scared, what a beautiful day”; this and many other story lines, games and songs encouraged parents and children to move all parts of their bodies, with actions and dance, out in the late morning sun before sharing a lovely picnic.

For some parents, it was the first time they had heard of Herschel Park and many will be revisiting to spend time together as a family – being active in the open space, walking the grounds and feeding the ducks.

A well organised event with friendly staff and great activities. A real shame that there are not more activities like this for pre-school kids. Thanks Creative Junction!’ Parent

We then partnered with Slough Library for Monster play and picnic.
We followed story and rhyme time at the Library with story inspired outdoor play, including songs with movement, team games and monster hunt. The project raised the profile of outdoor play by:

  • Demonstrating how play can be inspired by children’s books and story telling
  • Capturing children’s imaginations through play and generating excitement
  • How play can come in a variety of forms, including: singing and movement/action songs e.g ten little monsters; horns, fangs, knees and claws; team games e.g ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’; going on a hunt around the park; pretend play e.g. being a monster
  • Using the outdoors in and for play

In sun, rain and hail, we were joined by families for this outdoor play session at Herschel Park. Positive feedback included tales of children coming out of their shells, making friends, taking the lead and parents joining in their children’s play.

And finally we worked together with newly opened Blue Willow Day Nursery and other local families, for a morning of free outdoor art activities inspired by ‘The Hungry caterpillar’. Activities involved families taking part in singing; music; movement; making and playing instruments; making and drawing nature creatures and creating stop motion animation films.

All of the projects aim to raise the profile of play in childhood and its benefits to health and wellbeing and increase participation.

Some key health outcomes achieved:

  • Physical wellbeing – promoting physical movement through active play
  • Social wellbeing – being around others and playing together. Play including parents and other family members
  • Emotional wellbeing- inclusive activity and everyone being equal through imaginative and outdoor play with no winners or losers
  • Being outside – in all weathers! – and taking in fresh air and encouraging use of of accessible parks and green spaces throughout the year

We have supported play Day events, through a variety of craft based and storytelling activities.