Back to School Basics for your outdoor space

24 August 2018


It only seems five minutes since we were talking about sports day and what we’d do over the summer break. How can it stretch so far ahead and then, in a blink, be only a few days until we’re all shouting “Back to School”? When we asked around the Playforce office about memories of this time of year, everyone talked about the thrill of new pencil cases, football boots and clean, new exercise books. We might all be showing our ages there but we think the thrill of getting new things for a fresh term has carried on today - and it can extend as far as your play space, outdoors!

Here are our top ten favourite ‘Back to School Basics’ for your outdoor space - popular with schools looking for a bit of a refresh for the new term:

  1. Active Climber 4 - You know how we love to see children climbing and getting active… and the clue is in the name with our Active Climber, which is top of our list for Back to School basics. What’s not to love about one piece of equipment that includes a Balance Beam, Vertical Log Climber, Vertical Net Climber and Wave Rope?!
  2. Balance Weaver - Great for smaller children, or schools wanting to introduce balance and coordination challenges, our Balance Weaver is made from sanded timber, and features a sloping balance challenge with additional inward leaning poles, to impede the path to the end. Children have to weave in and out while concentrating on balancing.
  3. Climbing Wall Traverse - Yep - more climbing! Our Climbing Wall Traverse is a double-sided climbing wall with hand and foot holds on both sides. A gap in the centre also allows children to travel between the two sides and aids supervision.
  4. Hanging Rope Traverse - We love the opportunities for developing balance and teamwork skills here. Hand grips on the rope ends are there to help with crossing the horizontal rope, which is strung between sanded timber posts.
  5. Rock & Roll Log - Yet more balance and teamwork here… The rocking, timber log offers an interactive challenge to the children crossing it and steel core ropes provide a strong aid for crossing - that is if team-members aren’t around to help!
  6. Storage Bench - It’s not all about getting active in a running, jumping, climbing sort of a way. This lockable timber storage bench isn’t just about tidying up and storage. It comes complete with three free water resistant boxes, chalkboard doors and child-friendly handles.
  7. Perch Benches - In various lengths, with hand-finished, wooden components, these benches provide a great place for meeting, socialising and outdoor learning.
  8. Picnic Benches (rectangular - This is a super picnic table for children and adults, as well as a great place for parents to wait at ‘pick up’ time.
  9. and circular) - Just like the previous table, this one is round, rather than rectangular - meaning we’ve something for any space!
  10. Surfacing - There really isn’t a limit on the opportunities for surfacing, and we think it’s one of the best ways to perk up your outdoor space (as well as being something really important to check in play inspections at this time of the year).  That’s why surfacing takes the last spot on our ‘Back to School Basics’.

Five ways to use our Back to School Basics for learning outdoors

You didn’t think we’d stop at telling you why we love these items, did you? We’re passionate about taking the curriculum outdoors and that means thinking imaginatively. Here are a few suggestions to get you (and your children) thinking…

  1. Have you noticed how many angles and lengths and circumferences and diameters are in our Balance Weaver? Why not measure them?
  2. Our Storage Bench is a great place to learn about volume, as well as working in teams to tidy things up and ‘put away’.
  3. Storytime is an important part of any child’s day - and being able to enjoy it outside makes it even better. Our Perch Benches are ideal for this… and they’re pretty great for outdoor performance and assembly time too!
  4. We’re huge fans of getting outside to not only grow food but to eat it there too! That’s why the obvious use for our Picnic Benches (rectangular and circular) is one of our favourites. Working with children to help them learn about where food comes from, as well as, perhaps, serving each other and then sitting and talking, whilst they eat develops useful understanding and skills.
  5. So often surfacing gets forgotten as a learning tool but we love the Thermoplastic Alpha Spiral for learning about literacy and the Hopscotch for learning numeracy… and they’re just two of the thermoplastic options we have to offer.

If you’d like to talk to us about any of these ideas and products (or anything else) you can contact us here. Alternatively, if you want to get some inspiration why not take a look at our Case Study section? You can filter it by location and type of school/setting, as well as learning outcome and age of children.

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