1. What are some of the benefits of using outdoor space in early childhood? Using outdoor space in early childhood provide children with health, cognitive, and social benefits. Health benefits: It gives children the opportunity to exercise their large muscles group much more than when they are indoors, because they have more space to run, skip, climb, swing, and jump. Playing outside also allow children to burn more calories than when they are inside. Cognitive benefits: When children play outside they often will make up their own games, by doing this they are exercising their problem solving skills. When children make the rules for the games and practice using them with friends, they are developing organizational abilities, and leadership qualities. Their creativity is enhanced and their imaginations are nourished. Social benefits: being outside promotes cooperative play which leads to the development of social skills. When children wait to take turns while playing a game, or when they work together with others to build something, these are ways children can enhance their social abilities outdoors.
2. Describe the role of the teacher in supporting outdoor space, including children with special needs. The teacher can be supportive by interacting with the children when they are outside, the teacher can do this by talking with the children about what and how they are going to play. The teacher can assist the children in different activities, for example: hopping, skipping, and climbing, and the teacher can also make sure that the children are safe while playing outdoors. The teacher must also plan activities that encourage children with special needs to participate while outdoors, but he/she should not use the same activities when they are outdoors with the special needs children. Creating different activities will provide the children with special needs the opportunity to use their bodies in new ways.
3. What problems can there be with static playground equipment and their traditional uses? Static playground equipment doesn’t stimulate children’s physical, cognitive, or creative development. Children need to experience new physical challenges; static playground equipment won’t allow the children to use the equipment in a new way because it doesn’t change. Static playground equipment can make children feel limited in their play.
4. Describe three ways teachers can use traditional equipment in creative ways. Then create one idea of your own for using traditional equipment in a creative way. Teachers can use traditional equipment to engage children in group activities, by doing this he/she can enhance the children’s social skills. The teacher can play a game like follow the leader; he/she can walk around the swing, slide, jungle gym, and sand box while playing the game. Teachers can use the monkey bars to have the children pretend they are monkeys swinging and climbing their way through the jungle.
While the children is doing the activity, the teacher can ask the children questions to challenge them, for example: how fast can you climb through the jungle, or how far do you think you can swing, Teachers can create a obstacle course using the traditional equipment, teachers can challenge the children to crawl through tires, climb over the monkey bars, swing on a swing, or try to balance themselves steady while standing on the outside of the sand box. The children must do all these things while traveling through the obstacle course. An activity I would do with the children in my class while outdoors, that involves using traditional equipment, would be to have the children pretend that they was at a water park. I would have the children to slide down the slide on the playground pretending that they are about to slide down into a pool.