Spring Play – Playgroup
Outdoors in springtime gives playgroups lots of low or no cost activity options.
Nature play requires little preparation or cost and is a wonderful and easy addition to your playgroup routine. You could meet in a local park or nature reserve during spring.
Add some extra outdoor time to every playgroup session to take advantage of the amazing spring world.
Did you know?
There is so much going on in the natural world during spring. Everything is growing, blooming and more active. Playing in nature inspires imagination as well as role play. This helps to develop children’s sense of identity, belonging and confidence in expressing their feelings.
Encourage conversations and using language with other children to share what they are seeing, doing, feeling or discovering in the outdoor spring world. Give the children time and space use their communication skills. Make comments and ponder aloud as the children explore and experiment. Use language to capture the awe and wonder of things growing, blooming, moving etc.
Unstructured, free play enables children to develop their reasoning and problem-solving skills as they have an opportunity to experiment and develop their imagination.
Collect natural materials on a spring walk and bring them back to playgroup. You could set up a nature table with a variety of things collected e.g. flowers, rocks, sticks, bark, nuts, seeds, leaves etc. You could make “mini-worlds” by creating collage pictures or sticking items in playdough.
You could press flowers in old phone books and come back to look at them in later weeks. All these activities involve building fine motor skills, building hand strength and precision which are needed for developing writing. Counting what you have collected and organising the collection into groups of items that go together builds early maths concepts and skills.
You could plant some easy care quick growing seeds like sunflowers or nasturtiums to brighten up your playgroup or for families to take home and watch grow. Take a photo every week and then make a little book to look back and talk about how it grew and changed over time. This can help develop science, maths and time concepts. It also builds early sequencing and literacy skills. Working together on a joint project builds a sense of belonging. This is important for developing social and emotional skills.
Share books that focus on seasons or things that happen in spring. Try to have both fiction storybooks and some non-fiction picture books available in your collection.
Always use sun protection when playing outside.
The warmer weather also means snakes are becoming more active – be wary and respectful of nature’s creatures.
Across the ages
Activities listed under “playgroup” are suitable for groups of children of various ages. They provide opportunities for early learning and social play.