By definition, creative play involves simply playing creatively! Something that sounds so easy, however, is vitally important for holistic child development and jam-packed full of creative play benefits! It helps the child develop intellectually, socially, physically, spiritually and creatively.
Schoolscapes are experts at promoting creative play activities and renown across the UK for holding creative play as a top priority driving forward our innovative, inspirational playground designs. So if you’re looking to add to or update your outdoor creative play resources or concocting a creative play wish list, then here are a few ways to inspire creativity in your play space.
Be Creative with Materials
What can instigate more creativity than the opportunity to explore different tactile materials? Our PolyPaint Station allows children the freedom to investigate colour, colour mixing and textures and it can be wall mounted or children can enjoy the freestanding transparent background with the freestanding, post mounted option, so they can even look through the board to paint!
An outdoors Sand and Water Tray are perfect for inspiring self-initiated creative play for toddlers as well as for EYFS and KS1 children. Free play with these natural materials can also be very enjoyable and therapeutic for some children with sensory disorders and other additional needs. The portable River Rapids and ingenious Water Wall, as well as the hands-on Construction Station, are all perfect additions to any creative playground space, as they inspire limitless, unprescribed, creative play opportunities.
If your children are excited by creative play with Lego, shape blocks or natural materials such as pine cones and wooden medallions, the useful Sorting Table and Sorting Trays provide the perfect storage solution, as well as a play worktop. Encourage independent, creative learners by varying interesting creative play materials on top of the Tuff Tray Table, enabling all children to let their creativity loose, whether through creating a small world or participating in craft activities outdoors.
Mud Kitchens inspire creative thinking and learning in the best medium: mud! Make a creative play corner
Be Creative with Music
Children love to make noise and music! Set up your own creative play place by providing wonderful, colourful, robust Outdoor Musical Instruments as part of your outdoor provision. These can form part of a calm, reflective area in a Nursery, Pre-School, School, Park or Hospital, such as being dotted around a green garden space or placed along a sensory pathway, enabling children to get creative and experiment with sound, timbre and pitch as well as choose to compose and perform whilst on an explorative journey!
Be Creative with Stories
A perfect addition to any daycare setting, early years provision or school, is a cosy reading or storytelling area. Create the perfect calm and comfortable book corner, inspiring story-telling and story writing, with our beautiful Story Tellers Chair and versatile outdoor Seating Range. Who wouldn’t love to settle down and immerse themselves in a story, whilst settled on a soft Grass-topped Seating Cube?
Our Lift-the-Lid option even allows learners to fill the Story Seating Cubes with books, puppets or snuggly cushions and blankets, making the story apace inviting for any toddler or inquisitive child. Add a Giant Chalk Board or White Board in this homely play space to naturally inspire creative writing, drawing and mark making. Some colourful bunting and loose fabrics and dressing up can also inspire creativity.
If it’s an undisturbed, peaceful place you’d like to create for your little learners, then a creative playhouse like our Teepee or Jungle play Den may provide the perfect creative play solution. Kids can gather inside together or sneak in alone, to experience a tranquil moment, discovering books and new worlds of adventure.
However, if you’d like your creative storytellers to reach a bigger audience, then an outdoor Stage or Performance Area complete with seating, would be an amazing setting to inspire creativity under nature’s blue skies, or an exciting, unique place to perform under a winter’s moon, in a play to parents!
Be Creative with Role Play
A popular, timeless, creative-play option, still remains the inclusion of a Playtime Kitchen and Shop. Children love to enter an imaginary world, where they are in control of running an imaginary home or a shop, where they can safely take on the roles of adults, babies and even creatures (the family dog or shop cat remain firm favourites!). It provides children with the chance to try out real-life scenarios and experiment with trying out solutions, within a safe and make-believe setting. They can get creative about life and the people and experiences they may meet along the way. The versatile Playtime Kitchen and our range of additional vibrant, durable outdoor Activity Panels, such as the theatre, restaurant and post office allow educators to add even more play value to their creative play space.
Be Creative with Structures
Children love to climb, clamber and build outdoors. The Den Posts, Climbing Stax and Treetops Range all inspire children to get creative, whilst being active outdoors. They can build a den as a team, play under, over or around the play towers and enter into their own imaginative world of play, adventure and discovery. Creative, inventive children, when allowed the freedom to do so, will create their own games and imaginary worlds. Their ingenuity is limitless!
Let Children Play!
So what is an adult’s role in shaping creative, inventive children’s minds and thinking? How do we ensure children are ready to enter a world of work, where they can successfully and confidently become the engineers, scientists, problem solvers and artists of the future?
Our role is to provide children with safe, varied and stimulating opportunities for creative thinking and play, by offering inspiring resources and spaces and by enabling limitless, child-initiated play and discovery. Children need to be allowed the time and freedom to develop their own creative play. However big or small your outdoor play space, by maximising the abundance of play opportunities available to children outside, you can provide valuable and essential creative play inspiration and development for your learners, whatever their age.
What is for sure, is the children will always surprise and delight you with their creative and unique view on life and creative play gives the educator a little window into the wonderful world inside a child’s head!