Theory and Ideas

Browse the Theory in Practice database for concepts and theories that are explored in the context of experiences in outdoors with children and young people.

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Playing in mud“When the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” E. E. Cummings [..read more..]

Comfort Zone 2

Challenge: moving out of your comfort zone but still being able to function

“So, what makes you feel comfortable?” This was the question I asked a group of seven to nine year olds this week. [..read more..]

Yes andSometimes I feel like describing ‘play’ is like drawing the wind. You can recognise it, you know what it looks and feels like, but it is somehow nebulous and hard to pin down. [..read more..]

Making Weapons 1I am, by nature a peaceful sort. However I often find myself building and making weapons. I do like the satisfaction of seeing a stick shooting off into the distance fired by a home made bow and we have made some constructions (that could best be described as siege engines!) that would fire pebble a good distance. [..read more..]

Fire Cooking 1In a recent post a new provocation came from the children. My job when I am in this particular school is to follow the children’s lead and extend their ideas. This can be really exciting, especially as it is a large Foundation Stage with 100+ three to five year-olds. [..read more..]

Making SparksLast night a group of newly qualified reception teachers came to the Foundation Stage Unit where I am doing some work with three to five year-olds. The lead teacher was talking about the ethos of the setting where I work and how the planning is built around the children and following their interests. The effort and energy is put into recording, reflecting and responding rather than planning and preparation and the environment is set up to enable the children to access resources and ideas on whatever level they are at. [..read more..]

Leaping 3

Leaping from the treehouse

Even in that frantic run up to Christmas the Foundation stage children (aged three to five) who had been working on the treehouse were reflective of their experiences. The tree house building which has been recorded here and here ground to a halt when we found we had a structure that we could leap off. [..read more..]

Kindling Play and Training

Play is like breathing

I have searched the whole internet to see if this has been posted anywhere else and it hasn’t. It isn’t mine, I can claim nothing but having found this a few years back and saved it. I would love to credit “Jacky” so if that’s you, or you know who it is then give me a shout. But this is too good not to share: [..read more..]

children with sticks

Springboards can be used by a child to take off in any direction!

I have been thinking a lot about springboards this week. Not the swimming pool ones, but a playwork theory that was first described to me by Martin Maudesley; sometimes even if we want to stimulate free play for children, or encourage self directed learning we need to provide a solid starting point – the springboard. This then can be used by the child to take off in any direction. [..read more..]

Children playing conkers in spacesuits

Children can’t play conkers because it’s too dangerous, right?

In a recent discussion about whether children should be allowed to use egg boxes in their play I was reminded of how completely fabulous the HSE myth of the month posters are.
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child woods slug

what does it smell like? how does it feel? what do you think it eats?

Often on training courses, when I ask what people want to get out of the day the response is that they want to know the names of more things in the woods. [..read more..]

muddy hand

The thought of putting a hand into the mud can be pretty uuugh! for some people….

Why is clay cleaner than mud? Why are barbecues safer than fires?

These are questions that often come to my mind when I am working with adults rather than with children. The thought of putting a hand into the mud can be pretty uuugh! for some people. [..read more..]

I was sorting through some files of pictures today when I came across this series of pictures from earlier in the year. I really like that you can see the thought processes that this group of 3 and 4 year olds are working through.
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