TheVERYidea artists were commissioned by North West Leicestershire Children's Centres to deliver an outdoor creative play programme aimed at engaging families, initially across four Children's Centre settings in Coalville, Castle Donington, Ibstock and Ashby and then extended to include Thringstone and Warren Hills. The programme also worked in partnership with Moira Furnace Trust Ltd and aimed to promote outdoor play and it’s many benefits for children’s learning and development.
BIG outdoor play days were run, during 2012 and 2013 across all seasons, on weekend and school holiday days to better engage dads and each drop-in session was set up differently, depending on the weather and in response to the outdoor environment. A range of multi-sensory and open-ended resources were introduced in unexpected ways to stimulate creative responses on a temporary basis. Families were encouraged to play and investigate together - experiencing processes, media and materials, and ‘having a go’ to develop confidence in their own abilities. This provided opportunities to explore, build, construct, design, mark-make and for materials to be transformed and manipulated through the children’s own choices, ideas and imagination.
The project was fully documented to value the child’s unique work, build ownership and self-esteem and help identify and involve
parents in the learning. Using this documentation, the artists then designed resource cards, sharing the ideas and experiences of the many families who came and played, to help support practitioners in developing outdoor play. This resource included practical tips and information on how to organise and facilitate an outdoor play event with families and was accompanied by outdoor play kits that the Children's Centres offered to schools and settings as a loan resource.
Outdoors with Children's Centres (North West Leicester)
“What a great idea. The whole family loved it”. “This is really good ‘cos all ages can get involved and there’s something
for everybody to do.” Parent
“It's great to see everyone sharing. They are sharing each others tents/space and nobody is becoming possessive.” Parent