We offer various Outdoor Play sessions including Little Forest Folk, our Muddy Buddies outdoor play holiday programme, John Muir Programme and one-to-one play sessions. We also offer regular weekly outdoor play sessions during the covid pandemic when restrictions allow. Outdoor play supports to develop positive health & wellbeing and supports healthy child development.
The outdoors provides a great learning environment and a space to give children (and adults!) the freedom to play and to be led by their imaginations and creativity.
Marion Lindsey, our Senior Children & Family Workers explains the difference our outdoor play programme makes to our children and families in this article which was published by the Early Years Scotland Magazine:
"Muddy Buddies is a partnership between 3D Drumchapel, Chesters Nursery, Drumchapel Family Learning Centre and the Forestry Commission. It is supported by Inspiring Scotland and funded by Glasgow City Council. Each day, Tuesday to Friday, we take a group of children from each nursery along with nursery staff into the woods for a play session.
What amazes me most about being in the woods is that in everything we do, there is a learning element. The woods create a naturally nurturing environment to learn that engages with the imagination and when we take children into the woods to play, a new world opens up for them. There are boundless unlimited opportunities for learning and there are no barriers. Children are physically thinking outside of the box and the mind opens up a whole new world with new horizons and new experiences. We have been to Lapland on a tree that looks like a reindeer, we have flown a plane to the Bahamas, we have opened a restaurant and had countless other adventures. All our play is child-led and throughout all Muddy Buddies play sessions, children are learning about science, maths, literacy, technology, health & well-being. Children are learning everyday life-skills and are constantly exposed to new learning opportunities. They learn about the outdoors, how to look after their environment, what they can and cannot touch and they learn to risk-assess. They set their own goals and they also share their learning with each other as well as learning to support and encourage each other.
Every session in the woods is a first-time experience as the woods are constantly changing and you see something new each time you go. An important part of the children’s learning is experiencing nature with their whole being and not just being told about it in a classroom, for example experiencing the change of seasons.
There are no limits. Children can be who they want to be and do whatever they want to do. If we instil this expectation and children develop a self-belief that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to at an early age, this establishes a new vision and a new mindset that will stay with them throughout later life. Also it is ok to be different – different is good.
You can physically see children start to relax and breathe when they enter the woods. For some children, the indoors presents a challenging environment due to enclosed restricted spaces, bright lights and noise. I remember walking with a child who cried constantly indoors but I could physically feel her hand relax in mine as we walked into the woods, she stopped crying and she started laughing as she experienced a whole new way to play.
The benefits of playing outdoors, does not stop with the children. As a staff team, including 3D staff and nursery staff, we are energised on a daily basis. We get excited seeing the children develop and grow and in the outdoors, we think clearer and our own creativity flows. Also, it makes you braver and takes away inhibitions. Along with the children, we have had to face and conquer our own fears, including touching spiders! Parents also have reported the benefits they have seen including happier, healthier children. Their children have a better appetite, better sleeping pattern and some parents have also reported that their child’s asthma has improved and they are more active. The children also encourage their parents to take them to the woods at other times. One child took her family to see the bug hotel she had made. This encourages family time by utilising free resources right on their doorstep.
The benefits we have seen at Muddy Buddies have far exceeded what were our already high expectations when we started. I love seeing children grow and develop a love for the outdoors and my hope for the future is for all children to start primary school having had this opportunity. I also hope for a smooth transition to primary school for these children with more opportunities for their journey through outdoor play to continue."
You can find out more about Outdoor Play in our 'Sessions' tab.