Connect with self - checklist
Activate the senses
What can children see?
- Provide a rich visual experience – shapes, colour contrasts, patterns, mirrors
- Reduce glare – don’t place reflective items in full sun
- Have a consistent colour scheme to help define activity zones
What can children smell?
- Landscape features – fragrant plants
- Interactive/ educational – identify plants by smell
What can children taste?
- Edible plants, fruit trees, vegetables, bush tucker (native edible plants)
- Non-toxic materials – consider children may put things in their mouths
What can children feel?
- Play elements with tactile parts – rough, smooth, prickly, furry, uneven
- Access to natural elements – sand, water, mud, loose rocks, plants
- Textured ground surfaces – feel vibration with pram/bike/wheelchair
- Appropriate materials – consider some materials get hot in sun
What can children hear?
- Musical play (bells, drums, chimes or xylophones)
- Talk tubes (tubes through which children can talk to each other)
- Plants that attract native birds
- Quiet play retreat:
- place to stop and listen (birds, wind, running water, leaves)
- small, enclosed or hidden niche with seating
- consider sound buffers to loud areas/roads
How can children move their bodies?
- Whole body:
- develop gross motor skills
- balance, climb, slide, swing, spin, rock, jump
- consider obstacle course or track for bike/scooter/wheelchair
- Small scale:
- develop fine motor skills
- loose parts play, puzzles, building, sorting, drawing, etching
Does the playspace offer appropriate levels of challenge?
- Range of challenges for children of different abilities (gross motor and fine motor)
- Graduating challenges – easy to hard (to help build confidence)
- Elements of uncertainty or unpredictability (to help children evaluate risk)
- High structures which everyone can access by different routes varying in difficulty
- Not just physical challenges – consider problem solving or memory games
“An area that provides a quiet retreat when overwhelmed by noise or sight of other people.”
- Are there open spaces with no equipment for unstructured play?
- Can children connect with nature?
- Access to nature – plants, trees, mud, rocks, water, logs, flowers, sticks, seeds
- Encourage nature play – bug hunting, digging, gathering, constructing
- Does the place tell a story?
- Use interactive elements to tell stories that are unique to the site, surrounding area, culture, values, history
- Is there themed equipment that encourages imagination play?
- Stage/platform, amphitheatre, boat, race car, house, shops, animals
- What makes the playspace unique?
- Consider custom equipment or art to make the play experience special
- Are there places to go exploring?
- Maze, winding path, navigation, Braille trail, seek and find