The Little Book of My Neighbourhood

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A Summer Picnic

An idea for understanding neighbourhoods

by Judith Harries

Enjoy a picnic at the park, then create a model playground containing all the children's favourite rides.

What you need

  • A local park with a safe playground

  • Picnic food, rugs

  • Appropriate clothes for hot weather

  • Junk modelling equipment

What you do

  • Choose a suitable park, field or garden to walk to for your picnic. Show the children where the picnic spot is on a local map.

  • Make sure children are aware of how to dress and keep safe in the sun – sun hats, suncream, lots of drinks, etc.

  • Talk about the picnic with the children and make a list of ideas for food and drinks.

  • Involve the children in making sandwiches for the picnic, spreading butter on bread, choosing fillings and cutting the sandwiches into small squares and triangles.

  • At the park, let children choose different rides to try out. Talk about the names of the equipment – roundabouts, slides, swings, see-saw, monkey bars, trim trail, etc.

  • What is the children's favourite ride at the park? Create a pictogram to show the results of your survey.

  • Enjoy sharing food and drink at the picnic. Sing the ‘Teddy Bear's Picnic’ song.

  • Try some group games in the park if the weather allows such as ‘Duck Duck Goose’ or ‘Stuck in the Mud’.

  • Create a plan for a model of your playground with all the different equipment. Back in your setting, let the children work together to make moving models of some of the play equipment using junk, string, split pins, etc.

Ready for more?

  • Look at L.S. Lowry's famous painting, ‘The Playground’. Make a list of the different rides the children can see in the picture. Compare these with the playground they have visited. Can they paint a picture of the park they visited?

  • Talk with the children about how the different play equipment works. Look at pictures of the children using the equipment. How do the different pieces move, with a push or a pull? How does it stop? Can the roundabout go faster? Ask children to design their own fantasy playground with all their favourite rides and new ones that they have thought of themselves.

Links with the EYFS

Related themes – Seasons; Weather; Minibeasts; Food

PSED: Talk about the importance of keeping together as a group when away from your setting.

M: Ask children to use mathematical language to describe shapes of sandwiches and play equipment.

EAD: Sing the ‘Teddy Bear's Picnic’ song.

Look, listen and note

  • Express themselves effectively

  • Answer 'how' and 'why' questions

  • Work cooperatively and take turns with others

  • Places, objects and materials

  • Animals and plants

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