Grab and Go Kits

Some of the childminders involved in the Outdoors and Active project thought that a kit of easy to carry, low cost resources could encourage children to be more active in the park, in their gardens or even just out and about on daily walks. They tested different kinds of containers for the kits and observed how active children were with the different playthings they had. These are the childminders’ Top Tips:

Choose a container or bag that suits the way you get to the park:

  • a small, lightweight, water resistant backpack
  • a change-bag style tote bag that would go over pram handlebars
  • a flat-pack plastic basket on wheels – pushing or pulling this to the park would be a good physical activity for children in itself
  • a small and light suitcase on wheels – again, children could push or pull this
  • a tidy box to go in a pram’s storage basket

The aim is to get children as physically active as possible, using and enjoying their whole bodies for movement play.

Encourage them to:

  • Boing: up and down movements such as bouncing, hanging upside down, hopping and skipping, leaping.
  • Whoosh: to and fro movements such as being rocked, swinging, running, starting and stopping, sliding.
  • RolyPoly: rotating movements such as twirling, rolling over or down a hill, dancing, spinning, cartwheels.
  • Use their physicality: “bodyful” movements such as stretching, balancing, leaping, squeezing, crawling.

Try some of these simple, lightweight, cheap resources to encourage physically active play:

  • French skipping elastics or a long length of 2.5cm wide elastic, tied at the ends for jumping, pulling, stretching
  • Light, washable or wipe clean bean bags for throwing and catching
  • Clothes pegs and clips, a few tent pegs or tarpaulin pegs and an old sheet for den building
  • Small, water resistant picnic blanket for dens and snack time
  • Small multi-coloured parachute for windy day and ball games
  • Silky, satiny, flowy scarves for whooshing through the park with
  • Chunky chalks for making trails, mark making and pictures
  • Water squirter for water fights and mark making
  • Small lengths of string/twine and rope/paracord to make dens, trails, tree swings
  • Mini-first aid kit (sterile wipes, non-allergenic plasters)
  • Couple of tennis balls
  • Cheerleader shakers/pom-poms
  • Gymnastic twirling wand – or make your own with a real stick and some ribbon
  • Clear plastic umbrella for fun in the rain
  • Back scratcher/massager to stretch arms behind the back

Where to find these cheap and cheerful treasures:

  • Pound shops, market stalls and discount supermarket special offers
  • Charity shops and jumble sales
  • Skips (remember to ask permission!) and your local tip
  • DIY and homewares shops, and builders’ merchants
  • Online auction sites, or freebie pages

Remember: Children will want to use these items in unusual ways – why not let them? Think about the benefits as well as the hazards, and work out how you can enable risky play, rather than preventing it unnecessarily.

To get an printable copy of these ideas to take with you, download our Top Tips for Grab and Go kits.

Further reading

Messy play

Messy play provides so many explorative and investigative experiences, which promote so many of the characteristics of effective learning.  Some easy ideas to start you

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Loose parts play

Here are some links to resources to support your play. Loose parts play tookit is such a rich and comprehensive free publication from Inspiring Scotland to

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Outdoors and Active

Outdoors and Active – an action research project commissioned by the London Borough of Newham – took practitioners from nurseries, schools, PVI settings and children’s

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What to do

Busy modern lives are having a dramatic impact on the health and wellbeing of our youngest children.  They play outdoors less, spend more time being

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Boing! Whoosh! RolyPoly!

Toddlers need plenty of balance practice once they are up and walking. Each of the three semi-circular canals in the inner ear respond to movement in different

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Overcoming barriers

An early task for the Outdoors and Active action researchers was to identify the barriers to taking children out and about beyond the setting.  Only

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Taking risks in play

Human beings are “hardwired” to take risks, from birth.  Babies take their first independent breaths; they decide to try crawling and walking and then running;

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Audit your environment

To audit the current provision for physical development outdoors in your school or setting, you can download our three sample audit sheets below. You should

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