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Activity Plan: Outdoor Circuits

This low-prep activity allows your early years children to enjoy the outdoors while keeping nice and warm with lots of movement! It is best suited for older children in larger groups.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

  • Flip chart and pens
  • Simple play items such as hula hoops, beanbags, a bucket, chalk, etc.
  • Whistle or bell
  • A timer or clock

Preparing the activity:

  1. Write large numbers on pieces of flip chart paper to mark the circuit stations (1-4, or however many stations you want).
  2. Place the numbers around the play area.

Doing the activity:

Explain to the children that they will go round the circuit doing a different activity for each station and changing station when the whistle blows. Encourage them to suggest ideas for what to do at each station, e.g. play hopscotch on a chalk-drawn hopscotch course at station 1, throw beanbags into buckets at station 2, star jumps at station 3, etc..

If you would like a more adult-led activity, feel free to assign and set up the activities at each station beforehand. An alternative idea would be to print out pictures of different animals for each station (such as lions, elephants or monkeys) and asking the children to pretend to be those animals.

Time to play! Help the children to arrange themselves into fairly even groups at each station to start. Use the timer to mark 3-5 minutes for each station, blowing the whistle or ringing the bell when it’s time to change. Children could also take it in turns to be the whistle-blower!

Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

As the children go round the circuit, they may not necessarily follow the circuit order, or even stick to their own group. This is absolutely fine, but if a station is becoming particularly busy, feel free to encourage them to try a different activity and come back to their desired station on the next turn.

Depending on the weather, the children may start off the activity feeling quite cold, but then warm up once they start moving. Encourage them to discuss this during or after playing. Did they feel warmer once they started playing? Did some activities (like hopscotch) warm them up more than others (like throwing beanbags)?

Tracking the activity:

30-50 months:

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness; “Can select and use activities and resources with help.”

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Managing feelings and behaviour; “Begins to accept the needs of others and can take turns and share resources, sometimes with support from others.; Can usually tolerate delay when needs are not immediately met, and understands wishes may not always be met.”

Communication and Language: Listening and attention; “Is able to follow directions (if not intently focused on own choice of activity).”

Physical Development: Moving and Handling; “Moves freely and with pleasure and confidence in a range of ways, such as slithering, shuffling, rolling, crawling, walking, running, jumping, skipping, sliding and hopping.”

Physical Development: Health and self-care; “Observes the effects of activity on their bodies.”

40-60+ months

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness; “Confident to speak to others about own needs, wants, interests and opinions.”

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Managing feelings and behaviour; “Aware of the boundaries set, and of behavioural expectations in the setting.”

Communication and Language: Listening and attention; “Two-channelled attention – can listen and do for short span.”

Physical Development: Moving and Handling; “Experiments with different ways of moving.”