A new outdoor play area at Little Willows Day Nursery in Bath is proving a real hit with children, as well as delivering massive benefits to their mental and physical well-being.

Back at the end of 2019, the team from Little Willows spent time with a local company developing a new outdoor play space for all the children. Due to lockdown, it’s only been over recent weeks that the children and staff team have really been able to explore and make lots of use of the new facilities.

The children now spend a large proportion of their nursery days becoming a chef at the popular mud kitchen, serving some of the most delicious mud pies you will ever pretend to eat! Once their tummies are full, it’s over to check and see if they have any visitors at the Little Willows bug hotel.

The children also get to tackle their way through a spider’s web whilst being chased by friendly monsters, whilst others will transform the climbing frame and take us on an adventure on the choppy seas on a pirate ship searching for treasure whilst dodging those pesky sharks!

There’s also an outdoor stage as an ideal place to tell our stories, have a sing song and tell a joke or two, plus a large undercover outdoor sandpit, a water wall full of chutes and artificial grass to make the garden perfect for all weather play.

Little Willows is built on one level with the main garden surrounding the playrooms. Each room has doors that open up onto the main garden creating a free flow, outdoor environment, so children can safely and securely explore their own curiosity and creativity.

“We feel it’s really important to get the children at our nursery to really enjoy the outdoor environment that is now available” said Little Willows owner, Steve Ojomoh. “While we absolutely acknowledge the importance of ICT and technology based learning in early years education, it’s also so important that the children can enjoy all of the benefits available from outdoor play-based learning.”

“Research shows that children actually absorb information better outdoors. For example, science can be taught through the bug hotel, investigating insects and their life cycles and encouraging children to get used to creepy crawlies by digging for worms for a messy play tray and spotting snails in the garden. Cooking can be enjoyed outside finishing off with Alfresco dining. And all of the children (and staff) at Little Willows Bath have been enjoying some cosmic kids yoga in the garden recently, taking time out, relaxing and breathing. These outdoor play activities create different opportunities and scenarios for children to connect that would not have been the same indoors”

Now in its 10th year, Little Willows Day Nursery works with parents across Bath and Corsham to provide the very best education and childcare possible for children aged between three months and 12 years. Its philosophy is to empower children to make decisions for themselves, with the team priding itself on going the extra mile to provide the best possible care and learning for their children and forming strong relationships and partnerships with their parents.

Find out more about Little Willows Day Nusery here