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Early Years Outdoors Advice Sheet

Using tyres outdoors


Do you want to develop your outdoor provision, but have limited funds for doing so? Settings across the UK are making great use of tyres as a highly useful and versatile resource, and theyre free!
It takes over 400 years for a tyre to break down in landfill and vast numbers are scrapped every year, so tyre centres, contract hauliers, farmers and agricultural engineers (for large and very large tyres) are usually very pleased to supply nurseries and pre-schools who ask them. In fact when a nursery in West Sussex put a request in their local newspaper, they were inundated with offers. When they recently held a network meeting everyone who came took away their own supply! Below are some of the ideas Learning through Landscapes has seen in many settings across the country. Not only do tyres have a very wide range of uses and make popular resources for childrens outdoor play, you will be helping to reduce mans impact upon the environment and giving young children relevant experience of sustainable development not bad for something that costs nothing! at just the right height for children and adults and firm walls for walking around. Simply line the prepared tyre with landscape fabric so that the edges go up inside the tyre rims as you fill with soil the fabric will be held in place. The fabric will allow drainage and the tyre can be moved if it needs relocating.

Early Years Outdoors is one of the subscription services from Learning through Landscapes, the UKs national school grounds and early years outdoor play charity. For more information about subscriptions, call 01962 845811.

The Early Years Outdoors Advice Line is open Monday to Friday all year round. Contact our specialist team for advice on using, designing or managing your space: Tel: 01962 845811 Email: member@ltl.org.uk Web: www.ltl.org.uk

Children will be fascinated to sow grass seeds, watching the daily change as the seedlings emerge and then grow into grass. When its long, encourage children to cut the grass with scissors! The grass will provide an everchanging landscape for small world play, perhaps for farm or wild animals. Tyres are also great for growing herbs and small vegetables such as lettuce, and Nasturtiums look especially good in them. Stack tyres for deeper roots and dont forget the importance of watering and feeding this small volume of soil in the summer: children are enthusiastic waterers however, and are unlikely to forget if there is a good supply of watering cans and water! To grow potatoes, place one seed potato under the soil and add more soil every few days to keep the growing shoot covered, stacking another tyre on top when required. A stacking system can also be used to make a composting bin using composting worms make a lid to keep out pests.

LTL accepts no responsibility for the quality of goods or services provided by any companies listed. This Advice Sheet offers a selection of contacts to try always try your local Yellow Pages or Thomson Directory, and an internet search engine such as www.google.com as well.

Tyres for growing


Tyres make a growing container with a difference they also become islands around which the bike play can flow, seats that are

JM: 09-10

Early Years Outdoors Advice Sheet

Using tyres outdoors


Tyres for playing
Early Years Outdoors is one of the subscription services from Learning through Landscapes, the UKs national school grounds and early years outdoor play charity. For more information about subscriptions, call 01962 845811.

The Early Years Outdoors Advice Line is open Monday to Friday all year round. Contact our specialist team for advice on using, designing or managing your space: Tel: 01962 845811 Email: member@ltl.org.uk Web: www.ltl.org.uk

Tyres in sand play Some of the best cross-curricular learning we have seen has been through the provision of several small tyres (try to get mini tyres) as loose resources for play, especially for physical development and for supporting childrens explorations of rotation and circular schemas. The more tyres you can provide, the more inventive and complex will be the play that emerges let children work together to arrange them and devise their own activities as well as making suggestions to them. They will roll them and stack them, worm their way through them, hide in them, climb in and out, jump between and off or balance on planks laid between two tyres. Much imaginative play will be prompted or supported because of the small spaces they create and their connection to vehicles: provide hollow blocks, wooden planks, blankets and steering wheels to support this. Tyres also take chalk well and children have been observed sitting inside a large tyre, deeply involved in chalking on the sides. Loose tyres can also be used to hold down a net or tarpaulin cover for a sand area when not in use. In an outdoor space with very limited space or opportunity for a large sand area, the largest tyres can make a suitable sand pit. However, do make sure all your children can easily climb in and out: babies can sit inside but toddlers will find this too difficult; do all your children have sufficient mobility to access the sand fully?

LTL accepts no responsibility for the quality of goods or services provided by any companies listed. This Advice Sheet offers a selection of contacts to try always try your local Yellow Pages or Thomson Directory, and an internet search engine such as www.google.com as well.

JM: 09-10

Cover with a round plywood lid to keep cats out (a rope handle make this easier to manipulate) and ensure drainage by lining with landscape fabric before filling plastic will not drain well. The sand can be cleaned regularly by washing through with disinfectant, turning over all the

Early Years Outdoors Advice Sheet

Using tyres outdoors


sand, and sieving occasionally; replace all the sand annually. Tyres can also be filled with top soil, purchased from a gardening supplier, to provide an opportunity for simply digging. Big tyres will enable children to climb into the soil and use their whole body to dig with longhandled tools, rather than reaching in with hand tools. Allow children to add lots of water to sand and soil to meet their investigative interests and explore different textures: it will drain away overnight. Tyres create spaces, and places
The Early Years Outdoors Advice Line is open Monday to Friday all year round. Contact our specialist team for advice on using, designing or managing your space: Tel: 01962 845811 Email: member@ltl.org.uk Web: www.ltl.org.uk

Early Years Outdoors is one of the subscription services from Learning through Landscapes, the UKs national school grounds and early years outdoor play charity. For more information about subscriptions, call 01962 845811.

aggregates. There are many lovely stones and interesting forms of gravel available from garden centres that make excellent materials for outdoor play and great landscapes for small world play, such as with dinosaurs. Many settings have filled tyres of various sizes, stacking smaller ones to vary height too, with gravel or other interesting stones and pieces of wood. A tyre filled with just soil will also provide such a landscape provide diggers, other vehicles and appropriate props such as twigs and play people.

Tyres will help you to manage your outdoor space in several ways. A row of upright tyres can be sunk into the ground to create a boundary between the active and quiet zones of your space children will sit on or lie across these. In a fully hard-surfaced area, use several planters of one, two or three tyres height and clustered together to make a soft, planted area. Children will be able to sit on the container edges and move amongst the meandering pathways and spaces between them. Tall grasses and bamboos can create an atmosphere to spark off imaginative play; colourful, fragrant or tactile planting will create a relaxing sensory area. Tyres can be used as containers for resources such as shells, pine cones, cobbles, pebbles and other

LTL accepts no responsibility for the quality of goods or services provided by any companies listed. This Advice Sheet offers a selection of contacts to try always try your local Yellow Pages or Thomson Directory, and an internet search engine such as www.google.com as well.

JM: 09-10

Tyres placed in good spots will help you to manage where bikes can and cant go. Use them as planted islands to influence the direction of flow of wheeled vehicles, repositioning every so often to refresh the play. They can also provide crash barriers for when wheeled vehicles come close to fences and walls. Car, truck and tractor tyres are the perfect height when laid flat for children to sit on, walk round and use as jumping off points: young children need raised surfaces for this important developmental activity. It is also very important to provide children with small, nurturing spaces in your outdoor area and the biggest tyres are just the right size for two or three children to sit inside together, or for one child to play quietly in their own private space, away from the boisterous play.

Early Years Outdoors Advice Sheet

Using tyres outdoors


Tyres for challenge
Early Years Outdoors is one of the subscription services from Learning through Landscapes, the UKs national school grounds and early years outdoor play charity. For more information about subscriptions, call 01962 845811.

If you can make a collection of different sized tyres, why not consider using them as an alternative climbing frame, as Acorns Montessori Nursery has done?

Be safe, and have fun! Have we convinced you to try using tyres in your outdoor provision? Preparation of the tyres is important but straight forward. Choose only those that are intact and check for exposed wires, strips and nails on both inner and outer surfaces, wearing gloves until you are sure all surfaces are sound: the tyres are then safe to use. Clean them thoroughly (a pressure washer as used for cars is helpful) and when dry use a handkerchief to test that the surface will not mark clothing too much.

The Early Years Outdoors Advice Line is open Monday to Friday all year round. Contact our specialist team for advice on using, designing or managing your space: Tel: 01962 845811 Email: member@ltl.org.uk Web: www.ltl.org.uk

Tyres from huge JCB to small car size have been set vertically in a line, well buried into the ground, so that they provide a wonderful range of spaces and textures for the children to explore and master. Simple painting suggests a friendly dragon and small children can actually hide in the rim of the largest tyre, or walk straight through it. A bicycle tyre in the sequence can provide additional interest! Other settings have used tyres to make stepping stones and humps in the ground so that children have challenging surfaces to negotiate. They can also be used as swings: ensure full adult supervision during use and children will find this activity thrilling. Whenever tyres are used for physical activity, ensure children develop the appropriate skills and awareness to use them safely.

LTL accepts no responsibility for the quality of goods or services provided by any companies listed. This Advice Sheet offers a selection of contacts to try always try your local Yellow Pages or Thomson Directory, and an internet search engine such as www.google.com as well.

Gloss paint onto clean and dry surfaces will last for 2-3 years and helps prevent the rubber from marking clothes.

JM: 09-10

Early Years Outdoors Advice Sheet

Using tyres outdoors


Caring for tyres
Early Years Outdoors is one of the subscription services from Learning through Landscapes, the UKs national school grounds and early years outdoor play charity. For more information about subscriptions, call 01962 845811.

They are easily stored by stacking and covering with a tarpaulin; run a long chain through them if you suffer from out-of-hours visitors. Prevent rainwater from collecting inside the rim by storing them horizontally and covered or drill holes for drainage. Wash them down with a hosepipe if they are dirt-splashed after rain. As with all equipment, check your tyres regularly for wear and damage and replace any that have developed damage or serious wear.

The Early Years Outdoors Advice Line is open Monday to Friday all year round. Contact our specialist team for advice on using, designing or managing your space: Tel: 01962 845811 Email: member@ltl.org.uk Web: www.ltl.org.uk

Remember, the purpose of risk assessment is to enable children to have rich and appropriately challenging opportunities, not to prevent them from doing things so be pragmatic and realistic when assessing how you might use tyres in your setting.

LTL accepts no responsibility for the quality of goods or services provided by any companies listed. This Advice Sheet offers a selection of contacts to try always try your local Yellow Pages or Thomson Directory, and an internet search engine such as www.google.com as well.

JM: 09-10