Outdoor play

by Jacqueline Harding. How can the weather in Big City Park be used as a starting point for discussion about the wider world with your toddler?

Child with leaf outdoors

Introduction

With all the goodwill in the world not every parent can take their child to the park every day! And, a trip to a farm or a walk in the woods isn’t always possible.

So, how can children find out a little more about animals, the weather and changing seasons – all without stepping out the door and from the comfort of their home?

How CBeebies can help

Big City Park is all about finding nature's hidden treasure. With great storytelling, this show offers the perfect solution when a trip outside might not be possible.

The show is set in Belfast's Ormeau Park, a beautiful busy public park. As everything has been filmed outdoors the show captures the changing park in all weather - come rain, hail, sleet and shine. Each episode is packed with outdoor adventure where May, the park keeper, looks after everything in the park.

By gathering treasures, playing games, using their imagination and collecting really special things to keep in Ruairi's Treasure chest, the young explorers can feel like they are off on their own adventure with their favourite characters.

Why not carry on the adventure when the show is over, by making your own unique Treasure chest out of any odds bits and pieces from around the home. Then, once it’s possible to go out to the park you are both ready to fill it up!

How to make a magic moment

Magic moments are happy moments. Try turning up the volume on your favourite music (particularly music that can pass as weather music!) and pretend that you are in the park and splash in the rain, jump in the puddles, dance in the snow - all to music.

Then, why not pretend you are explorers (just like the explorers in the Big City Park show) pointing out the animals you see as you walk around.

Oh, and don’t forget to fill up an imaginary bag as you both collect ‘special things’ for the Treasure Chest!

Then take a well-earned break by trying out the Make and colour on the Big City Park CBeebies website.

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Top tips

  • Get out the large apron (an old shirt will do) cover the table and floor and provide your child with paints to make splashy rain pictures.Make your own Big City Play Park using safe everyday items and, with your supervision, your toddler can go on their own adventure - try using an arrangement of pillows, a bean bag, old cardboard boxes, and the stuffed toys can join in too. Collect up a range of old hats and pretend that the weather is changing – which hat will they choose?How about looking at the clouds with your child, you could ask them what shapes they can see?

Expert opinion

Pretend play opens up a world of possibilities for the developing child and as grownups join-in with the fun…the magic begins.

Jacqueline Harding, Child Development Expert

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