Nursery World Awards 16: Equipment - Birth to Fives

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Whizzy Dizzy, Commotion

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Take a seat, hold tight and swivel round for some fun physical exercise on Whizzy Dizzy, priced £84.99 and available from Commotion. Designed to promote healthy activity indoors and out, Whizzy Dizzy can promote children’s co-ordination as well as developing their gross motor skills. Measuring 55cm by 30cm, the product is designed for children aged from three upwards and with a maximum weight of 45kg.

Its sturdy plastic base houses a swivelling sitting platform which rotates as children pull on the circular central wheel. Children will use their core muscles as they discover how to co-ordinate their hands and arms to manoeuvre themselves around the central post, providing a sense of achievement and fun as they make themselves spin around.

However, they will always be in control of their speed as the Whizzy Dizzy spins only as fast as the child is pulling on the wheel.

Nursery World judges were impressed by its quality and potential for developing children’s vestibular system and core strength. They also found it ‘very engaging’ as it builds on the concept of the fairground ride of rotating teacups and concluded, ‘Children will love it!’

The product is already proving a hit with children who are finding their own ways of using the seat and integrating it into their play. Rosie Lea, nursery supervisor at Village House Nursery School, Kent, said, ‘At first the children weren’t sure how to use the Whizzy Dizzy, and it took a lot of discussion with trial and error to work out that they had to sit on the base and use the central wheel to move their body round.

‘It has been used indoors and outside every day. They have experimented with different methods of making it move, on their tummies and using their feet and hands on the floor to move it round, kneeling, sitting and standing on the base plate and using the central wheel, and even sitting on the central wheel and moving the base plate with their feet.

‘They have had to work hard to be co-ordinated and develop the muscle control to make it work, and have tried different speeds too when more confident with the process. They have used this with timers to make sure of fair turn-taking and have all enjoyed watching each other’s attempts at whizzing round.

‘They have also been using it in role play, pretending to be at the park and using it as a roundabout. One child had a soft toy as a friend next to her and was chatting away about what she was doing and how she made the Whizzy Dizzy move round. Another pair of children pretended they were going on a journey and “travelled” across the world.’

‘Children will love it!’ - Judge

Highly commended

MyPod, Eden Play

MyPod is a creative and compact outdoor learning structure combining multiple play areas under a single roof. Available in three sizes – Mini, Midi & Maxi – and designed for children aged two and up, prices start at £6,000. Standard features include a large upstairs space, a sand-play area, a role-play area, Perspex windows (ideal for mark-making), vision panels, chalk boards and a Bluetooth speaker.

Tactile Tower Collection, Play to Z

Designed for babies and children up to age five, the Tactile Tower Collection, priced £100, is inspired by Treasure Baskets and offers three stacks of sensory resources ideal for exploring, sorting and transporting – a refreshing alternative to traditional stacking toys. The Nest, made in the UK by adults with learning difficulties, features chunky wooden pieces that make a satisfying noise, while resources in the two Stacking Hoops offer a range of textures, weights and materials.

Finalists

Outlast Blocks and Bench/Crates, Community Playthings

TickiT Acrylic Block Set, Commotion

Criterion

Open to early years resources and equipment that support children’s learning, development and enjoyment in the Early Years Foundation Stage or equivalent

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