Nursery World Awards 2017 - Birth to Fives Resources

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Outlast Cascade from Community Playthings

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Children can explore the science curriculum outdoors and experience real-life erosion, flood control, and experimentation with the natural, loose parts of the Outlast Cascade by Community Playthings.

The wooden structure of the Outlast Cascade consists of a streambed, a single water table of 45cm, and a flow pan. Combined with loose parts and simple containers, the cascade aims to provide children with hours of co-operative, open-ended fun.

Children can experiment with creating their own waterfalls and changing and manipulating the flow of the water.

The water has to be recycled by hand, which encourages children to join forces to form ‘bucket brigades’, scooping the water up and returning it back to the beginning again, helping to build co-operation, teamwork and communication skills.

While playing with sand and water can create chaos when confined to a nursery setting, Community Playthings wanted to enable every early years centre to provide fun and educational water play, regardless of size and even in urban locations with limited outdoor space. The Outlast Cascade helps to keep water and wet experiments in one place but with enough variables to keep it interesting, so children can even enjoy sticking their thumb into the running tap without worrying about creating mess or damaging their surroundings. A large bore drain with child-resistant plug allows for a quick and easy clean-up process.

The durable water table, built from hardy, acetylated wood, will withstand years of play, and to guarantee this the Outlast Cascade comes with a ten-year warranty. Acetylated wood will not shrink, warp, twist or rot because its chemical structure is modified to resist moisture. This also ensures there is no need for storage to keep it weatherproof.

The edges are heavily rounded and the construction is stable to ensure safe play at all times, and the focus on the outdoors is enhanced by the fact that the table has been designed to be fully sustainable, using fast-growing and abundant FSC-certified wood.

Among the testimonials for the Outlast Cascade, director of Rockefeller University Child and Family Centre Karen Booth says, ‘I have never seen the children so engaged.’

Julia Musella, director of BB International Preschool, said the table provides ‘a wealth of learning opportunities’, and Sabrina Perez, a practitioner at Joseph H. Messina Children’s Centre, commended the equipment design for ‘allowing the children free rein over their own play’.

‘There is a lovely feel to the wood and it is a good height. This is great for sensory exploration and a truly open-ended product’, says one judge.

Finalists

Cubetto, Primo Toys

Hide & Seek Maths, Play to Z

Play cards for the home environment, Pre-school Learning Alliance

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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