We have had our flying fox at Mairtown for a while now and it continues to be a popular choice of play for our children. Although undoubtedly lots of fun, this is an important part of our curriculum and there is a great deal of learning taking place.
“Play is very important to children; it is not just something they do to fill in their time. Playing is the way children learn skills and is sequentially developmental (Exploring Early Childhood, 2001).”
Not only is our flying fox a fun and exciting place to play, it is also a healthy outlet for children’s energy.
Climbing onto the box, stretching to grab the handle, holding on, spinning, running to hand the rope over to the next child are all ways in which we encourage the children to develop their gross motor skills and strengthen their muscles.
The flying fox is also great for offering children a challenge, developing risk-taking and assisting children in becoming aware of their own bodies in relation to the space and others around them.
As the children's skills develop on the flying fox we are able to see just how much their confidence grows and how they set themselves new challenges for this activity. They often try to raise their legs up high, go backwards, hang upside down or a real favourite, spinning!
(Spinning is something most children do instinctively and has been shown to be linked to the vestibular system and establishing a strong sense of balance.)
Alongside this, the flying fox introduces children to rules, such as turn-taking, waiting with patience and consideration of others as you take the rope back to the next person waiting in line.
Leah, "You swing off it, it makes me feel nice. I do a ballerina dance on it."
Eve, "It's fun, you hold onto the handle - hold on really tight"
Abbey, "I can do lots of things on it. When I spin I am dizzy."
And some wise words from Dihansa, "You have to hold onto the flying fox really tight or you will fall off!"