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Places to sit in
Children need to have comfortable, quiet, shady places to sit in away from all the noise and running about. They are interested in having pleasant places to sit IN and not just nice things to sit ON.
When asked what they would like to sit on, the first
thing that pops into children's minds are benches and picnic tables. This
is usually because they have not experienced other types of outdoor public
seating. It is very important to choose seating and tables that are of an
appropriate size and shape for children.
To make seating and tables of appropriate shapes and sizes for children, ask them to define what they would like to DO when they are sitting in quiet spaces. Next, ask them to think about the best seating shapes or arrangements of seating for the activities they have identified. After children have considered how they would like to use seating, they realize the inadequacy of straight benches and come up with ideas for seating placed in circles, semi-circles, horseshoes, hexagons, octagons, squares, triangles, wavy lines, etc.
Children frequently ask for seating made of natural things such as stumps, logs, tires, boulders and slabs of rock. They also identify problems with existing seating and its location.
Some schools have built large gazebos and other sunshelters with enough seating to accommodate one or two classes at a time. One problem with sun shelters such as these is that the shade only falls under the roof when the sun is directly overhead. To create shade or a wind break for classes at work outside, you can make detachable canvas "walls" to attach to the sun shelter's support posts. An outdoor classroom mural could be painted onto both sides of blank hanging walls.