An outdoor play area has more potential hazards than inside your classroom. Activities enjoyed outside need extra attention in terms of health and safety issues. Here are a few suggestions:
Make health and safety interactive by involving children in the process. Take a safety walk around the playground to discuss potential hazards. Invite children to collectively draw up safety rules.
Create a safety video together. As a group, visit each piece of play equipment and invite children to demonstrate appropriate use of each piece and record it on video. Review the video periodically over the summer!
Warn children about plant safety. While touring the play area, talk to children about the importance of keeping plants out of their mouths and to avoid touching shiny "leaves of three."
Designate a playground inspection team. We all know it's important to regularly check outdoor toys and equipment for safety problems, so why not involve children in the process? Make a set of inspector visors and magnifiers (one for you and one for a child) to "outfit" the inspection team. Ask the team to check the area every morning for broken items and the like.
Drink plenty of water. Be sure children have containers or a cooler of water to drink often throughout the day. By the time they're thirsty, they are already getting dehydrated.
Lather on the sunscreen. Invite families to send in their favorite sunscreen for their child to keep in his backpack or cubbie. You can also set up a "sunscreen depot" (complete with a mirror) where children store their labeled containers and lather up before going out.
Keep the official school first-aid kit within easy reach. Review the contents with children, explaining how each item works to keep them safe, protected, and germ-free.