Groupings of Outdoor Play Experience Areas

Topic Progress:

Children make interesting decisions about their play, especially when experience centres with similar characteristics such as dry, wet, noisy and quiet are strategically positioned (Dietze & Kashin, 2012).  Observations suggest that when experience centres are arranged so that children can clearly make choices about the places for their play, they are more likely to experience play that moves from simple to complex. Examine the graphic below and determine what types of items you would put in each area.  Record your ideas in the Comment box below.  Then, click on the “Experience Centre Groupings” words below to obtain additional ideas of potential items in each of the groupings.




Are there now additional ideas that you would add to the experience centre groupings? Add your new ideas to the comment box.


  1. Barb Keller

    Wet- paint , mud, clay
    Dry- nature, tires, tree stumps
    Noisy- musical instruments, hammers

  2. Barb Keller

    Wet- paint , mud, clay
    Dry- nature, tires, tree stumps
    Noisy- musical instruments, hammers
    Quiet- pillows, stuffies, books, blankets

  3. Minni Harris

    Quiet area: pillows, books,puzzles,tent or canvas/blankets to make a cave.
    Wet: paint supplies paneer, tables for finger paint, water, mud
    Noisy: drums.m rattles, hammers, blocks for building

  4. Angela George

    a cultural corner, music corner, an area for loose parts, a book and quiet space, painting and art with recycled materials, sensory tables and science experiment corner

  5. Christine Norman

    Wet/Quiet – Individual painting like an easel,
    Wet/Noisy – sand, water play, mud kitchen, diggers and trucks
    Noisy/Dry – musical instruments, large tree stumps,
    Dry/Quiet – books, scarves, small blocks, leaves, acorns, shells, a reading area

  6. Cindy Spencer

    A cultural corner that offers a variety of cultural activities, singing & drumming, harvesting of traditional foods, a canoe to play in, a small totem pole carved from cedar placed in the play space, a small ceremonial area to hosts feasts, potlucks and celebrations.

  7. Jasmine Park

    Wet/quiet: Paint
    Wet/noisy: Bubbles, mud, water table,
    Dry/quiet: building with loose parts, reading
    Dry/ noisy: dramatic play, collaborative play

  8. Xintong Wang

    Wet – bubbles, slime, water beads, buckets, strainers, clay, mud, dirt, water, finger paints
    Dry – stumps, cardboard, tubes, newspaper, sand, sticks
    Quiet – books, pillow, blankets, stuffies, gentle lights.
    Noisy – music, bells

  9. Jennifer Yarmish

    I was having a difficult time envisioning some of the space combinations but when I read ‘clay’ for wet/quiet I realized what direction my head needed to go.
    I actually felt like this was a pretty comprehensive list and started thinking about ways that we could create crossover spaces within our playground.

  10. Nikki Littlechild

    We actually don’t have a quiet space outside. It’s a large yard and I would love to see my team and I come up with some ideas in how to create a space that can be a quieter space for those needing that calm, quiet time while outside.

  11. Carrie Maclellan 

    my center has been adding in lots of loose parts but I would love to see a large construction area as well as an outdoor art/creative expression area.

  12. lisa.rodney

    New ideas – garden tools & soil, seeds, measuring tapes, paper, pencils and clipboards, magnifying glasses, boards, tools, found objects, natural collections

  13. lisa.rodney

    Wet – water, bubbles, bubble wands, paint brushes, containers, scoops, sieves, hoses, tubing, turkey basters, watering cans, paint, clay, mud kitchen, pots & pans
    Dry – sand, mud, scoops, rakes, shovels, buckets, trucks, gutters, pvc pipes, brooms, logs & stumps, ropes, construction materials, cable spools
    Quiet – books, ground cover, shelter, soft music, places for sitting, fabric, shade, small parts, art material
    Noisy – balls, music wall, construction materials, ropes, area for running, spools, logs, crates

  14. Heather Diewert

    Heather Diewert

    When I think of the following Experience Centre Groupings I envision


    Water play and tools
    Mud kitchen
    PVC pipes
    Paint brushes


    Hammers and Nails
    Wooden Stumps
    Musical Instruments
    Dance Ribbons

    Loose parts

    Soft Gauzy Sheets

  15. Dana Wilson

    Wet-paint, slime, mud,
    Dry- fabric, shells, stones
    Noisy- drums, building,
    Quiet- books, flowers, puzzles

    Wet/Quiet- watering gardens, washing dolls
    Wet/Loud- water tables, splashing in puddles
    Dry/Quiet- books, leaves, soft fabrics
    Dry/loud- building blocks, riding bikes, climbing

  16. Melissa Vail

    Are there now additional ideas that you would add to the experience centre groupings?
    I need to bring more language and literacy out again. We have hammocks set up and that would be a perfect place to have some books.

  17. Anna Mary McKenney

    Are there now additional ideas that you would add to the experience centre groupings? Add your new ideas to the comment box.
    Wet/noisy : snow, ice, paint. fountain, sprinklers
    Wet/quiet: paint, calming water feature

  18. Krista Ambrose

    Wet: Water, mud, sand, paint, snow, ice, rain
    quiet: books, writing/drawing, solitary loose parts, dress up clothes
    dry: loose parts, construction play
    noisy: loose parts, drama play, construction play,

  19. Jody Anderson

    Wet: mud, water play, art experiences, snow and ice,
    Noisy- riding toys, balls, music- dramatic play, performing arts
    Dry- Books, art, writing, loose parts play, math centers, some science experiments or experiences
    Quiet- books, drawing, small spaces, miniature play, plants or animals- loose parts, maniupulatives, puzzles, games

  20. Bonnie Willson

    wet/quiet-clay, paint, loose parts
    wet/noisy-water guns, bubbles, water toys
    quiet/dry-books, sensory, loose parts, dolls
    noisy/dry-sand, building blocks, musical instruments

  21. Lisa Goldsack

    Wet- water, paint, mud, plants, buckets, shovels
    Dry- sand, playdough,
    Noisy- musical instruments, CD player, tubes
    Quiet- books, blankets or fabric, pillows, stuffies

  22. Maria Agustin

    Wet – Bubbles, paints
    Dry – rocks, shells
    Noisy – Playing guitar/musical instrument
    Quiet – art crafts, board puzzles

  23. Angel Huang

    wet/quiet: painting with hands
    wet/noisy: water table, bubble water
    noisy/dry: rock staking, sticks pilings
    quiet/dry: natural loose parts art

  24. Amanda Christison

    Wet – small pond, sprinklers, clay, mud, paints
    Quiet – library, hammock to rest, blankets and pillows, fabrics
    Noisy – dramatic play, mud kitchen, outdoor music area, blocks
    Dry – natural/loose parts, stumps, rocks, planks, etc.

  25. Amanda Funk

    wet: water, paint, sand, clay, mud, kitchen stuff, rocks, dump trucks
    Dry: fabric, books, loose parts,
    Quiet; books, drawing stuff, building, loose parts
    Noisy: tools, music stuff, long grasses,

  26. Betty-Ann Ryz

    wet: water feature such as a pond or water fountain
    noisy: theatrical stage with props
    dry: beautiful things
    quiet: clay & cooking

  27. Tammy

    Quiet – literacy centre, napping/resting, garden, big trees for shade
    Wet – mud, clay, water, kitchen, art centre
    Noisy – music, gross motor climbing apparatus, building centres,
    Dry – sand play, grassy area, craft centre, eating space

  28. Karin Freiberg

    Quiet Area – shaded, soft ground cover, books, puppets, reclining chairs, water feature
    Wet/Mud – mud kitchen: sand, dirt, flower petals/leaves, pots, cooking utensils, colanders, baking pans, pots

  29. Silvia Martínez

    Quiet: Reading time, rest/nap, small picnic with toys, art time.
    Wet: Water sensory, water paint.
    Dry: Dance party, sensory items/bins.

  30. Amanda N

    Quiet: Knitting/needle felting/Fabric
    Wet: Water spray/ sprinkles/ bubbles
    Dry/Noisy: Hammering/Drama play

  31. Shannon Stewart

    Dry Quiet: bike rims and fabric strips for weaving, sheets to create covering and cozy spaces
    Wet Quiet: Clay, Slate tiles, water and paint brushes, mud kitchen
    Dry Noisy: fabric, hammers, flowers and stumps

  32. Mikaela Reyes

    Our outdoor space is somehow divided into centers similar to our discussion here. What’s just probably missing are materials for children to explore with.

  33. Prabhulata Immaraju

    I love the way the outdoors is divided into the four major groupings Wet n Dry, Noisy n Quiet. In our own outdoor space we have all the four essential groupings, but I would like to focus on the quiet space/spaces for our children. I would like to add a space where children can quietly lie dow/sit cozily and read or play with puzzles etc that gives them a place for downtime. Since we are now more than ever before an outdoor program, I think investing in/brainstorming such a space would be awesome for the children.

  34. Lucie Pendergraff

    Wet- water, bubbles, clay
    Noisy- musical instruments, dramatic play
    Quiet- building materials, loose parts for tinkering
    Dry- sand, garden boxes

  35. Julia Kunz

    wet/quiet-painting, clay
    wet/loud-sand/water tables
    dry/quiet-books, loose parts
    dry/loud-blocks, large loose parts

  36. Svetlana Babikova

    quiet: novel materials, natural materials, puzzles, board games
    quiet outdoor: outdoor art, reading books outdoor, arts and crafts outdoor
    wet/noisy – outdoor play with mud kitchen
    noisy: music and movement

  37. Mizuho Kashiwagi

    Quiet- picnic blanket, loose parts
    Wet-water, mud, shovels and buckets
    Noisy-bins and tins that makes noises
    Dry-dramatic play materials

  38. Nikki Meyer

    Quiet – chalk, books, paper, art
    Wet – water, mud, spoons, buckets
    Noisy – pots, pans, sticks,
    Dry – wood pieces, rocks, sticks,

  39. Lucie Theroret

    wet; water table ,mud kitchen
    dry; sand ,clay rocks,stick
    noisy ;hammer scrap wood, tools,musical instrument
    quiet; book;puzzle ,drawing.paint

  40. Joanne Falk

    wet-bubbles, painting
    dry-chalk, sticks, rocks
    noisy-music wall, spoons
    quiet-books, puppets

  41. Nadira Ramnauth

    Wet – melting snow, playing in puddles, car wash
    Dry – clay, sand, rocks
    Quiet – puppets, felt story, puzzles
    Noisy – tag, musical instruments, building a fort using different construction tools

  42. Caroline Driedger

    I like how the groupings are set. Gives direction to look at your space and have it set to work and include all areas that promote development. I would add a curiosity center ,and beautiful things.

  43. Erin Lihou

    In the wet area I would have various water tables with funnels and water wheels as well as ocean animal figures, the noisy I would have hand made musicale instruments that can be easily assembled and disassembled. For the dry I would have a sand station and for the quiet I would have a special Fort that has some comforts of indoors but use for outdoor quiet spaces to read or just have quiet time.

  44. Kathryn Armstrong

    wet: water, bubbles, spray bottles, funnels, containers, mud kitchen
    Dry: playdough, sand, sticks, leaves, stones, planks
    Quiet: books, magnifying glass, binoculars, dramatic play,
    Noisy: hula hoops, balls, musical parts (pots, pans, wooden spoons)

  45. Deborah Fehr

    Bring the inside outside.
    Spaces for eating and sleeping
    Water taps (source of water)
    Mud kitchen
    Art materials large and small

  46. Janice Duncan

    Wet-bubbles, sprinkler
    Dry-natural loose parts, blocks
    Quiet-Drawing, looking at books, magnifying glasses
    Noisy-Obstacle course, musical instruments

  47. Kamaldeep Sidhu

    Wet:paint,mud and water activities
    Dry:sand, play dough
    Noisy:music instruments,construction and blocks area
    Quiet:library area,board games

  48. Jaclyn Geiger

    Wet- clay, water play, bubbles, paint, kitchen
    Dry- sand, blocks, loose parts,
    Noisy- collaborative group play and dramatic
    Quiet- sit spots, small loose items to sort and build, shades & curtain spaces

  49. Nicole Morrell

    The one that stands out to me is wet- adding a mud kitchen! SO much learning and exploring when they can get dirty!

  50. Hilary Geddes

    wet- mud, mud painting, water, bubbles
    dry- sticks, sand, rocks
    quiet- flowers, books, fabric, soothing music
    noisy- hammers, pots pans, spoons, drums

  51. Ai Paul

    Looking at this graphic, I have noticed we pay attentions only wet/noisy in our outdoor environment because those experiences are limited in indoor. I would consciously create quiet/dry concepts in our outdoor environment.

  52. Heather Howard

    Wet – mud kitchen, water play, hoses and sprinklers, painting
    Noisy – building/construction, music
    Dry /Quiet – books, tinkering with smaller loose parts

  53. Christine Villeneuve

    We encourage any activity children do inside, they can do outside as well. This includes eating (noisy/dry) and naps (quiet/dry).

  54. Lorraine Kok

    Water mud station, painting, quiet provide a quiet space such as a tent with books, dry sensory table sand, corn meal etc, noisy bring out our drums, musical instruments, pots and pants carpentry station.

  55. Patricia Lynch-Staunton

    Wet – running water, snow, icicles, mud, paint, sprayers, water tubes
    Noisy – bells, chimes, music, gross motor, woodworking,dramatic play items
    Dry – fabrics, small manipulative loose parts
    Quiet – gardening, plants, hidaway spots

  56. Carli Olson

    wet- Bubbles, water, slime, mud, clay
    dry- rocks, sand, pine cones, shells,
    quiet- flowers, books, fabric
    noisy- hammers, pots pans, spoons

  57. Romy Ralph

    Wet- Mud ,Clay, ,paint, sand, water, dishes
    Loose parts for both
    Dry- Books, shells, fairy garden makings, real dishes

  58. Kim Hoey

    Wet- water , pails sponges, bubbles, water guns
    Quiet- love the tinkering idea…. bungee cords….. maybe old small appliances they can take apart
    Noisy- tools….. hammering, sawing

  59. Laurie Millions

    wet:sand, water, mud
    Dry: Boards, tarps, ropes
    Quiet;books, puppets, blankets
    Noisy: Big boards, tires, chimes, music box

  60. Taylor Aichelberger

    Wet- water, sensory, mud, clay, bubbles, painting, gardening.
    Dry- sand, dirt, sensory, gardening.
    Noisy- dramatic play, collaborative play.
    Quiet-imaginative play, cozy places, sit spots, tinkering loose parts materials.