IT is out with the iPads at one school in Bolton where pupils are being encouraged to get outdoors and create their own good old fashioned adventures.

Tonge Moor Primary School has invested £13,000 in creating an environment where children can explore and let their imaginations run riot — using everything from surfboards and netting to broken vacuum cleaners, tyres and planks.

Head teacher Anne Read said: “We want children to play using their imaginations in a safe secure environment.

“When I was younger we used to a play on a hill which became known as cardboard hill, because everyone used to take a cardboard box there and slide down the hill on it.”

In year one, a new woodland play area has been designed as part of the investment, with Tonge Bridge Timber donating the wood to create a natural environment.

And children of all ages will enjoy everything from den building and tree climbing to collecting frog spawn.

The school has also bought wet weather clothing so youngsters can fully enjoy the outdoor experience.

Mrs Read said: “We want play to be children led, with staff supervising and prompting but not leading it.

"Breaking up the urban feel is said to lead to more happy and contented people."

The new initiative is part of the OPAL — Outdoor Play and Learning — Programme.

OPAL mentor Josh Steiner said: “Along with developing their play areas, Tonge Moor Community Primary School is one of six schools in Greater Manchester to be taking part in a ground breaking school improvement programme called Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL)."

OPAL is keen to work with other schools around Bolton.

To find out more about the programme schools can get in touch by visiting or emailing