When children love being outside in nature, and outside being a great place to learn, it’s best to utilise whatever sized space you have, as much as you can, to encourage creativity and imaginative play. So I’ve been thinking about some outdoor play resources. When we moved into our home, the compromise was the outdoor space. However, with the beach one side of us and a country park the other side, we were happy to take this compromise. There were no flowers, trees, or bushes in it, it was just a strip of patio, with a strip of lawn behind that, and a strip of play bark along the back. Rather than leave it a blank space, which would have given the children the most room to play, I set out to make it an interesting place for them to play. Also, a play space that would attract bees, birds, and butterflies. So we now have arches covered in roses, tall bushy plants (that are great for spiders to lurk in and cobwebs), fruit trees, vegetable and herb garden, and a little path running through it.
The children have always had their trampoline, a small playhouse holding some chairs, table, and a collection of spades and containers, and a sandpit in the garden, but with all three being at home full time (and a little older now), my attention has turned into making this a more interesting and imaginative play space, adding a few more outdoor play resources. I have placed a lot of mud/soil into a large gardening bucket for them to be able to play “mud kitchen” out there. They grab all their toy pots and pans, plates and cups, and cutlery, and go off creating great muddy meals (this has also prevented the lawn being dug up so often 🙂 ). There is now a huge plastic plant pot always full of water. It is mainly filled with rain water and just topped up by the hose as needed, but they have access to water to play with all the time. Sometimes this is to help in the mud kitchen, other times to water flowers, or as was the case yesterday, throw over ones twin brother (head to toe in freezing rain water, in what is a chilly April, didn’t make him happy! It managed to go down inside his waterproof coat and dungarees too, quite an achievement). As mentioned in an earlier post we have also added wood, nails, and hammers, and the children have a store of sticks/driftwood/wood we collect, they can access for whatever they fancy doing.
My next 2 ideas for outdoor play resources are works in progress. Firstly, to purchase some artificial flowers for them to dabble with out there, making things, or just for adding to tables laid for a mud feast. Secondly, this year we are going to experiment with growing our small lawn out, rather than regularly mowing it. Hopefully this will then resemble a mini wild meadow, with some help from a few extra seeds. The idea behind this is it will encourage more mini beasties to hide in there, with more visits from bees and butterflies, so generally much more interesting for the children to spend time in.