I try to waterproof as much of our outdoor materials as possible. I’ve even found ways of making water-proof books and board games that can be left out in all sorts of weather without being damaged. But there are other things that I’d rather not get left out in the rain. Things like chalk. Magnetic letters. Dress-up Supplies.
Our quite the collection of Tonka cars. So much so that I decided to re-locate half of their collection to our outdoor classroom. Many of their Tonka cars are construction vehicles, which inspired me to create a construction play area for them.
Pinwheels, besides being colorful and fun, can also be a great way to draw young children’s attention to things like weather, wind, and air.
Making pinwheels out of duct tape is super easy. Older children might enjoy making a few for themselves and their siblings.
Last year we built a mud kitchen for our children and it was wholly popular among our children and their friends. Lots of big time messy play went down at that mud kitchen. While we loved our old mud kitchen, it wasn’t very easy on the eyes. This year we decided to revamp the idea; build a new, more visually appealing mud kitchen.
What would an outdoor play space be if it didn’t have a sandbox?
We’ve had our share of sandbox phases throughout the years. When LittleMan was just an infant, not quite old enough to be trusted not to eat a handful of sand, we filled his paddling pool with colored rice and construction vehicles. After that we moved on to a small sensory bin of plain sand. Then a sensory bin of plain sand and water. As he gets older though, he has more of an interest in designing sand castles and digging elaborate tunnels. These activities require just the right sand mix so they don’t crumble apart.
A while back I was reading into what makes a outdoor space really welcoming for children and I noticed three main components that presented themselves quite a bit: loose parts for open-ended play, lots of opportunities to connect with nature, and some small spaces to hide away when they need a rest. I went through a lot of DIY playhouse plans and ideas before I settled on the teepee neighborhood.
I’ve written several times in the past on my stance in the so-called “Mommy Wars.”
To put it plainly, I believe in supporting Moms.
Regardless of if their parenting techniques and methods are in line with my own.
Because there is no one right way to raise a child and we are all just trying to do our best.
So when I read about The Parent Commandment: Respect Thy Fellow Parent over at Playground Parkbench, I knew I wanted to take the pledge.
In the hot summer months, playing with water is an excellent way to cool off, but I don’t always have the ability to fill up the paddling pools for them to have a dip. A water wall is a great compromise, a way to play in water and cool off, but without all the prep work and hassle of filling and emptying their pools.
Kids are noisy. Kids love being noisy. And outside is a great place for them to be as noisy as they want.
Which is why, for three years now, I have dedicated a portion of our outdoor area to having a music station.
It started off as a miniature music wall on our apartment patio, then a larger music wall in our backyard. Now we have expanded it even further.
Children love to plant gardens, and it is especially beneficial for them to do so. Unfortunately, plants can take an awful long time to grow and children are not known for their patience.
And I have learned the hard way that if you attempt to grow a garden with starter plants rather than seeds, the children might be tempted to dig them up and replant them frequently, which can cause root damage and undo stress to the plant.
In an effort to minimize the damage to our live plants, I created this pretend play garden for my children and their friends, and it has so far been a roaring success. (more…)