One aspect that I really wanted to include in our outdoor small world play area was blocks.
But blocks can be quite pricey and I didn’t want to invest in something that might be damaged in the weather, misplaced during playdates, or even stolen from our yard.
Using blocks made of natural materials satisfies my children’s need to create as well as my need to keep costs low.
Plus, I found an excellent idea online to tie our block area into our geography lessons.
Making the natural blocks is ridiculously easy.
I gathered some branches and my saw and followed the tutorial found on Adventure-in-a-Box.
I also gathered some rocks, larger than a silver dollar but smaller than my fist.
I picked up two small laundry baskets to store these building materials in.
Attached to the handles of the laundry baskets were small laminated pictures of famous structures around the world, an idea that I got from Fun-a-Day.
Fun-a-Day offers a free printable book of structures if you sign up for their email list. In my opinion, thats a deal!
I did opt to make my own little booklets simply because I had some specific structures and specific size requirements for the pages.
For the wooden blocks I used images of the CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, Hagia Sophia, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal, and The Colosseum.
For the rocks I used images of Chichen Itza, Delicate Arch, Grand Canyon, Great Pyramid of Giza, Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Mt Rushmore, Petra, and Stonehenge.
All images are printed on cardstock and laminated so they will hopefully be fairly durable. We’ve used similar methods with other outdoor materials in the past and had them last several years.
So far the children have loved this addition to our outdoor small world play area. I’ve caught them working together in an attempt to recreate the images of the famous structures and I’ve even heard them discussing which continents these structures are found on.