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AnythingsPossible
03-23-2011, 12:33 PM
Anyone have a natural play inspired outdoor space they want to share pictures of? I am wanting to redesign my outdoor area using these concepts and am looking for inspiration from real providers who have utilized these ideas in there play space.

DCMomOf3
03-23-2011, 12:49 PM
I have not done it, I hope you get some good pictures.

http://www.childcareexchange.com/library/5015043.pdf

melskids
03-23-2011, 12:50 PM
i am looking foward to seeing the responses as well. :)

we are planning on putting in a natural outdoor classroom, if it ever stops snowing. :rolleyes:

we are having a bizzard as i speak. :eek:

SilverSabre25
03-23-2011, 01:16 PM
heh, I have a feeling LOTS of us want pictures and very few if any actually have any!

I'm in the first group :Sunny:

I have been thinking HARD about how I could do a more natural playscape in my smallish backyard. There's not much on the 'net about it, either.

AnythingsPossible
03-23-2011, 01:19 PM
Ok, I guess alot of us have the same plan. I hope someone has actually done it! In the meantime, I stumbled across this website http://progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com/2010/04/just-add-sand.html
This page is for sand play area's so you'll have to search around to see other areas. Seems to be a lot of good ideas, the problem I have with things sometimes is converting the ideas to a home daycare space and budget.

SilverSabre25
03-23-2011, 01:23 PM
converting the ideas to a home daycare space and budget.

YES! That's the problem I've had when looking into this as well. Perhaps a bunch of us can throw around ideas and actually do it, then make a website for home daycares who want natural playscapes.

CoachingForQualityImprovement
03-23-2011, 01:37 PM
I have been working on developing my outdoor play space for years. I don't have pics right now, but come spring I will. We wer actually a tour site for the CAEYC annual conference two years ago because of our nature inspired play spaces, both indoors and outdoors.

Some things I have done:

wooden wine barrels for gardening

FREE: collected driftwood and large rocks on each camping trip or hike and created a border for a large pea gravel pit....this is the kids FAVORITE space and they have created MANY things in this area

Free: more driftwood that the children can move around to use as they choose - they have made teepees, pirate ships, rafts, etc.

I have two kayaks in the yard, with paddles and life jackets...the kids LOVE this.

Last year the kids were interested in camping. We set up a tent, added props and it was up and used ALL spring and summer.

Add windchimes in your trees

Add birdfeeders and birdbaths

hang a piece of lattice and hang musical instuments from it - bongos, tambourines, triangles, bells, etc

SilverSabre25
03-23-2011, 01:39 PM
Ok, I guess alot of us have the same plan. I hope someone has actually done it! In the meantime, I stumbled across this website http://progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com/2010/04/just-add-sand.html
This page is for sand play area's so you'll have to search around to see other areas. Seems to be a lot of good ideas, the problem I have with things sometimes is converting the ideas to a home daycare space and budget.

If anyone's interested, here's (http://progressiveearlychildhoodeducation.blogspot.com/2010/04/8-tips-for-creating-inspiring-outdoor.html) the link to the first post in that blog's series on natural play spaces

melskids
03-23-2011, 01:43 PM
http://www.planetearthplayscapes.com/ is a good website too....


here's what we plan on doing....

first, i'm chucking anything plastic...well, most of it.

my play area is about 40 x 60, fenced in. there is about 1 acre of open field and 9 acres of woods to explore as well. but for the most part, we're in the fenced in area.

my sidewalk is big shale stone slabs we found in my neighbors shale pit which i hated at first, but have now come to love;) i was going to rip them out, but theyre now staying....

the wood swingset/climber is staying, but needs mulch put under it (new regs)

we are going to dig a sand pit, about 8 x 8 or so, and build a wood arbor / trellis thing over it for shade. i'm going to hang flowers, windchimes, and other stuff from it.

next to the sand pit will be a mud kitchen and water table

next to that is a wood art easel attached to the fence, and a table for woodworking.

we are going to put in a science area, with a veggie garden, compost bin, and a worm farm. and a special area to observe critters they find

we have a picnic area for eating. up on the porch i put a canopy for a quiet area. there will still be a decent size area for gross motor activities

we will plant a ton of bushes, flowers, and plants.

my hubby is going to cut tree stumps and tree cookies for me. there are a few boulders we found in the woods i'm going to move into the play area, but we will probably need the backhoe to do it;)

i'm going to run a "talking tube" around the fence, and add a music garden

i'm also going to have the school agers build a playhouse out of wood with real tools:eek: that should be a fun project.....

i have pallets kicking around....will do something with those...maybe platforms

i'm looking for an old rowboat....

ive already started collecting loose parts....pinecones, rocks, nuts, wood scraps, tons of baskets, real kitchen gadgets, utensils, and tools etc.

so far thats what i got....phew...alot of work ahead of me. now if it would just stop snowin' :rolleyes:

melskids
03-23-2011, 01:48 PM
i wanted to add....

as far as getting "stuff", i made a list of what i was looking for and gave it to all my parents, and i'm also going to call every mason, landscaper, contracter, builder, plumber, and home improvement guy in our town and beg for their throw aways ;)

ammama
03-23-2011, 03:49 PM
This picture makes my backyard look like a bit of rat hole, but it's the only one I could find, and since my yard is covered in 3 feet of snow right now...
Since these photo's were taken, I have gotten rid of the plastic ride on toys, and only have metal tricycles now. The only plastic toys are balls and bubble toys. I like my yard so much better when I don't have to look at little tikes stuff!

At the very back we have a sunflower garden, with a winding path that leads to a bench. Some driftwood and large rocks back there too - the kids are allowed to climb/trample as much as they want, since the sunflowers come back no matter what. I have lots of herbs (like catnip, thyme, mint etc) growing too, and sometimes kids will just sit back there on the bench or driftwood and smell.

Also at the back beside the sunflowers is a 6' by 6' sandbox. Nice a shady, once the sunflowers get tall (in August, usually).

I have 6 raised beds for growing veggies. I put them in a bit of a maze style, to allow us to reach everything easily, and to make paths for the kids to run around, which they do.

In between the raised beds and sunflowers is a 12' diameter patio stone circle, for tricycles (and the portable fire pit on weekends).

Beside the garden beds is another 6' by 6' sandbox. This one now has a talking tube that leads from it to the wooden playhouse in the first picture. As well, we are connecting our rain barrels to a hand water pump, so they can flood/use water in the sandbox whenever they want, without having to get me to give them the hose and waste good water.

The playhouse has a little flower window box, and a ledge on the inside for 'ice cream store' or whatever else. There are a few stumps inside the playhouse for seating.

There is a stump pathway that leads from the wooden playhouse down to sandbox #2, and we have dug a 'mud pit' , and put a bridge over it (wooden plank which gets used for MANY things). This stump pathway/bridge/wooden playhouse gets used a lot for "keep off the lava" and "keep away from the shark" type games.

Not shown in the picture is an elm tree with a hammock chair and disk swing, a chicken coop with a few hens in it, a couple of compost bins, a small grassy hill and some beautiful outdoor weaving artwork (that incorporates wind chimes, plants, really is amazing) that my mother made for me.

We also have a front yard that is fully fenced, just grass that we play games on too.

I think the most used natural features in my yard are the sand and water. I don't worry about kids getting dirty/wet, and they have a blast.

ammama
03-23-2011, 03:52 PM
pics didn't work, lets try again!

SunflowerMama
03-23-2011, 05:26 PM
Add windchimes in your trees

hang a piece of lattice and hang musical instuments from it - bongos, tambourines, triangles, bells, etc

Love the idea of hanging the instruments from the lattice! Where/how did you hang it and what about the rain with the instruments?

CoachingForQualityImprovement
03-23-2011, 06:14 PM
I put bicycle hooks on the side of my shed, then hung the lattice vertically from those. Then I used twine to hang the instruments all along the lattice.
Put a light coat of varnish on the instruments and they won't rust or rot.

SunflowerMama
03-23-2011, 06:27 PM
I put bicycle hooks on the side of my shed, then hung the lattice vertically from those. Then I used twine to hang the instruments all along the lattice.
Put a light coat of varnish on the instruments and they won't rust or rot.

I think I may try and pick an area of fence to attach a piece too. So cool. So the kids play with the instruments w/o pulling them off? I'm just trying to picture it:).

countrymom
03-24-2011, 02:58 AM
its cold outside but I'll try and take some pictures, now mind you because its WINTER still here its very drab looking.

SunflowerMama
03-24-2011, 04:38 AM
I just stumbled on this blog this morning. Check out her recent post...Open Spaces Preschool...the place looks AWESOME!

http://earthplay.wordpress.com/

I just wish I had unlimited funds and unlimited space;).