Inspiring outdoor playscapes

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Ways to create beautiful and engaging outdoor learning spaces

Sometimes, it is hard to think of ideas to spruce up your outdoor play area. With summer just around the corner, I wanted to share some child-friendly backyards and outdoor playscapes that I find to be so inspiring…

Turn your Screened-in Porch into an Outdoor Studio

If you have been following us for awhile, you know that we are fortunate to have our very own outdoor classroom that we take advantage of as often as the weather permits.  Being surrounded by trees and having all open screened-in windows sure makes us feel like we are right out in the middle of the great wilderness.  It is a perfect way to get outdoors for water play and sand play and other messy play. You can read all about the outdoor classroom here…

Exploring Art Outdoors

Another very inspiring outdoor area is Meri Cherry’s art playhouse, seated right in her backyard.  It’s a beautiful space for her children to express themselves creatively without fear of making messes on the floor…

Portraits in Chalk

These framed chalkboard masterpieces from DoodleBuds are an excellent way for children to draw outside…

Music Stations

Outside is a wonderful place to make music, wouldn’t you agree?  Your children can create as much noise and racket, or should I say beautiful melodies, as they wish without while experiencing the sights and sounds of nature.  Fun at Home with Kids has a backyard sound wall/music station, composed mainly of items you would find in your kitchen.  These everyday household items could easily be found in your own cupboards, dollar stores, or thrift stores…

Another inexpensive way to create a backyard music area is with recycled materials.  My Nearest and Dearest has a beautiful recycled outdoor music station made up of cans and jar lids.  If I close my eyes, I can almost hear the ringing of those bells…

Of course you can always incorporate real musical instruments into your outdoor space, as well.  Filth Wizardry shows us how it’s done with their wonderful music wall

Water Walls

Water play is always a summertime favorite.  Water walls can be inexpensive and easy to make.  Best of all, they will keep your children entertained and cool all summer long!  Tinkerlab uses recycled bottles for her simple DIY water wall

Familylicious has another fantastic water wall and ball run, complete with funnels and gutters…

We have a simple cardboard water easel that you can throw together in a pinch too!

Using Natural Elements

Logs and stumps are a great addition to any outdoor play space.  They are the perfect uneven surface for developing gross motor skills while climbing on and crawling over them.  We have lots of logs that we turned into a maze for playing fun games like follow the leader.  The children also love to use the logs as balance beams…

Happy Hooligans has an abundance of stumps for her daycare children to enjoy.  She shares all of the wonderful ways her children like to play with her backyard logs and stumps here…

And I adore these outdoor geoboards made by the children over at Let the Children Play.  What a fun and colorful way to bring some fine motor practice into your backyard…

Mud Kitchens

For many adults, an outdoor kitchen would be a dream come true.  The same can be said for children.  Mud kitchens are another endless source of play for children.  Adventures at Home with Mum has a fantastic mud kitchen set-up for her children…

Loose Parts

All of the outdoor playscapes I have shared with you thus far are just beautiful and so inspiring!  But I also think that it is pretty inspiring to see what type of play children can create on their own when given a few loose parts.  Loose parts are odds and ends that can be brought outside for building, climbing, or for creating adventures.  We use loose parts a lot around the preschool as children construct and deconstruct using a variety of materials. Here we have scrapwood that the children have turned into balance beams and building blocks…

And Next Comes L has small pavers available for her little guys to make DIY outdoor roads

Mummy Musings and Mayhem offers shells, pebbles, bowls, scoops, and so much more in the loose parts area of her backyard.  Be sure to take your time to peruse her blog because she really knows how to create outdoor playscpaces and experiences for her daycare children

Nature’s Gifts

And don’t forget the beautiful and inspiring tools for play and exploration that nature itself provides like collecting flowers…

Or the challenge of climbing big rocks

Or taking a walk in the woods or down your neighborhood sidewalk…

There are many ways to inspire outdoor play. What are some other playscape ideas that inspire you? Share it with us in a comment below!

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Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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