Have you ever found yourself saying “I wish I had a playground like that?”

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

When I first started my preschool, I spent some serious time searching for play ground equipment. I really wanted to have a cool play set that the children could play on. There is so much out there but the things I really loved were sooooo expensive!

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

And so, I have had to do with what I have but over time, I began to realize that not being able to afford the beautiful playground equipment I had once dreamed about may have actually been the best thing ever…

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

Had I begged and pleaded my husband to let me spend our life savings on a super cool climber (jungle gym), then I wouldn’t have ever let my students climb on our rocks. Oh no, I would have definitely have stayed with the mindset that the rocks were too hard, too dangerous, too big for the children to manage…

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

And had I purchased one of those super cool curly slides with a tunnel on top, I wouldn’t have ever considered taking my students down the big, sometimes slippery, leaf covered hill that we found way back in the woods. No sir, not me…

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

And there is no way on earth would I have considered letting the children climb on the logs that are out everywhere in our back yard. I am not being precocious here. I am totally serious. I would have thought the logs would be too risky to even consider such an idea…

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

And I most likely would haven’t had a reason to take walks in the woods because I suspect I would have thought the playground equipment is a much better idea. You see, I am not naturally an outdoorsy type so I wouldn’t have even thought about making our woods a priority for the children’s experience at my preschool…

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

But since I couldn’t afford pretty much any kind of playground equipment, I have had to make the most of what I have. Not having a playground like the one at the park has taught me to think outside of the box and use what I do have more creatively…

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

Not having a playground like that has taught me how to try out other interesting ideas…

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

Not having a playground like that has taught me to seek out materials for free that I can use instead…

Not having a playground like that

Not having a playground like that has taught me to take the tables and other things that I do have outside…

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

Not having a playground like that has taught me, my co-teachers and my students to appreciate nature and all those little critters we find all over the place…

I wish I had a play ground like that! by Teach Preschool

Not having a playground like that has taught me all the many ways that young children like to play and how resourceful they can be…

Not having a playground like that

Not having a playground like that has shown me the different styles of play my students enjoy such as running as fast as you can…

Not having a playground like that

Or playing group games together…

Not having a playground like that

Or relaxing for a few minutes…

Not having a playground like that

Or using their imagination to stir up a warm fire for toasting leaf marshmallows.

Not having a playground like that

If I had a playground like that, I most likely would not want the children to play on it in the snow. It would be easier to keep them inside and avoid the struggle…

Not having a playground like that

And because the rain makes a slide or swings or jungle gym slippery when wet, I wouldn’t want to deal with that hassle either…

Not having a playground like that

Nope, if I had a playground like that I would be an entirely different teacher than I am today. I wouldn’t know the difference as I wouldn’t have been faced with the challenges of what to do with the children instead…

Not having a playground like that

On occasion, I still look at different playground equipment and admire them but I no longer wish I had a playground like that…

Not having a playground like that

I am a different teacher now than I was all those years ago. I see outdoor play from a whole new perspective and I am thankful for what I do have….

Not having a playground like that

And I am thankful for what not having a playground like that has taught me about myself, my students, and exploring nature.

Not having a playground like that

My students seem happy, my staff seems happy, and so am I.

Not having a playground like that

Links to Grow On

For ideas and beautiful natural materials for the outdoors, check out Nature Explore!

Five Tips for Taking Preschool Journals Outdoors! by Teach Preschool

Nature Shadow Boxes by Teach Preschool

A Collection of Inspiring Outdoor Play Scapes by Teach Preschool