Welcome to the first in a series of posts in which we will take a look at simple and affordable ways to make a backyard or preschool playground a place where childhood memories are made.
Come with me and wander and dream through natural play spaces from around the globe. We will take our time and look at each of these natural elements in a bit more detail.
And where better to start, than getting the lowdown straight from the horses mouth?
What do children want in their outdoor play spaces?
This is not so surprising when you consider the overwhelming play potential of natural spaces filled with - naturally - delightfully open-ended natural materials.
What do children want in their natural play spaces?
It is unfortunate that children can't design their outdoor play environments. Research on children's preferences shows that if children had the design skills to do so, their creations would be completely different from the areas called playgrounds that most adults design for them.
Outdoor spaces designed by children would not only be fully naturalized with plants, trees, flowers, water, dirt, sand, mud, animals and insects, but also would be rich with a wide variety of play opportunities of every imaginable type. If children could design their outdoor play spaces, they would be rich developmentally appropriate learning environments where children would want to stay all day. (White and Stoecklin)
Credit: Port Broughton Kindergarten
3. Animals, insects, creatures in ponds
3. Sand (especially when mixed with water)
4. Natural colour, diversity and change
5. Places and features to sit on; in; under; lean against; provide privacy; shade; shelter
6. Different levels, nooks, crannies, places to hide
Credit: Busy Bee Day Care
7. Structures or objects that can be changed, including lots of loose parts
Having a list of children's preferences for their outdoor environment provides us with the ideal starting point for creating an outdoor space that will have children playing, creating, imagining, constructing and so much more.
Tomorrow: Just add water!
Series: How to create an irresistible outdoor playspace for children. Come with me and wander and dream through natural play spaces from around the globe. We will take our time and look at each of these natural elements in a bit more detail. We may just well find a few ideas that we can use in our own playgrounds or backyards to make them irresistible spaces for outdoor play:
Just Add Water
Just Add Sand
Just Add Greenery
Just Add Animals, Insects and Creatures
Just Add Stones, Logs, Stumps and Mounds
Just Add Places to Pause, Places to Hide, Places to Rest
Just Add Loose Parts
Natural Play Space Round-up