Today in our "how to create irresistible play spaces for children" series we will look at play spaces around the globe to discover how we can create small child-sized places using natural elements in our own backyards or playgrounds.
1. Cubby Houses
Teepees are simple to create using found natural resources such as branches or fronds:
The kids at our primary school created this natural structure by learning sticks they collected from the adjoining bush up against a tree trunk:
Or you could use a big old tractor tyre as a base:
Involving the kids in the construction process is half the fun. These preschoolers from the Melbourne Early Learning Centre are taking part in the Eco Cubby project, which teams schools and preschools with local architects to make their own cubbies using sustainable practices:
They went foraging for natural materials, and made this beauty:
You can use trees or poles to attach fabric to for tent like cubbies:
Or maybe you would prefer a more permanent structure. How about this one made from logs?
The added bonus of a natural play space is that kids can easily find loose parts such as leaves, tan bark and pods to use in their pretend play in the cubbies.
2. Living, growing cubby houses
Weeping Mulberry Trees make magical natural play spaces:
This child-sized tunnel and den from Planet Earth Playscapes is made from living willow:
Or how about a bean teepee? This one is from Patti's Nursery School Class: pop on over for step by step instructions. They are surprisingly simple!
3. Secret places
Hidden, child-sized spaces offer privacy, social intimacy and places to pause in the great outdoors. You can use a combination of plant materials, lattice, bamboo, wicker or brush screens to create easy and inexpensive secret places:
This simple planting arrangement around a backyard sandpit will grow high enough to offer kids a sense of privacy and enclosure without obscuring adult vision:
It doesn't have to be elaborate - simply a corner with overhanging greenery becomes a special secret space for children to play:
At the Kate Greenaway School in London:
There are numerous 'quiet' places tucked away for solitary imaginings. Bamboo is used effectively as a durable screen, but one not so dense that it can't be wiggled through or crawled under. (Playscapes):
This post is a part of a series on how to create irresistible outdoor playspaces for children. You can start reading this series here. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to share ideas that have inspired or worked for you in the comments section
Next: just add loose parts.