Tuesday, April 27, 2010

series roundup: how to create an irresistible outdoor play space for children

To round off our series on "how to create an irresistible outdoor play space for children" I'm going to leave you with these words (they're not mine!): I hope you enjoy it and feel free to share ideas that have inspired or worked for you in the comments section.

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 Stoeklin
That says it beautifully don't you think?  And to steal someone else's words again:

It doesn't have to cost an arm or a a leg to create natural beauty. We were very surprised at just how inexpensive our Hush Garden make over was. The trees were the most expensive part at around $30.00 each but the river rocks, stones and pebbles were very cheap and the logs ... well we've had them lying around in our own gardens as well as at kinder for ever ... and we also have tree stumps through out the playground which were given to us by a tree lopping friend ... Ask and you will be pleasantly surprised what people will give you in the form of beautiful natural materials. - A comment from Sherry and Donna from Irresistible Ideas for Play based Learning
And just look what they have achieved at their preschool:

I hope you have enjoyed the series and have stored away some ideas for making your own outdoor play space an irresistible place for the children in your world to play.

Read the Full Series
This post is a part of a series on how to create irresistible outdoor playspaces for children. You can start reading this series here.


  1. Thanks so much for this wonderful series. You inspired me to let my 5 1/2 year old carve out his own little special place in our backyard. (I'll be posting about it on Fun Friday this week...). He named it "Bug World" and filled it with his favorite things -- toy cars, sticks, rocks, a broken bird house -- and heads out there every day after school to see if the bugs have moved in yet. Cost me nothing & it's clearly a very magical place for him.

  2. You've inspired many with your collection of ideas. Thank you so much!

  3. Hi Jenny

    It's been lovely to read your postings. However I'm wondering whether White & Stoeklin have considered "Planning for Real, For Real" activities.

    Grounds for Learning and Learning Through Landscapes, the UK school grounds charities, pride themselves on their approach which includes involving children in the the design process. If you email me (go to my business website and the address is at the foot of every page) then I can send you the pdf. As it's not my work I can't share this document publicly but I think you'd enjoy a look.

    That goes for anyone else too, of course!)

    Best wishes

  4. Thank's again Jenny this series you've posted has been such an inspiration to us!

    Alice Walker, best known perhaps as the author of "The Color Purple" once wrote - "In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful." To me this describe an irresistible play space - natural, rustic, unbalanced a little bit rough around the edges and imperfect ... totally irresistible!

    Donna :) :)

  5. Thank you guys for all the comments throughout the series. Its nice to hear everyone's ideas and experiences:

    Debi - I was so chuffed to read about your new little bug world.

    Michellel: Thank you for your support!

    Juliet: Once again, thank you so much for passing on your resources. I've enjoyed learning from them, and have passed them on to my Director at preschool too. I'll definately email.

    Donna: Thank you and Sherry for your support with all your comments and sharing your dry creek bed stories - truly inspirational. That is a great quote - it fits the Australian landscape perfectly.

  6. Just wanted to let you know what we've been up to as a result of your great posts:
    http://www.playingbythebook.net/2010/04/29/creating-little-outdoor-homes-in-our-not-so-big-garden/ (you'll need to scroll down to the second half)

    Thanks so much for the inspiration :-)