Inspiring outdoor playscapes

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on May 10, 2014

in Inspiring outdoor playscapes, Outdoor Play

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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…

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

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.  Even though it is technically “indoors,” being surrounded by trees and having all open screened-in windows sure makes us feel like we are right out in the middle of a great wilderness.  It’s a perfect way to get outdoors for water play and sand play and other messy play without the worry of bees and other pesky insects that often make it difficult to stay outdoors. You can read all about the outdoor classroom here…

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

Another very inspiring outdoor area that is technically indoors 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…

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

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 the ear splitting effect it might have indoors.  Fun at Home with Kids has a backyard sound wall/music station, composed of mainly items you would find in your kitchen.  These items could easily be found in your own cupboards, dollar stores, or thrift stores…

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

Another inexpensive way to create a backyard music 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 tinkling of those bells…

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

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

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

Water walls

Water play is always a summertime favorite.  Waterwalls 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 waterwall

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

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

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

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

Waterwall

 

Portraits in chalk

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

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

Logs and stumps

Logs and stumps are a great addition to an outdoor play space.  They are the perfect uneven surface for climbing on and crawling over.  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…

Log mazes by Teach Preschool

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…

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

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…

Inspiring outdoor playcapes by Teach PreschoolMud 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…

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

Loose parts

All of the outdoor playscapes I’ve 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. Here we have scrapwood that the children have turned into balance beams and building blocks…

Building Outdoors with Scrap Wood

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

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

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 poke around a bit on her blog because she really knows how to create outdoor playscpaces and experiences for her daycare children

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

Nature’s Gifts

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

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

Or the challenge of climbing big rocks

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

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

Inspiring outdoor playscapes by Teach Preschool

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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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cindy May 10, 2014 at 7:54 am

Wow, I love these ideas. Thanks so much for sharing, Deborah. I saw this idea in a magazine and incorporated it into my preschool playground. I bought flexible plastic gutter extensions (the kind you bury under the ground) and giant zip ties and attached them at various spots on our commercial Little Tykes climber. The children can drop balls down the tubes from up high. One of the preschool dads suggested a “T” addition which is fun because the child below doesn’t know which side the ball will come out.

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2 Ann @ My Nearest and Dearest May 10, 2014 at 9:20 am

This post makes me want to head outside this minute! Thanks for including our music station. :)

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3 Meri Cherry May 10, 2014 at 10:11 am

Love this list! Thanks so much for including me!!

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4 sara May 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I like it! !!

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5 Jode@mummymusingsandmayhem May 10, 2014 at 4:38 pm

What a wonderful post…love all this glorious outdoor inspiration. Thank you so much for including us too. Now I want to get outside and play…and love the idea of the ball drops from the reader above thank you!

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6 Debra May 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

What a great list! Thanks for including our Water Wall/ Ball Run.

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7 Ina Lungeanu May 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Thanks so much for sharing with us these wonderful ideas!

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8 Bianca May 12, 2014 at 6:02 am

Love your ideas.. want to see more please

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9 Catherine Flock May 12, 2014 at 9:44 am

AWESOME — Wonderful ideas. Thanks for posting this– I’ve got to get back into this game, and these photos were like a booster shot of motivation. Wood, sand, rope, water, clay, chalk, paint, rocks….the stuff of fun.

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10 Sanam May 14, 2014 at 11:52 am

With TV and computer games being around all the time, it’s really hard to get kids outside. I certainly like the idea of using an outdoor playhouse for kids so they can play and do their daily activities in a different environment. From all the above activities, the outdoor music station is definitely my most favorite. It’s very creative and I’m sure kids will love it as they always enjoy making some noise!

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11 Mands May 14, 2014 at 11:39 pm

These are fantastic. I would love to do a music station and water station in my back yard and now that my partner has put up a wooden partition, I really should get them done. My children would love these outdoor spaces.

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