Trying to brainstorm fun nature play stuff for my kids. For example, I just made a sweet nature play area in our backyard and thought it would be cool to see if anyone else has a nature play setup for their kids. Although the weather is getting less and less favorable, my kids are getting lots of use out of this natural playground made very simply. Kid-approved!
This natureplay area is simply an assortment of stumps and logs placed in creative ways that promote adventure, experimentation, and imagination. The trick is to make sure the stumps and logs are secure enough that they won't roll while kids are climbing running and jumping on them. My four-year-old calls them our lava islands, because we like to pretend the grass is lava and we have to avoid falling in it while maneuvering the logs (what's up with kids and the ground always being lava??!!)
Are there any other ideas for natural building for kids?
We have quite some success with mud kitchens - we used an old wooden drawer unit before but you could always build one. Recipes can range from purely imaginary 'potions' using whatever can be found in the garden, or more realistically medicinal recipes including certain herbs etc. This can be made into a more educational activity by actually suggesting particular ailments that need remedying, or you can just go for a more artistic bent, decorating with flowers and so on.
I've built a large variety of play areas for my kids over the years. What they go to over and over again are the piles of dirt I dig up from various projects. Dirt and a shovel, all a kid requires from age 2-(well the cousins still dig and they're teens so I'm going with adulthood as the end age).
We also have areas that fill with water. Course, that's where we get the dirt hills, all the retention ponds I dig. Kids love those. I did build a hill in the kids play area and did a grass path and a lot of rocks on it with a stream. Then planted sprawling things and herbs. They walk over it a lot, but don't really play.
We have a 2 acre play area for the grandkids. Basically the whole yard. Once the kids and parents understood that getting dirty at Granny's is not a get-in-trouble offense, they come up with many things to do. I came across some wooden wheels that cabling comes on. Showed them how to walk on them and challenged them to be able to walk all over the yard without their feet touching the ground. Had to call them for meals the rest of that weekend. They get sent out with a picture of a plant and need to find it. Lots of running and climbing games. By the way, I'm not allowed to play hide-and-seek tag anymore. We have 2 part german shepard/anatolian shepard mixes. I went outside to see what the kids were up to and got tagged. As I was counting, I asked if it was ok for Brutus to play. Granted I didn't yell, but... Anyway, I tagged Brutus and told him he was it, then told him to find the toys. He had 5 kids rounded up on the porch in about 5 minutes.
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