June 11, 2012

Natural Outdoor Playspaces

Recently we attended a birthday party for a friend of my son and it was held at the Boston Nature Center near our home.  I had heard about their beautiful, natural play space, but hadn’t yet experienced it.  Designed by Studio MLA Architects, it incorporates several natural elements and areas with open-ended play opportunities, such as a lean-to with various large branch options for construction, paths of cut logs and even a mini-amphitheater.  It got me thinking about our own yard and some of the same qualities we could bring into our space that would incorporate natural elements with imaginative play.

Dry creek beds are a beautiful option, if you have the space, and allow gross motor play opportunities in a variety of natural settings.


An outdoor chalkboard is another great way to bring the imagination into your outdoor space.


I really like these beautifully painted directional signs from Fresh Picked Whimsey – she even used places that her children had already visited to make the display more personalized.

I have a garden ‘center’ that I rarely use in my back yard, just seeing this amazing mud-pie kitchen from Pepper Paints makes me want to go out and repurpose the whole thing immediately!

And every kid loves a nook; how about creating one outside like this one featured at Desde my Ventana for lounging, reading, watching the clouds go by or just day dreaming!

And when the kids are all done resting, a path of tree cookies can only lead them further into a land of whimsey and wonder.


Have you ever considered a natural outdoor play space in your yard?

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