Monday, July 16, 2012

Outdoor Play Space

We spend a lot of time in nature. We love hiking, exploring, playing in the water, picnics and more. But there are times when we look for our nature connection closer to home, right in our own backyard. It could be gardening, tending to the chickens, picking wild raspberries, climbing a tree, reading stories in the hammock.  As a family we are inspired by Mother Nature and do our best to spend as much time enjoying her as we can.

In the spring of 2011, Justin and I sat down to start planning a natural outdoor play space for Reece. We wanted a space which would create a spark for imaginative play, something which would grow with him and something his little friends would enjoy as well. We wanted it to be a place where Reece could play and enjoy nature, all right in our backyard.

The more my husband and I talked about it, the more excited we got (are we suppose to be this excited over a play space...).  Last year we settled on and completed the following in Reece’s play space:
·          A tepee
·         A sandbox
·         A balance beam
·         A set of swings
·         A garden
·         A rock area
It was perfect. Reece and his little friends had a great time last summer playing, creating and having fun.

This year, we decided to add a few more elements to his play space. We created a little secret garden, which Reece loves, and a banging wall. The banging wall has been great fun for all us!

I also caught Justin and Reece up to something one afternoon and took a peek out back. They had carved out another little secret garden for Reece.  

So here’s a peek at Reece’s play space:

The tepee
The sandbox and banging wall
Reece having some fun on the banging wall
On the balance beam
"Look mom, I am jumping off the rocks!"
Flying high on the swing
The new secret garden
Reece's little garden edged in all the rocks he has collected on our travels.


As our goal with most of our projects, we created this space using as much reclaimed materials as possible.

The tepee is made from tree trunks hydro had been plowing down in the forest around our house last spring.

The sandbox is made from square logs we picked up from an old barn.

The balance bean is also made from the same square logs.

The set of swings is made from hydro poles which were removed last spring when hydro was doing some work on our road.

The rock area includes rocks we have gathered from the many forests around our home.

The banging wall is made up of trees from the forest floor and the pots and pans were gathered from my in-laws and a flea market trip.

The only materials we purchased were the canvas for the tepee, Reece’s infant swing, the rope for the swings, a few pots and pans and the plants for the garden. The sand for the sandbox was kindly donated by the gravel company which owns the land surrounding our property.

A view of the entire play space

Reece loves this space and so do we. I am sure over the next few years it will change, grow and evolve as Reece gets older. It will be interesting to see those changes and also to watch as his play changes.

And tucked away, just under the trees is a special place where Reece and I come together each afternoon to share a story or two and just be.


***We added to new areas to our play space during the summer of 2014. 
A play structure and a mud kitchen. Be sure to check them out!***

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Linking up with Naturally Crafted Mama for {into nature}

Linking up with Coombe Mill for Country Kids




50 comments:

  1. Gorgeous space! I think my favorite is the secret gardens. I loved hiding behind a row of bushes with a notebook to write stuff. The banging wall is intriguing and a great way to make "music"!!!

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    1. Reece loves his secret gardens, and yes, we make a lot of "music" on that wall :)

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  2. Love this! It gives me many ideas as I plan our new yard and play areas for Zinnia and the littlest one. The banging wall is especially cool! I love the look of it.

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    1. Thanks Lisa, can't wait to see what you do with your new space.

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  3. Oh WOW! Lucky Reece!

    Thanks for sharing, Kim - very inspirational! Hopefully,, we'll be able to incorporate some elements like that in our small garden for Bea when she is a bit older :)

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  4. Looks like a such a fun and creative space!

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  5. what a fantastic space! I made a banging wall for finn a few years back, but then I realized he had more fun using the pots and pans and receptacles, and was not as interested in banging. Maybe I should put it back together for Phoebe though... I am very jealous of all of your space.... it makes me long to move away from the city and onto a farm! Great job!!

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    1. Thanks so much Taryn. Reece is enjoying the banging wall so far. His little friends are coming to play for the first time on Thursday so I am looking forward to seeing what they all think.

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  6. I love this space - I want to play here!

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  7. Thanks Kim, you have given me some ideas to use here. I have always wanted to do a tee pee [I'm part Choctaw] and think I will get to work on that very soon.

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    1. My pleasure Tracey. And yes you should have a teepee, your granddaughter would love it!!!

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  8. Such an amazing place...every kids dream. Makes me want to come play ;)

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  9. Oh, Kim! You've made such an amazing place for Reece to explore and play. All of the elements are so thoughtfully designed and work so well together. You've given me so much inspiration!

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    1. Awe, thanks Courtney. We did put a lot of thought into it and are really pleased with how it turned out and how much he enjoys the space. Happy to inspire :)

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  10. Wow, I am in love with your space and what you have created for Reece. This kind of space will allow for so much space to be creative and free and I'm sure has done that a million times already. Once again you inspire me with your space and lifestyle. We are much more limited in our amount of land, but I hope to implement as much outdoor natural space into our lives for our girl as we can. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  11. This is so beautiful. You and your husband are so very creative. Love it!

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  12. Beautiful! So much love and thought went into all that!

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  13. Beautiful! I wish I had backyard to make an inspired play area like yours!

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  14. What a lucky boy with is own special garden there. I am not surprised he likes to spend time there and I bet his friends want to come round all the time! I love that it is all so natural, I could waste hours in your garden! Thank you for sharing on Country Kids

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    1. He loves his little garden. I will put a pot of tea on, come on over :)

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  15. Wow!

    Reece is so.... Lucky. xxoo

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  16. Can I (we) come over and play and stay awhile? All of his yard (and yours) is so lovely! I don't know which part I like better. Yay for you, Mom and Dad! Way to go.

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    1. You are welcome anytime Ellen. If you are ever up this way I would be more than happy to share our space with you :)

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  17. What a truly amazing outdoor play space!

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  18. i love that we were both thinking nature close to home this week! wow what an amazing space you guys have built for reece!! and it fits so well with the other peaks you have given us of your property- so earthy and in harmony with nature. beautiful job!

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  19. Oh my goodness. This is the coolest outdoor area, ever!! Such an inspiration. = )

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  20. OMG! That space is awesome. Sofia would die of joy. She would never come into the house again!

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    1. Thanks KC! It is hard to get Reece in sometimes...

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  21. Fantastic. have been wanting to do something like this, but haven't. Thanks for helping me see what I can accomplish if I just try, and put my back into it. Reese is lucky to have you!

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  22. Wow! A beautiful learning environment for your son. Thank you for sharing.

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  23. Wow, what an amazing space for Reece! You have a beautiful garden/yard!

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    1. Thank you! We love our home and our yard :)

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  24. Kim, I found some of your images on Pintrest. I love your blog. Thank youfor sharing it with us.

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