Children thrive on imaginative play, and playing outdoors connects them with nature. At my house, I encourage my son to play outside as much as possible. Some days he complains that there’s “nothing to do,” despite the forgotten basketball goal and lonely scooter lying in the yard… you know how it goes.
I’ve been so inspired by these DIY outdoor play spaces–mud kitchens, tents, and musical spots–that I’m motivated to create one for my son at home, and at my preschool, too! I love that most of these are inexpensive to build and wouldn’t take longer than one Saturday afternoon to make. Best of all, the kids can be a part of the building process!
1. Outdoor Play Kitchen, Parents
You can easily turn an old shelf into an outdoor play kitchen, or just use pallets. Here, they reused old pots, pans, sifters, and utensils as toys.
2. DIY Outdoor Music Station, And Next Comes L
This outdoor music station is made from an upcycled swing, and seems so easy to make! I’m the type of mom who can give my kid a drum and tune him out for a while, so this music station is a big possibility for us.
3. Scrap Yarn & Ribbon Tent, unknown source
Now I know what to do with all this yarn and ribbon I’m never going to use. Just look at this though–can you imagine the hours of fun a child could have weaving and tying spare bits of string through this tent?
4. Bug Hotel, The Fife Diet
Let kids explore bugs and see how they move, eat, work, and live with a bug hotel like this one! You could build a similar miniature version if you’re not too keen on the idea of a giant bug hotel in your back yard.
5. Art Table & Mud Kitchen, Rhythms of Play
This family made their own versatile art table that doubles as a mud kitchen. Read their blog for details of projects they’ve made on this very table!
6. Pallet Teepee, Killer B Designs
This inviting, spacious teepee is big enough for adults to fit inside!
7. Waterfall Wall, Playing by the Book
This DIY water wall was made with an old fence panel. They attached hoses, jugs, bottles, and buckets so the children watch the water flow and make its way down the wall!
8. Chalkboard Fence, Project Denneler
Experts say kids should have the opportunity to write on a vertical surface, and what better way to do that than by adding a chalkboard to the fence? Notice that they hung a bucket of chalk alongside it, too–handy!
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