When the weather is nice, the Hooligans and I spend most of our time outdoors. Quite often we’ll be out from the time they are dropped off in the morning until afternoon nap-time.
We have our snacks on the deck, and our lunch on a big blanket under the trees. They love having their lunch outside, and I love that there’s isn’t the big “kitchen clean-up” to deal with when we’re done! I normally just pile a tray up with sandwiches, drinks, fruits/veggies/cheese etc and take it back to the blanket, but I found a fabulous idea last night at Michelle’s Charm World that I can’t wait to try! Load up individual ice-cube trays with veggies, cheese, berries, plain pasta, meat etc., and let each child carry their own lunch tray to the picnic blanket. Brilliant! I love it! Thanks, Michelle!
Anyway, outside is where we want to be when the weather co-operates. Winter is too long to not make the most of the nice weather when it’s here. There’s a ton of fun to be had in the yard, and the Hooligans like it best when we keep it simple and unstructured.
We have our basic outdoor art supplies like chalk, spray bottles, homemade finger-paints, paintbrushes etc. This fall I’d like to incorporate more “loose materials” into our play-space (see Teacher Tom and Jenny for some terrifically inspiring ideas). There’s so much fun to be had with simple materials and a little imagination.
Water play is always a huge hit,
and we muck in the sand and mud, creating concoctions and messes.
We are fortunate to have a good-sized back yard, and our neighbourhood backs on to a ravine and forest. The Hooligans refer to this area as “the jungle”. In the spring, before the undergrowth gets too high, we spend a lot of time exploring, hiking and “rock-climbing” in the jungle.
The playhouse (you can see the recent renovations here), the tire swing and the sandbox are where the children spend a lot of time, playing make-believe, getting messy, and having good-old-fashioned fun.
We are also blessed to have a pond in our backyard. It’s small but it provides us with countless hours of entertainment, and opportunities for learning.
The children watch the fish and get excited when they discover that the fish have had babies. They learn about life-cycles as we watch tadpoles develop into toads every spring, they scoop out algae, they hunt for snails, and they observe the birds and dragonflies that come for a drink.
The pond is a wonderful feature of our yard; I’m so thankful that we have it. It’s a place to splash your feet on a hot day…
…or to sit and quietly reflect with a friend.
Thanks so much for coming along with me for the tour of “our big back-yard”. It’s actually been quite a nostalgic little journey for me. Please feel free to share pictures of your own outdoor play-space with us. I’m always looking for new out-door play ideas, and I’d love to see how your little people spend their days!