Outdoor Play Space Update

I did a post a while back about creating a small play space in my own backyard for my grandchildren to enjoy when they are visiting, but I’m back to show you some of the newest updates to the area.

I definitely believe that children need time to be outdoors every single day, if possible. They need opportunities to explore and discover without everything minute being scheduled. Having the freedom to run and play and climb outdoors not only helps their gross motor skills, but it has many other health benefits as well. With families busier than ever, it feels impossible to take the time to go to the park or take special outdoor field trips, and that is OK! Did you know that your own backyard has everything your child needs, and can be the greatest adventure of all?!  The key is to give your child time to just play...run, play, and explore.

If you want to take outdoor time a step further, there are some really simple things you can do to create a play space that begs to be discovered! Several years ago, my husband and I decided to create a dedicated area where we could enjoy our hammock and fire pit. Our backyard is not that big, but there was an area behind our storage building where grass had a hard time growing. This was the perfect spot to bring in gravel and create that area. Little did we know that a couple of years later, it would be a favorite play area for our grandchildren!


Last fall, hoping to give them more options for imaginary play in that area, I created a small “mud kitchen” from a few things that were destined for our trash pile. It has held up very well and the kids enjoy it so much, but we have had some heavy storms recently, so it was time for a clean-up/update.  


I have found that the “sink” collects water during every rain.


Dollar Tree came to the rescue again, in the form of another oil change pan. I use a couple of binder clips around the rim when it is inverted over the the sink to water from accumulating. That way, hopefully we can avoid a mosquito breeding ground this summer!


On my last antique-ing trip with my buddies, I found this old wall telephone. I had to barter a bit with an eccentric dealer, but in the end, I was able to bring it home with me.


Just for fun, I painted the receiver, and Ron hung it on the fence for me this weekend. After all, every kitchen needs a phone! And take a look at these cute miniature utensils I found at Dollar Tree!!

My favorite addition to the space was once again made possible by my sweet husband, who didn’t roll his eyes too much when I told him what I wanted.


I found these old plastic school chairs for $1 a few months ago and had saved a small pallet left from some delivery, with this very project in mind.


Ron drilled out the bolts that attached the seats to the legs and mounted them on the pallet with new bolts to make a vehicle.


The headlights are stick-on reflectors found next to the garage sale signs at Lowe’s with a couple of nails added for security.


I took a little trip to Lowe's to explore their PVC aisle and came home with the fixing's for the steering wheel. I painted it and Ron installed it for me so now we are set to drive!! Vroom, vroom!!


Last but, not least, on a recent trip to Dollar Tree, I found these cute mini cooking utensils. How perfect are these for the space?!?!


Here's a last look at the space now - limbs to build with, tic-tac-toe stones, a vehicle to "drive", a road set for toy cars and a fully equipped mud kitchen.


After removing the seats from the chairs, I was left with two of these. Ron used them as tiny sawhorses when cutting some wood, and they could make little tables, but I don’t really have a need for tables right now. I can’t stand the idea of just letting them go, so I need your help. What could I use them for in this play space? Make a seat and use it like a "horse"? Leave your suggestions in a comment below!