Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nature Based Play Yard

I have been triing to make my boys play yard more back to nature.  I want to give them a space to explore, discover and learn to love nature and being outside.  The being outside part is not a problem with them, they LOVE to be outside all the time, rain or shine!  Today we planted a Sunflower Hut.  I got this idea from my friend Brenda...We planted mammoth sunflower seeds alternated by small sunflower seeds in a 4x3 foot rectangle.  We left an open space for a door.  Hopefully when they grow, the boys will be able to go inside the sunflower hut!  There should be lots of praying mantis, butterflies, bees, and bugs attracted to the hut for exploring! when they start to grow I will add a pic. I also put a little bench I had (child size) under a forsythia bush that hangs over, so they can sit inside.  These are more ideas I have come up with so far...any suggestions welcome!
We had about 6 trees die in the past 2 years do to the caterpillars eating the foliage.  We have started to cut them down.  Warren put some of the really big logs in a half circle for them to use as steps.  They love these!
I hung two rope across the trees for them to get across!  Note to self...need marine rope!
the clothesline I used is not tight enough and stretches out to much...but in the mean time they are having fun not falling in to the "water or lava".  Even James at almost 2yrs can go across the rope!

This is the sand space "box" I made them.  I used long sticks/logs to create a fun shape that fit nice in between 3 trees. We had sand in their old sand box that I moved to this one.   I had a "sail" (green mess material hanging above James) my friend Lisa gave me.  I like the sail, it adds a cozy feeling, like they are in a cave.  We also hang  sheets with clothes pis from it to make a tent/cave/stage etc...

This is the rock garden.  I separated a section of the sand space and used nice round rock we had from our rock fireplace we had in the old house.  I wanted to give them a space to build, pretend and play with natural building materials.
Even Starla loves the play yard!  She digs herself a hole and climbs in for a nap while the boys play next to her! 


  1. I'd love to make a sandpit like yours, only I'm concerned about feral cats using it as their sandbox. Any thoughts on this?

  2. We have had an open sand box for 5 yrs and we have not had a problem with cats, but I ahve heard people do. We used to have a trap stapled to a lond piece of wood that we would roll out to cover the sandbox and unroll when we wanted to play. We love this sandbox and it was a great way to use some of the fallen tree limbs too!

  3. Love your play yard! It's beautiful! I'm sure my rascals would love it as well. Do you have any sites/blogs that share Nature/back yard ideas like these that you'd recommend? If so, please email me.
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for stopping by Training Happy Hearts and leaving a comment. I hope the Alerting activity cards work well for your family.

    and, thank you for leading me to your blog and this post. I love it!!!! I just did an outdoor post not long ago, but not adventure playspace like your cool one. It's at if you are interested.

    We tried a sunflower house last year, but the birds and rain got to our seeds before they grew. I hope yours fares better!

    I have a wonderful resource somewhere in my files for making outdoor adventure spaces. If I find it, I will try to post it for you...


  5. so cool Kerry. that's looks like the best time ever. that is totally something i would do. nature and gardening make me so happy! I've got a photo of me when I was like 5 years old watering a HUGE sunflower that my dad planted. The sunflower must have been about 6 feet tall. My father planted about 10 along our fence when I was a kid and it stuck with me till this day. I loved them. you'll create some awesome memories! love.V.