Play Advice

The Backyard

I adore our messy, not so cutsy, work in progress backyard.  We recently bought a run down disaster of a house and have spent the last two years remodeling and making it a home. This summer we leveled the back yard and threw out some seed.  We also added some fun additions for our girls. I recently had a friend come visit and she told me I should do a quick post on our little set up in the back yard. We have a couple of the basics, a small swing set, the classic turtle sandbox, and a plethora of half broken plastic toys. Nothing too special, but still well loved by most children. What makes our yard a little different?

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Firstly we have this little obstacle course on the side of the yard. We dug a shallow ditch and rolled a nice smooth log into it. Then we just slid some of the left over dirt around the edges. My girls have loved this simple addition. It has become a boat, a bridge and with the olympics a balance beam.

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Next there are 2 tires buried halfway in the ground. These have been so fun to have under our apple tree. The girls have figured out how to stand on them and reach up to pick some fruit. They also are perfect horses. I had envisioned this set up being a bit of an obstacle course for the children to maneuver through. I would love to add some small logs after the tires to be a stepping balance area, and also some wood chips for that dirt…next year.

Here is another wonderful, easy and cheap addition to any backyard.  We found a bunch of long lean logs in our backyard and decided that they would make a lovely teepee. We just leaned them up together. My husband added some string to make sure the logs didn’t slip down on the heads of sweeties!

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Usually we throw a big tan blanket over the teepee frame but I was getting tired of bringing it in for any rain so we got lazy and added a lovely tarp. It is a bit ugly but my girls don’t seem to care!

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On the other side of the yard we have these giant pine trees my daughters are always disappearing into. What for?

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Well we spent a lot of time cutting out dead branches and raking up years worth of needle droppings to clear a space for an outdoor kitchen!

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My husband threw together a little counter and sink area out of old wood. I had all of these old, wonderful pots and pans that were starting to peel on the inside so they were a perfect addition to our kitchen. I also donated some old spatulas and spoons and also a silverware organizer. We also found some old plastic plates.  Then we bought a little white washing bucket.

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My girls will spend an hour every morning making potions, soups and salads. So we added a little table and chairs to our set up.

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Again we just attached some scrap wood to some old beehive boxes we found on our new property. Then we added some very posh old buckets and a stump or two for seats. Obviously there are some amazing products out there to buy, and maybe down the road I will want something different. Right now I love that I don’t stress about how messy these items get, because trust me they are always filthy.

We also grabbed a used free chalk and whiteboard easel. We use this for outdoor art or a menu board at the moment. My little sister, who just turned 11, loves to come over and help her little nieces get even more imaginative in their outside kitchen, which I love!

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I think an outdoor kitchen should be an easy and awesome addition to any back yard. Before I had the vision for the fort under the trees I was going to put the kitchen against the back fence. This simple set up honestly keeps my girls entertained for an hour easy every day. It also adds a dramatic play area to the yard which is a type of play that helps children in so many aspects, communication, imagination, problem solving, role play, working together and even experimenting.

What are some key additions to your backyard you and your family can’t do without?

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