Now that AJ is on the move it is more important than ever that she has time to potter outdoor each day. Unfortunately, the weather is cooling rapidly and I am not much of a Winter person, in fact I seem to be lacking in some essential gene that finds the cold and rain enticing. While our backyard is great for play on dry days I have been contemplating creating an outdoor play space that is undercover so that we can still get out for some fresh air on rainy days. Of course it is not just the cold that can take the shine off outdoor play (at least for parents!), a shaded, undercover play space is also a great idea for the very hot days of Summer.
I created this undercover play space under the patio that runs along part of one side of our house (just outside the playroom). Previously, the area has been completely under utilised because Dad 101 and I find it so uninspiring. We have big plans for a makeover of the space to create a lovely outdoor living space but as our vision includes changes from top to bottom current budgetary constraints mean that it is probably not going to happen any time soon! Fortunately cheering it up and making it more purposeful in the meantime required less than an hour, and as I re-purposed bits and pieces from our other (indoor and outdoor) play spaces, it didn’t cost me a cent.
The first thing I did was move the water table that we bought AJ for her first birthday into the space, adding a little sand, a collection of shells and some smooth river stones (choosing shells and stones that are large enough that they do not constitute a choking hazard to a one year old).
Our art easel is always on the move! This time it relocated from one end of my kitchen (think witching hour distraction while mama is prepping dinner) into our new outdoor space. I added a bucket of fresh chalk and wipe down cloth. Next to the easel I placed a small plastic table (borrowed from the cubby house) and two stools. Immy is a proficient creator of artwork at the moment and I wanted to give her a place to sit to draw or paint with watercolours.
Speaking of artworks, I wanted to add some additional visual interest to the space and after considering various commercial posters and pictures instead decided to hang some of Immy’s many recent drawings and paintings on the large glass door. That way she may be inspired to add new masterpieces to the display as they are created.
I also added our basket of mini beanbags to the space as they are great for physical movement activities in limited spaces (for those interested in making their own, here’s the link to my beanbag making tutorial).
Finally I added this small carpet mat that was given to us when we purchased new carpet for the girl’s bedrooms about eighteen months ago. It’s big enough for the two girls to sit and play on but small enough to make it easy to roll up and store in the playroom.
As soon as she was up from her nap, AJ was keen to explore…
…and make her mark!
Do you have a patio, verandah or balcony that could benefit from an all-weather makeover?
- Making Space for Outdoor Play When Space is Tight
- 7 Tips for Making Outdoor Time a Habit
- Getting Little Bodies Moving When It’s Too Hot (or Cold) Outdoors