Our Backyard Bus
Where is this playful space? Northern New South Wales, Australia
Tell us a little about the people who play in this space
My twins Ruby and Tara (3.5 years) absolutely love playing on this bus. I think it’s especially special to them because they worked with their Dad and I to source the recycled materials, bring them home, help to clean them and then build it. They both use it in different ways – Tara likes to ‘manage’ and direct her own play while Ruby likes to explore possibilities and use her imagination as often as possible. Tara often drives and Ruby decides where they are going! As I manage a family day care service from home (home child care) we always have lots of other little friends ready to jump on board and be passengers. I’ve noticed it doesn’t matter whether they are 12 months or 5 years, they all play with it in their own unique way!
What are you and your children’s favourite elements within the space?
My favourite element of this playspace is the scope offered by the bus and surrounding area for imagination, exploration, role play and communication among friends. They are always driving somewhere different, usually acting out somewhere they have been recently with their own family but sometimes it’s an obvious dream location they wish to visit! And the bus doesn’t have to be a bus…one day it’s a truck, the next a plane, the next a car. The children love to bring their own props to the area and tell me what they are making or doing and why. It can be truly fascinating at times to see their problem solving and dramatic play in action. I also love that it can be moved around the yard quite easily and was made from materials we found in our local garbage dump recycle area and at home. And I think it has a lot more character than a big, bright plastic bus type object would in the backyard.
How does this space reflect your beliefs about how children play and/or learn?
I am a strong advocate for outdoor play and learning and incorporating areas like this into our outdoor playspace is important to me as an educator and as a parent. We are lucky to have a large outdoor space to work with but I believe that outdoor play can happen in even the smallest of spaces. This bus (and many of the other items we have made to add to different areas) will last for quite some time, even though they were all made on a very tight budget from recycled or upcycled items. I don’t believe you need to spend a fortune to get kids playing happily outdoors. Children have the right to experience the freedom and opportunities that outdoor play can provide- they can use their muscles, their brains, their lungs and most importantly their imaginations, it also helps to keep parents and educators sane in my opinion!
See more of this amazing play space here.
Jodie is Mum to a teen who just flew the coop and 3.5 yr old twins who won’t be leaving anytime soon! She is also a qualified early childhood educator and runs a family day care service from the family home. Through her blog, Mummy Musings and Mayhem, she enjoys sharing parenting moments (both good and not so good!), budget friendly easy kids activities, fussy toddler food, outdoor play space ideas and activities and child care information for parents and educators. You can also keep up with the mayhem on her Facebook page or explore her boards on Pinterest.
Be sure to check out the previous posts in the Our Play Space series for more playful inspiration for your home or early learning centre.