One of the things I love to do is take toys we would regularly associate with indoor play outdoors. It is amazing how the change of play environment invites new ways of exploring and interacting, playing and learning.
Some of the inside play things we regularly enjoy outdoors include…
Blocks and figurines invite lovely imaginative play as children create and interact with their very own fantasy lands.
Our adventures continue in Little World!
Taking dress ups and play silks outdoors also encourages imaginative play, providing children with more space to assume their chosen ‘role,’ whether it be pirate captain, firefighter chief or cheeky garden pixie.
Our garden fairy loves looking for butterflies and dragonflies.
Art materials with (or without) an easel. Drawing materials, such as pencils, felt tipped pens and pastels, are easy to transport but painting outdoors can be lots of fun too. As well as providing lots of natural inspiration, taking art materials outdoors can also encourage new ways of using the materials.
Lots of tall lines in this painting. I wonder if they are inspired by the avenue of tall conifers we were standing alongside?
Books are also all too easy to transport and it is so lovely and relaxing to find a warm, sunny spot to set down a blanket and some comfy cushions to create a special place to sit and read together.
What a relaxing way to enjoy the winter sunshine.
Creating a fun outdoor space for a picnic with dolls or softie friends and pretend food can be as simple as a picnic blanket or as elaborate as a tea party in a teepee. Either way, lots of pretend play fun.
Add a purse and a shopping cart and explore what is available to ‘buy’ in your outdoor supermarket.
And some of the natural elements which naturally find their way into our indoor/outdoor play…
- Seedpods and nuts
- Picnic food
- Shopping currency
- Art materials
- Bridges to cross
- Havens for little ‘friends’
- Anything really!
Which indoor toys do you enjoy outdoors? What imaginative or creative play adventures do your children bring to life?
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids.
- Garden Treats — Asha at Mom Costume has once again been bitten by the gardening bug — and this time her baby’s tagging along for some fresh air and dirt exploration. (@titbagsandsnoot)
- Outdoor Free Roam — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting follows her daughter’s lead whenever they go outside. (@mamapoekie)
- Summer fun in Austin with a toddler — Jessica at This Is Worthwhile is brainstorming ways to beat the heat in Texas. (@tisworthwhile)
- summer fun… — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children is looking forward to spending the summer outside with her children the way she used to spend summers with her mother.
- Outdoor Fun for Pre-Walkers — Maman A Droit has figured out ways to let her pre-walker enjoy the outdoors. (@MamanADroit)
- Summer Homeschool Fun at Camp Review — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now discusses how Camp Review motivated and captivated her homeschooling family. (@DebChitwood)
- Digging, Tree Climbing and Puddle Jumping — Laura at Laura’s Blog bemoans the loss of her girls’ climbing tree but knows they’ll find something else just as naturally tempting.
- The Sweet Smells of Summer — Erin at A Beatnik’s Beat on Life is looking forward to the many smells of summer she and her daughters enjoy and identify. (@babybeatnik)
- June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor Fun — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker is a confirmed couch potato who can’t help but be inspired by the outdoor opportunities Seattle offers her family. (@sybilryan)
- Take a Hike — Michelle at The Parent Vortex connects with her family and the Earth on frequent hikes in their Pacific wilderness. (@TheParentVortex)
- Following Paul — Julie at Simple Life gives her kids unstructured time to dig in the dirt and pick mulberries. (@homemakerjulie)
- Instilling a Love of the Outdoors in Your Baby/Toddler — Tessasdad at Stay At Home Dad in Lansing offers a photo book of tips for helping your little ones enjoy the outdoors. (@tessasdad)
- Camping, baby! — Jen at Grow With Graces has easy tips for tent camping with a little one. (@growwithgraces)
- Think Outside the Easel for Summertime Fun — Acacia at Be Present Mama finds several ways to bring art fun to the outdoors.
- Outdoor Learning in our Urban Environment — Andrea at Ella-Bean & Co. has found ways to get grass between her daughter’s toes, even in the city.
- Outdoor Education — Alison at BluebirdMama offers parents tips and resources for making each outdoor excursion a learning experience. (@childbearing)
- Turning Inside Out — Christie of Childhood 101 finds kids get a kick out of taking indoor toys outside. (@Childhood101)
- Watching Peas Sprout — Deb at Science@home combines fun with purpose in this educational outdoor activity. (@ScienceMum)
- How To Create a Pirate Treasure Hunt & Other Easy Outdoor Pirate Activities (June Carnival of Natural Parenting) — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has pirate-themed play ideas for ye scurvy landlubbers. (@CodeNameMama)
- What We Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child has managed to expose her 8-month-old to a wide variety of outdoor fun, even with the notoriously dreary UK weather. (@diaryfirstchild)
- Summer Fun — Darcel at The Mahogany Way finds her family’s visits to the beach refreshing in so many ways. (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Playing outside without a backyard — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes doesn’t let the lack of a backyard stop her family from enjoying the outdoors. There are plenty of things to do outside of your yard! (@sheryljesin)
- Having Fun Outdoors, Playset Free — Guavalicious at They Are So Cute When They Are Sleeping has resisted a backyard playset in favor of the regular backyard. (@guavalicious)
- Moon Gazing with your Toddler — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries is keeping her toddler up at night, but it’s for a good reason: to share the wonders of the night sky! (@babydust)
- the great outdoors — The grumbles at grumbles and grunts wonders whether her urban child can experience the same free-range childhood she enjoyed. (@thegrumbles)
- Let’s Take It Outside! — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing is looking for ideas: how can she spend time with her pre-walker outside this summer? (@BlkWmnDoBF)
- A home by the sea: June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun — Lauren at Hobo Mama is living her dream of a home near the beach, and taking full advantage of it. (@Hobo_Mama)
- An Outside Girl — Zoey at Good Goog moved her family to (almost) the middle of nowhere so that her outdoor-loving girl could have more grass and less concrete. (@zoeyspeak)
- Neighborhood Nature — Kelly at Kelly Naturally has learned to connect with the nature she has instead of mourning the nature she misses. (@kellynaturally)
- Building Lovely Memories of Swimming, Spiders and Gravestones — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch and her family are simply outdoorsy people. (@kitchenwitch)
- “Buh-Bye” Season — Danielle at born.in.japan must leave laundry behind and follow her son’s call to the outdoors. (@borninjp)
- Backyard Camping — Becoming Mamas took her family camping very close to home! (@becomingmamas)
- The Color of Dreams — Seeking Mother at Woman Seeking Mother makes gardening magical by teaching her son that each flower is a faery. (@seekingmother)
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Lauren @ Hobo Mama says
I already love bringing my own "toys" outside (books and laptop), so this is giving me great ideas for bringing my son's toys out. I remember hearing a nanny yell at a neighbor kid of ours that, no, he couldn't bring his plastic toy soldiers to the beach and I was thinking how silly that was — weren't they toys, and weren't they his? It must be so freeing as a child to have your indoor friends join you in your outdoor adventures!
Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says
Oh and that teepee is awesome. I would have loved something like that when I was little.
Kate, aka Guavalicious says
Tammy James says
jenny @ let the children play says
Here's a preschool tip: we often have a set of toys for inside, and one for outside. An outside box for imaginative play like tea parties and cooking has props that we don't mind getting caked in sand and dirt.
Chris (@tessasdad) says
Maman A Droit says
jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa says