Friday, 3 August 2012

Outdoor Play Link-up - developing an outdoor area - Guest Post

It is my privilege and honour to be asked to write a guest post for Kierna on her wonderful blog. For those of you who don’t know me I am Greg Harvey, an early childhood teacher from Australia and author of the blog Males in Early Childhood.
I am taking full advantage of the summer break to take a rest from the outdoor play link up & am so delighted to have so many great guest bloggers that I could call upon to help me out. Once again, I have to say that the honour is all mine, to have Greg, a great cyber friend & colleague contribute to the blog this week.

It’s not very often you have the opportunity to revitalise an entire outdoor environment, yet recently that’s exactly what occurred at my centre. What was once very sterile and artificial surroundings have been transformed into a place full of natural materials presenting challenging and interesting locales amidst a serene and welcoming atmosphere.
As the work progresses you can see how the bland, flat and unfeatured playground begins to take shape as logs, stumps, rocks, balance beams, a creek bed, bridges and a stage all slowly form in front of your eyes.
You may also notice that here are convex mirrors, a reading circle containing sandstone seats, timber benches, a digging patch and a huge, kidney-shaped sandpit 3 times as deep as our previous one and more than twice the size all being added to this environment.
And if that wasn’t enough, there are some hidden treasures such as a fairy statue and a frog statue lurking in the gardens, a lizard lounging somewhere watching the children play, and a dragonfly keeping an eye on everything from its vantage point.
You probably won’t see some of these unless you visit in person, but to know that they are there paints a picture of a place full of imagination, wonder and adventure. You also cannot see the herb and vegie gardens that have been added to the once lone garden that existed before.

Now I can’t speak on behalf of the children, although if I was to make an educated guess I would say that they love their new outdoor environment. However, for me I have to say it’s at least as good as anything I’ve encountered during my relatively brief early childhood career.
Now I realise it’s difficult to make judgements about something you haven’t seen for yourself, but I think you would agree that the new look playground beats the old one hands down in every aspect of what an outdoor environment should offer.

A huge transformation like this is beyond most services, but there are some wonderful ideas that could be introduced to any play area with a little creativity and not too much of a shock to the budget. Some mirrors strategically placed, or a few creature statues located in out-of-the-way places, or the placement of logs, cut tree trunks and large rocks, or some timber balance beams and benches, or even the creek bed.
Some of these items would undoubtedly cost more than others, but much of it could be acquired reasonably cheaply through targeted campaigning for donations, discounts and volunteers to save labour costs. Actually, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination and determination.

So let’s get to it and provide all children with the outdoor environments they, their families and you deserve.

There were many brilliant outdoor fun ideas linked up again but the one that appealed to me the most was from  Making Boys Men . I've pounded pumpkins with golf tees but hadn't thought of doing it with melons! And to then use the melon shell as a container for the vinegar & baking soda fun - genius! There were plenty of ideas of what to do in types of weather in this post.
How did your kids play outdoors this week?

  • Any kind of children's outdoor play-related posts are welcome!

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Please note that by contributing you are giving permission for an image and link to your post to be republished if featured. (If you have been featured, please feel free to grab the 'featured' button from the sidebar.) Share your ideas for outdoor play activities with us every other week! The linky goes live every second Friday at 12:01 GMT+1. 


  1. Hello Greg and Kierna

    What a super transformation and I wish more pre-school had this opportunity to change their outdoor space.

    A pleasure to read and look at the photos. Thank you.


    1. Thanks Juliet, it's an amazing transformation & I was so delighted to see so many 'natural' elements. I reckon it will ony get better as the months go by & the children start to own it & the planting grows etc. I am jealous -again!

  2. It's so weird seeing my name and post on someone else's blog. Kind of surreal. Thanks for the opportunity to be part of your wonderful work.

    1. Yeah, a bt surreal in a way! the area looks amazing & I bet the children are loving exploring every bit of it - I think you will have to do an update in 6 months time of how it has developed!!!

  3. Wow this is fantastic!!!
    The kinder I am working at (in Melbourne) is planning to re-do it's outdoor play space also. I'd be very interested to find out a bit more about the transformation like what companies you used and where you got all those brilliant logs and rocks from.

    Email me at :) Would love to get in contact with you.

    1. Soounds exciting Jess. I'll find out the details for you and email you soon.

  4. I'll pass this onto Greg.

  5. hi,

    it looks amazing could you let me know what company you used?

    I'm getting my yards done and would love to get these guys!!!
    please email me at

    1. hi, I'll get Greg to email you wiht the details, Kierna

    2. Have sent you an email Anonymous.


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