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Fun with Logs

At first I was feeling guilty that this post is long overdue – we started the series back in May after all. But now I’m thinking it might be just the time to re-visit the idea of natural outdoor play spaces. With summer coming to an end, so too is the time for running through the sprinklers and planting vegetable gardens. The return of cool, crisp fall weather is actually quite perfect for a more rustic approach to outdoor play.

So I thought I’d give you a peak at the last element of our backyard natural play space.  If you haven’t been following this series, you’ll want to check out our post How to Set Up Natural Play Spaces in Your Own Backyard for details on what we’re up to.  The rest of you will remember that we started with the sandbox from last year and had moved on to a bit of landscaping.

Today I’m unveiling phase three: our log station.  This was what I envisioned as the main component of our project from the very start.  The only problem being I wasn’t really sure where to source the logs.  When my father-in-law mentioned that some large trees were being cut down near his home, I jumped at the chance and asked him to salvage a few stumps for me.  (If you don’t have similar luck, it might be worth checking out Craigslist for people giving away stumps.  Just be aware – logs from unknown sources may harbor unwanted bugs and other pests.  You can likely also purchase stumps from your local lumber yard.)

As you can see, the stumps were a big hit.  We have ours placed in a circle for now but may transition to a zig zag formation down the road.  As they are, the kids love using them for climbing, jumping, sitting, congregating with their friends and building.

Which leads us to our other tree-related score.  Along with the stumps, I also asked my in-laws to nab me some “mini stumps” made from the trees branches.  You may recall, these were referred to as “loose parts” in the first post in this series.  Think of these as natural building blocks.  They’re really wonderful for open-ended outdoor play.

Along with building sculptures like the ones above, my littles also love to use their trucks to transport the pieces from one end of the yard to the other – for endless amounts of time.

I really hope that this series has inspired some of you to look beyond the plastic when it comes to setting up outdoor play spaces.  If you’d like to read the entire series, you can find it here.  And if you’ve created some natural play spaces of your own I’d love to hear about them!



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