We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.
— Maria Montessori
A tour of our outdoor kid zone

A tour of our outdoor kid zone

I shared a long post earlier today that is the back story about this property. Long story VERY short: most of the stuff in the background of these pictures is not really ours. It's still here from the previous owner (my late father in law). And nearly everything in the foreground of the pictures (what I'm actually photographing!) was also stuff we found on the property. I dug around, repurposed, fixed up, painted, and arranged things so that the kids would have an open ended play space outside.

Here's a quick tour. For each picture, I am sharing its new purpose, how we found it, and how we fixed it up or changed it.

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The back right, in the background, is our newly finished chicken coop and run. We've got 6 ladies (they're Browns). They're only 4 weeks old now.

Annnnyway, in the foreground: the child-sized bench and mirror were two things I found that were inside the house. The plants were here too; those are called Purple Hearts, I believe. 

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That's our house in the background! In the foreground, I put some heavy ceramic planters, upside down, to create some steps, mostly for Annabelle. There are about 30 more of them that were here! I'm not sure what to do with the rest of them! The other thing right past the planters is shown in more detail below.

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Right at the front is a bird feeder (there are several others that I didn't modify). We poured concrete directly into it, and I pushed some pieces of a broken planter into the wet cement. It didn't turn out very pretty like I wanted. The pieces were found scattered all over the driveway, buried over the years. I dug them up; many of them were covered in yellow flowers, but I didn't do the cement very well, so a thin layer of it covered the prettiness. Oh well, I mostly wanted the bird feeder to serve as a side table for drinks or a book or whatever.

The bench there is old as heck and a bit busted up. We need to ask our friend Rusty, who knows how to weld, if he can weld some of it back together. If not, I may just put some outdoor cushions on there. The kids don't seem to notice that it's broken. :)

The large black contraption is "in the works." I don't know what that was, but it, too, was on the property. We turned it upside, I know that much. We buried the legs of it, and we're going to pour cement into the holes so it is sturdier. It's pretty sturdy as it is! I used a chain that I found plus a big metal pipe to create a swing sort of thing. Alexander has been climbing to the top and carefully crawling all the way across. Once he figured out how to get back down, he's done it non stop. Here's a better picture of that:

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As you can see, we also put out the small trampoline since they don't use it too much. It's just an added gross motor element that fits into this space. This is a view from the water feature. Here is a close up of the water feature:

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This piece of fence was part of the original chicken coop. I painted it with some leftover paint we had from the school room. I grabbed some cans from our recycling bin and cut off the bottoms. And I found some large plastic tubing lying around that I cut into smaller pieces. That large tray was part of an industrial light fixture that was also on the property. I'm tellin' you, there is SO MUCH stuff just lying around. Every time I want to do a project like this, I can pretty much always find something to use! 

I was going to make this bigger and more elaborate. Alexander saw me working on it, asked what it was, and decided it was good enough. He found 3 places to pour water. The green bucket catches the water so that it can be reused.

Overall, I'd say our little outdoor area is a success. It's still a work in progress. I'd like to create (or find or buy) some stepping stones and paint them with numbers 1-10. I would also like to find an old door frame and create an "entrance" to this area that is child sized. Obviously, I would be able to just walk around; it would be for looks and for whimsy.

We want to put up a zipline that goes from the water feature to a nearby tree. On the large black thing, I want to attach a slide, if we can find a small one somewhere. I want to install a homemade mud kitchen. I think that's what I've heard them called. 

If you've got other suggestions for this space, I'd love to hear them!

Thanks for reading!
Bethany

A little about our new house

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