May 8, 2013

Natural Play - Discovery Garden

In our garden there are no plastic toys and plastic playground equipment but instead I tried to create a discovery garden with simple (recycled) natural materials and plants. And I did my best to attract birds and insects. We enjoy the results every day now...

In our relatively small garden (8x7 meters) there are two trees, a large chestnut and an elm tree. Within a week time the chestnut has changed from buds to fresh green leaves. I am so grateful for her presence because she is cleaning our air (converting carbon dioxide into oxygen).  Lately I had been worrying about two air polluting companies next door. But since this green giant has returned 
from hibernation I am somewhat reassured. 

 Trees are almost instantly creating a magical playground for kids, because these green shelters are harboring and attracting all kinds of birds and insects. The biodiversity increases instantly the moment you plant a native tree! These days I see a lot of trees being cut down to make room for artificial playground for children. But isn't a tree the ultimate playground? My son plays in the shadow of the trees
while  listening to the rustling leaves. And my baby looks mesmerized at the branches dancing in the wind. No artificial toy could ever replace that.

Birds are the crown jewels in our garden. They brighten our day and every time a new species turns up I feel blessed. When you provide shelter, add water bowls and bird feeders and don't clean up your garden too well you probably will be treated to lots of birds.

I do my best to offer many different but simple 
natural playing materials in our garden;

Trunks, bark, gravel, bricks, lava stones, water, (straw) berries, moss, a mini pond, a vegetable container garden, branches and baskets filled with stones, pine cones and (snail) shells. 

I asked friends and family for left over materials and everyone added something small. They often add new found treasuries like stones, plants and trunks.

Ornamental grasses, Japanese maples, bamboo, moss and low evergreen shrubs add great diversity in form and color. My personal favorite is ivy, because of its fresh beautiful colored leaves and the ability to grow everywhere. On top of that, it is evergreen.

Mud turned out to be the best idea of all. My dahlia corner did not make it through the winter and a few days ago I noticed my son playing in the bare sand. I decided to leave it this way and surrounded the play area with trunks and stones.
He spends his days now barefoot, digging and making mud and I am such
a happy mamma!

As a child I had my most happy and magical moments discovering my parents garden. I hope my children will have the same experience. It is a breeding ground for the rest of their lives.


  1. Beautiful! I was rather fond of mud as a child myself. My little one is quickly following in my footsteps - our veggie garden isn't in yet as it's too early and all that bare earth is like a magnet.
    I just put in living fence (to keep her from the road) using a native willow species - now I'm excited to see what biodiversity that brings us!

    1. That willow fence sounds really beautiful Jennifer!

      I was a great mud lover too as a child
      and as you can see in the mud collage I still am :)
      My son wasn't found of mud at all but after my own recent mud baths
      he has changed his mind :))

      Thank you for sharing,
      xxx sas

  2. Hello Sas, so wonderful to see what you offer to your children.
    I grew up in the city but lucky enough to have a huge garden, with a pond, swings, many trees and shrubs, green tunnels of branches where we could hide with my sister and brother, and many fruit trees.
    It is the best present you can give to a child, whatever the size of the garden... it will stay in his/her heart forever :)
    Be well

    1. Oh...thank you Isabelle for this heartwarming comment!

      Always lovely to hear from you my friend,
      xxx sas


Thank you so much for visiting!

Please make the circle round by sharing
your thoughts, questions or inspiration!

I would love to hear from you,

xx sas

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...