Outside Play Space

Stress Turned to Creativity

So here is a messy, true, but wonderful story straight from my heart, and my front yard, resulting in a terrific outside play space for my grand-daughter. When my heart was hurt, through family interactions, I reacted secondly by going into hyper-creative mode. Better than using drugs or alcohol, right?

I made this outside play space for my granddaughter out of what was laying around the house. This outdoor play space has elements of “water wall,” “mud kitchen,” and ABC center, as well as nature center and more. I’m telling you, all you need is an imagination and a can-do attitude. These play-spaces can be elaborate or simple, costly or cheap.

I would call mine pretty simple and cheap. To start yours, I recommend gathering:

For Work and Kid’s Play

  • buckets
  • sponges
  • bottles
  • pans
  • spoons/kitchen utensils
  • cups
  • funnels
  • plastic animals or toys for water play
  • pool noodles (I used cheapest kind from dollar store)
  • furniture

For Fastening, and Decorating:

  • rope, twine, something for tying
  • craftie sticks or pipe cleaners or some system for fastening, maybe nails, tacks, screws…
  • safety pins
  • colorful ribbons, cheap plastic table clothes
  • old bed sheet or tarp if shade is desired

You can totally use what you have!

Here is mine:

Piece by Piece

It came together piece by piece. I knew that I wanted a WATER WALL. This is a place for kids to experiment and experience WATER and gravity. A good water wall will have a place for pouring, scooping, watching, water fall. I used old water bottles and a milk jug, along with a pool noodle segment, and pipe-cleaners (a.k.a. craft sticks) to fasten to our wire fence. I had all this laying round. You can pick it all up at the dollar store.

Pool Noodles

Speaking of pool noodles, I was happy to discover that they slice easily with a knife! I created and strung the ABCs and on the back of the ABCs there are other letters that spell family names! How cool is that!

The Glam

I used safety-pins to fasten the ribbons and glam. I used craft-sticks to twist tie things together. Easy peasy.

I had such fun creating this for my granddaughter and her visiting friends!

What is laying around, unused?

I literally gathered EXTRA stuff from my kitchen, and house. There were several articles of water play toys that my family uses at the river, but what better way to “store them,” when not in use, than in my granddaughter’s outside play space: WATER WALL/ MUD KITCHEN.

I had that drink dispenser that I bought for parties. Yea, I have a party a couple times in a decade, so I decided, “Phoey on saving this for parties! I am using in my granddaughters play space!”

Get Ready for Mess and Smiles

Nothing makes me happier than children having fun, being busy, and happy! Our little one had a blast doing what-ever she wanted in her little outdoor play space. She worked with water, dirt, mud… and lastly she even helped CLEAN her kitchen!!

What can you do?

What can you gather? What can you do, or build to expand your kids’ world, in your own yard? If this post inspires or encourages you to do something different and fun, would you share pictures, at my Grandma Mary Martha facebook page? Thank you for visiting! I wish you lots of messy wonderful fun, from all of us at the Telling Hearts blog, where we tell it, messy, true, and wonderful, because we are His!

Want some other ideas of cheap fun for kids? Take a look at these:

sewing cards for kids!

indoor cardboard playhouse and kitchen!


  1. This looks so thrilling and exciting and you are a very creative wonderful grandma! Wow! I remember when I was small, I had a big dolls house and spent hours playing with it, it made me so happy, and also just the kind of toys and tent up like you made for her..Loved it 🙂


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