Instead, it's playing inside while I think about exactly how we are going to shape up the garden to make it a great toddler play area for when the good weather eventually does arrive. I've mentioned before that Isabelle loves playing outside, and last year she was pretty happy just pottering about and having a poke around what was there. This summer, however, I would love us to develop a play area for her so she can have even more fun.
Pinterest is, of course, responsible for all of the ideas I currently have, and is therefore responsible for the headache Simon will have trying to put them all in to action! Take a look at my "Outdoor Play" board to see all the pins I've been collecting as I try and figure out what I want out there for her. I've included some of the pins below. I'm trying to keep everything as recycled and natural as possible, which hopefully also means that it won't be too expensive to put together - the tyres are free anyway!
My current obsession: tyres. In fact, Simon is just back from a mission to grab some abandoned tyres from where he saw some on the side of the road! We have a nice little stack now, and they are key in my plans for the garden.
So, loosely, the plan is make our barked area of the garden much bigger, and for Simon to remove the plants which are in there. Then, I will pop in some tyre planters so Isabelle can do some little bits of gardening in her play area, and maybe one or two tyre small worlds as well. I've seen some fabulous tyre rockers on Pinterest too, so I'm hoping we can get one of those made, but not sure how it will turn out.
The next tyre venture is the biggie - a tyre climbing frame which will have her slide in the centre. She likes to limb but isn't very good at it, so this will give her plenty of opportunities to practice, with the added bonus of easily being able to get up and down her slide, as the steps are quite tricky. This is going to be the main part of the play area, and will probably be quite big (we're going to need lots of tyres!) but I'm hoping it will look great and be great fun, too.
I have a few smaller ideas as well which I would like to have dotted round the play area. After finding a perfect piece of wood in the garage I'm going to get Simon to build her a little balance beam too. She loves balance beams so having her own will be perfect for the garden, and won't be expensive or take up too much space. A set of homemade scales will be lots of fun, along with some bits and bobs (stones, chunks of wood, coloured glass pebbles) to encourage imaginative and open ended play. This is something I am really excited about, as she loves fiddling with bits, and so I think she will love having the chance to do that in the garden. It won't take up much space either!
Some stepping stones are a must, and will hopefully link some of the other bits together and encourage lots of movement from Isabelle.
I've lots of other little plans too, but things which may not come to fruition if we don't have room or she isn't as interested - for example a mud kitchen, a water wall and an outdoor chalk board. We'll just play it all by ear!
Fingers crossed it isn't too long until all of this becomes a reality and Isabelle can spend her days clambering up her tyres, jetting across her balance beam, and weighing all her bits and bobs in her brand new play area.