Do you remember creating forts when you were a kid? Do you remember what you felt like inside your newly constructed hide-away? When I was a child, I remember turning my parent’s patio chairs over and moving all the cushions around to create the most magnificent secret houses. I loved retreating somewhere small and cozy. I often wonder if this had anything to do with being the youngest of 5 children. If you could create a special garden retreat in your Backyard Teaching Garden and/or Outdoor Classroom, what would it look like?
Children love small spaces and the feeling of being held closely. Let’s take this idea outside. Outdoor garden hiding spaces can come in all shapes and sizes. Take a peek at the Children’s House at the Long Hill Children’s Garden in Beverly, MA. The overgrown vines provide perfect walls, roof, and natural door. Inside are small chairs with a little table with a tea set. In this secret space, all kinds of imaginative play are inspired.
Books can also inspire small spaces for children’s play. Have you ever thought of creating a special secret hideaway out of sunflowers? Check out the children’s book called The Sunflower House by Eve Bunting. The walls and roof are sunflowers. Got sun? This idea is worth a try.
There are several benefits to creating a secret hiding place in your backyard garden or outdoor school classroom.
The 5 Benefits to Garden Hiding Spaces include:
- Children’s play is more imaginative and inspired.
- Children have time and space away from the watchful eyes of adults.
- Children are given permission to explore their own independence.
- Children feel a sense of security within small spaces.
- Children grow a sense of confidence within their comfortable, safe haven.
Let your children’s imagination run free and give them permission to create a secret hideaway in your backyard and/or outdoor classroom. Get curious and inquire, “Who is coming to tea?, “How many sunflowers are in your Sunflower House?” and “What makes your secret space so special?” Children will have some amazing answers.
Want to dig deeper with like-minded educators?
- Join the conversation with our Facebook Community.
- Join THE CIRCLE: Our Outdoor Classrooms Membership Community HERE.
Do you want to teach outdoor, but don’t know where to start?
- Check out The Outdoor Teaching Bootcamp
Want to Dig Deeper?
- Join us in the Teaching in the Dirt: Designing Outdoor Classrooms Master Class. It is a self-paced online class that is not to be missed. Learn more HERE.
Thank you for all you do to reconnect children with Nature.