Play Resources

These are the blog posts about various resources which I’ve found the children have enjoyed using when playing freely outside.

Lots of Loose Parts

It’s all about stuff!

A scrap and natural play project

It’s all about stuff! Part 2

The ins and outs of this creative lunch time play project

All I want for my reusable Christmas is

Lots of materials that can be reused outside

Come and Play

Recycling household items and unwanted clothes into toys


Very versatile resource. Lots of ideas and advice in this post

Willow Arches & Panels

I didn’t tell them to swing or rock! Great for dens too.

12 tough resources for outdoor play and learning

A run down of resources which are tough, can be left outside and withstand high amounts of use.

Ropes, Swings and Stringy Things

Big Rope Play

Ways of using a discarded climbing rope in pre-school

Reflections on Rope

Rope work ideas with children of all ages

Amazing Mazes

Give children a challenge and see where they take it.

Labyrinths, Spirals and Ropes

Creating labyrinths from rope and chalk.

A Rope Trail for Everyone

A sensory reflective experience for adults as well as children


For outdoor play, display and learning!


a resource that helps create happiness!

Making a Zip Wire

An ongoing trial and error experiment

The Magic of Masking Tape

A big play experience with the little sticky stuff.

More Masking Tape

The story behind one day in nursery


The Moveable Bench

Seats that facilitate a child’s ownership of a place

Love your load

Portable outdoor seating

How to make a felt outdoor seat

The ultimate environmentally friendly solution

Making a felt seat – a better approach

Combining ziplock bag felting into the process seems to work nicely

Portable outdoor seats

Some tried and tested examples

Eco-Guilt and Outdoor Seats

What would you do to re-use these seats?

Make your own outdoor seat

A simple homework activity

Peg loom seats

A simple way of making portable mats for sitting on, using heritage breeds of wool


Blue Tarp

How do you use yours?

Blue Tarp on a Windy Day

And this is what happened…

Transparent Tarp

A wonderful resource – a must for any pre-school or school

More about Transparent Tarp

The variety of uses continues

A Hammock Made out of a Tarp

A lovely challenge for one group of children


A Portable Water Wall

When older children made one for the nursery and P1 classes

Water Play with Blue Tarp and Tyres

Big water experience for all ages

Water Play with a Tarp

Ditch the parachute and balls for this challenging alternative

Guttering in Pre-school

An essential resource for water and other big play experiences

Skitch Those Water Walls!

Annotating photos of design ideas

Bamboo Guttering

Versatile, tactile, lightweight and suitable for all ages

The Tripod Made with Guttering

a quick way to make a den, hang things, etc

The Sensori Water Station

Take Tom Sensori Bedard’s work and making it even bigger and better outside

The Biggest Splash

Enjoy inventing water games now that summer has arrived

Other Fun Resources

Space blankets

Scrunchy crunchy man-made material

Outdoor Play with Bread Crates

A versatile resource in any outdoor space

The Forbidden Fun of Compost Bins

Repurposing a garden object

The Black Suitcase

Essential for storage and play

The Big Plastic Pipe

A big, tough piece of kit designed for years of play

The Mystery Tubes

The open-endedness of a flexible resource

How to make a kite

A simple sled kite from any old bag

The Necessity of a White Sheet

An essential item when working with natural materials outside

Magic whiteboards

A quick fix wall resource, not for the dog!


A portable storage solution

Thinking outside the box

The wonders of Wrap-n-mats

Milk Crates

Lots of “crate” ideas for outdoor play!

General Commentary

10 ideas if you can’t leave resources outside

Don’t let this stop outdoor play!

Little Essential Items

10 useful bits and pieces for outdoor play

Living in a box

Children being boxed up and in instead of being allowed out

A controversial week

A child in a tree

Love Outdoor Play Campaign

A sticker campaign launched by the Geography Collective

Creating Ongoing Dialogue with Children

Thanks to a bear called ‘Fred the Ted’

The Gift of Play

Is your school making this an unconditional right for your children?

Indoor or Wet Breaks

A dangerous idea?

This place still rocks

A childhood memory re-lived

Let’s go fly a kite

Kite flying with my son

An Unofficial Nature Play Space

The real play park around a play park

The Squelch Factor: Mud

In celebration of International Mud Day

Outdoor sandpits – ROAR!

Ways over overcoming issues around sand play outside

A tyre sandpit for playgrounds

A budget approach to creating any size of a sandpit that works in schools where digging up the tarmac is not possible

Who Says We Don’t Play!

Play workers and the love of loose parts

Fatal attraction and My latest crush is ASDA

Buying resources at sale times from supermarkets

Urban Tracking

Heads down and walk through the town to see the history of activity

Magnifying Play

The fun of magnifiers

Free Play Adventures at Broxburn OOSC

Great fun in the woods! A fantastic set up for children

A Play Strategy for Scotland

Is it good enough for our kids?

The most recent Play Resources blog posts are below

Tyres in School Grounds

1 October 2017

Updated post – new research, painting, etc.

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10+ Simple Resources for Outdoor Learning You Can Make With Your Class

23 May 2017
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No money? No problem.

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Wooden Cable Drums – Developing Physical and Literacy Skills Outside

29 June 2016
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One repurposed resource which withstands a lot of wear and tear is the cable reel or drum that is used to store electrical wires. They are very flexible pieces of outdoor “furniture” which are worth seeking out in your local area. With sanding and painting, they can end up looking rather smart. Certainly a quick […]

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Milk Crates

14 June 2016
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Many “crate” ideas (boom-tish)!

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Feathers – 10 Ideas

16 September 2015

Coloured feathers, wild bird feathers, tickly feathers galore!

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The Cosy website has arrived!

27 August 2015
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Finally you can browse the catalogue online

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Loom Band Maths Sticks

21 July 2015
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As usual I am blogging way behind the times! Loom bands were last year’s craze. I have sat with a packet in my drawer meaning to have some fun and somehow time has moved on. Regardless, I still feel this is worth blogging about.

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Cafe Culture and Budget Inspirational Ideas

1 April 2015
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Finding inspiration when out and about is particularly exciting. Hidden gems are everywhere. I walked into the Andante Cafe in Sydney and was immediately enchanted by the friendly welcome of the owners, who originate from South Korea. The food was lovely – fresh and lots of build your own options in the sandwich section. Whilst […]

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Play Stumps

14 September 2014
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Back in March, I was visiting Meethill School in Peterhead to do some twilight training. The nursery have been working hard to develop their outdoor space. One of my favourite features were the stumps in the photo above.

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Peg Loom Seats

7 August 2014
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Several years ago I blogged about peg loom weaving. This may not seem obviously outdoorsy but it is. The looms are simple to use and any long strands can be woven through the pegs including plastic bags, long grasses, plant stems and gathered wool. The looms are very portable and can be taken outside and […]

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Making Felted Seats – A Better Approach

2 August 2014
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Over four years ago I blogged about making felt seats. These items are lightweight and portable and thus ideal for many outdoor activities on the go. I’ve continued to experiment with them. My first attempts were rough and I learned a lot through trial and error. The above photo is my latest effort and I […]

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The Biggest Splash

23 July 2014
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With the summer holidays here, the sun shining over Scotland and the Commonwealth Games starting this week, I thought it might be fun to share some water games and activities devised by Early Years Practitioners on a course a couple of months ago. After all there nothing like developing a few fringe sporting activities to […]

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The “Sensori” Water Station

21 June 2014
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Children love water play. Recently I attended a wonderful presentation and workshop by the legendary Tom “Sensori” Bedard who is currently touring the UK and Netherlands. He writes the blog Sand and Water Tables. It’s very niche and all about engaging children through well-thought out apparatus and creations at the sand and water trays. I’ve […]

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Repurposing Charity Bags into Dance Resources

7 May 2014
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Do you have a growing collection of charity bags which get popped through your door each week? If you do, and you don’t have any particular plans for them, perhaps it’s time to put them to good use as outdoor dance items. 

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Bamboo Guttering – 8 Reasons Why I Like This Resource

2 March 2014
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A year ago I bought a set of bamboo guttering comprising of 6 short and 6 long lengths. I’ve used it so many times, with so many classes and groups and in so many ways. Here’s some of reasons why it is such a useful resource…

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The Necessity of a White Sheet

3 December 2013
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Helps highlight natural objects

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A Tyre Sandpit

20 November 2013
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A DIY solution without busting the budget.

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Drying and Managing Wet Clothes

17 October 2013
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Space saving solutions

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5 Games and Top Tips About Conkers

1 October 2013

Top tips

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Boggle Hole

24 August 2013
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Pirate inspiration from the sea

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Material Benefits of Cars

30 July 2013
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Find a car. Add material. Enjoy the play.

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House of Fun

22 July 2013
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Loose Parts + A Climbing Frame = A House of Fun

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Wood Logs and Lumps in Schools

8 June 2013
Wood Logs in School

In recent years moveable wooden disks, logs and planks have begun to make an appearance.

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10 Little Essential Outdoor Items

19 April 2013
Outdoor Essentials

What little things do you find essential for your outdoor work?

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The Tarp Personality Test

1 April 2013
Tarp Personality Test

Take this short test to find out more about your hidden tarpersonality….

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A Hammock Made Out of a Tarp

19 February 2013

Turning tarps into hammocks is the equivalent of a gym session outdoors!

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Open-Ended Props in the Snow

5 February 2013
Snow Play

Providing a few small open-ended props can lead to a variety of different play based upon each child’s interests.

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12 Tough Outdoor Resources for Play and Learning

2 February 2013
Play Resources

Play resources need to be able to take a knock if they’re used every day.

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The Beauty of Bamboo

16 January 2013

Bamboo grows like a weed in Japan but also makes over 2000 products.

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Willow Lattice Arches and Panels

19 December 2012
Willow Arch

Different ideas for using willow arches in school grounds.

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The One About The Plastic Pipes

12 December 2012

If you ever pass by a building site, have a quick look.

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The Black Suitcase

10 December 2012
Black Suitcase

A simple black suitcase can be an incredibly useful play resource.

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The Advent Garden – Christmas Outdoors

1 December 2012
Advent Garden

An alternative Advent Calendar.

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The Bunk Shack – Palettes in their Place!

28 November 2012
Bunk Shack

Small outdoor spaces inspired by local history.

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Water Play with a Tarp

10 November 2012
Water Tarp Play

Tarps and water are the perfect combination for play!

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The Forbidden Fun of a Compost Bin

15 September 2012
Compost Bin

There is a high play value in a compost bin!

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Axioms of Sensorimotor Play

8 September 2012
Sensorimotor Play

“Children need to transport whatever is in the table out of the table.”

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Outdoor Play with Bread Crates

5 September 2012
Bread Crates

Bread crates have to be one of the toughest and most versatile resources around.

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The Moveable Bench

2 June 2012
Moveable Bench

There is something profound about a moving bench.

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Surfaces for Bikes and Trikes

9 May 2012
Bikes and Trikes

Kids really enjoy scooting around on bikes and trikes.

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