Repurposing Nature for Play

Published by Lydia Richmond on

We moved in to our house a little over two years ago, and since then we’ve been working on the landscaping and other elements of the property. I’ve shared already how Math Man created an awesome playground for the kids with some inspiration from Pinterest but mostly his own skilled craftsman brain and a desire to have a cool spot for the kids. That’s why, as we’ve had to either make some decisions about the trees in our yard or react to those that have simply fallen down due to weather, we’re trying to repurpose nature for play purposes!

First Project

The hurricanes this fall didn’t affect us too much by way of damage. Honestly, we were blessed to have only had to deal with some wind and massive rain. We did, however, lose one ginormous tree in the front of the property. When this happened, Math Man and I stepped outside and stood on the porch wondering what in the heck we were supposed to do. The tree had fallen across the street and was partially blocking the flow of traffic.

Luckily, our awesome neighbor runs a side business for tree cutting, and he was kind enough to come and help Math Man cut it apart. We moved much of the lumber to the back, but there were some pieces of the trunk that the kids hoped we could keep.

So, Math Man created an obstacle course (or parkour area) for the kids to use when they’re in the back yard. Thus far, they’ve used them exactly as those two purposes but also as a table for snacks and a prop for pictures. I’m thinking we might take some time and paint them eventually, but for now, they are perfect.

obstacle course of stumps

Second Project

We also had to make a difficult decision to remove two very large trees from the front of our house. Not only were pieces of the trees dead, but there were ants in them and they threatened our house if another large storm was to come along. On top of that, no grass was growing beneath them.

Down they came to the shock of many of our small neighborhood friends (yes, people, we’re cutting down trees…please keep driving), but we didn’t want to waste what was left.

A family that could use the wood came and took it for their heating in the winter. Our awesome neighbor cut pieces out for us that could be made in to really fun decor. One of them looked just like a watermelon, so I added a little paint and voilĂ !

watermelon from tree

And then I had the idea (thanks again, Pinterest) to create some tic-tac-toe boards.

The kids wanted to make ladybugs, so Diva (4) and I worked on painting them — some as red ladybugs and some as green. We found the rocks for a decent price at Michael’s (using a 40% off coupon, of course!) and then sifted through to find those that were the flattest.

painted ladybug rocks

I attempted to use the wood burner on the stump, but they are still too wet to make any really good headway. After this next bout of rain is finished, I’ll likely actually paint the stumps and cover with a clear permanent spray.

Regardless of how good I thought the boards looked, the boys were happy to play some tic-tac-toe with our new creation!

playing tic tac toe on stump

My next project will be to make the other stump into a race track for the kids to use their toys cars or for Diva to make a neighborhood for her fairies (that right now have to play on the “boring porch”).

Do you have any fun ways that you’ve repurposed an outdoor item that would otherwise be considered junk? Tell me in the comments!


This month’s Blog with Friends theme is May Day! Be sure to head over to my friends’ posts!

Grilled Lemon Ginger Chicken from Karen at Baking in a Tornado

Fire Seared Chops with Lemon Dressing from Dawn at Spatulas on Parade

Hand-created Artwork with Papercrafted Flowers from Melissa at My Heartfelt Sentiments


2 Comments

Karen BakingInATornado · May 13, 2019 at 9:53 am

Can’t tell you how much I love that you’re using nature, and especially how you let it “speak to you”, that watermelon slice is SO cool!

Spatulas On Parade · May 13, 2019 at 2:58 pm

The lady bug idea is so stinking cute. I’ve seen it but using the tree stump is a great idea. Now the watermelon tree slice! OMGosh that is too adorable. Very creative indeed.

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