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11 Simple Ideas to Naturalize your Outdoor Play Space- Mavis Lewis-Webber

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1. Minimize the plastic and metal play structures. Allow the children to use these close ended play structures in their own creative way – give them blankets to create forts and hiding places etc.
2. Add a dirt or sand pile. Give the children access to water. Give them buckets, shovels, rakes, trowels etc.
3. Develop a garden space with the children.
4. Add stumps, tree branches, sticks, rocks, wood chips etc. Approach your local arborist to ask for these items or if you see someone cutting down a tree ask if you can collect the stumps.
5. Allow the children to create their own shelters with the tree branches.

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6. Weave willow branches into a chain link fence.
7. Create a mud kitchen – buy pots and pans etc at a thrift store that the children can use outside.
8. Build a picnic table and eat snack or lunch outside!
9. Plant wildflowers in the yard and observe the insects, butterflies, bees that visit these plants.
10. Learn the names of the flora and fauna (plants and animals) that make your neighborhood their home- like the ones in this Field Guide to the Trees of Manitoba. Teach these to the children. With knowledge comes appreciation and awareness and sense of wonder!
11. Attend the 2016 Manitoba Nature Summit, September 16-18th to learn new ideas and network with others.


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