I was asked to do a Kindergarten playground makeover.  After meeting with the staff and walking through the area, I happily agreed to the project.

I was working on a budget – attempting to stretch it out as far as possible.

Here are a few ‘before’ photos.



And here’s what I did…

I turned the sandbox into a diner…






Added lots of ‘Loose Parts’ …







A water exploration area


A painting station


And a weaving/sewing area!


I tried to include a lot of items that could travel nicely between the ‘areas’, that were open ended and that could be easily moved to the indoor classroom as well!

Seeing the kids respond with such excitement made me a happy lady!

Here are a few videos of the kids playing!

What do you think?

Want help with your outdoor classroom? Send me a message.

brandonboutin@hotmail.com

19 thoughts

  1. Hi. I am a kindergarten teacher who shares a cement, fenced in courtyard with a TK class. We are looking to enhance it and add some outdoor center/station areas. We cannot do sand, and our budget is VERY small.
    I’d love some money-saving ideas! Pls I glass painting and those alphabet rocks are two things I definitely want to incorporate, as well as some good dramatic play corners.
    Thanks for your ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a preschool teacher. Our outdoors has very minimal activities. We have a dinosaur climber, 2 rocking things ( don’t even know how to explain them) and a sandbox. I would love to bring in more stuff for the children to do, but we have no outside storage shed and the school will not purchase one. We are on a elemtary school campus and the prinicipal is very funny about having things laying about in the yard. I love the outdoor diner idea and so much of what you did. How can I approach my director so she will see it was a positive instead of a negative?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a common struggle! You’re expected to provide exceptional care, with limited resources!
      I think you need to come up with the answers of ‘why’ you need to change the space and then, before approaching her with these reasons, do some troubleshooting, and have a list of ‘problems solved’ and approach with confidence. I say this, but in all honestly, I’ve been told ‘no’ to my ideas many times.
      If it were me, I’d likely start small. Prepare a small bin of items that you can bring on and off the playground. The stove top that I made is light and can be brought in and out. You could do that, and even a sink! The sink had a hollow base. You could store a lot underneath. A bin of pots, pans, kitchen utensils, a telephone, some blackboard signs, fake flowers, a vase etc….
      Also, when you set up these areas, take lots of photos of the kids engaged in play. Use those later when you want to extend or add to the area.
      And be prepared to add a little more work to your day to keep things really tidy (so that there are no issues with the principal) but really, the small amount of time it’ll take to keep it tidy will be well worth it.
      Good luck!
      Also, check back soon as you’ve given me an idea. I’m going to do a post about creating a portable diner.
      🙂

      Like

    2. Hi Kelli, show her this video. You director will surely see how engaged the children are, the sharing, the creative ideas, the exploring, the language , the number of children working collaboratively in the Little Fox Diner without confrontation. She should be inspired by the transformation of this school yard alone. AMAZING Brandon, thanks for all the ideas ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can try, but I can almost guarantee you she will poo poo it. Maybe I can go above her to the big director and see what she things.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I love it! As a preschool teacher I know my kiddos would too. Here is my question. Who sets this up every day? Who puts all the materials away every day?I work at a school in a good neighborhood but it would be trashed come the next day. The public comes to our playground when we are closed. We are on a public school site. We don’t have extra staff or parents that can set this up and put all this away every day. It already takes us 30 minutes in the morning and the evening to set up our toys with our kids every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a preschool teacher and have been for 28 yrs now. I recently have Pur playground a makeover. Our space is ina church, but the playground is ours however, many neighborhood kids use it. I planned on taking the expenses on myself, but once word got out parents started donating money. I still went ahead with all the cost saving ideas. I made a mud kitchen, created a restaurant, used a lot of tires filled with mulch to define areas, made a transportation area. I added pool noodles which they can jump over, crawl under or kick a ball though. I made a hopscotch out of 12×12 pavers from Walmart for $10.32. Luckily there was a neighbor’s tree that had fallen and he said I could have all of the logs. Log rounds for balancing, made two balance beams from 4x4x8 fence posts. I’m currently working on a music wall, but have been very mindful of cost. All items and toys. purchased I bought from a second hand store.
    I set everything up everyday and have made it my mission to keep the playground clean and looking inviting for my kids. If you want to have the outdoor classroom experience, you must treat it as an extension of your indoor classroom and put as much care into t as your indoor one.
    Everyone has been so happy with the result that they want me to start on the Tod/Baby playground.
    Good luck!
    Tracey from Parkside

    Liked by 1 person

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