Our life in the garden: Outdoor play

I just love seeing my kids play. Especially outdoor play is so beneficial for kids and I get to watch them enjoy it firsthand in my wonderful kitchen garden.

My children love to play in the garden, this is one of their latest creations.


My oldest boys told me about one of their playmates who are not always the easiest person to play with. They, unlike my boys, don't want to play make-believe at all. Everything needs to be real.

Children can, of course, have different playing styles and I didn't think much about it. But my kids do pretend play all the time. I can hear them having fun and making up stories and scenarios here in the garden. They love outdoor play and do their thing while I play in my own way, with my gardening.


Plenty to do outside

My garden and the fields surrounding our house is just the best playground there is. My kids have built three little playhouses from old building material and brushwood. They have made a little "elevator" up to the birch tree behind the root cellar, where they have another little house made from scraps I was planning on sending to the dump. My kids just love playing with old chains and tools, buckets and cardboard boxes.

We decided not to build a sandbox last year and instead just bought some sand that we put behind our house. And close nearby, there's a broken old tractor that the kids take long adventurous rides in. Plenty of opportunities for high-quality outdoor play that is!


Read more about my life with the children: Gardening with kids


Ett konstigt bygge på två ensilagebalar.

These two silage bales have turned into a hotel where three kids between the ages 4-8 love to work.


Små grenar sågade i bitar staplade på ensilagebalar. Outdoor play, branches cut into pieces.

My kids put so much thought into their outdoor play! They decided to saw these thick branches into smaller pieces. How hard they must have worked!


Read more about the outdoor play: My fourth book, growing with kids


A new place to play

I recently got two silage bales that I'm planning to use in my mulching. It did of course not take long until they started playing with them. They carried all kinds of stuff there immediately. Old scraps, buckets, and tubs. This project took them many hours to finish.


Plommonkärnor på ett keramikfat.

Every part of this project took a long time to make. My kids have been gathering plum pits and arranged them on a plate.


One of the best things about watching my kids play is seeing how well they work together. Most of the time at least. It doesn't really matter that they are a few years apart. I have actually noticed that they take this outdoor play dynamic with them when they are inside too. They take care of each other.

So, is it different when they play more traditional games? Yes, definitely. They fight a lot more. Especially when they play inside. There is a different dynamic to the outdoor play where there is a lot more room.



Små plantor i krukor och en illgrön vattenkanna i form av en dinosaurie.

My kids made a little installation on top of the silage bales. A few planted things, spruce, pine and then a lot of snowdrops. Guarded by a green dino of course.


Nedanför balarna har barnen byggt olika rum. Bakom en plåt finns "fat" med mossa skuren i små bitar.

The kids built little rooms beneath the bales. They have been cutting moss here.


We live our lives in a slightly unconventional way, but I'm really happy about what we have managed to create together. Some things could of course always work a little better, but when it comes to my children's everyday lives, I feel completely content. I read about parents who are heartbroken because they can't give their kids the time, space and activities that they need. But our simple lifestyle does provide them with just that. Money is not the most important factor for us. Instead, my kids get to have parents who are always there for them, a creative home environment, plenty of outdoor play and minimal pressure when it comes to planned activities. We play a lot and have so much love in our lives. What could be better than that?
/Sara Bäckmo


20. April 2019

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