Outdoor environments are exciting, spark children’s imagination, encourage exploration, develop problem solving and really allow for a fun time outside.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a handyperson or spend a lot of money to create your own Adventure Patch. Recently, I have been looking at various ways to take on this challenge. For myself I love my garden so the idea of planting trees and making hiding spots with plants was a natural way for me to go.

To achieve this without spending a lot of money, I visited markets and also talked to friends who have gardens -they are always happy to share cuttings, and advice. Nursery’s usually have a corner where plants go to die…so you can buy them cheap. You would be amazed at how a little bit of care can give them lige again!

Remember you are making this area for small feet to run on and small hands to pick at – and don’t be too devastated when a small child brings you the most perfect flower in a grubby hand “just for you”.

Children love paths and secret roads – who knows it may lead. Perhaps a dragon’s cave, a witch’s cauldron or a pirate hiding place.

Just some of the area I have created

Sandpits don’t have to be plastic, go to beach or bush look for fallen logs or rocks. Recycled tyres can be painted – and most tyre retailers have trouble getting rid of old tyres so may be delighted when you offer to recycle them. Remember that, over time, the chemicals in the rubber can leach into soil, so we recommend only short term use  for gardens.  Tyres used  for stepping stones or climbing support are fine for longer term use.

Pallets can be made into amazing structures – and many shops (thank you  Carpet Junction at Margate) have pallets they are always looking to get rid of. Do be aware that they will need to have some waterproof protection if they are pine.

Tip shops are another wealth of exciting finds to spark imaginations. Wet areas in your yard can be turned into a dirt or mud patch.

The best advice I was ever given was get down to your children’s level and look at the environment from their perspective …how does it look from there? Exciting, magical, does it draw you in and make you want to explore, can you see endless possibilities to play and engage, does it make you feel happy and excited? If so then you have truly created an Adventure Patch for the children in your life!