The girls loved running around outside the kindergarten classrooms. It had been set up perfectly for outdoor free play and for activities such as woodwork and gardening. I especially loved the wooden shelves filled with old cups and saucers, little metal bowls and teapots, just ready for setting up outdoor tea parties or making some 'flower' soup or 'cooking' with soil. There were several large wooden sandpits which had been inset into the ground, logs to climb on, a wooden swing, a see-saw and horse, brooms to sweep up with and wicker prams to push.
It has really made me think about the girls outdoor play space in our garden and how to make it the best play environment for them. When we are at home, L spends most of her time outdoors, pushing her baby doll in her pram in her own little world, looking so happy. It's a joy to see her tilt her small face into the breeze and smile or see her discover an ant for the first time and see the pure excitement in her eyes that something so small can be moving across the path. This is then followed with screaming when she realises how quickly it is moving and she comes racing to the back door and flings herself into my arms and points wildly in the direction of the tiny ant. A few moments later, she is usually feeling brave enough to venture out into the garden again.
There is a very inspirational chapter in Heaven on Earth on creating outdoor play environments which I think I will re-reading again.