A brilliant way to enhance learning and literature is to weave it into children’s play time.
Most forms of play are naturally creative, so what better place to instil a love of storytelling than on the playground? Following on from our popular Fantasy Book Themed Playground article, we’re bringing you top tips and ideas for creating a play area in the style of animal & nature themed story books.
This week, we’re looking at Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, and Beatrix Potter’s tales of Peter Rabbit & Friends.
Charlotte’s Web Themed Playground
This much loved classic from E.B. White is set on a farm, with plenty of scope for visual storytelling. To create the perfect setting for Charlotte’s Web themed activities, set the scene in the playground with a couple of play sculptures: a wooden pig and carved spider web.
Extend your farm themed playground with engraved fence panels and tractor & animal spring riders. Why not choose your favourite quote from the novel to adorn the entrance to the play area?
‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte, ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’
Setting the Scene…
To complete the yard, make sure you create a home for Charlotte and Wilbur in “Zuckerman’s Barn”. You can imitate the barn with a wooden outdoor classroom decorated with creatures made from recycled objects.
By using discarded plastic, you engage with elements of the book as well as creating a surprisingly beautiful sun catcher.
The web glistened in the light and made a pattern of loveliness and mystery, like a delicate veil.
Download the PDF to share with little fans of Charlotte and Wilbur!
Remember, while you’re celebrating ‘no ordinary spider’, don’t ignore the live minibeasts in the ecosystem! As well as a fictional home, be sure to make a real home for wildlife in your animal themed playground. You can also teach children all about conservation with some minibeast activities.
Play time is full of wonder, something E.B. White aims to remind us of in his novel. So whether that means celebrating wildlife or appreciating friends for their differences, a Charlotte’s Web themed playground will ensure children hold on to that excitement.
When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle.
Beatrix Potter Themed Playground & School Garden
At Hand Made Places we believe the benefits of gardening in schools are plentiful. For an authentic but easy-to-grow Beatrix Potter themed garden, choose a mix of flowers, fruit and vegetables from the following:
- Bergenias (or “elephant’s ears”)
- Welsh poppies
- Grape hyacinths
- Meadow rue
Setting the Scene…
A Beatrix Potter themed playground sparks plenty of opportunities for imaginative play with features such as:
- Jeremy’s pond made from wet pour surfacing.
- Thomasina Tittlemouse’s “funny house” made from a willow tunnel.
- Peter & Friends made from wooden animal faces.
While children are feeling creative, encourage them to write poems and sing songs about animals in their outdoor space. There’s something about nature which lends itself to music, meaning outdoor musical instruments and rainwheels fit perfectly.
Here’s a song to get you started in your Beatrix Potter playground, with simplified chords for children.
Click here to download a PDF for printing.
Activities for Book Themed Playgrounds
Whether it’s fantasy or animal style, no book themed playground would complete without a storytelling area. Be sure to take a look at the Hand Made Places storytelling equipment range for inspiration!
Browse our blog for more playground activity and design ideas – Hand Made Places fun starts here!
Interested in creating a book themed playground? Contact a playground expert today to discuss your budget and requirements.
Share this article and let us know your ideas for book themed playgrounds!