Removing toys from outdoor area

Removing toys from outdoor area

Key words:

Non-human play, creative play, imaginative play, discovery play, place/Country-responsive play, slow play free-play, child-led


C & K Emerald South, Rockhampton South Kindergarten


Hannah from C & K Emerald South decided to remove all toys from the outdoor area to facilitate deeper interactions with nature. This was motivated by Hannah’s desire to stimulate the children’s creativity and problem solving. For example, removing toys required the children to devise solutions to building sandcastles without buckets. Hannah shared how fascinating it was to see their play change and evolve, with much deeper awareness and investigation of living things, and more sustained interactions with each other and the natural world. Removing all the toys has inspired their play, and now when the toys are placed outdoors, the children are more inclusive of nature in their play and less focused on the human-made toys. Removing toys from the outdoor environment was also implemented by Julia from Rockhampton South Kindergarten years ago, during her early experimentations with nature play. This removal reduced distractions to children’s engagement with nature. She explained the gradual shift over the years as she has embedded nature play more holistically throughout her practice: “Now I find that we’ve got the children so attuned with nature and the environment, that I feel I don’t have to strip out the other things”.