Natural Play on the Farm

I am not going to pretend that my children go outside to play every day.  There are plenty of days in Maryland that are too cold, or too hot, or too windy to play safely outside.  But today we took a little walk outside and it turned out to be so inspiring.  I love how creative children are with play especially when they are out in nature.

A ladder set aside from a job becomes a natural obstacle course for learning balance. We do not have much in the way of an outdoor playground and it is at these moments when I realize we do not need one. There are so many ways to play on the farm and unlike a fixed playground, the landscape is always changing.

The children also spent time tasting the wonderful emerald tat soi and lettuce growing in the hoophouse. It is a challenge to teach a two-year old not to walk on the plants, but she is getting the idea. Her brother is helping by shouting “ouch” on behalf of the plants whenever he hears a crunch. These greens are starting to go to seed, so I was a little less protective of the plants than I would have been if they were younger.

Finally, they spent some time “paddling” an overturned kayak which might have been their favorite part, it looked like an exciting voyage even without any water in sight. These are the kind of play sessions that make me so happy that the children are growing up on a farm. It might actually be the most important thing that happens on the farm and it is so much easier than growing vegetables!


  1. Beautiful and sweet! Love those moments! Mine don’t go out every day either; even with our mild winters we huddle indoors a lot (and I admit that I discourage going out in the rain). It has been sunny lately, though, and even my video-gaming 9-year-old has led the way outside 🙂 I should put our little john-boat in a more accessible spot and see what happens!

  2. Thanks Julia, I just followed your farming blog. It is nice to know there are other farm mama’s spending some days inside. I appreciate your support and I look forward to reading about your farm, it sounds like you are doing such interesting things there.

    • thank you! I am trying 🙂 we are unschoolers, so that means that the kids (even the littles, who are completely not-yet-logical) have a lot more voice than is typical, and I just don’t see value in dragging them into something they don’t want to do (thereby building resentment). hopefully as I do things with gusto some of that will be contagious…

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