We know that some of you only have small outdoor spaces, whether that be at school, in a nursery or childcare setting, home garden, childminding or pack away group setting. Here we give multi-functional ideas for small outdoor spaces that are totally adaptable, multi-functional resource ideas for a range of activities.

Shedlets

Perfect for the space-hungry setting, to house all your literacy, numeracy essentials, mud kitchen and explorer items. A great station for all sorts of outdoor activities.

Change these shedlets up to suit a theme or activity. Use it as a mini beast discovery station, change it up to create a mini mud kitchen or dress it up for halloween or Christmas. It can be a numeracy station or literacy hub. A mini shop or cafe.

Trolleys

Promote independent resource selection and child-led play with a trolley. A slim trolley (left) is a great addition to small settings they still pull their weight with plenty of storage space. Good for sand and water toys or loose parts resources. Store and transport all your items for outdoor use and indoor storage.

The mini trolley (centre) will store all your accessories including sand and water items - as it includes a drip tray! It's also ideal for putting away in cupboards.

Stock up with loose parts, writing materials, workshop tools or anything else you may need to enhance your outdoor area! Transport everything you need on our wooden trolley (right).

The perfect moveable wooden storage solution for gratnells trays. Accompany these with dark gratnells trays or cream for the perfect look. Alternatively, wicker trays fit nicely. 

A small portable station to fit any space. Wheel anywhere in an instant and stock up with writing, maths or art materials to encourage mark making, numeracy, recording, art work or story scribing. Promotes independent resource selection and helps to develop fine motor and writing skills.

All in one Seating and storage

A seating and storage bench in one, pull out the storage crates to create extra seats to sit on, a really useful idea for settings with limited space. 

All in one activity station

Chalkboard or whiteboard top table with built in storage for pens, pencils and chalks. Great for up to 8 children to sit comfortably for mark making and group work. The inside is drainable should the lid be left off. Safe, sturdy support in middle should a child climb on it. The benches fit under the table too so can be kept compact.

Tray Play

Our mini deep tray and stand is the perfect size for small settings. Much smaller than the standard tuff tray, but a great size. They are deeper than the average tray and can be easily carried through the doors to pack away.

They come in a variety of colours; black ,white, grey, green and blue. Our mirror tray and heuristic wicker trays also fit on this same stand making it incredibly versatile for both indoor and outdoor play. Ideal for smaller indoor spaces too as it takes up little room compared to the standard tuff tray.

Our mirror insert above make a perfect sensory addition - reflecting the trees and clouds above. Below, our sensory tray and stand, as seen across many of our Instagram and Facebook posts! This super simple, but super effective sensory tray draws the eye alone with its mirror top but keeps little ones engaged with plenty of space for sensory activities. Just add shaving foam, jelly, orbees, water, bubbles, sensory rice or chickpeas, any natural loose parts!

Mini Mud Kitchens

Our mini mud kitchens are perfect in small spaces and corners.

Bring the kitchen to the mud with our mobile mud pie kitchen unit that can be packed away in storage when not in use - perfect for pack away groups and settings. Two corners have casters for you to lift and move. Really handy for mud pies on the move and small spaces.

Our creative counter tops and crates are also super multi-functional - pop up a mud kitchen wherever you fancy and then pack it away after play.

A compact open ended role play corner or workstation that supports the continuous provision in your outside area or can be used to create themed role play centres such as a garden centre or shop.

Change it up for differing times of the year, it can be a mud kitchen, potting station, cafe or shop. Turn it into a snowy hot chocolate making station, a writing station, an area for displaying your natural loose parts collection to identify and discover. A minibeast station with binoculors, magnifying glasses and clipboards. A halloween potion making, witches brew and wizard concoction station.

Den set

Simply start with den poles, string, camo netting and den pegs. All these are easy to pack and store away.

Create dens of all shapes and sizes with this great value collection of open-ended den making equipment and frames. Encourage children to grab accessories that they will need from a large collection and see what dens they can make.

Space saving obstacle courses

Use our ladders, stackable h crates and rustic planks to create your own space saving obstacle courses. Add a cable drum too if you have the space. The cable drum can also be used for small world play set ups and as an activity station.

You can also use the h crates and rustic planks to create a pop up mud kitchen - totaly adaptable, multi functional resources for a range of activities.

Add these multi-functional tops to your crates - three different surfaces including our favourite wooden wipe board along with chalk board and white board surfaces.

Each fit on top of the milk crates, why not stack the crates to make higher writing surfaces.

A great inexpensive storage solution for all your outdoor sand and water, large loose parts, tyres and den building accessories.

We hope that you feel inspired by these Multi-Functional Ideas for Small Outdoor Spaces. Don't forget to tag us in your outdoor play.

Don’t forget to share your outdoor Play and Activity Ideas with us on our social channels!

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With thanks to The Cosy Creatives for this blog post.

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