The more risks you allow children to take, the better they learn to take care of themselves.

Roald Dahl

Sometimes it’s good for the soul to go back to basics. Back to rustic play, where kids can be outside, climbing trees, playing with sticks and mud and just using their imaginations and whatever is in the world around them.

There are a few outdoor playgroups and outdoor natural play areas around Glasgow that we’ve been back along to now that schools are back in session. There are also a good few forest schools for the 5-12’s as well so if your bigger ones are into dens and toasting marshmallows and being in the wild then there are a few for you too.

They’re in pretty much every side of the city so there should hopefully be one that’s not too far for you.

The Children’s Wood @ Kelvinside Meadow

You can go play any time here but they also have a few organised groups. Toddler group is on Wednesday from 10am – 12 noon & Friday from 11am – 1pm. They also have outdoor family club on Saturday from 10am – 12 noon.

Donation of £1 or so

Baltic Bairns @Tollcross Park

Run by the wonderful folks behind Baltic Street Adventure Play. On Tuesdays during term time 10am – 12 noon. You’ll find them by the “monkey tree” in Tollcross Park. (Near the winter gardens.)


Off Grid Toddlers @ Clarkston

During the week there’s off grid toddlers on Monday from 12 noon – 2pm & Wednesday from 10am – 12pm.

£4 per child, under 12 months free.

Off Grid Kids @ Clarkston

Off Grid Kids is primarily an outdoor after-school care facility but they run weekend clubs in 6 week blocks for 5-12 yr olds. Kids take part in den building, tree climbing, crafting, making fires, cooking… All the good stuff.

Contact for cost info

Greenbank Stay n Play @ Greenbank Gardens

On Monday & Friday 9.30am – 11.30am during term time. Sessions are drop in – just turn up and play. Snacks supplied for children and adults (tea/coffee/cake). Bonus.

£5 per child, £1 for siblings

Project 31 @ Various parks around Rutherglen

Project 31 (another fantastic local organisation and well worth checking out) run forest school for early years, family sessions and for 5-12’s. [Note: Sessions are run seasonally, so won’t be on during winter.]

Forest School for Early Years includes the use of tools, fire, climbing, water and lots and lots of free play. On most Tuesdays in Cambuslang Park at 10am.

Forest School for 5-12’s involves lots of free play, den building, natural arts and crafts, campfires, tool use and much more, all whilst enjoying the great outdoors! Takes Place in Holmhills Wood Community Park on selected Saturdays. (Book in online. Kids attend without a parent.)

Forest Fun for families is for kids aged 0-12 yrs & their parent/carer. Takes Place in Holmhills Wood Community Park on selected Saturdays. (Book in online.)

FREE (but donations welcome) – book in online

Muddy Adventures @ Strathclyde Park

This forest school is for kids aged 4-12. They hold 3 sessions every Saturday & sessions include woodland play, den building, outdoor crafts, tree climbing, learning safe tool use and fire lighting skills, mud kitchen and muddy play and toasting marshmallows over the fire.

£5 per child (book sessions online)

Muddy Monsters @ Whitelee Windfarm

Takes place once a month, on the second Thursday of the month. Sessions contain games, stories & activities and run from 1-2pm. Each session has a different theme. Meet at the visitor centre.

FREE (can’t find online info but I promise it was real the last time I was there – here’s the Whitelee fb page if you’d like to get in touch to check)