What may seem like an ordinary walkway to you and me, can turn into a racetrack, roller coaster, or even a floor made of lava, in the eyes of two Sembawang residents.

“With some creativity and imagination, the red bricks on this walkway can double up as a track for kids to run or ride their bikes on, and make a game out of it. The possibilities are endless,” they say.

Meet Muhammad (also known as Mudd) and Nadd, a husband-and-wife team who believes in the magic of outdoor play and exploration, even in Singapore’s urban environment.

Mudd and Nadd sharing how the red bricks on the walkway in their estate can be transformed for outdoor play

Play Spaces at Their Doorstep

Mudd and Nadd fondly recall their own childhood, of days spent playing at the HDB void deck and other common areas in the neighbourhood.

“Back then, kids didn’t have the wide variety of toys available today. We would come up with our own games using everyday objects like erasers and rubber bands,” shares Mudd. “Those were simple items and games, but they sparked so much creativity and imagination.”

As parents of two young boys, Mudd and Nadd hope to foster the same creativity and a love for exploration in their children. They say that the spaces in their neighbourhood provide the perfect setting for this.

One of their favourite activities to do as a family is to “playground hop”. In their estate alone, there are 5 playgrounds within walking distance of one another but it’s not just about playing on the slides and swings. “We always encourage our kids to be curious, ask questions, and imagine what these physical structures can be transformed into,” says Nadd. “It’s about infusing every moment with the spirit of play.”

The family’s favourite pastime is playground hopping
Mudd shows how common playground equipment can be re-imagined as a map to look for hidden treasure, or directions for an imaginary maze

On their frequent bike rides around their estate, Mudd and Nadd also create games for their children, such as a nature scavenger hunt or getting them to spot the differences between two HDB blocks. This encourages them to reflect on the sights and sounds around them and gets their imagination running.

Ordinary circular pathways can be transformed into intricate mazes
Sticks and leaves from the ground can become swords and shields for thrilling adventures

Mudd adds, “We really like how there is such a seamless integration of urban and natural elements in all HDB estates – they become the perfect environment for exploration, learning, and boundless imagination.”

The couple also observed that their children have become more bonded with the community, as they greet other neighbours on their bike rides and play with other children in the neighbourhood.

The Power of Outdoor Play

To bring similar experiences to more children, Mudd and Nadd started a company which focuses on outdoor play and adventures. “Watching children explore the outdoors is magical and inspiring,” Nadd smiles.

Mudd and Nadd shares tips on how ordinary HDB spaces can be transformed for play (Image credit: Instagram @letslearnoutside)

Ultimately, Mudd and Nadd hope to create a community that is cultivated through play. They regularly share tips and their own parenting experiences on their Instagram account (@letslearnoutside), with like-minded parents.

“You don’t have to look far for meaningful and engaging play spaces – these spaces are right at your doorstep. Find opportunities to turn any space around you into a learning adventure that sparks curiosity,” Mudd says.

Mudd and Nadd hope to inspire more parents to see the potential for meaningful play in spaces around their own homes

Farihin Khairunan
Photos by Nicholas Yau

  • Farihin Khairunan

    Writer who believes that the simplest words make the greatest impact. Spends all her money on pretty notebooks that she will most probably never use.