Saturday, August 1, 2009

natural play spaces

No, this photo wasn't taken in my back yard. Don't I wish. We took a trip to one of my favorite places last week, and as usual I left feeling totally inspired to make the yard even more kid-friendly and a better natural play space. When I take the kids out to play in nature, I'm always delighted at the things they come up with to do. Climbing, jumping, pushing, pulling, dumping-- it's better "large muscle activity" than any plastic playground, it really is.
Here's my wish list:
  • some good, climbable rocks
  • a log or two, for climbing, balancing, and scooting around on
  • more sand: heaps and heaps of it
  • shrubs, or willow walls or something, for secret "hiding places"

We're off to a pretty good start. The yard is just full of bare dirt which I sweet-talked the Lyndale Avenue construction crew into delivering one afternoon. After using the dirt to correct some landscaping errors, I heaped up the leftovers under an ash tree, where nothing seems willing to grow anyway. This has has provided the kids with hours of fun-they've shaped it into a road, a river, a "town" and of course, it's endlessly good for dumping into the water table or the swimming pool. I want to add sand to "The Dirt Pile" (as we affectionately call it) so it's not quite so muddy and prone to washing away, and then just have a dedicated area in the backyard which would serve as a large "sandbox"--and finally ditch our plastic "tugboat" sandbox, with tiny built-in seats, which my tailbone hates.

So, my next project is to find a good log or two. I have a friend who works at a tree care company, so I've asked him if he can score me one. I'm also scouting my mother's back yard, which borders on a wetland. Surely there must be a reasonably-sized log out there somewhere. If all else fails, check this out. I can actually buy a "natural balance beam" (also known as a log) online. Ah, gotta love free enterprise. Why does this surprise me? You can buy dirt, and rocks, why not logs too? It is just me, or does this seem just a little too weird?

1 comment:

  1. I've been trying to do the same thing! I love the log idea...if you find an extra one let me know!!