Thursday, April 26, 2012

...Just Add Kids...

Welcome, children to the new mud-pie kitchen.
 And see we have a gravel area for digging and scooping, dump trucks and building things.

Let your imagination go wild.
 Take a walk to your own little beach area with driftwood and a palm tree. Search in the sand for sea glass and small shells. 

 The slide hill is a favorite. But you must use it the 'safe way'. 

 The natural archways of willow branches have also made it through their second year. This year we see the first blossoms on the blackberry vines, too.

 Add some water, some gravel, a pinch of sand and stir in some bark...

yeah that should be about right!

 Everyone help us mix it up.

 Those not cooking are moving earth and relocating rocks in the new dump truck area.  

Give me a little water. I have something to make.

What did you see?

Here's some more...

Helping out the teachers! 
Cleaning up the ivy!!

 Before we toss the ivy, let's braid it into the willow arches 

and see how long it will stay green.

 The corn pit isn't even halfway filled. We already need more corn. So, deeeeep they go in to play...and play they do! 
Don't lose your shoes!

It's a wonderful thing to see these happy faces playing in our Playscape as we keep trying to change, enlarge and add on new ideas.

 And now and then, you just need some quiet time 
to stand alone in nature. 


Monday, April 23, 2012

Year Two, Growing a Playscape

It's our first completed year of our Natural Playscape at Caring Connection. Last year we had several workdays and creative add-ons.

This year we have relocated our mud-pie kitchen to allow more space and easier water access. After all, if you're gonna have mud, ya' gotta have water. What we have learned is that the mud-pie kitchen is very temporary. Although it looks wonderful to begin with, it starts to get used and worn out pretty quick. So we are searching for some "new" worn items for the next round. Keep your eyes open for the next incarnation.

The slide hill has new grass, for year two. We are actually pleased with how well the grass survived such a well traveled hill. But newer green is always beautiful. We slightly reduced the pitch of the hill (to help with water run-off) and cut natural steps into the back of it for access. We decided to not re-sod that back area with grass (for obvious reasons). We'll see what happens.

We are creating our sound garden. It may take a few attempts to get it right, but we are starting. We have an area set up and this week we will be adding familiar items that the children can practice making noise with. Life is good! Hope the neighbors will hear it that way.

What used to be our climbing structure area is now, finally divided into four areas: the beach, the grass, the mud-pie kitchen and a new space for trucks, move-able parts, construction and other creative play. Later this week we will add more beach umbrellas, a couple of palm trees and more potted plants to explore.

We are grateful for the help from staff and parents and family members to keep sprucing up our loving and creative center. It takes a village to keep this kind of energy young and alive. Last year's herb garden is again flourishing and being used to teach the tastes of our freshly cooked meals. Last year's flowers are blooming, berries are growing and the circle of life is all around us. What a teaching cycle we have.

Thanks so much to all Caring Connection Children's Center family and friends, now and then.

Caring Connection and Enlightened Discipline Fans