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.


  1. I love you playscape, and I was wondering how high the slide is? I want to make this for my kids in our garden.

    1. Hi Louise. Thanks for the comment. The slide began about 3-4 ht high, but we ended up reducing the height to see if the water would not just wash it away. Currently it's about 3 ft high at it's peak. Keep watching...we're ready to open a 2nd location, in two weeks we'll have more ideas!

  2. Hi Julie:

    Beautiful playground! I was wondering what, if anything, was used to secure the top of the slide? It looks like it's just built into the hill and looks secure but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. Thanks!

  3. hello, I am inspired by your program and especially your outdoor play environment. How did you all go about installing and choosing the height of the slide? I want to fundraiser to get a mound slide installed in our program. We are state funded so it add a little more pressure.


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