Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Movable Forest

We are starting to get a hint of spring around here. The sun has been shining for the past couple of days. It is clear that even though we woke up to a couple of inches of fresh snow this morning- spring could really be on the way!

Rediscovering the Mud Pie Kitchen

In addition to discovering all of our spaces that have been hidden under the snow for months- we have started to assess what needs to be repaired, reworked, and make plans for new components in our outdoor classroom.

One of the things we started (and I what I mean by started is- we bought the trees) last fall is our movable forest.  A movable forest? Yes- a movable forest. Last year at the U.P. Early Childhood Conference I had the opportunity to meet and hear Rusty Keeler speak. (If you are not familiar with Rusty's work, I encourage you to hop on over to his website and check it out!) Rusty does a lot of work with natural playspaces and he reminded - me that young children have a very different perspective. They do not need huge tall trees to have a forest- planting dwarf trees and shrubs would suffice as a forest! 

So, when the trees were marked down last fall- I started our soon to be movable forest. At a couple of dollars per tree, I thought- why not?  Rather than planting the trees in the ground, I found a couple of pots and our forest will remain a movable creation that the children can manipulate. I know that eventually- the pots will need to be bigger and the weight will be too much for any one child to manage on their own. However, that will be the perfect opportunity for team work and encourage social skills.

For now, our trees are quite small, and make the perfect mini forest! We haven't had them in the play area for long, but the children are already moving them around as they see fit.

As the weather continues to get warmer and the snow continues to melt- stay tuned! I am so EXCITED about our plans for the outdoor classroom this year :). 


Shannon said...

I really like this idea. I am working on making a kid friendly, nature-full yard in my very very tiny backyard for my home child care. I am doing lots of planting in pots because I like the ability to change it up and I plan on bringing it all with me when I move sometime in the future!

Amy A @ Child Central Station said...

Thanks for stopping by Shannon! I'm glad this idea will work for you. I was amazed at how the children took to moving and engaging with the trees almost immediately! I'd love to hear how it works out for you if you try it!

Unknown said...

LOVE this idea! Kids so like to make outdoor spaces their very own and what a brilliant way to do this. Also, this is great for the heavy work they need to meet sensory needs.

Thanks for linking up to the Outdoor Play Party!

Amy A @ Child Central Station said...

Thanks Rebekah- I love having movable parts and adding these mini trees has been a wonderful addition for us! AND yes- it is often been a group effort- meeting both social and sensory needs!

Kierna C said...

Love this idea & you have made me think about perspective, a small tree to me can be a huge one for a 3/4 year old.

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