Friday, July 23, 2010

as promised, PHOTOS

ha HA! Here are some snaps of my little universe - the playground at Play and Learn. As you can see we have a big expanse of weird rubber paving - soft and bouncy for falls (of which there are many) and a garden that grows pretty flowers and TOMATOES! We planted two tomato plants last week, and they seem to be bouncing back and beginning to thrive.

I love this place, and pretty well all aspects of it, but this is the least favourite element of mine in the playground - the playstructure. It was installed a while ago by the powers that be, and is not that imaginative or inspiring. In fact, it takes up a lot of room that we could use for something else. So we use it for as many diverging uses as we can come up with, and it definitely makes a good anchor for construction projects.

A really great but not well used aspect of the playground is the hill. Because of the physical or cognitive involvement of a lot of our kids, not many venture up the incline. I'm trying to plan some activities that use it - and I'm pretty sure it makes an amazing tobogganing run in the wintertime.

Ok - here are some photos of the evolving water wall. We used an old roll-up vinyl blind as our backing, and started wiring on all kinds of funnels and plumbing and objects that can channel water. It is pretty popular with our kindergarten-aged kids, who spend a lot of time watering the grass, themselves and each other while keeping cool in our heatwave. We've got some serious pouring happening. So much in fact that it's having some great effects. One parent earlier this week asked if we'd been doing any pouring, and when I told her about the water wall she told me how her son had easily filled up his cup from the juice bottle. She told me she'd been so surprised, thinking "Holy moly! I didn't teach him that! Where he learn to do that?!" Say hello, AWESOMENESS.

This was the first version...

...and this is what it looks like now. Every few days, some of the kids and I will wire something else on there, and add a new adventure. Behind the fence that the water wall is hanging from is a bench that faces the sandbox, and kids can climb up there with jugs and bottles and fill and pour and direct water all over the place. You can see Max's waterfall made out of cut open sonotube on the right side of the water wall.

And here it is in action!

I found this firetruck with some very interesting firefighters when I was cleaning up on Wednesday.

And here are our volcanoes - the amazing lava spouting (water with red food colouring, piped in via the surgical tubing from the water wall), rock and sea-shell covered geological marvels. The kids have been making these all week, mirroring what happened over at Woodland Park here. Sometimes we here in my life and Teacher Tom and the kids in his preschool are really on the same wavelength!!

Ok, enough. It's too hot to write on the computer anymore. It's Friday! Time to relax in front of a fan for a while.

Nerdy nerd nerd out.


  1. I love your garden area - it really makes the play space welcoming. And your water wall looks great :)

  2. Noah I know a lot of professionals are against fixed play structures but a very good friend of ours did her thesis on this very subject and discovered that children actually LOVE them. It's all about the height aspect that excites them so much, they really enjoy being up of the ground, it's familiar and it's constant ... that's what the children said, so go with it I say. Love the water wall and the volcanoes ... in fact I love it all!
    Donna :) :)

  3. Donna - you are so right about the height aspect. I was talking about it with some of the other teachers yesterday and that's EXACTLY what we were saying too. It's just that they are SO's up to us as educators to stretch the boundaries of what kind of play can happen on them. I would love LOVE love to read your friends thesis - anything about playgrounds is my cup of tea these days.
    And both of you - thanks for your compliments and positivity - you're both really inspiring my work and thoughts!

  4. Noah I'll see what I can find out. Deb is O.S. at the moment but I'll do my best.
    Donna :) :)

  5. Have you seen the amazing article about playgrounds in the recent issue of the New Yorker? I think it's the June 28th issue, the link isn't online. But here's a link to an audio piece by the writer of the article:

    Love hearing about your work!