I drove into work just like any other day, and noticed that the four parking spaces were coned off. A little annoyed, I wondered what the deal was, but didn't have to wait long to find out. Our landscaping/ maintenance man was cutting down three, dead trees. At lunch time, I passed by the four parking spaces, and stared in wonder at all the new loose parts for our playground!
Technically, no one knew they would be, but I had already started divvying up the good branches from the bad before I realized I would need to ask somebody if it was okay. I called my boss, and got the "okay," and solicited the help of a toddler (my son), and two daddies who happened to be passing by.
I'm sure I looked like a crazy person--stealing logs and large branches from the parking lot and sneaking them onto the playground after work! Parents driving by to pick up their kids slowed down and openly gawked. :D
The next day, I worked my charm on the maintenance man (Mr. Casm), and asked him to cut some of the branches into blocks. He agreed (I must be more charming than I thought!), and we now have natural balance beams on both play grounds, tree blocks, and tree cookies!
|He only cut up two branches so far (I had to agree to wait for him to finish his intended job of cutting down the trees and clearing out the mess first), and I am keeping them in stack-able baskets for easy access.|
|The kids helped me fill the baskets with loose parts like twigs and leaves.|
|I asked them how we could make a house for bugs...|
|They got right to work!|
|They made some pools...and grassy soup to feed them.|
|The house collapsed a few times, but each time it presented a new problem to solve: how to build a structurally sound home for the bugs?|
|"The bugs need a slide."|
|This is the top of the slide.|
|"It's a water slide!"|
|The finished bug house|
|It's a duplex.|
|The stairs...so the bugs can climb up to the top of the water slide. :)|
And later in the afternoon, I brought two of our balancing logs to the other side of the playground.
|...where they were an instant hit!|
|They took turns naturally, and made up rules like, "No stopping," and "Don't fall in the water!"|
I had a huge smile on my face the whole day! FREE outdoor blocks? FREE loose parts? FREE balance beams?! That's a good day for a preschool!