adventure where it isn’t so wild

So we have been thinking a bit about kinesthetic adventure–how to invite the boys to engage their whole bodies in play at home, where things aren’t as wild.  We live in a borrowed space, so our options for altering our landscape are limited.  Whatever we do, we need to be able to take it with us.  We have started collecting pieces of the forest to find a new  life, with us.

We are being very lazy about the whole thing, just creating piles around the yard to be discovered.   In the end, I think the laziness pays off.  The boys are left with a little more room to invent uses for their forest tools.


Tree limbs become buildings,  balance beams and pieces of ever-changing obstacle courses.

Rocks become lizard homes, foundations and cairns marking a trail.

We have forgone the sandbox, entirely, in exchange for a free-for-all opportunity to dig wherever, jut like the badgers do.

I am pretty sure our forest-scrap strewn yard is a whole lot more fun.  It provides  mystery.  Mystery that a green lawn and a  landscaped yard just can’t compete with.  There is an open invitation to create and sculpt.  Instead of spending time in a mono-textured sand, the boys encounter rocks,  worms, old bottle caps and bones.  Instead of moving across a sanded wood surface, they get scraped and poked as they build with rough-barked tree limbs.  Instead of having a play-structure with a fixed purpose, their play structure can be created anew every day.  Pretty, well it isn’t pretty.  But it is adventurous!  Though I sometimes yearn to be able to stay put for a while so that we can grow and love our own space,  for now I am grateful for the limitations of our borrowed yard and mobile playscape.

In a different direction of finding adventure in not-so-wild places, I have fallen in love with the playgrounds encountered in Germany by the little travelers.  Really, you should take a few minutes to check out these parks.  I have park envy.


6 thoughts on “adventure where it isn’t so wild

  1. Love your structure. We do these too, instead of prefab play equiptment. I’ll take stumps anyday! Nice blog. Cute kids! Can we come play? Your scenery is to die for.

  2. love open-ended play spaces outdoors with lots of natural materials. the best play spot we ever had at our school was a huge dirt berm that the kids methodically carved out and turned into a fort. they worked on it for hours and hours with complete concentration.

  3. I like it! Some of our trees came by and they’re going to chip up the “useless pine”: let them cut it into stumps for sitting and stepping!

    I had a “mass playdate” some weeks ago: seven kids aged 3 to 8. The weather was gorgeous so we all played outside, in our “wild” backyard, which has no lawn but twigs, leaves, stones, pine needles, pine cones, wild flowers, mushrooms, and large and small tree roots sticking out.

    Within an hour it had become quite embarrassing for all involved: each kid (except mine, who is used to it) stumbled at least twice, sometimes landing quite heavily on the ground. I was astonished: could they only run on manicured lawns, manicured playground surfaces?

    We need more people to have backyards like ours!

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