Kids Country Hartville

 

Our outdoor area is full of endless opportunities for learning for all of our children and even their families. Children get to become nature explorers, researchers and magicians. We have created possibilities for all areas of development.

When you first walk out we have two walking paths around our playground. Around these sidewalks are flowers, vegetation and a lot to discover. We have a garden filled with herbs like lavender, basil, spearmint and lemongrass. We have two small worlds in our garden- one is a fairy world filled with doors, biodegradable glitter and miniature furniture. The other has shovels and dinosaurs covered in ground cover and rocks. We also have watermelon, squash, raspberries and blackberries and grapes, tomatoes and peppers all able to eat off the vines (after washing of course).

We set up a tent outside for picnic tables in order to block the sun and we are able to stay outside for longer periods of times to really dive into serious play, but also allows time for other activities that are not necessarily dictated to just outdoors like circle time, story reading and yoga! Our Mud kitchen, gravel pit and sandbox are still so popular during our days. The children get to be elbow deep in so many different textures and materials- all while mastering social-emotional and cognitive skills like problem-solving. This year we have taken a giant leap with risk-taking and risky play outside! We have incorporated boxes and crates that are able to be moved and stacked, but also they are able to sit in, the children are able to push and pull across the yard.

Our favorite activity this summer was our school-age airplanes made of cardstock, foam and rubber-banded straws. They were able to create blueprints for these planes and create them in our new tent. They were able to climb our retaining wall, rock wall, and our play equipment. On the count of three, the children were able to release their planes and watch them soar. The great part of natural education is there is always room and acceptance for failure. Some of these planes didn’t fly, but the environment didn’t feel bad or “wrong” instead it was light and filled with encouragement. We got a snack and went back to the drawing boards. By the end of the week, everyone had a soaring plane with names like “Flying Squirrel” and “Ninja Flyer”.

Being outside and exploring nature has truly created strong and resilient children and we love to have these experiences right outside our doors.