We aren’t buying Kingsley a cute playground – you know the ones: matching pieces, fun jungle or tractor theme, easy to assemble from your local big box store. They look great in photos, but here’s why we are doing it a little differently:
- He will learn more from nature.
The fine motor skills he’ll get from picking up sticks and stones, looking at bugs and getting over his current discomfort with pine cones (?!), and the gross motor skills he’s getting from climbing onto stumps, pushing his cars around over bumps, stepping over roots and avoiding holes, will serve him as he finds a never ending combination of possibilities for play.
- He will get hurt more easily if we let him play in the rooty and earthy shade beneath the evergreens.
We want a resilient kid – one who can tip over onto his hands, push himself back up, wipe off the dirt and keep going. Read more about it here.
- We will build pieces that are developmentally appropriate – and appropriate for him – as he grows.
This year it’s a matter of a clear space to explore, a sand box, and lots of loose bits to move around, climb on, fall from, and explore with. As the summer progresses, we’ll add a slide and a swing. Next year, we’ll add to it – maybe a platform to jump from and to hide beneath, or a rope to swing on. The following year? We might add a cabin. We’re gathering ideas on our shared Pinterest board, from the stuff we have around the yard and barn, and from what he seems to want to do.
- We have the space for a sprawling playscape – why not use it?
We could put in a sweet little structure, but it would look ridiculous and we would be frustrated when he opted to run through the trees instead of play on the one we spent money on.
- We’re cheap.
Not cheap, really, but budget-knowledgable and unwilling to incur anymore debt for a piece of equipment that will be sun-bleached, broken and unused in just a few short years. So, we are building as we go, paying for it with cash, and making the most of the natural playground we already have.
- It is more motivating to explore the backyard jungle than to climb on an aluminium swing set (which is what we could probably afford).
This will help us encourage his love for being outside, and will also help to do discourage the use of tablets, computers, phones, pods, etc. He just doesn’t need that. Fresh air – that’s what
kidseveryone needs more of.