I recently mentioned that we don't provide a ton of "traditional" outdoor activities at Woodland Park. Instead of slides and monkey bars, we have a work bench, a garden, a sand pit (okay, that's traditional), a fine motor play area we call Little World, art projects, a boat, a cast iron water pump, but nothing along the lines of what you typically find in your neighborhood playground. This was a choice we made earlier this year when our community decided it wanted to revamp our small outside space, converting it from lameness into a true outdoor classroom. We declared that our school couldn't be all things to all people and that outdoor large motor activities like swinging, climbing, and teeter tottering would just have to take place outside of school hours at any one of our city's fine playgrounds.
The only piece of equipment we kept was our unicycle merry-go-round (foreground of photo), and that was because children tended to use it with joy every single day. Plus it's a pretty unique item, something they're not likely to find elsewhere.
I love they way they pedal while looking across at one another,
smiling into one another's faces. I particularly like the way 2's
use it as entry level cooperative play -- it just doesn't go unless you work together.
Still, I occasionally worry about what we're missing, although we do have things to balance on, like our path of tree rounds . . .
. . . and have started setting up odd ball challenges like this:
And, of course, we did invent a swing by looping together vinyl belts . . .
. . . and we made a zip line from a pulley on a rope . . .
. . . and I guess we do have a couple "climbers" that allows us to get up to get where we need to go to use our hammers or paint brushes . . .
. . . and a teeter totter . . .
But other than that . . .