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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Choice and the Power of Play

I have a vivid memory of wandering to a dirt pile behind my house and making mud pies when I was a child. I had buckets of water from the hose to wet the dirt for molding. I distinctly remember the joy of sprinkling dry sand on top of pies as sugar and meticulously decorating with flowers. The sand was warm, soft, and white and felt so pleasant slipping through my fingers.  As I look back now, I realize how powerful that simple experience was. By playing in the dirt that afternoon, I was engaged in a self directed activity and fully in my senses. I was developing my imagination and learning about my world and myself. At Forest Preschool this April, the wee ones have been doing just the same; choosing how and what materials to engage with and learning about their world and selves through play outdoors.
The morning at Forest Preschool starts with "Loose Parts" play. A variety of objects and materials are available to choose from. Mix that with a little imagination and rich, organic play that is child centered ensues. Here budding chefs prepare a special concoction. Soup anyone?

Small animal home builders create a cozy space in a tree cavity with a variety of natural materials!

This gatherer realized her bird nest material also made a beautiful bouquet. 
An intricate obstacle course began with one builder laying down two wood blocks and then balancing on them. She realized balancing was lots of fun and quickly began to add more. Inspired by the activity, many more builders and balancers joined in until an elaborate, ever growing course was constructed and enjoyed. Choice and the power of outdoor play at its best!

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