The only "new" element that I added to the play this week was an invitation to explore the wooded area along one edge of the park. There's a creek within this woods (often dry, but it had some standing water this week!) and it's cool and shady and all of the kids who ventured in wanted to stay a looooong time. (way more photos and details after the jump!)
There was this little girl whose grandmother gave her permission to remove her shoes and socks and roll up her leggings to get into the water (yay!).
And some entrepreneurs decided to try making their own tightrope:
And yes, there was still lots of paint!
We also asked parents to write down some observations as they watched their child play. The questions were provided by AnjiPlay. Here are the questions, followed by a few sample responses:
1. What materials do you notice your child playing with?
Balls, boxes, forest, paint, mud, sticks
2. Why do you believe they are attracted to those particular materials?
-- These are interesting materials that we might not have at home.
--he saw some friends playing with the ... materials
--they love the outdoors and doing things with their hands that are messy
--they are free to explore. Every kid loves color and freedom to do whatever they like.
3. In what ways do you notice your child being inventive and/or solving problems?
--he climbed through the forest with very little help
-- he used a stick to get up a hill that is slippery
-- throwing boxes in an attempt to stack higher
--turning boxes into dominoes
--Unfortunately, as long as there is mom, my son does not like to solve problems on his own.
4. In what ways is your child playing....
--getting their own materials, add their own touches to the fort
--figuring out what materials are there and how they function or are used
....in collaboration with other children?
--helping each other hold pieces to attach them, handing supplies to each other
--building cardboard box city
--creating a second tight-rope element
5. Are there differences you notice between how your child is playing today versus how he or she typically interacts with materials and/or other children? Similarities?
--[his play is] typical, but a little more extreme because of the access to the messy stuff! Lots of fun!
--Doesnt' usually like to get messy, but tolerated the messiness better today. He repeated what he played and saw last time.
A HUGE thanks to all of the parents who took the time to fill out these observation pages and who smiled bravely as their children became covered in paint, mud and huge smiles. Another huge thank you to UW Professor, Rebekah Willett who had the brilliant idea to collect play stories via video. Can't wait to see where the Rumpus goes next week!