Thursday, December 20, 2012

It Wood, Its Outside, Lets Build!

Some kids are born to build! I can remember building lots of forts indoors and out. My favorite hiding place with a grove of fir trees (old family Christmas Trees) with a concrete block inside that was my table, couch, potions lab all in one. There are a lot more tools out there today for building and creating outdoors.




Curvy Board

NYC High Line building kits


Auburn University Nature Play Area

Building frames and loose stick building  

 Happy Holidays and Happy Building!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Music in the Playscape

There are  many options out there for music in outdoor play spaces. From large drums to chimes and many percussion instruments. These early encounters with sounds and music can instill a love of music and get kids over the fear of not being able to 'play' the instrument well.  Below are a few ideas to remember when installing music pieces and a few of my favorite instruments.


- How tall are the kids? Make sure the piece is not above their comfortable playing level, or offer a stool or seat.
- How many kids may want to play at once? There are some great large pieces, but it many be a good idea to add a few more instruments if you have more kids. Most kids like to specifically hear the noises they are creating and have trouble picking them out of a cacophony of many kids playing.
- Do they need sticks or mallets to play? If they do, spend the money to get tough ones, lots of them and attach them well.
- How does the instrument sound? While an old trash can lid will be fun to bang and make loud noises there is also a place for instruments that make very beautiful sounds. I find children play these much more often and won't tire of them in the long run.
- Consider water from above and below. I live in Oregon! We always consider water. :) But if a puddle develops in front of the piece it is much less playable. Nicer instruments may want to consider a roof structure for long term protection.


Marimba at mount hood Community College Early Childhood Center

Natural Playground Company  has a number of nice musical pieces. I love how the Tongue Drum sounds and looks.

Check out this whimsical and beautiful sounding wrenchophone. You can virtually play the wrenchophone here! 

Tongue Drum Sea Turtle from

Palm Pipe Drum
I love this CHIMASAUR! Colorful and fun. I would definitely run over and try this one out if I saw it.
Talk tubes, like these are the Auburn Discovery Playground, provide a chance to play  with sounds without having to have an instrument. 

The Marimba at Blue Lake Park offers a beautiful tone and features a rain shelter to protect it long term.
Have fun creating and playing your instruments!

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