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Natural play…… Where does it take place?

October 15, 2013

Wandering through Hidcote this recently made me think about how although every outdoor space has potential for natural play not every outdoor space is available….  Amazing gardens, a vast array of plants, huge canopies created by spreading established trees – the famous cypress, the beech walk but because there are so many unusual, rare animals, amphibians and plants cheek by jowl which are so precious and so easily damaged.  Here, play must be carefully considered (look out for family learning activities).

Picture of boy moving along the paths

boy going through the tall planting

So what sort of play does this amazing garden and others like it facilitate?

Certainly, it stimulates vision!  It is a it is available for observation – sit and drink in the views – across the plains, carefully created vistas from long avenues – beech walk, long walk, over the haha* and far away.  At this time of year collect some fallen leaves –take a close look, what do you see?  Colours, shapes, patterns or holes.  Create a picture with them.

Use wide open spaces to move, use the landscape to suggest how to move.  At the bottom of our road there is a field with a slope so an obvious place to lie down and roll.  On a walk the other day my son ran from tree to tree stopping to hug and reach around each one.  Where have you been recently?  How did you move?

How many different ways can you move – quickly or slowly, backwards or forwards, up or down, on hands or feet or all together.  What about other body parts?

*haha – a “invisible” ditch built to keep animals in pasture but avail those in the garden of splendid views.

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