To Play in a Wild Garden


Connected At The Roots writes about children in nature, and usually reports on going out into the wild, several kids at once, with magical results. Recently there was an interesting post on kinesthetic adventure at home (but still outside).

This inspired me to make our rather wild property more kinesthetically challenging. Amie is always hanging and climbing anyway. The opportunity presented itself when we had some large trees removed by our neighbor. Oh, he regaled Amie and her buddies with a true show of how-does-he-do-that-climbing and hands-over-the-ears-chainsaw noises and heart stopping toppling of trunks and then the gasp-inducing thump…

One of the trees was a big pine, which we were advised not to keep as firewood. So I asked my neighbor to chop it up into stumps of several heights: for around-the-campfire seats, and for stepping and jumping.

Now we just need to wait until they stop oozing sticky tar, then we’ll sand them down and place them. Amie already walked on them (of course, I mean: they’re there!), and later on complained that her shoes were stuck to the pedals of her bike.

I also asked the tree guys not to shred the smaller poles that are useless as firewood but that we can use for teepees, either for beans or for housing.

We have several areas on our property that are quite civilized, like our vegetable garden and the herb garden, the small strip of lawn-to-be in front (it’s all buckwheat at the moment), and the “practical area,” where the clothes are line-dried and firewood and building materials are collected.

Then there is the fenced-off backyard, which is a bit like an old forest: old trees rising up, their branches and leaves out of reach up high, but below, in the pine-needle duff, roots and twigs threaten to trip you up… unless you’re used to running along a mature forest floor. The adventure actually begins at our patio, which is made of bricks sticking this way and that, and some oddly place planks sticking up…

Then there are two areas to the front which are mixed old and young forest. The saplings crowd the massive tree trunks of the old trees, sending their branches this way or that – oops, don’t let them poke out an eye! The ground is even more treacherous there, with fallen logs and cut off stumps hidden underneath decades of accumulated leaves. We plan to have a narrow path in each of these patches: hidden and shady, leading to some structure made from tree and moss…

Join the Conversation


  1. Lovely playscape mother nature has helped you create. I love the stumps!

    Thanks for the shout out.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *