Branches, Wood & Fantasy Play

On a very windy day, two large branches fell from my backyard Maple tree. We were fortunate that the branches fell away from the house and my daughters’ swing set, though they did crush a section of our neighbor’s fence. We needed some help with the clean up, and when the tree service trucks drove away, I went outside to admire the awesome pile of logs and branches left behind. Most of it will be cut and stacked for firewood next season (we have a lovely little fireplace in the living room that certainly doesn’t heat our entire home, but does warm my heart every winter). But I decided to set some of the wood aside…for play!

What will my daughters see when they consider four large stumps arranged under the pine tree in a quiet corner of the yard?

A stage for dancing

A balance beam

A table and chairs for tea


And, what will my daughters create with wooden blocks of various sizes?

A fence

A tower

A miniature set of furniture

The possibilities are endless, which is the precisely the point of open-ended play.

By setting aside a little pile of wood, I am setting aside space for imagination and creativity. I am honoring my children’s need for interesting tactile experiences, opportunities to develop flexible thinking, and time in nature with natural objects.

As you look around your home, which toys provide the most opportunity for open-ended play? How can you present more of these toys to your child and encourage more time in fantasy land?

1 comment:

Renee L. said...

The wooden peg people that my father carved and I painted are among my three year old's favorite toys. We play with them daily!