Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Wonderful World

"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child.  There are seven million."  ~Walt Streightiff
Me at the beach.

My sister and I eating wild berries.
 I grew up belly pressed to the earth, drinking from the creek. My backyard was not fenced. I trailed at my sister's heels chasing snakes in the field. When I would stumble upon a tree house in the woods,  countless hours would melt away. The world around us was our playground. I would wander so far from home that my little heart would pound vigorously as I would run back for supper.

Me in my childhood backyard.
Twenty years later,  things are different and the world around my children is no longer a playground. They will not ride for miles on their bike or stumble upon a tree in the wilderness and spend weeks converting it into a tree house. Their world is full of danger and legalities that often keep them from its wonders.

In a tree house with my father.
As a parent, I find it challenging to give my children an environment to safely explore and release energy. Children have so much energy and parents face the challenge of keeping them active in today's confined world. Backyards, especially in Arizona, are gridded out with little left for discovery. A hidden spot to explore is less likely in the perfectly sectioned rectangle blocked out behind most homes.

Me eating picked berries

With our backyard now carrying the modern "torch of independent play" our goal is to transform it into a place where discovery and imagination consume hours of the day. The first project I want to share is our swing-set.

Our swing-set, found via craigslist on the cheap, was worn down and missing parts. The most important aspect was the well maintained slide and rock mountain. The wood was sanded, the structure painted, segments added, and a roof mounted. It is a rather impressive swing-set that fits into almost every budget when combined with effort.

The structure towers from our backyard, beckoning my children to it when we pull into our driveway. Our boys monitor the neighborhood from its platform and hide treasures under its stairs. I look forward to many more backyard projects to inspire exploration and will be keeping you posted.
Our swing-set. Features: slide, two swings, rope and rod ladder,  hanging rope , rock mountain,  slanted ladder climber


  1. you made me cry! i totally agree that being a kid today ..kinda sucks! i can remember playing in our front yard for HOURS. i wouldn't even imagine letting my kids play in the front yard with out me there with them.

    thank you for the post.

  2. Lexi, you've got to garden with your kids (if you don't already). This is nothing new, but I took up organic gardening last year and WOW- what a teaching tool (and creative outlet for the kids)! It's amazing what you can grow in a small plot and your kids will eat it up (literally)! My little ones planted, weeded, picked, and we were constantly going out to the garden for math, language arts, and science lessons. You name it- I taught it in our garden. And all that organic produce?? I cannot say enough!
    And your playset is awesome! Good Job!