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Permaculture Playground and Diner

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here are some great ideas for combining play area and permaculture.  I'm inspired.
 
Posts: 70
Location: Zone 9a, foothills California, 2500 ft elevation
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Inspiring thread!
We have some downed eucalyptus and oak skeletons that we plan to leave in place for our granddaughters to climb on as they get older. Some of the branches are springy (we call them bouncy trees - used to look for them when hiking with our kids). We seatand hold our toddler grandchild on one and bounce her up and down. She also loves wheelbarrow and garden cart rides.

Something I used to do as a kid (and sometimes still do when camping) is to take patch of dirt and draw outlines of things, and then fill in the lines with rocks, small sticks or pine needles. I also once collected pieces of driftwood at a beach campground, used cardboard from a box of crackers, and a paste made of flour and water to make something resembling a prancing horse - it lifted my spirits to see it hanging on the wall when the weather was forbidding and was a good memento of that trip.

After immigrating to the U.S., I was fascinated with some of the large winged seeds to be found in the fall and collected a bunch. I found you could make great pictures with them by gluing them onto scrap cardboard - the owl and sailing ship came out the best. Wish I had photos...

When we homesteaded the first time in the 1980s we lived on a property that had been logged over. Hubby piled up a bunch of logs and scrounged a smooth piece of metal - it made a great slide! He also made a baby swing out of branches and a board or two - just a box frame she couldn't fall out of.
 
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Johanna Sol wrote:Inspiring thread!
We have some downed eucalyptus and oak skeletons that we plan to leave in place for our granddaughters to climb on as they get older. Some of the branches are springy (we call them bouncy trees - used to look for them when hiking with our kids). We seatand hold our toddler grandchild on one and bounce her up and down.



I almost forgot about how we had a giant hemlock fall down last year in our woods. The kids LOVED walking along it (even taking their cousins on a tour of it). They also found the root ball really facinatining. They loved excavating the dirt and finding rocks. There's just something fascinating, I guess, about horizontal dirt! We used a lot of the hemlock for firewood, but left a good 8 foot section for them to keep playing on, since they loved it so much.

apparently, I never got good pictures of them playing on it. But, hey, that just means the faces are naturally blurred out!


excavating the root ball with their cousin


She also loves wheelbarrow and garden cart rides.



Wheel barrow rides and wagon rides are awsome! My husband used to pile both kids into our wheel barrow and take them "dundy dundy" down the road to give me a break for a few minutes. As he pushed them down the bumpy gavel road, he would sing a little marching-tune type song "bump ba bump a bump, baa-bum bump ba bump baa bump".

I also used to take my kids on walks. Since my daughter was little and couldn't walk for long, I'd put her in our little Red Flyer wagon, use an old cloth belt as a harness, and pull her along ( apparently I'd made a thread about this years ago!)

I also would pull her along while I used our reel mower to mow the lawn!


Something I used to do as a kid (and sometimes still do when camping) is to take patch of dirt and draw outlines of things, and then fill in the lines with rocks, small sticks or pine needles. I also once collected pieces of driftwood at a beach campground, used cardboard from a box of crackers, and a paste made of flour and water to make something resembling a prancing horse - it lifted my spirits to see it hanging on the wall when the weather was forbidding and was a good memento of that trip.



This is such a cool idea! I never would have thought flour paste glue would be so strong!

After immigrating to the U.S., I was fascinated with some of the large winged seeds to be found in the fall and collected a bunch. I found you could make great pictures with them by gluing them onto scrap cardboard - the owl and sailing ship came out the best. Wish I had photos...



I think these are what we call "Helicopters"! The seeds of maple trees look something like this:

The usually split apart before they fall, and spiral down like little helicopters!


My kids and I would go out and collect as many as we could find, and then climb up to the top of their playfort, and throw them up in the are to watch them spiral down. It's even more fun on a windy day! I can imagine how these owould make excellent sails on boats!
 
Nicole Alderman
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A few new editions to our "playground" today!

Up the hill, we have a little stream that the kids have named "Fairy Boat Falls" and we built a bridge to cross it!

A western hemlock had fallen near it, so we cut three pieces to make the bridge, and lashed them together with blackberry vines for twine!


Crossing the bridge!


Then we went and got the 4-year-old half-log that we'd left after making our three-log-bench

It was too heavy to carry, so we took a lesson from ancient civilizations and used small firewood rounds to roll the big log on!

Even my 6-year old daughter could push this log by herself!


My 9-year old son took a turn, too. You can see the little logs under the giant log a bit better here


Insert another log underneath, and we have a working teeter-totter!


They really enjoyed walking and crawling across it to make the other person go up or down. It's so much more fun than a traditional teeter-totter where you just sit in one spot. Now we can learn about leverage!
 
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This thread was even better than what I remembered!

Nicole Alderman wrote:

The usually split apart before they fall, and spiral down like little helicopters!


My kids and I would go out and collect as many as we could find, and then climb up to the top of their playfort, and throw them up in the are to watch them spiral down. It's even more fun on a windy day!



As kids we used to open the seed end of these and stick them on our noses! They are sticky like a tape!



I love how your teeter-totter project taught and will teach so many things to the kids!
 
Johanna Sol
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Location: Zone 9a, foothills California, 2500 ft elevation
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Nicole - the winged seeds from the photo are what I used - I only remember them being one-sided though so they must have split apart before they reached the ground. They were quite large - about 3" long...

Re the teeter totter - a taller one can be made from a 55-gallon drum and board...

So great to see your kids playing with natural materials!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Over the last few days, my kids have made a new little home in the woods! They call it the "Feral Feline Foundry" (because that's were we found our feral kittens 6 years ago.)

Their new fort began when we were trying to figure out where to plant the loganberry plant my daughter bought for her garden. Her little garden boarders part of our woods. The kids often like to wiggle their way through the native salmonberries, and so I asked them if if they wanted to make a path and maybe a fort in there. They did!

My daughter's pear tree is right next to the statue, and the raberries boarder both sides of their new path, that leads to their new fort


(In the above picture, you'll see my daughter's pear tree. It's the same one we planted on her first birthday. To the left of it is her little garden.)

Here's my son, clearing out the salmonberries to where their future fort would be


As we ventured into the bramble, we spotted a little "clearing," and it even had a cute little stump! My daughter decided that this was her kitchen, with the tree next to it being a stove. We brought over another log to put on top of it for a table, and I wove a mat of sword ferns and cedar branches for a little cushion.

Their little kitchen! They even had a snack of biscuits and blieberries, and then went and ate cereal there the next day!


While my daughter was thinking of it as a house, my son was calling it their "base" (he watches people play Minecraft a lot, and they call their homes "bases".) He started building a way with the trimmed bramble to secure their base. He added tripwires (blackberry vine attached to an old christmas tree so it falls on you when you trip on the blackberry) and logs and sticks you might trip on, or you have to duck under.

My son, working on his wall, while my daughter is standing in her kitchen, leaning on her 'stove's chimney'


We got some fallen wild-cherry logs and turned them into "couches" in the living room. The ferns to the right are their "beds." You can kind of see the wall in the back, and the "kitchen" stump is to the left, obscured by salmonberries.

View of their cleared out house/base


My son was pretending to play the sword fern fronds as as piano, so I ran off and grabbed some nice, dense Big Leaf Maple rounds from our woodpile. They make a nice sound when you smack them. I leaned them up against a fallen log for an instant piano!

rustic piano being played by both kids


We thought we might take things up a notch, and we got the sticks in musical order, and I used blackberry vines to weave them together and then hang it from a tree. Now their living room is complete with a piano/xylophone!

Just some sticks and vines, and you have an instrument!


My husband wanted to just go get twine to bind the logs together, but I love being able to just wildcraft everything from the woods! It's a really fun challenge for me, and I think the kids have a lot of fun learning just what is possible. It also kind of fulfills my own childhood desires to make brooms and pillows from things found in my childhood woods. I never had anyone then to teach me how to make things, and I was frustrated that none of it worked. Now I can finally do these things, and show my kids how, too!
 
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Your children are adorable; love how busy they are!  Also love the ideas; hope to have grandkids at some point and will use this as a jump off ( pun intended)!
 
pollinator
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Location: northern lower peninsula of Michigan
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Fun to see your kids at play. Grandkids play this way at our homestead now. Lots of good times with sticks n stones, trees n rock's, puddles n plants, bugs n frogs etc. It's hands down the best play!
 
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I suck at taking pictures but I didn't read anyone else doing this so I wanted to add this idea since the kids really like it but I build stuff out of woodchips.  If I could get a lot at once I'd make an obstacle course or something.  I love creativity so I try to have my family/friend kids (I have none) add whatever they want.  The pics are horrible and the mounds do quite a bit of shapeshifting as the ideas come in.  For younger kids the steps are big enough to make them work up and then they jump off at the top into the hole.  That hole seconds as a home or fort when we cover with tarp or wood.  At one time it was tall enough I added a balance beam (chopped down small tree) to walk across or for chinups.  I also use the big mounds for older people as a jumping box which is real easy on the joints for aging ex-athletes like myself.  Another area I had used for long jumps.  I also put rocks there for lifting weights such as deadlifts.  There is also a balance beam on the ground for the very young.  I've been trying to takeover the land quickly so I'd leave it for years if I could but when I want to plant I start pushing it out so it can kill out everything so I can plant easily.  
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Nicole Alderman
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'Twas a great day to get outside and make some memories!

After eating at least 5 dandelions each (my son's face was all yellow from the pollen!), the kids set off looking for more munchies!

I just love this picture of them walking to the keyhole garden!


It may be early spring, and this keyhole garden is in serious need of being remade (the logs are 6 years old), but my kids know this is the place to find snacks! My son is getting French sorel, and my daughter is snacking on over-wintered kale.

Still snacking away at the keyhole garden, 6 years later!


Then my son decided it was time to get more kale, this time from his own garden

Kale is so good!


With their tummies full, it was time to get to work. Both kids planted carrot seeds in their gardens.

My daughter planting carrots in front of the pea trellis I made in her garden


All work and no play makes for a very dull day! So they spent some time playing on their more conventional playset

Swings! They love creating obstecal cources where they have to go from one place to another without touching the ground.


Time for a little rest.

The teeter tottler  we made isn't just fun for balancing and playing--it's also a great place to sit!


After all those adventerures, they went off and played with their chickens, took a chicken to their Feral Feline Foundry fort and played at their Tree Fort House, where they had me make "wooden pickaxes" so they could "mine cobblestone."
 
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