Today I rolled some big cut logs that never got chopped and put them by my garden. My little ones LOVE the challengs of climbing and jumping from thing to thing, and these big logs seemed like the perfect, free, natural thing for them to play on. As they get more nimble, I can easily scoot the logs further apart. As it is, my kids had a BLAST. My son would jump from big log to big log and then to the ground, hopping like a from from "lilly pad" to "lily pad." My daughter loved walking in circles from log to log and then holding my hand and jumping down. I was amazed at how quickly she became more and more nimble, making less errors and needing less help!
Climbing up and climbing down!
See that herb spiral just feet from the logs? It's a perfect place for a snack!
We got a load of gravel and used it to make a gravel bed for the kids to scoop and dump in. We were torn about putting down a layer of something under the gravel, but settled on just weeding really well and applying a thick layer of gravel. We did use some broken granite slabs that we'd gotten for free to act as a barrier to hopefully keep blackberry from growing in the sides (we laid them down first along the edges and then covered with the boarder logs and gravel). For the boarder logs, we used some old cedar trees we'd cut and debarked a few years back, as well as some cedar stumps from our ring of stumps. These holds back the gravel, and also give a place for us to sit. We even sat and ate our lunch there today!
So far, the kids are loving it. As I was filling it up with gravel, my son brought over his dumptruck to the gravel pile and filled it with his shovel and then pushed it all the way to their gravel pit to dump it. Then they fboth started scooping and dumping with their shovels while I brought over more gravel in my wheel barrow.
Once I got the stumps set up, my kids decided these were fantastic for climbing on and jumping off of. The gravel is a bit softer to land in than the grass or the floor in our house, so they really had fun with this.
Eventually, I would like to build a raised bed on the south side of it, and erect a trellis (you might notice some black metal in the background. That's a trellis we were given), and grow kiwis over the pit. It'll give us a shady place to play in the hot summer months, and a place to grow kiwis. That's my hope, anyway!
Here's the playpit, all finished! The kids LOVE digging in it and jumping off the logs.
I got the garden bed finished for growing the kiwis, too! I ordered the Issai kiwi plant a few days ago (and couldn't resist ordering some strawberries, too), so I'll have kiwis and strawberries growing here hopefully. I made it by sticking bamboo stakes upright and sliding the alder logs between them. The front section I made by weaving bamboo wattle-fence style (I wish I'd had enough bamboo to do the whole bed like that!). I filled it with some rotting alder logs and all the dirt I'd excavated when digging out their playpit, then coved the weedy dirt with paper feed sacks and covered those with duck bedding in hopes to keep the weeds from taking over the bed before the other plants get established.
I'm trying to figure out what to do for the trellis. We'd been given some metal trellis/pergola stuff...but it's kind of rusty and even falling apart in places, and I don't really want the kids getting cut by it. I'm thinking maybe making a roundwood pergola/trellis over it, but I don't know how to build stuff. If anyone has any tips, I'd love some! (I started a thread about the pergola/trellis thing here)
I grew up on a farm so we bought some pretty nice tractors, and so we often had toy tractors given to me by the tractor dealerships. I am talking the steel and plastic Errtl type toy tractors...
But my dad made this 2x4 "low bed" that if you cocked your head just right, did a lot of imagining, MIGHT be able to see some yucky cut wood and wheels that was supposed to be a truck. But I drove that truck for MILES on the floors of the house.
With kids it does not take a lot to inspire them. It is almost a shame that companies exploit parents into thinking the flashiest of things is what their children really want.
I've always loved looking for crystals and pretty rocks, and Travis's geocatching with his kids got me inspired.
The gravel we used in the playpit was the type that compacts well for a road, so I had my husband buy a few bags of nice pea gravel, and I ordered some cheap bulk gemstones. I put the gemstones down, and covered them up with the new gravel. Time to dig for gemstones!
Found some hematite!
Crystals in the dumptruck and hematite (my son's favorite!) in the car transporter, and a pot to wash the rocks in. There's still about 1/3rd of the rocks still hidden for more future finding!
Hiding the gemstones is an awesome idea! As a kid I had a'rock shop' of 'gemstones' (umm.. a piece of wood as a shelf with bits of tile dug up from the drive building-site on it... but it amused me for hours)
Tick check! Okay, I guess that was just an itch. Oh wait! Just a tiny ad: