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Lessons from the Children’s Garden: Three things we learned this fall

The Children's Garden at Evergreen Brick Works is a testing ground for innovations in school ground design and play. Take these lessons and advance your own play at home or school!
Children playing in the sand during a day of camp at Evergreen Brick Works. Image: Mike Derblich
Image: Mike Derblich

Published on October 02, 2017

The Children’s Garden at Evergreen Brick Works is a testing ground for ideas and activities adults can enable for kids.

Whether you’re a teacher who wants to get outdoors this year, or a parent who wants to open up a world of free play for your kids, these lessons from the Children’s Garden will be sure to get your creative juices flowing.

Child digging in the sand

1. Nature Play works on a miniature scale

Some of the most engaging activities we’ve done in the Children’s Garden have been at a miniature scale – proving that you don’t need a large space to get kids playing imaginatively with natural materials. Try introducing natural materials like flowers, small sticks or tree cookies to a sandbox or play area and watch as small-worlds take shape.

Kids painting at Evergreen Adventure Camp.
Photo:Mike Derblich

2. Let kids’ passions lead the way

Despite the most carefully laid activity plans, kids will engage in outdoor play according to their passions or their mood that particular day. Make space for the artist, the athlete and the academic by providing a variety of opportunities to tap into nature play. Set up materials for painting rocks or making nature portraits. Challenge young athletes to foot-races or balance beams. Create reading nooks with bug I.D. books, magnifying glass and bug jars.

Kids set up a fort in the Children's Garden at Evergreen Brick Works.
Photo: James Lim

3. Lose yourself in experimentation

A constant observation in the Children’s Garden has been that nothing gets kids and adults immersed in outdoor play quite like a good challenge. Shelter building is always a popular activity as it utilizes experimentation and imagination, and involves just the right amount of risk to keep things interesting.

Have you learned anything this fall since being back to school? Educators, learn something new by joining us at an upcoming workshop. Parents, feel free to drop by the Children's Garden, open to the public every weekend.