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Artists in Your Play Yard

A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.
Maya Angelou

In his article, "Playscape Art" that appeared in the March/April 2009 issue of Exchange (and can be seen on our home page), Rusty Keeler, the author of Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul, invites you to bring artists to join in beautifying your outdoor space:

"...There could be artists in your neighborhood right now who would love to join your playscape beautification project. You never know who they might be. A parent. A grandparent. A neighbor. You?

"On every playscape project that I work on I look for artists in the community who may be persuaded to help out the project. It is not only great for young children to have a yard filled with multi-sensory, climbable, textural, inviting sculpture and murals for their play adventures, but it is inspiring for children to see creative adults sharing their playful talents in beautiful ways. Imagine children watching a blacksmith hammer out a funny figure or face to be mounted on their fence. Or helping a painter create a dazzling mural on the side of the building. Or watching a wood carver add his clever touches to their beloved playhouse. These adults are making art — just like the children do.

"Artistic additions give your playscape pizzazz and add a touch of magic to the yard. Funny faces mounted on trees, animal sculptures poking out of bushes, or whirligigs in the garden all make your space a reflection of your and your children’s fun-loving ways. Best of all, these artistic additions can happen anytime. You don’t need a new project to add art. You can do it now! How about some clay tiles that can become a mosaic mural, or even simply be wired to a chain link fence? (Think chain-link camouflage.) Are there people in your community who work with metal and can make wind chimes? Or are there artists who work with concrete to sculpt the landscape into fun shapes or animals? Another popular art medium these days is cob (a combination of clay, straw, and sand that you mix with your feet) to create sculpture and structures. People all over are enjoying working with cob, and children can easily join in the messy fun. So go ahead. Add some art. Add some color. Add some silliness! The possibilities are endless . . ."

Check Out Natural Playscapes Today

Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul is an inspiring, yet practical resource on bringing outdoor playspaces to life. This popular Exchange resource describes how children relate to the natural world, and gives many examples from around the world of how early childhood professionals and parents have planned and constructed natural playscapes. Included are blueprints, step by step instructions, and tip sheets such as "20 Ways to Create Natural Playscapes," and "15 Free or Low-Cost Things to Enrich Your Playscapes."

Get Your Kids Moving with Circuit Play(R) Beginnings from BCI Burke!
Circuit Play Beginnings is exclusive from BCI Burke and helps younger children to develop balance, hand-eye coordination, and basic upper body strength. It also helps build self-confidence as children master the challenge of each element and of the entire circuit. Circuit Play Beginnings is a complement to physical activity programs in early childhood settings and all events are ground level, thereby reducing the risk of falling from excessive heights.

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