Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Return to Fairy Grove

Last May, I took Lydia to the Grand Opening of a fairy themed nature playscape at our local nature center.  They were having lots of fairy and gnome themed events, so I dressed Lydia up like a fairy.  I had a lot of fun taking pictures of her while she interacted with all the unique natural structures. (You can see more adorable fairy pictures from last year by clicking here)
 This year,we returned to Ijams Nature Center and found Jo's Grove almost unchanged and blissfully empty.  (The grand opening last May had been a huge success, but Lydia was really small and the crowds of kids were kind of hard to navigate.) For most of our visit last weekend, wewere the only people in the play area.
  The grove itself is a wooded hillside with several paths, some dirt mounds, a few stumps and stools for the kids, several benches for the grownups, and a really cute playhouse.  Everything is natural and fits the environment, but everything is also completely open to the interpretation of a child's imagination.  Looking around Jo's Grove, I could tell that, in the year that it had been open, holes had been dug, mud had been mixed (and thrown), sticks had been moved and piled and yet nothing had been "damaged".  Jo's Grove was obviously well designed by the grown-ups at the nature center, but with an understanding that children want to interact with the space in ways that we can't necessarily predict.
 This year, Lydia became a "dinosaur hunter" and climbed the hills to look for hiding dinosaurs.  She decided I was a dinosaur at some point, so I had to chase her over all those hills (did I mention I am now 6 months pregnant?).  The adorable log cabin style playhouse quickly became a safe house to hide from dinosaurs.
She played a little in the crazy igloos made from sticks and twine (stick-loos?) but not as much as last year.
 I suppose fairies must be home bodies, while dinosaur hunters need wide open spaces and room to move!


joyinthemoments.com said...

Cool place! I would be ecstatic to find it empty. I hate crowds.

Dee said...

What a beautiful place! How lucky you were, to have it to yourselves. Love the fairy houses.

Grace @ Sense and Simplicity said...

Such a cute play park. My children would have loved it when they were small.