Yesterday, the children spent a lot of time in an area that has not seen much use this year, the climbing tree. As Ms. Bethany talked about in the previous post, the children used this area as a spaceship for part of the time, but once the the majority of the children went back towards the pavilion the entire scene changed.
Luke, Immi, Evelyn and James all stayed back and the climbing tree was turned into a potion making area. The children worked together to harvest different types of dirt, leaves, bark and mushrooms to make the perfect potion. To harvest some of these items, the children had to climb the tree. This was quiet scary for some of the children, but the others would always come to their rescue and show them a safe way to go up or come back down. As the potion making was winding down, I asked what they were making and they explained it was a unicorn potion that would turn you into a unicorn!
As Immi and Evelyn moved onto a different activity James, Max and Luke wandered into the thick brush between the climbing tree and the music area. along their journey they found a newly downed tree. To most this would be just another tree on the ground, but to these boys it was exactly what they were looking for! As it turns out the dirt at the bottom of the tree was the exact ingredient their cake was missing! The children went and grabbed the cake they working on earlier and they resumed making the perfect cake.
These are examples of the why unstructured free play in nature is so valuable. By only having the toys and spaces that nature provides, the children are able to let their imaginations run wild and be as creative as they want to be. To some an area can be a plane or spaceship and then minutes later the same space can be a potion making kitchen. It is also during these times where the children learn to negotiate and work with one another solving problems and conflicts. It is also during these moments that children are able to help one another and become teachers and not just students!