A couple of weeks ago I took my 2 nephews and niece on a play date to the Cambridge Common playground. The youngest, 2, went straight for the loose blocks, the middle (girl), 4, quickly found a pale to fill with sand and the oldest, 7, climbed up the mound.
It was interesting to see how they played on their own and then together and then on their own again. I noticed that Benjamin, the oldest, was very unsure about the sand. I reassured him it was fine to get dirty; He still insisted on telling a couple of older boys that they would get dirty as they were creating and distributing mud.
I had seen the Silo & Sieve in action in the summer; The children would continually fill the Silo and allow the sand to slip through onto the sieve as another child would agitate the sieve to disperse the remaining sand. But this time the children were using it differently. They filled it with wet sand (it had rained the night before). The sand was so wet and thick that nothing could get through the end of the Silo. I wondered what they were going to do. Then they took a bucket of water and slowly filled the silo and finally the mud came gushing through! They knew it would happen and they were so excited and proud of themselves when it did.
My little nephew and niece played with it after. They were a little more conservative with their experimenting but no less fun.
As I watched the children and parents play and interact I thought how important it is to give children the opportunity for different types of play activities. Benjamin wasn’t a huge fan of the sand like the others but he slowly loosened up and played along side of his sister. All four of us climbed on the the Rodeo, double seater see saw, and bounced up and down; As well, we all curled up in the nest swing and swayed back and forth. It was a great time for all of them to step outside their regular environment and experiment and play together and perhaps learn some of the laws and characteristics of their physical environment.