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Dam it!

My last post was about a terrific new natural play space called Grasshopper Grove. The other day I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time at another natural play space – this one is called the Nature Nook and it is located at the Boston Nature Center in Mattapan, MA. The Boston Nature Center is an urban sanctuary with a few miles of hiking trails, a community garden, and more. After a short hike, I visited the Nature Nook with our classes of three, four and five-year-olds.

The children loved the open ended materials (branches, stones, sticks, fabric, etc) for building; the xylophone for making music and dancing; the tree stumps and boulders for climbing and hopping and the sand and mud for mixing, mushing and making pretend food. Most of all, they loved the dry river with bridges, stones and muddy water. It was a rainy day, so some water had gathered in the dry river bed, making a great spot to wade and muck about. At one point, a BNC staff member opened the rain barrel, and let some more water pour into the river bed. As the water meandered its way through the rocks and bends, and under the bridge, some of the students got very excited. “Make a dam, make a dam!” they exclaimed, as they scrambled to contain the flowing water. Others joined in with matched enthusiasm. “Dam it! Dam it!” I heard one enthusiastic builder proclaim.

I love being with young children – especially when they are playing in nature. Where else can you hear some yell “Dam it!” with such pure delight in his voice?

 

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