Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Tires

The tires were one of the first things added to our playground.  Three simple tires buried upright into the ground. What an amazing piece of equiptment!  These provide kids with opportunities to feel tall, brave, nervous, challenged, patient, strong, cooperative, imaginative, and the list could go on and on.

It has always amazed Dana and I how each child approaches the tires very differently.  It is also fascinating to watch their approach change each time they encounter them.  Sometimes the children will go weeks and not even go near the tires, but when they are rediscovered, they go wild!
Most kids begin by climbing up onto one tire and then back down the other side, than repeat over all three tires.  Next with some encouragement they try stepping from one tire to the next.  Once they have mastered them they usually jump from tire to tire and just run full speed across all three, with an amazing jump finale.

Children who think they can't do it, just need a simple hand to hold. I noticed my hand was more for security than actually balance or support.  I started having another child hold the hand of the less confident. It worked. Not only did it build confidence in the balancing child but also the helper!

Very rarely have I seen a child crawl through them or kick a ball through them no matter how many times I try to encourage them.  They just want to be bigger, taller, stronger and faster. Kids need the challenge and the feeling of danger and flying.

Two links to more information on the benefits of risk taking:
50 Dangerous Things: I book I plan to read, but have to admit I haven't yet!

New York Times: Can A Playground Be Too Safe?

Experienced: Less Fear

I think I can.... I think I can


Giddyup Horsie

Slow and Steady

Just because you are younger doesn't mean you can't help!

The Landing
Backwards Jump
I can fly!