Thursday, April 4, 2013

Granger Commons Natural Playground

I think I'm in love! Someone mentioned a natural playground in Granger on my Facebook page. Thanks for the tip, Kris! I did a little digging and the site is at Granger Commons, nestled in an area of big box stores and other fun venues. I can think of lots of errands to run in the vicinity, just to stop by and let the children play . . . the natural playground is located to the right of the building. It is open after 5 pm and on weekends.

When we arrived, we weren't sure about the gate or how to enter, but we figured it out. You can too.

And then we found this . . . some might see this as a bunch of logs and stumps. Kids see it as nature's playground!

There is a playhouse and bear/eagle carving. A lake is beyond the fenced in area. While we were there, many geese were out. While we could hear nearby traffic, we could also hear nature.

My husband checked for  mail . . . he likes to be in charge of the mail at our house, too. I like these tree cookie stepping stones.

This is carved in the slight hill, making a small amphitheater.

A dry river bed with log bridges provides many challenges and opportunities for children.

One of the logs was hollow inside--I wondered if we could have been able to crawl through it, but I'm a little too big for it.

It was my son's golden birthday, so he had his new Rescue Bots. He found places to play with them.

The sand area is covered, which is understandable when workers are not there. One drawback is that there are no facilities there (perhaps in the building if it's open), so when 2 boys needed to go to the bathroom, my husband took a little drive to find restrooms. 

Elements were nearby for a campfire gathering. We gathered!

Rescue Bots even stayed on the rock as someone was absorbed in building.

He tried stacking natural elements and prying them. It's still fun to watch things fall at this age!

There is a garden area--it looks like it's ready to go as it warms up!

He had to turn the log for other options. His little brother was okay hanging out by the rock, but I think he found some mulch.

The nearby hill was very inviting! Rolling down hills will always be a favorite!

There were opportunities for jumping and balancing. I asked this guy what he thought of the place. He said, "It's awesomer than awesome!" Does that make it five star? 

The big log was inviting over the dry creek bed.

The birthday boy had to stash his toys in the hollow log before crossing. 

The kids found tracks in the cement. There were wood prints in other areas of it. This was a nice touch of whimsy and I loved that the children found it on their own.

I have been researching natural playscapes for almost 6 months, trying to figure out a good fit. I've been keeping some ideas on Pinterest. I attended a webinar about these play areas a few weeks ago and found I really liked the less expensive option better. I'm helping plan some natural playscape options at Woodlawn Nature Center; however, many of these ideas can be implemented in our own back yards! Let me know if you visit and how you liked it!