Loose Parts

Dear Yai Yai,

Every year as the first flowers start to bloom and our cars turn uniformly yellow I survey my back yard. I am considering the usual suspects. Which plants have become invasive? Do I have room for another garden bed? This year, beyond the plans for pruning and tomatoes, there was another idea forming; what will make you the master of your outdoor domain?  Plastic playhouses and kiddie pools are fun, but when the plastic pool turns into an ocean and leaves of an Elephant-Ear plant become mermaid tails, that is how magic happens.

secret garden

With this in mind I set out to turn our backyard into a haven for fostering your imagination. On a budget. Really, on a budget is the best way to outfit a yard for a game of astronaut-pirate-princess-fairy. To this end I crowd-sourced my way to the fun.

A friend offered us an arbor, which became the entrance to a secret, enchanted garden.

Another friend offered us tires, which are the walls of a great fort, the seat for a car, and the hiding spot of a hide-and-seek champion.

A few wooden planks turn that car into a bus, and create a lean-to perfect for a pretend camping trip.

Combine those planks with a few bricks and you have an imaginary fire pit and a balance beam.

Add that kiddie pool back in and suddenly you are walking the plank straight into the ocean. There are mermaids waiting.

I recognize and appreciate how lucky we are to have a safe backyard for these adventures, and it is my mission to make the most of it. My wish is that you love being outside as much as I do, and that you learn how much creativity, activity, and passion can rise out of a few loose parts.

Together, we have a kingdom to build. If you need me I will be the drummer in the tin can band next to the rocket ship just south of the lava.





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