Wednesday, April 28, 2010

building a bush shelter at preschool

After spending the past few weeks writing about natural elements in children's play spaces, I inspired myself to build a bush cubby with the kids at preschool.

I gathered up some intrepid stick hunters and we headed outside to gather up some of the long, sturdy sticks we could see lying on the ground.

These boys love their sticks, and were quite thrilled that we were blatently breaking the "no sticks bigger than your thumb" rule.  I assured them that it was okay as we were using these sticks for good instead of evil.

A back corner was the perfect location because we could use the fence as roof supports.  I lay the biggest sticks across the corner and lashed them to the fence with string.  Then I sat back and watched.

The boys discovered the biggest sticks were the perfect size to lay across the front of the support.  The roof was a bit too high for them to reach so next time we will choose a spot that is more child-sized.  They did however develop a pretty effective system of throwing the sticks up there.  (You can't tell from the picture, but for most of this time I was holding my breath and trying to banish the saying "poke your eye out with a stick" from my mind.)

These little fellows came straight from playing hospitals, so they are still in their doctor's gowns.

I don't have a photo for this, but while I was lashing the roof together the boys set to with the string and made an adult trap around the front of the shelter.  This was a kids-only zone!  You can just make it out in this photo:

I love the way they all look so relaxed in their bush shelter.  They stayed there for ages, chatting away and lolling about on cushions they carried up from inside.

I was summoned to find them some material for the roof as it wasn't shady enough for them.  They ever so kindly allowed me in the adult no-go-zone to put the shade cloth up for them, and then banished me again.

We did need to set some ground rules for the bush shelter building:
  • sticks are for building our shelter
  • sticks are for holding up the shelter and not for swinging on, or climbing on
  • watch where you are going when you are carrying a big stick
  • make sure there is no one under the shelter when you are putting new sticks on the roof
I'm happy to report that everyone went home with both eyes.  Maybe next time we will try a teepee, and start a little village of shelters.


  1. That looks so awsome. I know my daughter would love that....hmmm....ideas for when it gets warm again here LOL. Thanks. Love your blog!

  2. Love it. Every kid should have their own bush cubby (what a great Australian word).

  3. I love you shelter and I love your stick 'rules.' Do you know the book, "It's Not A Stick?"

  4. Love it! Love it! Love it! That is one irresistible play space ... But then by now I reckon you knew I'd say that!

    Donna :) :)

  5. Thanks for the comments guys - and Christie I haven't heard of that book. I'll have to look it up - is it something my stick-obsessed boys would like?

  6. Love that shelter - how cool is that!?

  7. Love this! What a dreamy space! :)

  8. Amazingly, it is still standing after almost a week. I had my doubts :)

  9. Amen again to let the children play. I think I am having a religious experience with this!
    Another wonderful post.

  10. Thanks Maria. It is a big boost to get lovely comments - and you do know that I feel the same way about your beautiful blog, don't you :)