Blog Posts

Loose Parts for Outdoors Gets Real

Just a quick update to let you all know that our PD course “Loose Parts for Outdoors Gets Real”, offered through NSCECE was a great time for all the participants! We took our loose parts over to the South Common after lunch and invited the kids there to come play with us. There were lots of puzzled looks, but they came and checked out the materials and had a great time!

If you are looking to try out some outdoor loose parts before making an investment at our site, give us a call!

Offering PD through NSCECE this fall

We’ll be offering two PD classes at the NSCECE this fall – an evening introduction to loose parts for those not yet familiar (Taking Loose Parts Outside), and a longer day session for those wanting to dive deeper (Loose Parts for Outdoors Gets Real). The longer session will include a ‘pop-up’ playground event on the South Common by the Willowtree intersection – check out their online catalog to sign up!

Visiting Excel After-school Programs

For the 2017-18 school year T.K.Adventure Play will be one of the ‘external providers’ who visit every program site. We will be taking our loose parts on the road and helping Excel program staff see the power of loose parts in their play spaces!

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates as we travel around the Halifax area. We will be visiting no matter the weather, so we may be indoors or outdoors, but we’ll be having fun either way!

Loose Parts Fun in the Sun

This summer we’ve had a great time travelling around visiting day camps, child care centres, and even helping host birthday parties!

Some of our hosts were:

Indian Point Young Naturalists Club

Roots & Boots Forest School

Windsor Junction Community Centre

Christopher Allen’s Pre-school

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Halifax

Windsor Park Military Family Resource Centre

Family SOS in Greystone

Thanks to everyone who had us come to visit – we hope to see you again soon!

NS Childcare Association Conference

Last weekend I attended the annual conference of the NS Childcare Association, both as an educator and a trade show participant.

The keynote speaker on Saturday morning, Anne Marie Coughlin, is the Educational Director at London Bridge Child Care Services in London, Ontario, Canada. She spoke about the many different gifts we bring as educators, and to make sure we value those, not try to fit ourselves into some stereotype of what an education ‘should’ look like. She also emphasized the importance of language when working with children, to make sure we are not de-valuing their learning or skills or autonomy by assigning labels like ‘cute’ when in fact so much of what child do and say and learn every day is more like ‘awesome’!

The break-out sessions focused on topics like looking ourselves, knowing who we are as educators, and providing information about the new NS Early Learning Framework that is being developed and piloted in many centres across the province.

It was an excellent event and I met many new people in the field. My trade show booth had plenty of visitors, and I have lots of follow-up to do in booking visits for the upcoming summer. If you are planning to book, do it soon!  🙂

Creative Kids Education Centre

For the 2016-17 school year I am working with the after-school program at Creative Kids Education Centre. When I first started in September they had a fabulous outdoor space, but the kids weren’t keen to play in it because “there was nothing to do”. Well, there was a big pile of tires, and lots of milk crates, but admittedly not much else.

In October a work party anchored most of the tires into the ground in a big circle to make a great space for jumping and leaping and hopping on one foot from hole to hole. This has greatly improved the functionality of what was a big empty space and is now ‘the tire area’.

Further to the back of the yard, behind the school, we have create a loose parts area that we call ‘the shady area’. Students have access to buckets full of sheets, tarps, and pieces of rope, a bunch of old wooden palettes, a bin full of pieces of plastic pipe, and a heap of wood in various shapes, sizes and lengths. A large fort made of palettes has also been constructed and makes a great climbing apparatus.

To reach the ‘shady area’ from the ‘tire area’ there is a small wooded space full of tree roots and dips in the ground, which collects water just perfectly in damp weather, and now in the winter is a perfect little slippery spot for playing ‘hockey’ with pipes, for bashing and smashing ice, and just generally practicing how to walk (and fall!) on ice.

We encourage parents to bring us their old and unused pots, pans, kitchen utensils, pipes and wood to continue to expand our collection. Old kitchen stuff is great fun for mixing ‘potions’ from natural materials such as dirt, sand, rocks, tree leaves & needles, and all manner of interesting stuff they find lying around.

For the more adventurous, the back section of the property is heavily wooded, with a variety of wide and narrow paths. The children often play games of tag and hide & seek in the woods, improving their balance and coordination along with listening and observation skills. Several students who seemed very clumsy and uncomfortable in the woods are now, six months later, very comfortable in the woods, and not falling nearly as often if at all.

Although there was initially some concern from a few staff members about sending kids home filthy and often damp (if not soaked), parent feedback has been very positive, often saying the dirt and wet is a clear indicator that their child had a good day, and they are always pleased to hear what adventure we’ve been up to now.

Our after-school program’s reputation is growing, as parents hear from their kids and kids’ friends that this is a great place to get lots of outdoor play after school!


Windsor Junction Community Centre

Today we hosted loose parts adventure play at Windsor Junction Community Centre. We spent the morning, so some groups could spend time with us while others were having swimming lessons. There were about six groups in all, with 12-15 children in each group, plus two leaders per group.

The space was a baseball field surrounded by chain link fence, so the kids had lots of fun connecting various materials to the fence to see what would stay up. Each new set of children spent a few minutes experimenting with different materials, but since it was a very hot, sunny day, everyone tried a fort at some point, to create some shade!

There were several digging groups, working in the outfield (they filled in the holes before we left), and a few experiments with whether the pipes could be ‘convinced’ the stay upright in the very hard, dry ground….

The group leaders had at least as much fun as the kids with building forts, and they assured me that they will have us back next year earlier in the summer so they can get inspired to start their own loose parts collection!