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Our Natural Playground

using hand drill to secure balance beamWhen we bought our new house, we had big plans to build a tree house around our huge oak. Then we found out that the oak might qualify as a Big Tree and we don't want to damage it. And establishing the garden is taking an inordinate amount of time and money, leaving little for a play house.

Instead of buying lumber to create a house-like structure, we turned to what we have in abundance - tree sections - and used tools on hand to build a natural playground. First, Alex lag-bolted a thin oak trunk to two trunk sections to create a balance beam fun for kids and adults. After blazing through batteries and exhausting the air compressor, Alex resorted to hand tools and mechanical advantage to drill the pilot holes for the beams. Trees are ever humbling.

woman on tree trunk balance beam-002

I rolled sections of catalpa tree trunk into a series of stepping logs over a wet area. Until these settle in, they are quite unbalanced and difficult to walk over! Lil and friends enjoy using the tarp-covered soil pile as a slide, one which is shrinking by the day. Lil thinks the creatures who visit her nearby fairy house might use the balance beam and stepping logs.

woobly wood stepping stones-002 sliding down the dirt pile-001

Last, but certainly not least, everyone likes climbing on the four-foot-tall trunk sections of oak laying near the house. Someday we'll get around to processing them into lumber or firewood. Right now, they're a pretend pirate ship, a climbing gym for kitty Moonshine, a jumping-off point, and a lookout.

climbing on tree trunks-002

We are enjoying the natural playground so much that I question whether we'll ever get around to building a tree house. It might be more fun to put in a couple slack lines and hammocks.

Where are you playing these days?