Every year, I take my summer vacation at the beginning of July so I can complete some big projects to prepare for all our summer activities. I don’t like to travel so going places is never on my vacation agenda. Relaxing is something I find difficult – maybe even stressful – I like to be busy. There are some types of ‘busy’ that I enjoy more than others and my summer projects are high up on my list.
Spring 2022 was so late, so wet, so…. depressing that it was really hard to get excited about summer projects. In fact, it was mid-June already when my husband asked, “What are your summer projects this year?” and I realized that I hadn’t even started making my list. Of course, there were things I wanted to do but nothing that I considered a BIG summer project – just a bunch of little things that I would normally plan as weekend projects.
The most obvious project to put on the summer list was the climbing wall – which I had purchased the supplies for last fall and planned to build as soon as the snow melted and have ready for when the school-age children were here for Spring Break – but it was still ‘winter’ when school was out for spring break. The climbing wall was probably the most noticeable vacation project and very popular with the children all summer.
The second most noticeable project was the roof over the corner house – and I don’t even have a picture of it. Creating the corner house to replace the tipi was one of my 2021 vacation projects that I didn’t have time to complete the way I initially envisioned. I had simply made a temporary lean-to type of roof last year. This year I designed and built a better roof and moved all the bus benches into the corner house. It was a very popular sit spot all summer – I can’t fathom why I didn’t manage to get a picture of it. *sigh*
I also didn’t any pictures of the new layout of stumps, logs, and steppingstones in the mulch area or the enlarged ‘river’ area. I spent three whole days rearranging the pathways to align with the bridges and entrances to the building and digging areas. It was a very labour intensive project but not something particularly noticeable if you hadn’t spent a lot of time in the yard.
The children and I found the new pathways to be much more functional – as did this little visitor to my yard – caught on my surveillance camera, he/she followed the new curvy path perfectly all the way from the back gate to the side yard. LOL
I expanded the ‘river’ area to make space for a new dedicated area for water play. I added a hand pump so the children could get water for creating concoctions. There was a delay in getting this area ready for use. The hand pump I originally chose did not function properly and was eventually replaced with this bilge pump.
The trick here though is that getting water requires some communication as the pump is not near the spouts…
This area is still a work in progress – we hope to add more pipes, hoses and storage for other concoction making supplies. Of course, we are still collecting supplies too! It was a very popular play area this summer.
I also added a new painting panel. We’ve had several built-in plexiglass panels in the past and I have found that they get damaged in the winter. The framework I built for hanging this one is permanent but the panel itself is removable, so the space is still multipurpose, and the panel can be safely stored when not in use.
I love plexiglass for painting on – even better when you can access both sides – and with the garden as a backdrop the artwork is enhanced.
Well, that didn’t seem like a lot of dramatic changes to our learning environment. Certainly not any major transformations. Still, there were enough little projects to keep me busy on my ‘vacation’ and some new spaces for the children to explore this summer. In my next post I will highlight a few of our summer activities.