When I started this project to observe play, I made a commitment to not pose anything, or curate the toys, or worry about whether Charlotte is wearing her pajamas or whether her hair is brushed. It’s hard not to cringe sometimes when I see our dirty house and our junky toys, but then play unfolds and anything is game. Pretty much all of Charlotte’s toys have been given to her as gifts or as hand me downs. Though they are not always the things that I would select to have around, I am grateful for them.
And then there’s the other stuff we have. Our backyard has been the dumping ground for 6 years of construction projects, and no matter how much we have taken away, we still have a lot of loose parts scattered around…such as the tiny blue BBs, beads, chains, random remote control, and rotting plywood that were all selected to be a significant part of an unfolding narrative that was so complicated I couldn’t even follow along. We had some friends over, and I couldn’t help but intrude on the adventure that included a robot cat and lava and an important call to Uncle Chad. Excited that the bits and pieces of materials laying around were being put to creative reuse, I think I’ll start considering our backyard as more of a loose parts playground rather than a junkyard. If you too need to justify having piles of random junk around, read this article and be inspired by The Adventure Playground.