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May 24, 2022

Montessori Home: A Surprising Outdoor Addition

Late last fall one of our good friends had to cut some smaller brush and trees from their property. They asked if we wanted some logs for firewood and we gladly accepted. But, times were busy and the firewood logs sat in our shed for the winter without getting burned. This spring the bins of firewood were discovered by Gus. And surprisingly, they have become one of his favorite additions to our yard that we've ever made. 

(Gus loves to pair the logs with some nails and his tool kit)

Ever since he made this discovery, Gus (and all of the kids) have been obsessed with the fire logs. All spring long, Gus has been hauling these logs all around the yard. They have been used for building, for pretend play - so many campfires built - and for maximum effort. They are hauled around, lined up, and rolled around. 

One day, the kids even decided to make a garden in the corner of the yard and used the logs to mark it. Then, it became the perfect balance beam work for everyone. But, it didn't last, the logs were quickly hauled away for the next idea and creation.  


Montessori Home: Open Ended Maximum Effort Outdoors

I think what has made these logs so successful is a few things: 
  • Size: These logs aren't too big to be moved around, but they aren't so small that they feel like sticks. They require some effort but not adult intervention. 
  • Quantity: We let the children use about 15 from our pile of firewood. It is enough that they can feel like they can do something with them, but not so much that it is overwhelming. 
  • A Place: After it became apparent that the logs are here to stay, we provided a wooden crate that the children could keep the logs in. This way they can be easily accessed, but also they can be easily put away which helps keep our adult frustration to a minimum 
  • Open ended: There's a ton that can be done with these, they aren't a one and done sort of thing. They fill a lot of different needs for a lot of children. 

So if you're looking for a surprising, easy Montessori friendly addition to our outdoor space, think about adding some logs! Nothing fancy, just small rough cut logs in different sizes, textures, widths and weights. And see some serious fun unfold before your eyes!  

Adding logs to your Montessori outdoor space is an easy and fun activity sparking creativity and learning from your children


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Diane said…
I once went to a lecture given by a lady who designed playgrounds and public spaces. Her firm has designed playgrounds in some pretty big cities and they do a ton of research as to what makes an engaging and inclusive playspace. Afterwards I asked her, given all her research, what would she put in her own back yard? Her answer: loose pieces- logs, wooden discs, rocks.