We have had some serious errosion issues on one side of our house and finally have figured out a solution (and gotten up the energy!) to deal with it. So over the last few days Sam, Avery and I have been starting work on a pretty major landscaping project. Chris helped us finish it up today.
The project included digging a trench, hauling LOTS of rock, laying fabric, transplanting some trilium and spreading LOTS of mulch. I am horrible at remembering to take before pictures and am pretty bummed that I don't have one to share with you BUT here is the after shot!
Friends and family that I talked to about this project asked if I had a babysitter coming to watch the girls while I was working. I will admit that the thought had occurred to me, the project would certainly go faster if I could just devote my attention solely to the digging and hauling. But then the girls would miss out! And I did think that Sam would have fun helping me with this project. She was given a pretty good kid sized shovel that she has been itching to use.
So Sam helped to dig the trench, helped to dig the rocks out of our "way-back" backyard, helped to place the rocks, helped to walk on them to put them in place and helped to spread the mulch. She LOVES working alongside us on outdoor projects.
BUT most of all she loves any chance to get dirty and play with water. After every two loads of rock I would let her "test" our trench by filling up several buckets and watering cans with water from the rain barrel to pour at the top of the trench. This was great fun for her to watch where the water went and how it moved over the rocks. And it was good for me to see exactly where the water was going, if we had any high spots that I needed to deal with or any places where the water was escaping from the trench.
Our day was SO productive but also filled with fun and learning for the girls. Avery loved watching the water, helping to throw rocks into the trench and just being outside with us all morning. Projects like this are great times to talk about the way things work; why is errosion bad, how does water move, where does water go, etc. We talked a lot today and Sam got to see it in action which made all the talking even more interesting and the concepts really make sense to her.
An AWESOME day! How was your Saturday?
The Nitty Gritty!
You don't have to have errosion issues in your yard to have this kind of play and learning. Making simple rivers and watersheds in your own backyards for your kids to play in can be great additions to your natural playscape. They can be as extensive or simple as you want them to be.
Some great tips on how to make a backyard river system can be found at Eartheasy.
If you don't have the space or interest in making a permanent river system in your backyard I would still encourage you to think about these ideas when you are doing water play this summer. When you have the sprinkler out or the slip-n-slide in the yard be sure to watch where the water goes, encourage your kids to watch the water and use that water for more than just a great way to cool off and entertain the kids!