With the recent good weather, the children have been having a great time with the new play areas outdoors. In addition to the music area, the bamboo car track and the water wall have been particularly popular. We try to ensure we keep adding to the outdoor areas and changing things to keep our children engaged and intersted.
This said, on Tuesday afternoon I came across a group of children excitedly clustered together. As I came closer, I noticed that they were completely engrossed in a saucepan that they were filling with water, leaves and sand (and a wooden slice of watermelon)! I asked them what they were doing, and they replied "cooking, of course!" - and went back to adding more leaves, sand, stirring, and encouraging each other to add more.
Two things that struck me about this experience: Children are frequently not given enough recognition for how well they will play collectively and spontaneously, and regardless of what well-designed experiences you can provide, sometimes all you need is water, sand - and a healthy dose of imagination.