There are swings, monkey bars, climbers, rocking horses, slides, and more space than all parks I went to as a kid combined, but we spent all of our time at the “WHEEL WHEEL!” (his words) The life-size firetruck was pretty much all of his current interests made into the best structure ever: truck, wheels, climbing, slide, and did I mention, wheels!
When he finally decided to venture out from the life-size fire truck, of course we went straight to the child-size car. More wheels! And even more exciting for him, it was a blue car (just like ours)!
While taking pictures/video of his excitement, I started reflecting on the vocabulary that was growing from these experiences too. He had already begun to say, “car” and “wheel” prior to our visit, but while we were at the park he developed a new understanding for the word “wheel”. This was a word used for the tire on something moving, but it was also the word used for driving, a steering wheel. It was like I could see the lightbulb going off in his adorable head, “Oh this is a wheel and this is a wheel. They both spin! WHEEL WHEEL!”
And what day would it be without music? He loved the giant swinging maracas almost as much as the bongos. Gave me ideas for future backyard DIY projects too!
Ok, time for me to geek out again! In addition to the vocabulary he was learning from this trip, I was excited to see him learning about some physics concepts and bigger wonderings too. While he may not say it aloud, I know these were some of the questions his brain was trying to solve: How do you make the steering wheel spin, how is it connected, what does this look like underneath, can the wheel spin both directions, how much force do I need to use to make it spin or spin faster, can I fit through the tire wheel, how do I move my body through this space, and (my favorite) how close can I be without bumping my head?
I know some of you are thinking, “This chick is needs to cut back on the coffee, she’s seeing things”, but this is the beauty of early childhood. All of these concepts he is learning through play, through his natural exploration with his environment. I didn’t decide that we would work on any specific skill sets for this trip, but I am lucky enough to be able decode what he is learning while playing thanks to all of my early childhood studies.
Although I didn’t get more pictures since I was playing along with him the whole time, I did want to mention another reason I loved this park as a mom and early childhood educator. This park is truly inclusive of all children; from adaptive swings, to ramps on all climbing structures, large open spaces between structures, an area with quiet spaces, a maze wide enough for wheelchairs, and more. Everything mentioned above was integrated seamlessly throughout the entire park.
Every child should be able to go to a park and be a kid. Clemyjontri provides an amazing space for every child to have fun without feeling different or left out. Loved that this park was so much fun for all of the grown-up’s inner children too! Can’t wait to go back for more “WHEEL WHEEL” fun soon!