Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Shade

Ever since I wrote the post about outdoor play and sleep, and learned more about how shade and shadows are an important part of the play and learning experience for children... for people (you can read the post here) - I have been observing play spaces with new eyes...

While I was in Boulder, which is a very sunny place - and rather hot during summer, I was quite surprised by the lack of shade in the public play-spaces. Most of the time the play-ground equipment was in an area devoid of trees, and therefore devoid of a stimulating shadow play... also devoid of the shade that keeps you cool and protects from the sun.

The trees etc could be found in the public parks, usually round the edges, or away from the play area...

Trees do offer a brilliant source of shade, as the leaves etc not only give a variety of shade, but also there is movement... this continuously stimulates the brain...

The image above shows a variety of shade types - from the static shade of a roof (made more interesting by the fact it is not a solid roof, and also my adding free-flowing materials to add movement and colour) to the natural shade of trees and bushes, which you can clearly see comes in different shades of black and grey, also different shapes... there is also shade where it is mostly shade with just small patches of light, rather than being small patches of shadow - and of course in winter the shadows seem blue.

So why not go out into your outdoor play-space and check out what kind of varied shading there is to stimulate the eyes and brain and senses.

video
Even on a pretty wind still day in Boulder you can see that there is movement in the shadows. (Oh there was also a squirrel (not in this film)... and my children thought I was slightly bonkers taking photographs and films of tree shadows!!!)

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