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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Tips for Outdoor Loose Parts?
LittleScholars 10:29 AM 03-20-2019
I'm finally collecting natural loose parts (thin logs, etc.). My husband thinks I'm insane. He thinks they are all going to rot and quickly be a mess.

Tips for creating and maintaining a nice collection of outdoor materials? Has anyone had an issue with these things attracting more ticks?

I should mention that I live in the most suburban area ever. I am not exaggerating when I say I don't have a single rock left to find in my yard. I have to actively seek out these materials and bring them in.
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Mom2Two 11:12 AM 03-20-2019
Oh, I thought this was going to be a thread about the washers and screws that manage to come off swing sets and scooters in the back yard. I actually have a problem with that.

Can you grow a tree? They just shed loose natural parts like crazy.
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kendallina 11:14 AM 03-20-2019
We live in a pretty 'naturey' area anyways, but I did add in several logs and stumps several years ago and the children LOVE them! They build campfires with them, set them up as an obstacle course, make see saws from them and even just like carrying them around. They're heavy (ish) and it's really good for them on so many levels to participate in this kind of play!

Didn't answer your question... we don't have much organization to them. When we clean up they have a space near our fence where we put them.

You can also get a kids wheelbarrow and they'll love wheeling them around.
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Cat Herder 11:23 AM 03-20-2019
I am over here looking like this because I live bordering a national forest on a fully forested large property with springs, creeks, trails and a river and I will get cited if I leave any sticks, rocks or "lawn debris" on the ground on the playground. My DCK's cannot leave the fenced/maintained area without a permission form and extra adults as chaperones.

I literally must spend 15 minutes each morning, before kids arrival, raking up any dropped pine cones, twigs, acorns, pine needles or astray river stone that occasionally creeps it's way to the surface.

And there are other providers who are encouraged to cart the stuff in. Crazy making.
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Mom2Two 11:31 AM 03-20-2019
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I will get cited if I leave any sticks, rocks or "lawn debris" on the ground on the playground. My DCK's cannot leave the fenced/maintained area without a permission form and extra adults as chaperones.

I literally must spend 15 minutes each morning, before kids arrival, raking up any dropped pine cones, twigs, acorns, pine needles or astray river stone that occasionally creeps it's way to the surface.


For outdoors, we are required to "actively watch" the kids. How in heck do you rid the whole, great outdoors of all choking hazards?
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AmyKidsCo 11:36 AM 03-20-2019
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I am over here looking like this because I live bordering a national forest on a fully forested large property with springs, creeks, trails and a river and I will get cited if I leave any sticks, rocks or "lawn debris" on the ground on the playground. My DCK's cannot leave the fenced/maintained area without a permission form and extra adults as chaperones.

I literally must spend 15 minutes each morning, before kids arrival, raking up any dropped pine cones, twigs, acorns, pine needles or astray river stone that occasionally creeps it's way to the surface.

And there are other providers who are encouraged to cart the stuff in. Crazy making.
That's nuts.

And the reason for that is... ???
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Cat Herder 11:47 AM 03-20-2019
Originally Posted by AmyKidsCo:
That's nuts.

And the reason for that is... ???
My lawmakers live in the city.
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Cat Herder 11:48 AM 03-20-2019
Originally Posted by Mom2Two:


For outdoors, we are required to "actively watch" the kids. How in heck do you rid the whole, great outdoors of all choking hazards?
Raking.

Lot's of raking.

And a fence within a fence.

Oh, and lots of raking.

Don't forget trip/fall hazards.

And raking.

I am basically the lady from the old American Gothic painting. The one with the rake.
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Mom2Two 12:01 PM 03-20-2019
I am sure that we can all rest easier, knowing that your yard is rid of those...those...deadly pinecones.
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Cat Herder 12:05 PM 03-20-2019
Originally Posted by Mom2Two:
I am sure that we can all rest easier, knowing that your yard is rid of those...those...deadly pinecones.
Yep.

And QRIS had me move them into the playroom, instead.

You know, in the nature and science center. For tactile learning.

The nature center for indoors.

Sometimes if I don't laugh at the crazy over-regulation, I just might cry.
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Cat Herder 12:12 PM 03-20-2019
Oh, and now they'd like for us to have play kitchens and classrooms outside.

It would be so cool if I could just leave outside outside and inside inside.
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AmyKidsCo 12:17 PM 03-20-2019
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Oh, and now they'd like for us to have play kitchens and classrooms outside.

It would be so cool if I could just leave outside outside and inside inside.
Having learning centers outside is a big thing here too. It looks great in photos but whenever I've tried it the kiddos have participated for a couple of minutes, then they run off to PLAY.
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CalCare 02:07 PM 03-20-2019
I have driftwood from the beach, a big palm frond base, and various things in plastic "milk crate" like bins and they fit under the overhang of the roof, just well enough to keep then from becoming a soaking disaster zone when it rains. I have other shelving for sand toys and trucks but those do all get wet in the constant rain we've been having. I think it's ok if these things get a bit wet. I'd rather that, than keeping them enclosed somewhere where the black widows will move in. I mean, here where I am, black widows really do move into any well hidden closed up space. So, that's no bueno for childcare!
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Ariana 02:24 PM 03-20-2019
Oh Catherder the irony!!

I think that the best thing you can do is keep this stuff outside to prolong its life. I know that sounds crazy but we brought 4 huge stumps inside our garage one winter because we moved and they got full of bugs. They were outside the winter before and did fine. I currently have logs and kept them outside this winter. They are great for the kids when they go hunting for worms. Worms love to live under stumps and logs! As for ticks I donít worry too much about it. I also live in suburban wasteland and have never actually seen a tick and I do kid checks every day in the summer for them. My dog also. We have a blue spruce tree which produces oodles of cones and a maple and serviceberry that produces flowers and leaves. I also grow a wildflower and lavendar garden which I cut the blooms for the kids. Any kind of plant that requires clipping to produce more blooms is ideal. I have a mud kitchen with real pots, pans and ladles and spoons etc and keep the water table filled with fresh water daily for them to mix and play in. We get very dirty! I also have a pallet that I put on the ground for them to pretend with. It can be a boat, a stage, balance beam etc. There are some natural loose parts you can get on Amazon or Michaels as well, just do a search to get ideas. Pinterest can be good as well.

I am not licensed thankfully so the more bugs and nature the better!
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Josiegirl 03:02 PM 03-20-2019
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Yep.

And QRIS had me move them into the playroom, instead.

You know, in the nature and science center. For tactile learning.

The nature center for indoors.

Sometimes if I don't laugh at the crazy over-regulation, I just might cry.
Hahaha insanity.
I love the idea of bringing nature inside but doesn't one benefit from nature outside while also getting fresh air, room to move, etc., etc. Absolutely ridiculous.
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Blackcat31 07:03 AM 03-21-2019
Originally Posted by Josiegirl:
Hahaha insanity.
I love the idea of bringing nature inside but doesn't one benefit from nature outside while also getting fresh air, room to move, etc., etc. Absolutely ridiculous.
Naw, they have apps for that now.

Sadly, I have actually had parents tell me these last few years that they"aren't really outside kind of people".
Which would be perfectly acceptable except we live in northwoods MN near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area...one of THE most visited wildernesses in the U.S.
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LittleScholars 09:36 AM 03-21-2019
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I am over here looking like this because I live bordering a national forest on a fully forested large property with springs, creeks, trails and a river and I will get cited if I leave any sticks, rocks or "lawn debris" on the ground on the playground. My DCK's cannot leave the fenced/maintained area without a permission form and extra adults as chaperones.

I literally must spend 15 minutes each morning, before kids arrival, raking up any dropped pine cones, twigs, acorns, pine needles or astray river stone that occasionally creeps it's way to the surface.

And there are other providers who are encouraged to cart the stuff in. Crazy making.
Stop it! This is wild! I'm literally at the point I'm looking to BUY those items!!
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LittleScholars 09:37 AM 03-21-2019
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Yep.

And QRIS had me move them into the playroom, instead.

You know, in the nature and science center. For tactile learning.

The nature center for indoors.

Sometimes if I don't laugh at the crazy over-regulation, I just might cry.
I'm crying. This is INSANE.
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LittleScholars 09:39 AM 03-21-2019
Originally Posted by AmyKidsCo:
Having learning centers outside is a big thing here too. It looks great in photos but whenever I've tried it the kiddos have participated for a couple of minutes, then they run off to PLAY.
Yes! I just got rid of my outdoor classroom stuff and my outdoor play kitchen. I am building a mud kitchen, but living in the northeast, I find that we are getting more than enough inside time. We need fresh air, nature and true outdoor play outside.
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LittleScholars 09:39 AM 03-21-2019
Originally Posted by CalCare:
I have driftwood from the beach, a big palm frond base, and various things in plastic "milk crate" like bins and they fit under the overhang of the roof, just well enough to keep then from becoming a soaking disaster zone when it rains. I have other shelving for sand toys and trucks but those do all get wet in the constant rain we've been having. I think it's ok if these things get a bit wet. I'd rather that, than keeping them enclosed somewhere where the black widows will move in. I mean, here where I am, black widows really do move into any well hidden closed up space. So, that's no bueno for childcare!


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Annalee 09:40 AM 03-21-2019
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Yep.

And QRIS had me move them into the playroom, instead.

You know, in the nature and science center. For tactile learning.

The nature center for indoors.

Sometimes if I don't laugh at the crazy over-regulation, I just might cry.
I'm going to a QRIS Q&A in April. They are having ten of these meetingsacross the state during that month. Don't really know why I'm going cause they never listen to what providers say But I do get hours for it so
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LittleScholars 09:43 AM 03-21-2019
Originally Posted by Ariana:
Oh Catherder the irony!!

I think that the best thing you can do is keep this stuff outside to prolong its life. I know that sounds crazy but we brought 4 huge stumps inside our garage one winter because we moved and they got full of bugs. They were outside the winter before and did fine. I currently have logs and kept them outside this winter. They are great for the kids when they go hunting for worms. Worms love to live under stumps and logs! As for ticks I donít worry too much about it. I also live in suburban wasteland and have never actually seen a tick and I do kid checks every day in the summer for them. My dog also. We have a blue spruce tree which produces oodles of cones and a maple and serviceberry that produces flowers and leaves. I also grow a wildflower and lavendar garden which I cut the blooms for the kids. Any kind of plant that requires clipping to produce more blooms is ideal. I have a mud kitchen with real pots, pans and ladles and spoons etc and keep the water table filled with fresh water daily for them to mix and play in. We get very dirty! I also have a pallet that I put on the ground for them to pretend with. It can be a boat, a stage, balance beam etc. There are some natural loose parts you can get on Amazon or Michaels as well, just do a search to get ideas. Pinterest can be good as well.

I am not licensed thankfully so the more bugs and nature the better!
A pallet is a genius idea!!!

We are having such a tick issue here. I have almost no grass from the constant kid traffic and just a few large trees and we are loaded with them. This is a new thing here and it is awful. I've had to get my yard sprayed with essential oils the last two years. I couldn't stomach the idea of chemicals and kids on the same lawn, so it was a compromise.
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Ariana 10:46 AM 03-21-2019
Originally Posted by LittleScholars:
A pallet is a genius idea!!!

We are having such a tick issue here. I have almost no grass from the constant kid traffic and just a few large trees and we are loaded with them. This is a new thing here and it is awful. I've had to get my yard sprayed with essential oils the last two years. I couldn't stomach the idea of chemicals and kids on the same lawn, so it was a compromise.
I use DEET with my own kids when we camp or go hiking. From all of the studies I have read it is perfectly safe. The only issue they found was in forest workers in California who used DEET all year round in large quantities for many years.

I donít use chemicals on my lawn because it kills everything and then seeps into the ground water.
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Mom2Two 11:32 AM 03-21-2019
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Yep.

And QRIS had me move them into the playroom, instead.

You know, in the nature and science center. For tactile learning.

The nature center for indoors.

Sometimes if I don't laugh at the crazy over-regulation, I just might cry.
Are you required/pressured to do this? Our state's version of QRIS lets us get a point for having an indoor science center, but I am able to get enough other points to get the equipment grant. And the kids have a great science center...it's right outside the door...it's called a "backyard."
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LittleScholars 09:20 AM 03-22-2019
Originally Posted by Ariana:
I use DEET with my own kids when we camp or go hiking. From all of the studies I have read it is perfectly safe. The only issue they found was in forest workers in California who used DEET all year round in large quantities for many years.

I donít use chemicals on my lawn because it kills everything and then seeps into the ground water.
This summer I'll use it. I was pregnant back-to-back since I opened, so I was a crazy person and didn't want to be applying it regularly. Now that I'm less concerned with the exposure I'd much rather use it than constantly hunt for ticks on children.

We did have good luck with the essential oils on our lawn, but it is pricey and I don't love mixing kids with those either.
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Cat Herder 08:38 AM 03-25-2019
Originally Posted by LittleScholars:
Stop it! This is wild! I'm literally at the point I'm looking to BUY those items!!
Send me your address in pm. It is pinecone season.
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Ariana 03:38 PM 03-25-2019
Originally Posted by LittleScholars:
This summer I'll use it. I was pregnant back-to-back since I opened, so I was a crazy person and didn't want to be applying it regularly. Now that I'm less concerned with the exposure I'd much rather use it than constantly hunt for ticks on children.

We did have good luck with the essential oils on our lawn, but it is pricey and I don't love mixing kids with those either.
I just make sure to have a hot soapy shower and give my kids a bath at the end of every day. I donít want them stewing in that stuff all night!!

You could try some plants as well. I have lavendar growing all over and it might help.
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LittleScholars 09:09 AM 03-26-2019
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
Send me your address in pm. It is pinecone season.

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LittleScholars 09:10 AM 03-26-2019
Originally Posted by Ariana:
I just make sure to have a hot soapy shower and give my kids a bath at the end of every day. I donít want them stewing in that stuff all night!!

You could try some plants as well. I have lavendar growing all over and it might help.
Plants are such a good idea!! I'm going to do some research!
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FrankMc 09:26 PM 03-21-2021
Originally Posted by kendallina:
We live in a pretty 'naturey' area anyways, but I did add in several logs and stumps several years ago and the children LOVE them! They build campfires with them, set them up as an obstacle course, make see saws from them and even just like carrying them around. They're heavy (ish) and it's really good for them on so many levels to participate in this kind of play!

Didn't answer your question... we don't have much organization to them. When we clean up they have a space near our fence where we put them.

You can also get a and they'll love wheeling them around.
Thx for the idea. I heard that it's really perfect for development of muscles and health generally!
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Gemma 04:24 AM 03-22-2021
Originally Posted by Cat Herder:
I literally must spend 15 minutes each morning, before kids arrival, raking up any dropped pine cones, twigs, acorns, pine needles ...
I find this to be wrong on so many level!

I can understand that acorns could be a choking hazard, but com'on ...pinecones? pine needles? what's the harm in that?
I have Pine trees, Oak trees and all that and one of the most entertaining game my DCKs play, is to collect pinecones, line them up on a ledge and spray them down with a water bottle. I don't see why that should not be allowed

I don't know how you keep up with it all
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Tags:natural playscapes, nature based, outdoor - nature
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