grandpa, wagon, toddlers

Living Arts Weekly: Exploring Nature and Art in the Neighborhood

November 26, 2023

grandpa, wagon, toddlers

When we moved to the park and museums area of our city, the nature of our walks changed. We now have the opportunity to explore green spaces and art spaces within walking distance. I have discovered how much frequent doses of both nature and art feed my soul.

Another new perspective came to us when we had grandchildren. Now we have two young grandsons to go exploring with and our walks nourish intergenerational connections. We often pull them along inside a wagon, where they munch on pretzels and take in the passing scenery. They are both getting too big to carry and we want our walks to be long enough for our bodies to be renewed.

The park playground is a frequent request; once there, the children climb, and play until they tire themselves out. Often, they find other children to play with while we take turns either sitting on the bench or supervising their play. It’s fun to see them gain dexterity in climbing and to watch their glee zooming down the slide.

The children have also grown fond of an architectural complex in the neighborhood. One of the bonuses of going there in the winter is that the snow is cleared from the wide paths so we are assured of getting through with our wagon and its precious cargo. When we went there recently, the complex clearly captured the imagination of the older grandson. Grandpa is an architect which could explain his interest in buildings.

When he saw the imposing structure in the center of the complex, he informed us that it was a castle. Then he pointed to each turret and identified one as the king’s and the other the queen’s. What is a castle without a king and queen living in it? It is fascinating to see those majestic buildings through the eyes of a young child.

When we arrive at the complex, the children hop out of the wagon to explore the sculptural art, called “Look and See.” The boys love to laugh at their distorted image in the mirror and to climb through the cut-outs. It never fails to engage them and this prompts me to take a closer look myself.

When they have finished exploring that piece of public art, they climb back into the wagon to be wheeled through the trnned to the other side of the complex. That in itself is fun – venturing through the brick tunnel. Not far ahead, there is another sculptural piece including colorful objects sitting on an axis. The axis allows for spinning them. The children start at one end of the sculptures which range in size from small to large, pushing them one at a time. We then marvel to watch the colorful pins spinning together.

There is a lot to be said for parks, public art and museums in the neighborhood. They are designed for creative exploration and the children know just what to do when they get there. I love their multi-age appeal and how everyone’s needs for movement, fresh air, and play are met.

Our walks have become even more wonderful when we added the children’s perspective to the mix.


Today’s Living Arts Weekly was written by author Judith Frizlen, who has just come out with a new book, Where Wisdom Meets Wonder: Forty Stories of Grandma Love.
You can find more about Judith’s new book, as well as how to purchase it at her website here.