How to Become an Urban Explorer

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is looking for urban explorers, young and old, this summer to participate in “Find Me in the Park, It’s Treemendous!” Five local artists designed miniature fairy tree houses and placed them in five parks around the City of Columbus. The parks department even created a map with clues to help you find each hidden fairy home.

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You can follow the link to download/print a paper map or follow the provided GPS coordinates on your smartphone to locate the miniature tree houses. The site also tells you which parks are involved, provides a statement from each artist, and a “Meet the Tree” bio for info on the trees that the fairies call home.

Find Me In The Park

 

I went out in search of the miniature tree houses and found them all. I used a combination of the paper map, the given clues, and the GPS coordinates. This one is my favorite fairy house. It’s titled “If Gaudi Designed Fairy Houses” and is found in Wolfe Park on the east side of the city.

IMG_4301Some were easier to find than others and you have to remember to look up (they are tree houses, after all). This one is “The Enchanted Castle” in Schiller Park in German Village.

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The “Find me in the Park” project provides an awesome opportunity to build language skills and stimulate your child’s imagination, all while exploring public parks in Columbus.

Using the map and clues you can work on following directions with prepositions (“next to the swings,” “up in the tree,” “over by the pond”).

For example, when searching for the tree house in Westgate Park, titled “The Sons and Daughters of Severus Squirrdinal and their Scenic Summer Sanctuary,” the map states that the tree house is located “a slap shot away from the swings.” At first, I was confused by the clue, but after a little exploring, I noticed a jungle gym, with swings, featuring a large Columbus Blue Jackets logo on it. “Slap shot” = CBJ…Eureka!

From there, I walked around peering up at the nearby trees until I found the right one. It’s difficult to see, but the jungle gym is in the distance on the photo on the left. The photo on the right reveals the fairy house that is a “slap shot away from the swings.”

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Once a fairy house has been found, ask your child open-ended questions to help him/her build a story using his/her imagination. Here are a few suggestions…Think about the inhabitants of the dwelling and ask “who” would live in the tree house? “What” would they do all day? “Where” do they eat and sleep? “When” do they come out to play?  “Why” did they pick that particular tree? “How” do they get up and down the tree? Etc.

This activity will spur your child’s imagination as he/she thinks about the lives of the fairies who live in the tree houses and increases his/her abilities to follow directions from the clues provided on the map. These skills develop spontaneous language and reasoning in children, both of which are critical in speech development.

These pictures are from the “Fairy Village” in Whetstone Park (left) and “The Living Orb” in Goodale Park (right).

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It was fun roaming around the parks of Columbus to find these small dwellings! Good Luck to you and the kiddos on this adventure!

Signe

My First Post: A long time in the making!

I have been thinking and thinking about starting a blog, and now I am finally pulling the trigger and doing it!

My name is Signe (Sig-Knee!). I was born and raised in German Village in Columbus, Ohio.

IMG_3266IMG_3280Undergrad took me to Ohio University in Athens for awhile (another one of my favorite places!), but graduate school at OSU brought me back to Columbus where I earned a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology. I am now a pediatric Speech Language Pathologist working primarily in the early intervention setting (little kiddos).

IMG_0898I am currently living in Columbus, Ohio, with my husband, Drew, and our cat, Olive. I am somewhat obsessed with this adorable kitty!

IMG_1929I spend my days working as a Speech Language Pathologist, and my nights and weekends exploring the city of Columbus. I love how fast Columbus is growing and changing. It seems as if there is a new restaurant, shop, or park to explore nearly every week.

I began thinking about this blog when we found out we were expecting a baby girl. We are days away from meeting this newest member of our family, so I figured now was a better time than never to start this thing!  I want this blog to be a place to connect all the pieces of my life: new mom; pediatric Speech Language Pathologist; and avid Columbusite explorer.

My hope is that this blog is a platform for sharing tips and techniques that promote language development at home and while exploring the City of Columbus. I have studied speech and language development and worked as a Speech Language Pathologist for a few years, but now I am experiencing language development first hand with my little girl. I am excited to explore the city with my babe and share the hits (and misses) from these first hand experience. Stay tuned to see what adventures this new mom and her baby have in store.

Thanks for following!

Signe