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