Kim Garrett and her 3-year-old twin daughters, Lizzie and Sammie, squeezed every minute out of Green Space Learning’s Play Studio, the organization’s public natural play space, before it closed its doors Aug. 25.
“We’ll miss this place greatly,” Garrett said. “Developmentally, because their imaginations are exploding at this toddler age, I favor this open-ended play.”
In the outdoor play space, the twins played with dirt, pebbles, water and buckets. Inside, they played with plastic toys, wooden gadgets and plants — it’s the nature of the programs. Green Space Learning, a for-profit early childhood development space that aimed to “connect children to nature,” closed its Play Studio at 3005 E. Belknap St. at the end of August. However, start-up nonprofit Out to Play picked up the banner of providing public access to natural world-inspired play spaces — this time, for free and in underserved communities — with its mobile Nature Play pop-ups.
Fort hopes to continue to build more spaces in underserved communities and eventually purchase a truck with a space built inside for easier access to pop-up green spaces.
“We’re trying to bring it to kids who can’t come,” she said.
As much as they’ll miss the Play Studio, Garrett’s daughters will attend the Nature Play pop-ups, she said. Garrett understands the need for such resources to be shared with underserved communities that lack access to safe natural spaces.
“The idea of bringing play to communities that are not typically offered is really appealing to me,” Garrett said. “I intend to still engage with them when it makes sense.”
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.