Our Play Sets Are an Author’s Inspiration

We were recently contacted by a customer telling us how much they were enjoying their new Nature of Early Play Playset.

Carolynn Weisinger, of iDesign Playgrounds is a regular distributor of Nature of Early Play playground equipment. She was excited to share the lovely feedback from her client at the Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.

“Just wanted you to know that my husband, Jeff, and I recently had the opportunity to care for some of the children at Wilshire during the worship service. It was a beautiful day, and we took the children to our new playground. They had a wonderful time exploring, and my husband started playing with the chimes. As he used the mallet to strike the chimes, he asked me if we specifically ordered the chimes that played Jesus Loves Me. I was not aware of any of the notes on the chimes and was thrilled to hear him play the simple tune. How grateful we are for this special touch on our playground!”

—LeeAnn

Inspired to Blog About Our Chickadee Chime Panel

The new playground includes the Nature of Early Play Mini Car 2020, Tot Trekker, and our Foxy preschool playset, which features the Chickadee Chime Panel. But the story doesn’t stop there. As if LeeAnn’s amazing testimonial wasn’t enough, her husband, author Jeff Hampton, was inspired to write a blog about his experience! We’ve been given permission to share his blog below.

This I Know

For Wilshire Baptist Church

Our Wilshire Winds instrumental ensemble returned to the rehearsal hall on Monday evening for the first time since early 2020. It was great to be back together, and we started by playing “Hymn for a Child,” a rich arrangement of the familiar childhood tune, “Jesus Loves Me.” It’s the first thing I’ve played on my saxophone since we played outdoors on Easter Sunday, but somewhat surprisingly, I played the tune outdoors just a couple of weeks ago.

LeAnn and I were volunteering with extended teaching care for preschoolers during the late worship service and we went out on the church playground with two little girls. It was my first time on the playground since new equipment was installed in early 2021, so I was as eager as they were to check it out. After testing her skills on the new balance course, one of the girls ran over to a set of chimes, picked up the mallet that was attached, and tapped a few random notes before moving on to the next adventure.

Hearing her play, I was drawn to the instrument as well, and as I started tapping the chimes I made an interesting discovery. Starting with the third chime from the right, if you tap down to the left and then back up to the right, you find you are playing the first notes of “Jesus Loves Me.” In fact, moving up and down the chimes, you can play an entire verse. Only during the chorus do you have to jump around a little bit. But it’s all right there just waiting to be played. There are no extra notes; there are just the notes you need.

The new playground equipment is made by a company called Nature of Early Play, and the chime panel is marked with a music staff and climbing quarter notes and the letters D, E, G, A, B, D, E, G. I looked up the company online and found that instrument is called the Chickadee Chime Panel. On the description they explain: “The chimes are tuned to a pentatonic scale – all notes are pleasing together.”

More than just the nature of early play, the music children create with the instrument may contribute to their nature of early faith. Children striking the chimes with the mallet may discover the melody of “Jesus Loves Me” as I did, or more likely they will create other melodies that are uniquely theirs and equally pleasing. As they experiment with the sounds and their own creativity during Sunday School and in Wilshire’s Early Childhood Learning Center, they may learn that Jesus does love them no matter what tune they play. They may learn that their tune is special and worthwhile, and so are the tunes created by their playmates.

And if they learn it early, maybe they’ll remember some of that when they have grown older – when life experiences have muffled their tune a little. Maybe they’ll remember that as difficult as things may get, “Jesus loves me – this I know.”

We sincerely thank LeeAnn and Jeff Hampton for sharing their beautiful experience with our playground equipment. We also thank Carolynn and Royce Weisinger for featuring Nature of Early Play in this playground design.