More sunshine, less whine

Sunshine and the great outdoors are the allies of the exhausted parent.

Armed with a double shot almond milk latte, in a huge mug, the lads and I began carrying supplies out to the deck for a morning of mess and imagination. Because when you are outside, mess can wait, and it does not agitate.

 

Whilst my lads age range might mean that compatibility in play is sometimes elusive, there are some things that just win every time, like sensory play.  We have used rainbow rice, cloud dough,  play dough and water play again and again over many years (new batches of course!!).  These are simple, low or no cost activities that I enjoy as much as my kids do.  It is really important to know what you enjoy in terms of play as a parent. Yes, we play things that we don’t particularly enjoy, because the kids want us to join in. But when we find things we enjoy as much as they do, the play is different. And we can all feel the difference.

 

So this morning, we played with cloud dough, play dough and rice with plastic animals and duplo. And afterwards, those animals really needed a bath.

We brought the dolls house and peg dolls I made outside, and Asher showing Tobias how to create an avalanche of animals down the staircase.  

Then we made some necklaces with our animals. “More,  more, more” resulted in Tobias wearing a zoo.

 

 

Not one complaint. No bickering. No fussing. It really isn’t rocket science; kids (big and small) need to be outside.

 

And does the fact that there are things strewn across the deck concern me? Not one iota. But if this same mess was inside, I would be finding it very hard to leave the activities out for much longer.  The lads will go in and out all day, and these things will be utilised in endless ways, as their imagination leads.

Oh, and I got to have my coffee while it was hot.  And we filled the neighbourhood with bubbles. Everyone’s a winner.


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Playground therapy – thanks for listening

Cruising around the blogosphere and I stumbled across a daily prompt posts. The prompt was to write an ode to a playground. Didn’t that create an onslaught of trippy memories for me?

How do you write an ode to a place where a horse once bit you? Or where you would sit and watch in horror (maybe it was awe at the time?!) as the older girls from two doors around come to the park, not to swing on the tyre with me, but to fossick for the filthy cigarette butts all over the ground. They then sat there and smoked them, generally getting maybe one drag out of each if they were lucky. Was it worth it Mary-Anne and Kerry-Anne? (They were sisters and I did not make those names up.)

Then there was the time when I was invited to the school grounds to play after school by my good friend. Well, I should clarify. She was everyone’s “good friend”, because we were all too scared of her for her to be anything less.

Once I got there, she was with another “good friend” of mine. Apparently her idea of a play date was to set the two of us onto each other like dogs. A ‘fight to the death’ kind of play date; gladiator style. When I said I wasn’t interested in having a rumble, I was given a choice: I was to fight the less frightening of the two, or I would be attacked by my ”good friend”. This was some “play” at the park.  The memory of that day is etched in my mind (and nose) forever. Only now, it is actually funny.

As an adult, I have broken my nose at a playground on a long slide whilst on a work excursion with some teenagers. Blood again, lots of it, everywhere. I went to the fish market nearby, where there are hundreds of kilograms of ice and asked for some to ease my suffering. They said no. Nice, hey? I did not feel bad for one second that I left a trail of blood through their eatery.

Thankfully, playgrounds are much nicer places for me these days with my lads.  I must admit though, there are still dangers  lurking at these seemingly harmless venues; parents who would rather watch their device than their children, graffiti that can provoke the most interesting discussions with little people, and toilets that belong in nightmares.

I wonder what the word ‘playground’ conjures up in your mind?

Treehouse Bandits

The lads enjoyed some treehouse trickery today, setting up secret traps and learning the art of Sharpie graffiti. They were having so much fun I climbed up to join them with my study. I enjoyed their company far too much to have a productive study session, mind you.
I think I will sneak some time in there next week whilst the lads are at school and set a few “traps” (aka surprises!) up of my own.

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Shadows

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Shadows

We have had a few sheets of black cardboard Matt bought home from school last year that are a bit damaged from being used as backdrops for displays. Tonight as we were looking through a Science experiment book from the Library, we stumbled across this and I remembered the cardboard.
It was the first ever shadow sketch experience for the lads, and we got to turn the lights out and use their Lego man torch, which of course made the whole process so much more fun! They were amazed when we cut their silhouette out. We now have beautiful, frugal, simple art in the play room.

My 1980s stencil quest

I am reminiscing tonight about the things I used to do as a child, brought on by the sheer dismay I feel whenever I go searching for gifts for children- especially my own! Asher turns 6 next week, which is altogether confronting to me. That is another blog. We won’t go there tonight.

I hate just getting run-of-the-mill gifts. Lego is a must of course, but beyond that, I really struggle. I love to foster their imagination and creativity with their gifts. I search online and go to the “different” toy stores in pursuit of the ultimate play thing! But you know what, at the end of the day, it is not about the stuff. I know this, yet I still search.

I found an article online tonight that made me smile. I came across it whilst I was hunting for a retro set of Disney stencils that I used to adore when I was a little girl. Stencilling was great fun, was it not? I don’t mean the straightforward stencils, you find these days, but the progressive ones, where you had to line things up and move the stencil along to complete your picture. I really want to get some great quality, age appropriate stencils for the lads, and struggling to find them. But I digress… back to the article!

http://www.weekendnotes.com.au/old-school-activities-for-kids/

Old school activities for kids:

Hopscotch – we love this. We play under the carport every now and then, and tonight, Asher actually asked me to make hopscotch pudding for dessert. How could I refuse? That is just too cute!!!

Four square – I lived and breathed this game as a kid! We grew up playing the neighbourhood kids most nights after school and on weekends. We were very serious and competitive, but what a ball we had! (No pun intended).

Stencils – I have said enough, but seriously, if you know the Disney stencils from the 1980s I am referring to, please let me know!!! We share a bond!!!!!

Tea parties – These don’t happen too often around here, but MasterChef sessions do. Matt’s mum made the boys a whole range of knitted foods and Ash still enjoys these on his mini wooden kitchen.

There are more listed in the link, and I will share some more of my fave old school activities soon. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you about your favourite childhood games/activities or the things you have reinvented with your own children!

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Fort Frenzy

We are fast approaching the end of our first week of school holidays. They always go so fast! The weather is crazy; cold and gusty, but altogether cosy indoors, so what did we decide to do today? Why, we let our inner architect out to play and created an indoor fort, of course!

We used sheets, clamps, pegs and rope and the lads have been in there ever since, reading, watching ‘Spy Kids’ and making frequent requests for food. Their Dad is in there with them, showing no signs of coming out of this boy cave anytime soon… I have a feeling this may stay for a while.

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Lego Frenzy

We love Lego. Who doesn’t?! I’ve yet to meet anyone who admits they are Lego haters.
A lazy Saturday at home, avoiding my pile of study, I did some cruising on Pinterest and found this. The boys had a wow of a time creating their own minifigs. We had to keep printing more sheets to keep up with them!

Another great find was this Lego reward chart.

We made some Lego art for the lads bedrooms. They each chose some minifigs and attached to a plate in an old, broken photo frame. They can change them around as often as they like.

Finally, we have these ready to go for a rainy day activity.
Thank you to those creative souls who so generously share their ideas with us!

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School Blues

Tomorrow is the last day. After that, things are different. I’m not happy about this change. I adore my children being home with me. School messes with my system. Not only that, this is the first year both lads will be in full time school. There, I said it.

So today I asked the lads to give me suggestions as to what I can do after I drop them off at school on Monday:
Asher told me I could jump on the trampoline, go to work and high five myself. He then demonstrated how I would high five myself. The kid obviously has no faith in my ability to high five myself, much to our amusement. Isaac tapped into the fact that I’m emotional and feeling sad about the upcoming event. He put on his counselling hat and suggested I “swing in the hammock and think about good things…like eating pizza.”

You know what? I think I will take their advice, except for the going to work bit.
High fives coming my way.

These are a few of our favourite things…

It’s been raining a lot, so it’s been a slower than usual day. I’m not one to scoff at a hibernation day, so we enjoyed some of our favourite simple activities.

Bilibos are a wonderful toy, limited only by our imaginations. We take ours to the snow, the beach and the pool. We play with cars in them, play catch with them or balance on them. We wear them as hats, roll things under them or play marbles in them. But our favourite thing to do is sit inside and SPIN!!

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Rory’s Story Cubes provide endless fun. Roll and spin your story! I also utilise these in my toolkit for working with young people. They are a great conversation starter, and could be a great counselling tool.
I’m going to use them as art prompts for the lads sometime soon. I think that’d be grand,

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Imaginets could quite possibly be the funkiest magnetic set around. Complete with pattern cards and whiteboard surfaces, the possibilities are endless.

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Under the carport we enjoyed a game of hopscotch. I loved this as a young girl.

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I was reminded today of an older post you can find here as we enjoyed our simple, slow and creative play. It’s a good skill for our children to know how to rest, slow down and play games that are tactile, not electronic! Creativity really can thrive when the busy noise subsides.

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I will leave you with this Leunig cartoon. Let us ever be drawn to the real things.
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