During the Christmas break our little family enjoyed a week away at Coffs Harbour. The kids and I particularly enjoyed the time we spent on the beach together (while SquiggleDad was sleeping in!) We collected shells and pebbles, built sandcastles, explored the rocks, watched birds, and chased waves. I grabbed a “teachable moment” to spontaneously talk to the kids about God too… Continue reading
You know that saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure…”?! Never has it been more true. Continue reading
My kids are energetic. Very energetic. I think most happy, healthy kids are – but it’s good to slow them down sometimes and help them to notice life’s little things. One way we like to do this outside is to go on a bug hunt. There are interesting insects and other small creatures all around, but often we don’t notice them because we are too busy. Open your child’s eyes to the wonder of bugs! Continue reading
Did you grow up with sprinklers in the back yard? I have fond memories of spending hot summer days running and jumping through the spray with my sister. I remember those long green tube-like sprinklers, and the groovy ones that could spin around. I even remember being allowed to run through the sprinklers on the school oval when temperatures reached over 35 deg C. And then of course there was slip’n’slide… Continue reading
“Mummy! Mum! Look what I found. It’s a number six leaf! Cooooool!”
Such excitement over a simple leaf. She then dropped it, of course, and so we set off on a search for another 6-shaped-leaf. I suggested we look for other numeral shapes as well. Continue reading
An outdoor chalkboard is another project I have had on my to-do list for a while. I love the idea of children having lots of writing and drawing opportunities outdoors. I often find that writing naturally flows outside without the pressure of a classroom environment or the constraints of A4 paper. Chalk is inviting too, because of its non-permanent nature and its accessibility for little hands. (In fact, Mr 2 drew his first “people” pictures on the chalk board! See bottom left picture.) Continue reading
I believe that kids and nature belong together, so I encourage my children to play daily outside, exploring their backyard and the natural elements in it. I believe that tree climbing is one of childhood’s greatest joys. I believe that happy kids require both freedom and boundaries. I believe children’s environments should be as safe as necessary, rather than as safe as possible. And I believe that falling down is a normal part of an active childhood. Continue reading
Every now and then I have great idea, followed closely by
“Why didn’t I think of this sooner?”
The simple ideas are always the best. I simply screwed a couple of old brass hooks (which were lying unused in the bottom of a toolbox) onto the fence at child height. We were already using the two green baskets for outdoor toy storage. I love them because: Continue reading
I spotted these popstick-girl-shapes in a craft store, and grabbed a packet immediately. I just knew they would come in handy for… well, for something! When Miss 5 was recently at home sick they provided wonderful entertainment.
I put out any sparkly collage materials I could find, as well as some fabric and PVA glue. I also had a few leftover precut felt butterfly shapes which proved perfect for wings. My daughter didn’t need any help (or any encouragement to get started)! She busied herself for most of the day creating different families of fairies. Water fairies, tree fairies, dirt fairies, vine fairies. It was one big sparkly creative mess!!
The next day we were able to take the fairies outside into the garden. The paddlepop sticks pushed easily into the ground, and also proved useful as handles for when the fairies wanted to flutter about.
It was wonderful to hear Miss 5 make up her own stories using the fairy families. We were able to talk about what makes a good story, and the need for a “problem” to be resolved. We even whipped out the iphone and recorded some of the stories. They will be fun to look back on one day!
I’m so glad I kept my hands out of the making process, and let my daughter do it her way. No end product to copy. No “do it like this” moments. No adult interference. And I think her fairies are rather beautiful. Don’t you?
I have long had the idea of putting an actual letterbox in the backyard for the kids to use. FINALLY I got around to it.
Letter writing is such a great, purposeful literacy activity. It provides a reason to write, and an incentive to write well because you want the recipient to be able to read their letter when they receive it!
I picked up this letterbox from our local (big green) hardware store for around $12. It’s nothing fancy, but it does the job perfectly and we don’t need to worry about it being able to withstand the conditions outside. We simply screwed it to a low, existing sleeper wall beside the dirt kitchen.
It has already been more than worth the money! The kids have written so many letters to each other, to Mummy and Daddy, and to friends who have come over to play. Writing them is fun, reading them is fun, checking the mailbox is fun, and delivering the mail is fun. Of course, everyone participates at their own level. Miss 5 has been doing some great early writing, using her sound-letter knowledge to have-a-go at writing independently. She has also worked hard to decode the simple letters I have posted to her. Mr 2 has enjoyed being the mailman, and posted some excellent scribbles to his sister!
If you are looking for an inexpensive, non-permanent, interactive addition for your backyard or playspace… try a letterbox! It provides a lovely way for siblings or parent-child to communicate, promotes early reading and writing, and gets kids outside. Ticks all my boxes
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