Parenting and Ice Cream: When simple things are the best remedy

I inadvertently taught myself a good lesson this week;  despite my best intentions not to work on Monday’s as Nix is home from kindy, I found myself a participant in a continuous string of phone calls for over an hour, whilst I madly multi-tasked, wrote a difficult email I’d been dreading and stressed about the next deadline.

This was not how my summery Monday’s with Nix were supposed to go, in fact, where DID my summery Monday’s with Nix go?

IT’S AUTUMN!!!

Not to worry, antipodean New Zealand weather patterns say NO to seasonal conformity and say YES to 28° in the first week of March.

Hallelujah.

In need of an instant Monday-itis remedy I told Nix to ‘load up’, we were off to eat ice cream by the river.  

“No, you don’t have to get changed” – he was wet from water play at home.

“No, you don’t have to wear shoes” – we live in New Zealand!

“Yes, you can pick any flavour you like” – even though you are a creature of habit little darling and choose the same flavour every time.

Overseas travel forgotten, birthday parties agonised over…….a nondescript Monday afternoon had become my four-year-olds Best Day EVER.

The simplicity of a memory made, for the cost of a Jelly Tip and a Popsicle, was a lesson for me in ‘less is more’.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Tip Top Ice Cream Kids

Food nostalgia plays an important role in shaping cultural identity and as New Zealanders, we have our own culinary cues which many of us hold dear.  After 6 years of living in the states, upon touchdown in Auckland back in 2006, I was positively pining for a mince and cheese pie, some quality bread and Tip Top Hokey Pokey Ice Cream.  Combine those homesick-hunger-pangs with the imminent joy of introducing my new husband and toddler to my kiwi faves and I was one hangry, home-again traveler!

Growing up in NZ where many of us come from a farming or primary industry background, it’s no wonder as a Kiwi I feel a pang of familiarity and that ‘this is HOME’ feeling every time I crack open that iconic blue 2L tub and endeavour to peel off the perfect scoop of ice cream!  New Zealand milk and cream is coveted the world over mainly due to the pasture-fed lineage of hometown heroes, the NZ dairy herd. When one of our most iconic NZ owned companies, Tip Top, only uses fresh New Zealand milk and cream in their ice cream, it gives me hope that such an enduring taste of NZ will continue on in our freezers to share with our friends and families, making memories together for another generation to come.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Tip Top Ice Cream Kids

And so, Nixon and I sat and enjoyed our ice cream, a perfect #GoodtoShare moment, and then we ambled along the river, talking about crabs and if eels attack ducks and he got muddy (and loved it) and clambered and danced and sang and generally revelled in the peace and open space that is so easily forgotten (even though this spot is only 1.5km from our house!).  And as I felt my not-enough-hours-in-the-day anxiety begin to dissipate I quietly laughed at the knowledge that I had just proven a meme correct and how entirely 21st century Digital Mum that was of me;

“Ice cream solves everything”.

And Nixon wholeheartedly agreed.

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Tip Top!  For more info head to: https://www.tiptop.co.nz/education/

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Tip Top Ice Cream Kids

We Love: Dough Queen Natural Play Dough

Here in New Zealand, the first school holidays of 2017 are very quickly approaching and if the recent unsettled weather is anything to go by, we better get prepared for some rainy days inside!

Nixon is our hurricane child, whom we often struggle to settle down into focused, prolonged play.  He tires quickly of traditional toys but, give him creative options and he’s good to go and engaged for at least half an hour – that’s amazing for our little guy!

Despite having to be carried out in the football hold under my arm during the show last year (epic, most public meltdown either one of my kids has ever experienced!), Nix LOVES Mister Maker and often asks for time with his ‘Making Box’ full of art supplies.  His other favourite form of creative play is sitting down with some play dough and letting his imagination take over – I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen him play the same way twice when he’s working and squishing with dough.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play dough

Over the past couple of years, it’s pretty apparent that as Kiwi parents, we are changing the way we choose and shop for products for our kids.  When we have the option to purchase great quality, natural products it’s a no-brainer, especially when it’s going to be a guaranteed hit with the kids!

Fellow Kiwi Mum Claire Shannon has taken this movement to market with her Dough Queen range of natural New Zealand made play dough.

Dough Queen’s NZ-made natural non-toxic play dough is produced with food grade ingredients you can find in your own kitchen. That means if someone takes a nibble there’s no need to panic. We like our little customers to have a good amount to play with so each resealable pouch has 500g of dough. DQ dough will last around 5 months, as long as it is returned to its pouch or stored in a sealed container after play time.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play dough

We’ve been playing pretty hard out with Claire’s lovely dough since before Christmas and I’m totally hooked – as is Nixie.  I’ve made my own dough before, and whilst it’s not a particularly difficult thing to do, it is time-consuming and messy.  Let’s face it, the beauty of tactile play with play dough IS that it’s messy and you can smush it into a million little pieces (that get into every fibre of every fibrous thing in your entire house lol), so mess is good.  But avoiding a pre-mess before the Main Mess Event is much more my style.

In short, I’d rather buy natural play dough then make it myself – #LazyMum, maybe.  Time poor?  Definitely.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play dough

Dough Queen Natural Play Dough retails at $9 per single pack, with bundle pricing available as well as lab-tested, gluten free options, making beautiful handmade dough safe and healthy for everyone.

There are two new colours in the Dough Queen range, DQ Colour #10 and DQ Colour #11.  Both come in the super generous 500gm resealable pouch, both are bright, fun colours, they last for ages, and they both need names!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play doughHelp Dough Queen name the two latest colours!

Come up with the winning name for either #10 (teal) or #11 (purple) or both, and a twin pack containing each of the new colours could be all yours!  There are two prizes to win so comment below with your name suggestions and Dough Queen will choose 2 winners 3/4/17.

NZ residents only.

School Holiday Craft – The Seven Day Mural

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art CraftThere’s only one thing better than a great art project and that’s one that lasts for 7 days!!!

This one’s all you need mamas; the 7 Day Mural can be customized to use up whatever craft supplies you have on hand, will suit whatever age/stage your kids are at and can easily incorporate whatever creative project the kids have been dying to try.  

The foundation of this crafty creation is definitely the Science Project Board.  Ethan spent last term working away on his project and Nix became quite fixated on that damn board (that had to be protected from him at ALL costs!) so I decided to create his own ‘project’ and let him at it.

So, the plan here is to divide the board into multiple art-boards and create a different, amazing, fun, visual medium in each, working on a different aspect each day.

For Nixon’s board, I had to use some restraint and keep his projects simple and fun.  I also wanted to use as many different materials as possible, resulting in a really textural, multilayered experience that he looked forward to working on each day and that he was super proud of at the end of it.  Being conscious of the age of your kids is key here – Nix has just turned three and his attention span maxes out at around 20 minutes. Quick and easy to complete is definitely what you want to shoot for.

Materials

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Ummmm, anything goes in this art and craft tutorial!  I shopped my own craft stash for my supplies plus headed in-store to Warehouse Stationery where I really had to pare things back when I went to the checkout!  Create Month is on right now so there are heaps of inspirational ideas to be found at your local store.  Not a crafty bone in you body?  Don’t worry, sometimes you just need to get started – plus the kids’ enthusiasm and ideas you can find at the in-store Inspiration Station might be all you need to get those creative juices flowing!  As you can see in the photos I popped a cheap plastic tablecloth down on our dining table, which was one of the most genius ideas I’ve ever had to be honest!  No worries about mess and I’ll reuse it as a playdough drop cloth after this project is over!

Day 1, ongoing – Colouring pages

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Print out some pages that relate to your theme (if you have one, we didn’t) or just something your kids are really going to enjoy colouring.  I did a Google search for dinosaur colouring pages and lots of printables popped up.  I left these out over the week so Nix could potter and colour bits and pieces when he felt like it.  When we were finished with the mural I cut around his gorgeous colouring and glued the dinos onto the board.  The crayons we use are Jovi Wax Crayons and they are perfect for stubby little fingers!

Day 2 – Watercolours and Stickers

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Watercolours are the best!  Barely any mess and they dry quickly.  Once again I just let Nixon freestyle here (there’s not much else you can do with a 3 year old to be honest – remember that attention span!).  In the afternoon, when the paint was dry, we went back and decorated this panel with some assorted stickers that he had picked out in-store. Easy and great for fine motor skill development.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Day 3 – Geometric ArtWork!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft
The inspo for this activity came from a flyer I picked up at the Inspiration Station desk at my local Warehouse Stationery.  I used some masking tape and simply pressed it down firmly at multiple angles across the board.  Nix got stuck in and, voila!  I love this section of his board, he was amazed at how it looked when I peeled the tape off to reveal the clean white lines underneath.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Day 4 – Painting and Sticky Foam Shapes

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

I’ve always wanted to use a chipboard letter or word in a project so this was my chance!  I let Nix loose with some Crayola paints and told him to “cover up all of that yucky brown!”.  He did a brilliant job and we popped this off to the side to dry.

I had picked up a foam shapes ‘jungle scene’ in-store, but you can also buy a 10 pack of foam sheets if you wanted to cut up your own shapes.  Nix had a great time placing the sticky shapes and then went to town with some markers for an extra splash of panache lol!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Day 5 – Dressing Paper Dolls

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

When I saw these boy doll cutouts, I wasn’t too sure what my plan was, but look how cute they turned out!  I cut some pants and tops from my fabric stash, unwound some old knitting to make curly hair (just like Nixon’s) and used some googly eyes from the Fuzzy Craft Kit I picked up – just in case!  This was definitely his favourite activity; he loved dressing the wee boys and making them look cute.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Day 6 – Mixed Media

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

You could do whatever you like here depending upon the age of your kids.  I wrote ‘NIX’ in sharpie and popped some paper scraps, feathers, pompoms, coloured foil, bits of pipe cleaner etc in front of him with some glue.

Day 7 – Felt and Velcro

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft
I couldn’t believe how cheap a 10 pack of felt sheets was at Warehouse Stationery – something crazy like $2 a pack!  You can almost pay that for 1 sheet at other stores that I’ve visited.  I had some velcro dots that needed a home so popped those on the project board and cut some random shapes from the felt.  Nix loved this activity as he could take things off and move them around; he obviously had a ‘vision’ and knew when he was done lol.

The Finished Product!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

So that’s it!  Isn’t it so cool?  Nixon is really proud that he created something so BIG – size is everything to a toddler and I’m quite proud that we did something creative every day for a whole week!  

Guess what?  The project board has TWO SIDES!  Start planning now for round 2 during the next school holidays lol.  

For more fun and creative inspo, check out our Dinosaur DIY’s here.

There’s heaps more inspo in store at Warehouse Stationery, plus lots of take home activities the kids can do, totally a School Holiday desperation destination!

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School Holiday Craft – Dinosaur DIY’s

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

School holidays kick off here in New Zealand next week and I like to be organised and have a pretty clear plan of what we’re New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craftgoing to do or where we’re going to go each day.  This helps me get organised and also (hopefully) avoid the “I’m bored” catch-cry that’s every mummy’s nightmare!  

It’s also Create Month at Warehouse Stationery! They’ve just launched their brand new Art and Craft Club – Inspiration Station.  There’s lots of super-cool and creative initiatives happening in stores around New Zealand and we’ve teamed up to bring you some fun and crafty ideas to help survive the school holidays!

Crafts are good, if not essential winter holiday activities.  They are cheap, fun and creative and can usually be re-invented and repeated without your little darlings losing interest.

Both Nix and Ethan are obsessed with dinosaurs at the moment, so integrating what they are playing with into a creative exercise is a no-brainer.  Both of these craft ideas would work well with any animal theme – come on Mum’s you can do it!

Let’s get creative!

DIY Dinosaur Fossils

This is a great, therapeutic activity using everyone’s favourite – modelling clay!  I wanted to create some cool looking bones and fossils that the kids could use in play with their dinosaurs or alternatively they could bury them in kinetic sand and use small paint brushes to excavate them and play paleontologists – think of the fine motor skills mamas, not the mess of the sand lol!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Step 1:  Head into Warehouse Stationery and pick up some bake-in-the-oven clay (all modelling products are 30% off until 31/7/16!).  

Step 2:  Roll out clay ready to use.  I had totally forgotten how hard these clays are!  I used little dabs of canola oil, dotted it on small pieces of clay then rolled it out really flat to get it soft enough for Nixon to use.  There are ‘soft’ clay varieties available from each brand and these would definitely be better for little hands.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Step 3:  When the clay is nice and soft use toy dinosaurs and let the kids stomp footprints in it to make fossils, press shells or lay little dinosaurs on their sides and press into the clay to create cool profile fossils.  Slightly older kids will be able to make bones to add to the fossil pile!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Step 4:  Place finished creations on baking paper on a tray and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 130?.  The clay will harden fully as it cools.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

DIY Dinosaur Matching Game

This activity is so easy and cheap and will provide little ones hours of fun.  As I mentioned above, you could use any animals, trucks, household items that your child enjoys – you could even have them create their own artwork to use!  

Step 1:  Source your images, you will need 6.  

  • If finding them online, look for creative commons / royalty free images that you can legally reproduce.  
  • Take photos of toys / items you have at home
  • Use kids own artwork and take scans or photos of each piece

Step 2:  If you want to, label each image with the name of the dinosaur or animal etc.  I used Photoshop, but this can easily be done on your phone using an app like Phonto.  Can’t be bothered?  Once you’ve ordered your prints, write the name on each image with a marker!

Step 3:  Order your 12 (x 2 per image) 4×4 photos using the amaze Printicular app.  I love this app so much, Ethan and I use it all the time for his school projects or when I need crafty images printed out in a hurry!

Step 4:  Head in store to Warehouse Stationery to pick up your prints.  I took some double-sided tape and scissors with me so I could get everything finished while I was in store – there is plenty of bench space to work on projects at the print centre!

  • Lay out your images on a large piece of cardboard available to purchase in-store and fix the photos with a small piece of tape or glue.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

  • Get the print centre staff to cut up your cards using one of their guillotines and then laminate them so they will last well.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Take them home and play!  

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

There’s heaps more inspo in store at Warehouse Stationery, plus lots of take home activities the kids can do, totally a School Holiday desperation destination!

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Outsmart your kids with DUPLO Mum Hacks + Giveaway!

Toys that do double-duty are my absolute favourite when it comes to creating hours of meaningful, educational play for Nixon.  I will not buy single purpose toys for under 5’s as little ones tire of them so quickly and often require intensive supervision to ensure they stay focused and on task.  Duplo however, is guaranteed to keep my boys entertained through the daily ‘witching hour’ of 5.50-6.30pm, when all hell breaks loose and ringing through the neighbourhood are the cries of “MASH”, “I’m hungry”, “when will dinner be ready?”, “what’s for dinner”, “MASH”, “we always have THAT”……… your house, too right?  RIGHT? So, I’ve been trying to think out of the box and come up with some simple and quick games Ethan can help Nixie with, freeing me up to feed the masses.

Stage 1 Mum Hack: Nixon is 21 months old and has a rudimentary grasp on his colours.  I built four basic squares and had a rummage in our Duplo box to find a good range of different sized bricks to match the four primary coloured squares; red, yellow, blue and green.  I pop these in a large basket so Nix can easily see all of the bricks.  Using verbal cues we show Nix what the expected result is i.e. all of the Duplo sorted by colour into the squares, and then we prompt him to do it himself.  Creating a basic colour matching game with Duplo will assist with his fine motor skills (picking and sorting) as well as colour identification, differentiation and association.

Duplo Mum Hack Mum Blogger New Zealand Duplo Mum Hack Mum Blogger New Zealand

Stage 2 Mum Hack: Once Nix has grasped colour sorting I’ll print out some flash cards with varying images on them i.e two blue bricks, and ask him to match his Duplo bricks to the image before sorting it into the squares.  This will ease him into emergent numeracy work, identifying shapes, patterns, measurement (big vs small) and numbers – all under the guise of play!  You can take this as far as you want to, flash cards can be quickly drawn up to work on sequencing – the aim in the example below is to make a pattern as described on the flash card.

Duplo Mum Hack Mum Blogger New Zealand

What’s your tip to help make mum’s life easier? LEGO DUPLO is celebrating these tricks with #DUPLOMumHacks. Upload your idea, using #DUPLOMumHacks, and be in with a chance to win a LEGO DUPLO prize pack.

Simply share your hack on Instagram (tag me @thebestnest), Facebook (share on my page The Best Nest) or Twitter (tag me @thebestnestnz) with #DUPLOMumHacks and you’ll go into the draw to win a LEGO DUPLO prize pack of your own. I have three DUPLO My First Playhouse sets to give away! Winners drawn Friday 31st May 2015.  NZ residents only.

All entries shared via Instagram and Twitter using #DUPLOMumHacks will be aggregated in the #DUPLOMumHacks Facebook tab and entered in the grand competition to win a LEGO DUPLO prize pack each month. Click here to find out more and see other entries.

This post was made possible thanks to LEGO DUPLO. All views are authentic and to the best of the authors knowledge at time of publication. 

All entries uploaded using #DUPLOMumHacks will automatically go into the LEGO DUPLO Facebook Competition, please see additional T&C’s here. By submitting an entry, each participant: (a) warrants and represents that he/she owns the rights to the content submitted and that the content submitted is: (i) original to him/her and has been legally obtained and created, (ii) does not infringe the intellectual property rights, privacy or publicity rights or any other legal or moral rights of any third party; (b) grants the LEGO Group a worldwide, royalty free, perpetual license to, copy and reproduce the video or entry on the LEGO® website at www.LEGO.com, its websites and its social media channels; and (c) agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the LEGO Group against any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs and liabilities relating to trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property rights, right of publicity, right of privacy or defamation.

Sandpit Rage

So one day toward the end of winter last year, I had this freaking genius idea to turn a corner garden surrounded on two sides by concrete into an in-ground sandpit.  Bordered by railway sleepers, complete with driftwood and spendy, smooth river rocks, over-flowing with just the BEST sandpit toys {or whatever dregs I found in the tupperware drawer}…….are you picturing this?  It will only take an hour or so I told Dave.

Two weekends later……

Hours of fun for Nixon we thought.  Made even better by the child’s obsession with diggers and dump trucks – oh snap we have a large fleet of those!  Into the sandpit they went.  

And it is awesome.

And we do love it, plus I think Nix thinks it’s ok.

There is a dark side to amazing sandpits though, something no-one talks about.  It’s kept under wraps, bringing shame upon the family because society just hasn’t come to grips with it yet.  Let’s just say if Nixon were a foreign tourist, strangers would be taking the keys to his sandpit off of him.

Nixon suffers from Sandpit Rage.

What begins as a fun game of diggers and dump trucks ends in fists raised to the sky, little muscles bulging, curses and expletives disguised as toddler-babble ringing around the neighborhood at max volume and me carrying Nixon under my arm kicking and screaming back into the house where we can hide our Sandpit Rage behind closed doors.

You see, the diggers don’t always dig in just the ‘right’ way.  The dump trucks sometimes miss their mark and aren’t parked in the optimal spot for sand loading to commence and shit, sometimes everything is just way too yellow or sandy……….and the rage ensues.

When I was pregnant with Nix, Dave and I would laugh and say “there’s no way #2 could be worse than #1” and by worse we meant more intense, more stubborn and with a stronger will.  “There’s no way that could happen right?” laugh, laugh, laugh.  Oh yes way.  It happened and it happened good.

So now, instead of the lazy afternoons we imagined, spent outside, playing calmly and quietly in the sandpit, we now count the minutes of relative peace until it all turns to custard and Nix throws his toys.  Just a phase?  Fingers crossed.

So, who’s up for a play date at our house?  Sounds fun right?

 Toddler in Sandpit Tantrum New Zealand Mummy Blog

Milo Giveaway…….. & the winner is!

Just so everything was on the up-and-up I used the webs definitive random number generator that I’m sure you’re all familiar with ……… Psychic Science {or, the first result from Google that was free!},

Free custom random numbers for lotteries, prize draws, gaming, divination, research
I love it when I find a website that helps me with my divination!  So handy.
Anyway, without much further ado, the winner of the VERY awesome Milo Prize Pack pictured below is;
Post number 20!!!!!
Random number generator
Milo Giveaway Winner
Darrenrae!  Congratulations, we LOVE indoor climbing here too.  Please email you delivery details to [email protected] and we will get your prize sent out!
Thanks so much for all of your fab entries, there were so many awesome ideas submitted that I am going to collate them into a post and printable for everyone to enjoy.

Giveaway {closed} | Milo Play Kit – this is AWESOME!

The wonderful team at Milo have really gotten in behind the concept of play in 2012 and it has been so great to be involved as a Mum Ambassador!

You can catch up on what we’ve all been up to by heading over to the Milo Australia/New Zealand Facebook page and getting involved in the discussions and play ideas, plus keep an eye out for an awesome new play resource coming soon!

In the meantime, I have a seriously kick butt giveaway for you guys; we have one of these kits at home and we have used everything in it in so many different ways!

You will receive; a portable set of soccer nets, soccer ball, rugby league ball, soft squishy fun ball, set of training cones, ball pump and some Milo of course!   All you have to do to enter is ‘Like’ The Best Nest on Facebook and leave a comment below telling us about your favorite holiday boredom buster!

Milo Play Prize Pack

 

Prize will be drawn at random on July 29th and is open to NZ and Australian residents only.  Please note prizes may differ from image showen.

Good luck! {Don’t forget to enter our other fab giveaway here}

  • I am participating in the Milo Play Movement as a Blogger Ambassador and any compensation received is for advice provided directly to the MILO Play Movement team on the social media engagement plan.
  • All communications I share regarding the MILO Play Movement are my honest opinion.

Play | Risk, kids & the urge to swing higher!

You know that feeling when one second you are walking hand in hand down a gentle slope with your toddler having ‘a moment’,

Playing on the trampit was sunny, birds were singing perhaps, there could be ice creams involved but there is definitely fun and you are definitely present in full Mama capacity.  And then little fingers slip through yours and start charging down the aforementioned gentle slope at breakneck speed.  That slope has transformed and now looks to your eyes as treacherous as a double black diamond.  All you can see is one little foot tripping, next minute the screams start, the blood is flowing and your baby’s face has been grated all over the concrete.  Gives me the heebies just typing that!!!

That is risk taking.  I bet all of your kids have done it too; picking up speed, seeing how fast they can free themselves from the  suffocating grip of mummy’s hand.  They have run, down concrete hills, at speed, and they have not crashed and burned.  Some have, but not all.  Ethan never did, but my paranoia about running at speed down concrete paths lasted at least until he went to school.  He was on his own in the playground there and there was not a damn thing I could do about it.

When Ethan was two he was giving us hell and in desperation we went to a child psychologist.  One of the {few} things that stuck with me from this encounter was that as a mother, I needed to let him run down double black diamond hills.  Really!    He had to learn to fall, he had to learn NOT to fall, to realize what was and was not an acceptable risk to take.  If I held on tight for dear life every second he would not learn to recognize and develop his own boundaries.  This was a magic lesson for our family.  But it’s a lesson that is a hard one to impart.  I recently interviewed Dr Grant Schofield as part of the Milo Play initiative.  He reiterated this point by asking whether it was better to let an 8 year old push his boundaries and find his limits up a tree or behind the wheel of a car at eighteen.  No brainer right?

Some friends of ours purchased a trampoline for their family, no problem the kids were many years into school by this point, what a great present I thought.  Until Ethan went to play and the kids weren’t allowed on the tramp without adult supervision.  I was flabbergasted.  Were Dave and I negligent parents?  Really?  Ethan got his trampoline at age 2 and the nets came off at around 4.  No injuries.  Ever.  I just cant see the merit in treating my son any different to how I raised.  My dad built my trampoline, he welded it himself.  I broke my arms four times as a child but none of those times was from my net-less trampoline.  I was allowed to bounce at will!  It was awesome!

A child’s nature is inherently seeking challenge, growth, lessons and teaching, all of this can be attained through play.  It’s time to back off a little; play time isn’t any more dangerous now than it was 30 years ago unless you’re letting your kids play in the street.  Lets rip the cotton wool off once and for all and let them go balls-out this school holidays.

Mud washes off and scabs heal, but a childhood spent behind a screen and a closed door isn’t really much of a childhood at all is it?

Gaming – The Old School Way

Dave now is able to work from home whenever his onerous schedule of meetings allow; which is great. The dogs are happy, the laundry is happy {it gets hung out} he’s happy as he doesn’t get stuck in rush hour traffic. But, he has used all of our broadband allowance, the horror! So until Wednesday, we are cruising at the speed of dial-up or fax?
This makes internetting pretty unattractive which makes everyone spend time together! Hooray!
Tonight E suggested it was Family Game Night and chose Pictureka!
It was such a lovely evening, E was a great sport, played by all the rules didn’t fuss at bedtime. Amaze. It may have been a poor second choice to watching Monster Bug Wars on YouTube, but I’m picking there might be a game request tomorrow night too x

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