Play Matters : Tape Town



It's raining. It's raining quite a lot and I can't convince him to put on his red all weather suit. It may still be too big for him for all I know.

Indoor activities beckon. My eyelids are heavy because someone was up all night acquiring new teeth. Molars are mean. And late to the party. This kid is three now! The same someone isn't showing any signs of sleepiness following the aforementioned night. My hopes of a lazy cuddle (and a sneaky snooze) on the sofa with a film are dashed.

I'm becoming quite good at putting spins on train activities - I've had a lot of practice. The passing of time I can cope with - each age brings something new; but the day that this boy stops loving trains, should that day arrive, will be a sad day for me after such a long and committed relationship!

Electrical tape and a carpet fueled our day. A day is always off to a good start when something is easy to set up and requires only a basic few components. Floor... yes, yes I have floor. And tape. Hoorah. 

I laid the tape, twirling this way and that way. A long train track, a curving road, a rectangular station, a lake - complete with a nursery-crafted salt dough fish, because otherwise it's lake like attributes were limited. Buildings turned to numbers turned to shapes (turned to dog hair covered mass of tape). 

The train-focused boy even spent a considerable amount of time tending to his three cars and pushing them up and down the road and along the numbers. Funny things those numbers, just appearing out of nowhere ready to be driven along, traced and pulled apart.

This was all very unplanned - so my design work was shoddy at best, with the tape not being particularly conducive to the curves within our design but it served it's purpose. We had fun, and ripped it all up easily at the end of the day, as if the city had never even existed.

Retreating to the internet and spying this tape town effort along with this, has filled me with inspiration for the next city re-model. Parking spaces and a more realistic road design are now on my to-do list, along with the fabulous ideas I found here, including indoor carpet hopscotch! Shapes. Numbers. Movement. Ideal.


Coming up next week:

We finished our day off by reading our favourite book of the moment, Open Very Carefully, by Nick Bromley. From my point of view - this is just so much fun to read and for my little person - it is so interactive, which is just what he needs at this stage. So check back later this week to see what accompanying activities we have come up with.



Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, just incase you want to purchase the items that I have spoken about and love using.

A trip to the farm to see the (Easter) bunnies.


HAPPY (BELATED) EASTER













Adventures. Swings, each one in turn. "Now blue one" - as we wander along the row, me lifting him into each one in turn. 

"Beep beep Mummy". 

It's hard to push a child on a swing whilst also ensuring that I am not 'in his way'. He grins, and jolts about precariously.

Ever more complicated climbing frame ladders are being conquered as I hover around, ready to pounce. He leans across indicating the fireman's pole. Oh dear lord.


"That is for big boys" I say. And he nods, and turns ambling back towards the slide. He returns to it on each circuit of the playground, just to let me know that he is aware that it is for big boys. My faith in his balance is still... average.

A trip up the winding ramp, reaching the top of the railway bridge just in time to wave to the train. Wave, wave, beep! Thank you Mr. Driver. A slower descent as a determined toddler tries to remain on the bridge.


"No park Mummy, train!" - oh dear, sad face.

***

Animals! Hello again Greenmeadow Community Farm.





Cow head hugs, because how much more of a cow can you fit between chubby toddler arms? No fear as he embraces the lick to the forehead. Goats push and shove to eat some of the pellets that he is thrusting towards them. He always favours one goat. That goat shall be fat.

A circle of toddlers, all waiting to poke, prod (and sometimes just hold) a little chick. We coaxed him in to sitting on the chair after numerous attempts to "Go see chicks!" - chubby hands, with larger father hands underneath. A ginger (?) chick is placed onto his palm and he giggles. 

"Hello chick. How are you chick?" he whispers.

Toy tractor rides, with legs a foot short of the pedals, meant push, push, STEER Elis! Followed by time in the sandbox sieving for rocks rather unceremoniously. How he has grown since the same time last year.

By far his favourite animal - the mechanical water spouting dragon. How we had to drag him from that. "Go see dragon!" - no, no, how about we leave the dribbly dragon and go and see some real animals perhaps? A horse! Look, a horse. He casts one eye, feigning interest, waiting for our guard to drop before u-turning back towards the blue mass of metal. Fiend.

***


Sunshine meant that we could lay on the deck, painting pictures on the ground with water and watching them dry before our very eyes. Plastic eggs, threaded with wool, adorned the neighbouring Fuchsia and chalks were pulled out to scratch numbers and favourite letters onto any visible patio slabs.

Hot, hot, hot. Hats and suncream. 


We took trips up the garden onto the grass and followed yellow ladybirds. Wood became a bridge for his trains. 

"Chooo CHOOOO Mummy!"

Pushing them first one way, and then the other, attaching and removing the carriages. His excitement when he realised a clothes peg could be attached to the magnet on his little trains to form an extra carriage was palpable.

***

And now, week two. Less sun, but just as much fun. Children's showings at the cinema, coupled with sticklebrick playtime on lounge carpets whilst making the transition from nappies to pants!



Elis George is two years, six months and six days old. He loves trains and fire engines. He has an uncanny ability to walk past fire stations and have fire engines emerge, sirens blazing. This may be a super power, I will have to get him checked.

He will do anything for you if you promise him that he can see a train afterwards. Even use a potty. 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Happy Nana Day

Mothering Sunday.

The day that my son face-planted into the patio after testing how his ride-on tractor would cope with steps. (Not very well).

His small nose is swollen and red, and there will most definitely be some prolific bruising. But no permanent damage and no hospital visit required. 


Aside from the above, today was relaxing and filled with sunshine and outdoor playtime. Woodlice were petted, ants chased and bamboo sticks carried around like spears. We sprawled out on the deck and built trains from wood pieces, before casting off our jumpers as the day warmed ever more.


 Cups of juice to wash down our blueberry and banana snacks as we stared at the trees and tried to spot birds.

Lining up the footballs, one, two, three. I kick them against the wall and coax my small person to do the same. "Calm down, Mama! Hold hand! Come on Mama!" He guides me back to the trains. Everything is trains. Bamboo sticks. Pebbles. Sticklebrick pieces.


I pointed out the buds, the bark, the branches. We found a ladybird, following her around until attention spans took us elsewhere to discarded Robin eggs and songbird feathers.  A pile of insulation and a sheet of wood become a make-shift slide. Up, down, up, down.


Grandad's garden has such possibilities for a toddler imagination such as his (and a Mama imagination such as mine).

A cooked dinner courtesy of Nana. Oh how we do love Nana and her way of mothering both toddler and I. Provider of cuddles, medicine and pudding as required. 

"Nana Thursday" - the name has become; the day on which they eat bananas and count lorries, point at birds and learn about glove boxes and hazard lights before finally entering nursery together. Weekends are for food shopping, licking the beaters after making the fluffy mashed potatoes and singing songs whilst leaning against the kitchen side. Final cuddles as the small person is carried to his car seat.

Today was a day for Nana's too.
 
"Love you lots Nana. See you Thursday".
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

In the moment

I have been organising photographs; whenever I do such things I get lost in the photos. It is probably why I never complete the aforementioned task and never end up with lovely photo books, pretty and bound on my shelves. However, this time I am organising one month of photographs per evening. This allows ample time for swooning over baby fat and a lack of hair -- my little boy was bald for such a long time!

An update is more than overdue for little Elis; the little boy who is ever growing - mind and body. He understands me. He is becoming a person and understands me when I speak to him. This ability comes hand in hand with the ability to consciously ignore, but we shall save that for another time.

Some people reminisce about an age at which they most enjoyed their child, or cast their minds forward and wish that their child was that little bit older so that they could do x, y and z. I am forever lost in the moment; I think back and can only think how I am enjoying this age even more than I did that age. And as for looking forward, I just cannot fathom a child, a fully grown child who will be able to have a logical conversation with me. In my mind, Elis is Elis and is trapped in a perpetual state of the age of that day. In this very same way, I could never picture Elis walking - yet here he is, one big, blonde ball of fun tumbling around everywhere.

Slides are his current favourite. He counts as he goes up the steps and lets out a 'woo' as he descends (the slide not the steps). His little shoes are scuffed and at the end of a nursery day he can often be found eating mud. What a... boy.

Fruit, how he devours fruit. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, kiwi, nectarine. His vitamin levels must be through the roof. Grapes, mustn't forget grapes; the way he ensures both hands and mouth are filled, just incase the food source is removed. It could happen at any time, don't you know

Baa baa black sheep is the absolute favourite nursery rhyme at the moment. The moment Elis says baa, I launch into song; he always looks up, so surprised that Mama knows the songs that he sings with his friends in nursery. But how? That moment passes and we just enjoy singing together. We sometimes move on to Twinkle Twinkle and when we are bored of the sky, we row boats and let out little yelps if we are singing the version involving a crocodile. He can always tell which verse we have sung and always knows whether to scream. He is my clever little person.

I am biased, this is true - but if I am ever in a position where I have lost my eyes / nose / mouth / chin / cheeks / ears / head / hair / knees / toes / feet / hands / fingers / shoulders then Elis can point them out for me, which will be a relief. In my mind, he can also say all of those words - in reality, he has a different sound for each - a sound which Mama understands, but which to others may quite clearly sound a little like gobbledeegook. 

Elis still dislikes baths. If you try to imagine a cat being placed in a bath, with legs gripping the edges - this is Elis. His legs dart out, this way - and that way. It takes a lot of bribery and even then he refuses to sit. The bribery is in the form of sole control of the shower. This is fine for the duration of the bath, albeit a little messy, however, upon leaving the bath tub, the shower head must remain and the fight to get him in is replicated, but this time in the form of a tug of war. Baths. Sleep. One day he will regret disliking such things!

And here I shall end; I could type for a lot longer about my little person you see. About how he has the most beautiful long eyelashes and a far better tan than I at the age of almost twenty two months. But I won't. I shall curl up with my book and then go upstairs to give him cuddles. Being a Mama isn't easy - but it certainly has its perks; a pretty little person loving me unconditionally. I can just about cope with that.

Monday Mischief: Bird Song


How can somewhere so noisy be so peaceful? A place filled with birdsong.

Grass, pathways, a cafe. Volunteers approach, but then retreat. I think my body language, as ever, may be a little bit 'OH MY GOODNESS DON'T TALK TO ME'. It works anyway. I am too busy talking to my toddler.


Reeds, water, play area. Toddler eyes light up. I am not going to lie - we spent all of our time in the play area. When you are nineteen months old your legs are stubby, your attention span short and birdwatching relatively impractical. But that does not mean that I should pass up any opportunity to surround my son with nature. 


I push him high on the swings as we listen to the birds, catch him at the bottom of slides and chase him around a boat. Yes, a boat. Grass underfoot and completely fenced in I can allow him to toddle further and further away from me. Peekaboo suddenly becomes a lot more interesting when one is allowed to genuinely hide...... BOO. Is it normal for a toddler to giggle so emphatically when made to jump out of their skin?

The reserve is free to visit and if you were going to wander around it, could take up your whole day. I picked up a leaflet and realised they also have a whole host of events planned throughout the year: guided walks, photography courses, children activity days. Ah, bliss. Even a 'dawn chorus walk' - while Elis would manage the hours involved, I am less convinced about his ability to stay quiet and not scare off any nearby feathered friends. One day. Until then, a teddy bear's picnic sounds more our kind of thing.

We purchased a cuddly blackbird on the way out; if you squeeze his tummy he sings a real bird song. What a wonderful way for a child (or adult) to learn the distinguishing songs of each bird. We stick with the blackbird and I resist the urge to buy a bird for which I don't know the song. But let us start simple - a blackbird; a bird that my little boy can spy on from the living room window, giggling as he cuddles his replica. One day he will have the whole set and be the one teaching me.

Until then we are going to play in the park and listen to our friend, the blackbird, singing his pretty song in the trees. 

Do you have a favourite bird?


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
I'm linking up with Country Kids. It is all about having fun outdoors; spending time away from screens and sofas and enjoying playing, crafting or learning outside anywhere from the garden to the beach. Stretching limbs and imagination and enjoying family time is important for us all.