Do playgrounds and sand mix?

Playgrounds and sand
Recently we were all taken to a new playground where under our feet was sand. We had a moment or two trying to decide whether to take our shoes off or keep them on.

It was a hot day and the brightness of the sand was very real but the coolness of the sand underneath very welcome.

The blowing sand a pain for the smallest ones but the building friendships and sharing opportunities with buckets and spades nearby priceless.

With all the different substances you can have underfoot which is your favourite and why?
a) bark
b) springy tarmac
c) concrete
d) sand
e) mixed spaces
f) grass


h) other?

We really enjoyed the sand and the community the boys had was different than the usual playground experience. The springy type is the hottest and we’re not really keen on this one at all. We do like the natural, grass ones and mixed. Certainly right now the #1 playground is one with sand.

What’s on the ground in your playground?

DIY kids play stove

Meet our latest kitchen addition.

The one benefit of having lots of boxes from a move is the endless fun you can have with them.

I’ve been on the lookout for a kitchen set for a long time but everything I’ve seen didn’t fit for one reason or another. We’ve never been shy about our creations even if they don’t look the greatest I’ve never been shy to share them. Some will laugh and point the finger and I hope you are inspired to do better then. The best thing about these types of project is how we all get involved. It’s not about how perfect it looks but how functional.

Two brothers

This is how the minds of two brothers think for their little brother one Easter holiday….with a little help from mum.

Small empty box wrapped in white paper

Kids:We don’t want to see that writing and maybe we can paint it

Me: Thank goodness as I kept meaning to get a better covering for it.

Kids: We need bits on the top……[looking around the room] How would I draw a circle?

Me: Introduces a cereal bowl.

Kids: off to find paper. Problem 1- no paper in the size for 4 burners so improvise with white ( we’ll colour it) and red card – probably left over from St George’s day craft.

squabble over who will do what…….

Brother runs off with paper ….

Discussion about distracting the LO and working together. MO decides to play or distract his brother while the BG can quickly finish the colouring and cutting.

Peace …… negotiation complete

me: How do you turn it on then?

Kids: run off. MO comes back with lid from a bottle. Puts it on the box. Lots of different bottle tops tried. Some from things in use………….

A little while later, the DIY stove is fully functional with Chef MO cooking up a feast and Chef LO lining up the ingredients.

There were more steps inbetween these.  Lots of excitement, diversions, breaks for snacks etc But over the course of one morning it was completed.

This picture was taken at bedtime as activity is too fast and furious during sessions. The beauty of this stove is………




full of memories

lovingly made

Designed and mostly made by brothers for their brother

played with by all.

Don’t be put off with making your own play activities or encouraging your children to do so.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of DIY projects check out childhood 101.

Sorry ….. I have to go………..been invited around for some tea and a baked bean tin?

This post is part of the meme We Play: Pop on over and view the other players

We Play

Play anywhere

Never think that the kids will not find something to do after the say, “I’m bored!” “There’s nothing to do!”

My kids were feeling exactly this way as we packed up to move countries in July. Mum and Dad were a little bit preoccupied with cleaning the last little bit so we could leave. There was nothing in the house. This was a huge draw to be able to run, scream ( echo) throughout the house.

To save our harried nerves of recleaning and get rid of channel this energy we banished them outside like thousands of other parents have before. We stopped short of locking them out there as it was still hot. There was plenty of shade, garden, hose and lots of water what more can you need.

Still we got…………… There’s nothing to do out there. Now admittedly they really wanted our attention. It was day 3 of cleaning living in a hotel and they wanted something to do that was specifically for them. We were hurrying to finish to do exactly that. So there was anxiety on both sides.

Now we had silence for a while we peeked out the window and saw they were busy running around the garden we just couldn’t hear them. So we went downstairs to check………… and this is what we found.

They were really pleased with what they had made. This person was reconfigured many different ways and this is the one they asked for a picture to remember.

Here you are literally nothing to play with and they find this.

We had a good hour of cleaning before they came in soaked from the sprinklers which was enough time to finish and be leaving.

Pretend play and water fun

It’s a great memory of the last day in our American house.

Developing confidence in the Early Years


Confidence is something you often explore in the Early years as it is fleeting. They master somethings really quickly and others it takes a lot of time. There are so many things that they are learning that it is no wonder that sometimes they just come to a dead halt.

This local park had the best trees for climbing and while on our family walk, my husband and I reflected on our tree climbing fun we had from childhood because there were excellent trees to climb all around.

It wasn’t difficult to encourage the boys to give it a try.

One was up and onto that tree pretty quickly. Feet planted carefully, hand gripping and always looking for the next foothold.

One was up and then gripped the tree for dear life and had to be talked on. He was laughing at his own predicament. He knew but he couldn’t. He wouldn’t let go so we could catch him. He insisted he wanted to go on but refused to let go of one hand or ungrip one leg.


I want to say it was all our kind words of “You can do it!” that got him down but it was the kindness of strangers others who were walking by. They said the right words ie. they came from other people.

That gave him the confidence to let go and move………ever so slightly.

Along came another family, popular route, who remarked  to their children, “Look that boy is really going up that tree! I bet you can’t do that.”

We were there a while so the first lady and the dog came back, she’d not gone far up the path. She stopped and spoke to us loudly enough that he could overhear when we were a little anxious trying to talk to her and keep and eye on our clinging on “Koala” son. But it gave him a chance to listen to his own voice.

He uncurled.

He moved up.

We moved on.

Everyday opportunities for play. You don’t always see your role or have to have something ready. Here we were on a family walk.. no learning ‘planned’. We learnt that this particular child no amount of encouragement for the instant performance would work it infact paralyzes him. But leave him a moment and he’ll work it out.

Both are avid tree climbers now much to my hearts complaint. 🙂

Are you that stranger that makes a positive comment that encourages that under 5 child? Would you have walked on in this situation? Unpeeled your “Koala” and moved on?

How have you helped your child’s confidence this week?

Miniature Gardens with little ones

Since the interview with Caroline Webster of Small Fry Outdoors, we have been inspired to take more of our indoor activities outside in our quest to play outdoors. The boys love to pretend play and it is encouraging that Superhero play isn’t the only play we do and especially if you have lots of other characters about. This is our newest family members to our play characters box.

With the weather being so nice and the collection of natural items we keep collecting on our walks we decided to make a miniture garden for our new family. This whole thing was an idea we had together. The boys wanted to build a garden for them and I felt having a portable one would be better for us and a more realistic target.

How to make a miniature garden

  • Use a tray, shallow baking tray or any item with sides to contain soil.
  • Collect lots of ingredients to make the garden such as soil, rocks, moss, twigs, dried flowers. Be inspired by the season and your imagination from your garden. We found it best to heap the items in piles around the plate to help inspire us.
  • Plan your garden using the resources you have available.

Getting Started and Assembling a Miniature Garden

  • Cover the table with newspaper
  • Build up your garden.

Decorating Your Miniature Garden Imaginatively

Add your washing line by using two twigs and some thread. Wind the thread around the twigs. Cut out clothes from a magazine and glue or tape to the line.

  • Push each twig into play-dough that affixes to the tray. Cover the play-dough.
  • Add people to your garden and let the imagination begin.

Miniature gardens bring a little of the outdoors indoor and provide an ideal play starter or activity to use with imaginary play and story telling.

Ideas for block play and displaying nature

Make a creative display for your Autumn finds outside with easy to find items.
Read  my post about how to make your own leaf plate at Blissfully Domestic

Block Play :: Helping Your Kids Learn with Blocks
Blocks- you either love them or are totally indifferent to them.

Whether they are scattered around your house or piled in a dusty corner of the playroom, these are one of the most versatile play objects you can have in your home……………….. Read more about how you can help your Kids learn with blocks visit my post over at Steady Mom

Seasonal play outdoors for toddlers

I had plans for that piece of guttering but until then the LO has hijacked it for some Autumnal fun. You’ll have to watch the video below to see what he was up to.

Autumn play activity in the garden from M Avila on Vimeo.

This post is part of Wordless Wednesday at and

Also, We play

Fruit picking with the children

Picking fruits are a great way to work on that pincer grip and learn how to successfully take off the  fruit from the tree and not the whole branch or bury your family underneath a cascade of falling fruit.

Sounds simple but actually takes a little time.

Of course the reward is to be able to each as many as you like.

Do you like Greengages?

Here more about how we came to be picking greengages by tuning into Raising Playful Tots show 35: Memetales- with Maya where crafts and literacy come together

We play outdoors

Age old game of…… can’t get me!

We took a trip to the beach. After the blue seas of recent holidays they were both shocked to see that sea comes in different shades . They were also very impressed with how powerful the wave could be. Cue us watching some teenagers in the water getting knocked over. It was like watching TV. Everyone was having a great time.

Here the boys were trying to beat the waves. Of course every fifth wave or so was bigger. They ran after the retreating wave and up the beach when the next one breaks without getting wet.

Lasted 10 minutes and they got blasted!

But before that we had lots of play. We still played afterwards with a soggy leg and celebrated with ice cream. Nothing beats playing outdoors or the beach.

This post is part of  We play and Play Academy

Shame old lady

We had our first totally family holiday with Grandparents and inlaws. We all went to Jamaica. My parents were both born there and as a child I have been there quite a few times. However I’ve not been back as an adult.

This was the perfect opportunity for my parents to share stories of their childhood, including games and adventures, let’s put it that way, that they used to do many years ago. All the adults there were fascinated but the grandchildren loved them even more. Stories and experiences just tumbled out wherever we went.

This video is one of these stories and memories we’ll all forever hold dear.

Dad was walking around with the LO in the Villa’s grounds showing him plants and walking him up and down the little hill. ( Something about boys and hills) He stumbled across this plant and came rushing back to tell us all.

I’ve not seen something like this before and neither had the kids. My parents knew it as the 10 o clock plant or “Shamy lady”. After a bit of searching I found that it is also called Shame old lady.

Watch the video below to see what happens.

Shame Old Lady from M Avila on Vimeo.

Stories and history are important for young children. Here we had three generations doing the same thing; gathering around and playing with a native plant with the same glee. I can see how it could keep you amused for quite some time. It was a big attraction and highlight of our holiday. Who knew a plant could do this?

Another story

Hope you’re having a great summer and remember to tell your stories…………

Do you have any interesting experiences to share about your summer?

This post is part of  Tara of Sticky finger’s The Gallery and Wordful Wednesday.

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