I’m in the midst of school holidays, and if I’m really honest I looked forward to hiding myself away for a little while to write this very blog post just a touch toooo much. And it’s not because I don’t enjoy being with my kids….I certainly do. In fact this year my eldest started school and I miss her being around terribly. I do think however, that in an effort to give our children more, we give them less, and leave ourselves with nothing 🤔 So my quiet time tucked away working can be my salvation.
I started jotting down things they asked to do, or things I thought could be fun as the school term was coming to an end. Of course there is some expectation that we might see one movie, but they are pretty darn happy running through the sprinkler, or playing board games, or passing the time playing together and having conversations with each other (and me) about nothing and everything.
It’s true we all parent differently and we’ve all been parented differently, so sometimes the things we value and see as important, non negotiable or necessary are also very different.
If you think about the things you enjoyed most when you were growing up, what do you remember? I could bet that it wasn’t some elaborate play date – did they even exist as a ‘thing’ back then? Or full day excursions to a theme park or a play centre? I doubt it.
Our world was simpler, wasn’t it? Hours used to pass sitting and playing at the local park, which was nothing more than a swing set and a slide (probably metal 😂)…surrounded with plenty of wide open green space and trees. Endless possibilities.
We’d climb the trees of course, and swing and slide…and then we’d sit, picking out “lucky” four leafed clovers.
Only the other day I realised this was something I was yet to do with my children. We had discovered a new park full of clover and bees….LOTS of them. It was a welcome sight, and a brought with it a feeling of nostalgia.
We sat collecting the small white flowers and I demonstrated the way you could link them together. Slowly the girls copied and created crowns for their heads.
So I guess this got me thinking about the simplest pleasures we can share with our children, that are inspired by nature’s plants and flowers.
Here’s my list of just some of the wonderful opportunities Mother Nature has gifted us with, that we may use to bond with, talk to and teach our children;
1. Daisy chains 🌼
2. “Lucky” Four leafed clover hunts ☘️☘️☘️🍀
3. Plucking petals from a flower head one by one…he loves me….he loves me not… until you are finally presented with the answer you desire. 🥀
4. Carefully picking Dandelions, and then blowing the seeds into the breeze, carrying with it all your hopes and dreams. 🌬
5. Collecting different coloured leaves 🍁
6. Collecting leaves from different trees- use them for ‘rubbings’, or paint on one side and make prints, or press them into clay to see the leaf’ structure. 👩🏻🎨
7. Shell peas fresh from the garden 👨🍳
8. Use white chrysanthemums stems placed in different food colourings to demonstrate the capillary network within the flower structure. 👨🏼🔬
9. Collect interesting flowers and sprigs to press. 🌾
10. Make a grass head 👨🏼🌾
The beauty of all these activities is that children feel more connected to the world in which they live in, while you provide great opportunities for conversations and questions. Plus, things in nature just seem to take longer, so it helps develop patience. Spring is a beautiful time of the year to get out and enjoy the environment, with plenty of fresh flowers in bloom and great varieties of fresh cut flowers available in store to play with too! Teach them how to ‘arrange’ flowers by using a selection of our market fresh cut flower specials and a small glass bottle. It is easy to fill and will give them that feeling of achievement. Get them to help you water the garden; whether it is with a hose, watering can or old milk bottle, young ones love to be busy.