Tag Archives: children

A good day’s play

Master 6 and Ms 3 were here for the day yesterday. A winter wind was biting so the indoor treasures needed to be unpacked and put to good use.

The original Smurfs are often arranged on these interlocking shapes. Our small collection of dinosaurs was part of the game too.

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Charlotte was dressed ready for the weather
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while Mary was discovered to have strong legs which meant she could stand leaning against the horse near “Church”.
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A secret spy base was erected behind some furniture, with blankets to keep the base dark and therefore more secret. You may notice a gun resting on the chair, just in case the “baddies” come.
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Ralph, the dog, needed the attention of the Doctor so once checked and treated he was tucked in under Great Gran’s colourful, knitted rug.
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Lego was used creatively;
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Koosh balls were discovered then tossed about in the hallway when energy levels reached big muscle activity time.
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Then it was time to go home, leaving Mary tucked into her warm clothes and cosy bed
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and a well-armed Lego man guarding us all.
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Prayer flags at Pataka

I met with a friend for coffee last week at Kaizen. Across the roof of the spine of the Pataka (in Maori this means “store house of precious things”) were hundreds of prayer flags made by children.
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It is a vibrantly colourful display featuring the simple wishes and prayers of children for love, family, peace, animal welfare, respect, acknowledging diversity and many attractive illustrations and symbols.
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With all this collective energy good things must flow out to us all.

Filling the well

It has been a dry season.

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Our summer since mid January has been near perfect – hot, dry and calm or breezy with only the occasional deluge of rain.

The outdoor conditions have been mirrored indoors here with one issue and another needing a lot of resourcefulness and resilience.

Today I needed to fill my well.

I needed to play.

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And seek treasure.

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I needed to see growth and development.
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I needed to hear waves breaking.
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To look to a wider horizon.
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To do some blue sky dreaming.
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To witness flow.

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To soak up colour and beauty and creativitiy.

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To know that “all will be well and all will be well and all will be well.”

Treasures and mementos

One of my children, now grown up, was given this collection of shells and seeds by a friend’s family from Playcentre.

They had contact with various scientists and were happy to gift us this array of treasures. The land snail shells are so colourful and inside each of these three are tiny classification details. Once upon a time they were part of a research study into creatures of my country.

The bright red and black seeds are a mystery to me.

With small children it was a time, back then, to examine and wonder, to observe the diversity of size and shape, to explore with very gentle touch and respect and to learn more about life on earth.

This small collection of treasures is important to me and one day I hope to share my enjoyment of them with my grandchildren.

Do you have such treasures tucked away?

Graduation week

It is graduation week in the family. On Monday I attended the graduation ceremony for my adult daughter as she received her recently gained qualification. She studied a course that is only provided by the Open Polytechnic so all her learning was via distance.

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The venue on Monday was full of adults of all ages and stages who had somehow managed the incredible juggle of distance study, paid employment, family demands and the usual routines and requirements of every day living. To complete any academic qualification is a feat but to study alone brings even more challenges along the way.

Those of us who had stood alongside the students, supporting them as best we could, were well represented too and we clapped and cheered heartily as the ceremony progressed and the achievements were acknowledged.

Cameras clicked and flashed, a supper was offered to share after all the formalities were completed and we all had a very happy time. My father always said that studying was a burden at the time but the qualification was no weight to carry once achieved. There was evidence of lightness in the gathered crowd of graduates on Monday night.

On Friday this week I will attend another graduation. This time it is for my three year old grandson as he has completed his “Born to learn” programme under the Parents as First Teachers scheme.The invitation sets out an hour or more of fun activities, music, story time, presentation of certificates and a cake to cut. The programme that he and his parents were part of has been a rich mine of learning, sharing, relating and empowering. It has been a wonderful support to the new family, offering another strand in his development and bolstering the foundations of all learning through play.

Acorns and fairies

We took our cameras down to the grove of Flowering Cherry trees (here they are in glorious spring last year) which is near our local Kindergarten and Primary School.

Near the school car park are three large Oak trees. My children all attended this school and at this time of the year they would bring home piles of acorns, collected in sweatshirt pockets, empty lunch boxes or in their school packs.

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Today the ground was littered with acorns and the little cups that drop off the acorn. The little cups are the fascinating means that allow the acorn to form and hold it on the tree until the seed is ripe enough to tumble to the ground.

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Did you play with acorns and the little cups when you were a child? I did, pretending the little cups could be drink containers for fairies or tiny hats for tiny heads?

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And do you remember this rhyme about Oak trees and acorns? We used to chant this at each other during acorn seasons long ago.

“Don’t worry if your job is small and your rewards are few,
Remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you”….

I’ll post some photos of the flowering cherry trees in their autumn colours in my next post…..:-)

International Literacy Day

I see in the newspaper this morning that it is International Literacy Day.

“Adult and Community Education Aotearoa is encouraging people to engage in Random Acts of Reading today to celebrate the written word and acknowledge the importance of global literacy.”

I had been planning to post the question “What is your favourite word?” so today seems a good day to post such a question.

I love words, playing with words, making up words, having fun with words, completing word puzzles and reading words.

I don’t have just one favourite word but a word I am enjoying right now is “vex” in all its forms….

What is your favourite word today?

Early literacy skill development

Generations and constancy

I wonder if you have a familiar spot that you stop at whenever you are traveling to a certain destination.

We do. For almost 40 years we have traveled frequently to and from Hawkes Bay to visit family.

I am not sure how we learnt about the Deer Park in Dannevirke but it is the spot that we stop at regularly on the trip between Wellington and Hawkes Bay. It is correctly named the Dannevirke Holiday Park which incorporates wildlife areas, including the Deer Park.

Deer Park Dannevirke, New Zealand

Over the time we and other family members have stopped at this scenic spot to have a picnic lunch, a cup of tea and to stretch cramped legs, very little, if anything about this location has changed. And nothing needs to be changed.

There are the deer enclosures, lovely shady trees, shelter from the prevailing winds, a lake, a large bird aviary full of noisy and colourful birds to enjoy and flocks of hungry ducks and guinea fowl to feed…..or fend off the food you are eating!

The park is off the main highway, so offers a safe and restful place to refresh, stretch and take time away from long distance driving and travel.

On our holiday last week we stopped for lunch at the Deer Park on our trip up to Hawkes Bay and on the return journey. While we were there I thought about how my parents had stopped on similar journeys with their grandchildren and how those grandchildren are adults now and remember this spot fondly.

Gran and grandson at the Deer Park, January 1985

I also laughed about our status as grandparents now and although our grandson was not with us I could just picture him running after the ducks, feeding them bits of his lunch, wondering about and enjoying the birds in the aviary, exploring the bridge over the lake and watching and learning about deer, just as his Dad, Aunty and Uncle all did in earlier years.

So for me last week there was a sense of time and people passing, new roles undertaken contrasted with timelessness and constancy.

I’d be interested in knowing about your familiar spot that is a part of the broader weave of your family.