Tag Archives: play

The Rope

Today I planned to write about some of the changes that I made to our learning environment during my vacation but when I checked through the pictures on my camera I realized that there were still a bunch of pictures from the last week before my vacation.  So, before I forget again, here’s the story of the rope…

My nearly 17 year old son has been enamoured by the Wilderness Survival book we bought and has been practicing various knots.  He joined us outside one day and showed the children how to measure distance using a rope with knots tied at one foot intervals;

Then the children asked him to tie the rope to one of the logs — they had a plan;

The log was on one side of the yard;

And they stood on the other side — and working together they pulled really hard;

And successfully tipped over the log;

But what were they looking for?

Aha! The prize;

It’s the Little Things

My vacation is officially over and the children return today.

I think my vacation was successful – The fact that I haven’t written a single blog post for more than two weeks should give you an idea how busy I was.  Seriously some days I didn’t even check my email until 11 pm – and I didn’t do any paperwork at all!

I know, many of you think I’m crazy to ‘work’ through my vacation but really, isn’t the purpose of a vacation to take a break from your regular routine and do something that you enjoy?  That is what I did.  For me, swimming or relaxing on a beach is a form of torture – as is any type of spa treatment.  I’m far too independent to tolerate being catered to – I have difficulty letting the clerk bag my groceries for me. As much as I enjoy gardening, hiking, exploring, and visiting museums etc, those activities are not ‘different’ from my everyday routine.

So, what did I do on my ‘vacation’?  My list was extensive. I knew I probably wouldn’t complete it all but I didn’t want to run out of things to do and end up being bored 🙂  One by one big jobs got completed;

  • Tear out two poorly utilized closets.
  • Take down built in shelving.
  • Frame new storage unit.
  • Install storage bin system.
  • Build new kitchen cupboard unit.
  • Paint, paint, and paint some more.
  • Install knotty pine ceiling.

Busy, busy, busy. Cleaning out the pantry was a bonus since there was little time for grocery shopping so when we were hungry we were forced to use up the miscellaneous items we could find in the cupboard or freezer – or order pizza.

Most of the big jobs were completed in the first week.  I started dropping hints that maybe we’d have time to do the floors too.  The scowl and “Can we finish this job first before you plan something else” retort let me know that he wasn’t ready for that comment.  I’m not sure he’s aware that I’m usually planning several new projects as we are working.

By the 13th of July there was nothing left but the ‘little things’ – the touch-ups, the odd jobs, the things I didn’t plan for in advance.  I started dreaming of the new flooring again – after all we still had five days. But those little things really add up. Sigh.

After two days of working on those little things I hardly made any noticeable progress.  It was depressing.  Everywhere I looked there were more odds and ends to put away, small jobs to finish, and I had things to prepare for ‘back to work’ too.  The little things are hard but they are so important.  No matter how impressive the big project was it is not complete until the little things are done.

I don’t have any new flooring – yet. There are only two weeks until the next long weekend and I have big plans….

The Hill

We first began making plans to renovate our yard last fall.  We knew many of the elements that we wanted to include;  a bigger garden, some seating areas, and a small hill with a slide and tunnel.  We had the basic ideas but we didn’t plan any of the details and since the snow melted we’ve been slowly putting the pieces together.

There has been a circular area in the pea gravel reserved for the hill and the children have often asked when it would be built.  To be honest, I’d planned to have it done long before now but I kept running into minor roadblocks which delayed construction.  Well, as August arrived the hill began to take shape.

Like most of my projects I won’t ever consider it to be ‘completed’ because everything here is constantly changing.  This hill, however, will be a very slow process because it is a ‘living’ hill and thus we have to wait for it to grow.  I have planned to have native prairie plants  covering the hill — their amazing root system will help to make it strong.  I have to thank Shirley at http://www.prairieoriginals.com/ for all her help and suggestions for plants for this project.

So far I’ve only got a few small wildflower species started and the rest is covered with landscape fabric to prevent the soil from washing away.  I placed some pots of day lilies to temporarily add some greenery but I don’t want these here permanently.  Don’t laugh at them — they’re survivors — I had thinned them out of the front yard and for three weeks they lay in a pile beside the deck with only the soil that stuck to them when I pulled them out.  I only plopped them in pots as an afterthought when the hill looked like it needed ‘something’.  In my mind I can see the hill covered with wildflowers and surrounded by butterflies, birds, and of course, children playing.

The ‘tunnel’ is made of clear plastic panels through which I hope someday the children will be able to see roots and worms and other cool stuff.  Right now I just like the pattern the sun makes as it shines through the boards on the platform above the tunnel.

After only a week the children are just beginning to create games and stories that use the hill but already they see its potential.  As the hill evolves so will their adventures.


Tomorrow will be “Water Day” — an eagerly anticipated summer event.  Each summer I schedule at least one day with  a variety of outdoor water games and activities.

Today we went outside for our usual outdoor play time.  The weather forecast predicted a 30% chance of rain but a little rain doesn’t stop us from going outside.  We managed to get about 30 minutes of dry playtime before we felt the first few rain drops.

At first none of the children even paused  or appeared to even notice the rain. We often stay outside in light rain if it is not too cold. Only a few minutes earlier there had been bits of sunshine peeking through the clouds so we were not expecting the rain to last.  We were wrong.

Within minutes the rain became quite heavy.  The children began to giggle and looked to see what my reaction was.  I shrugged and said “Let’s stay out a bit longer”.  They were thrilled.  They ran and jumped and laughed and got wet.  They were children having fun.

There was no sign of the rain letting up and none of the children had extra clothing so reluctantly we went in.  Several hours later when their parents arrived to pick them up every one of the children had the same story to tell. “We had an early water day — we played in the rain and got wet but we’re dry now”.  Until tomorrow….