Archive for the ‘Play’ Category

13 Practical Things That Would Make the World More Kid Friendly

They are our future.  They make up almost 30% of the population.  And yet we ignore them and make no provision for them.

1.  Children’s public toilets.

We manage to have disabled toilets, which is great, and there are more kids around than people with disabilities.  So how about a slightly larger stall so they can deal with their clothes or Mum or Dad can fit in with a lower toilet, toilet paper they can reach and a low, big, easily turnable lock. My husband has just informed me that men’s toilets usually have one lower urinal, which says some interesting things about women’s toilets and designers.

2.  Children’s cutlery and plastic cups at cafes.

It’s hard to eat with cutlery that’s too big, no wonder they drop it all the time!  It’s not that hard to give them teaspoons and dessert forks, or even get some actual kid’s cutlery. Even better than plastic cups, plastic cups with a narrow mouth.  Wide mouths just end up pouring out the side.  How would you like to eat your meal with salad servers and drink out of a bucket?

3.  Play equipment and feeding chairs in shopping centres.

I remember when shopping centres used to have little garden areas, before they realised they could stick stands in there and get more rent.  I know sometimes privacy is good, but then you have to entertain the older child while feeding the baby, or use a hard wooden bench.  So how about providing some comfortable chairs with basic play equipment, even simple things like floor mazes or moving pegs on boards if you’re worried about kids getting hurt and suing you.  A place where both kids and parents can have a break before heading into the next shop.  You may miss out on the rent for the floorspace but you would get a heck of a lot more customers, and ones who are more relaxed and can look around.

4.  Menus that include something other than chips.

Need I say more?  My kids like chips too, but it would be nice to have some choices!  They also like dips and crudites, or salad plates, or eggs, or risotto, you get the picture?

5.  Miniature shopping trolleys.

Sometimes I only want a few things, and why should kids be cooped up in a trolley?  It can be hazardous in a shop, getting hit by a full trolley is both likely and serious when you’re only 3 feet high.  I see this as a win/win – give them a little trolley with a flag sticking up so everyone can see them and they get to be included and have something to do, which means a whole lot less whining and tantrums!

6.  Steps they can stand on at counters that are meant for kids, like icecream shops or food courts!

I confess, if there is a bench at counter height I let them sit/stand on it and bad luck anyone who doesn’t like it.  It’s not fair that in a shop that allegedly caters to children they can’t even see what they are ordering, let alone gasp! order for themselves. Some of them might even like to hand over the money and pay for themselves.

7.  Matinees or afternoon shows, or ones late at night.

Wouldn’t it be nice to take kids to see something like Cats?  Or Starlight Express?  Cirque de Soleil?  I’m probably just showing my age here!  I’ve got nothing against the various kid groups, but my kids would love to see other shows too.  A show where people sing and dance and rollerskate – they’d sit through it.  What are tweens supposed to see – too old for the Wiggles but really too young for pop, they’re stuck with growing up too quickly or nothing.  But unless you live somewhere like London they’re always on at times that are no good, when they are winding down and tired.  Or as a parent I’m barred from going because they are right in the middle of bedtime.  If I could get them to bed first then go out later it would work much better.  Don’t complain that teenagers and young adults don’t appreciate ‘culture’ when they have never been given the opportunity.

8.  Roped off kid areas at places like cinemas or sporting venues

Notice how cinemas always have huge waiting areas?  How about roping a bit off so kids have a place they can jump, roll around on the floor, and generally do those things kids do when they’ve been waiting a long time.  They’re not in anyone else’s way, no-one is going to walk into them.  Sounds good to me.  Obviously parents would still have to keep an eye on them, but it would be a much more relaxing wait for everyone concerned.

9. Family/parent queues

Wouldn’t it be nice to move those kids through before they get to the stage of whingeing?  And seeing there aren’t that many adults who choose to do kid type activities if they don’t have kids, it’s not as if they will take anyone’s ticket by going through first.  But even if they do, I’d hope that the adult would be able to express their disappointment in an adult way.  Of course if there was a designated kids’ area that parents could see while they waited in queue, …

10. Playgroup for big kids

We have a brilliant play group, with amazing toys, dressups, play equipment and craft gear.  But it’s only accessible until they start school.  Once they are at school there are organised activities like sport, scouts, or music, or they are supposed to have friends over.  Now there’s a place for organisation and competition, but there’s also a place for creativity, imagination and co-operation.  It would be really nice to have access to the same range of gear and large groups of children so they can continue to play creatively.

11.  Flexible school hours.

Work with me on this one, it’s a bit harder.  Our school hours are a product of a society where kids went home in the afternoon to do chores or help out on the farm.  They needed summer off so they could work.  But is it the best distribution for a modern society?  What if teenagers could go to school from 11am – 5pm?  What if primary students could go from 7am-12pm then go home for lunch?  Or what if they did 9am-5pm but with a 2 hour break in the middle of the day when they could rest, play, do art, sport or something completely different?  It might be a great option for working parents.  What if school holidays were rearranged to have 4 blocks of 3 weeks?  In the NT we have 1 week at Easter, 4 weeks in the dry season, 1 week in October then 6 weeks in the Wet season.  Wouldn’t it be great if school districts could make these decisions?  It would be difficult logistically – if you had kids in different schools for example, but isn’t it worth exploring a bit creatively?

12.  Public transport

How about designated seats on public transport that had flip down booster seats? Not that hard to do, then kids don’t have their feet dangling and can see out the window, which automatically makes it more interesting. And they could even have harnesses attached!

13. Attitude!

Everything I’ve suggested so far is practical and do-able. But it will never really change the way society views children without a change of attitude. Children are human too, with exactly the same right to respect and dignity as adults. So adults need to be aware of this, respect them and allow them their dignity. Give them time to process questions and answer. Accept that they won’t walk as quickly as you do. Enjoy the fact that they have so much fun playing and smile at them. Assume that parents know a bit more about the context than you do and support them in their decisions. Understand that their sense of time is completely different to yours and they live at a much faster pace.

And if you can’t do that, remember what your mother said: If you can’t say something nice,don’t say anything!

How about some more suggestions?  And how do we take these to a higher level – lobby shopping centres? Councils?

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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Wordless Wednesday – Dinner Last Night

Play Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom and Wordless Wednesday

Cooking with Kids: Frozen Banana

This is so simple it really doesn’t deserve to be called cooking.  On the other hand, I’ve done it with both my girls since they were about 15 months, and they love the fact they can do it themselves.  And it’s perfect for summer – healthy, quick, fun and cold.

 

Ingredients:

  • Banana
  • Toothpicks
  • Knife
  • Airtight container
  • Freezer

Either cut the end so your child can peel the banana or peel it for them if they are very little.  Give them the toothpicks and let them go!  At 4 big girl does a straight line of beautifully spaced toothpicks, at 18 months baby girl sticks them in all over the place.  It doesn’t matter.  Gvie them a blunt knife, even a butter knife will work on ripe bananas, and let them cut between the toothpicks.  Big girl can do this all by herself, I guide baby girl.  Put them in an airtight container and freeze!  Time depends on how thick the slices are.  When you get them out, you have little banana iceblocks with their own handle.  Kids love them.

I tend to do this at morning or afternoon tea time and use several bananas, the girls eat as much as they want unfrozen then we put the rest into the freezer.

13 Things We Did Today (well, yesterday, I’m writing this Wednesday night)

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1. Played in the paddling pool – with warm water!

2. Pretended they were puppy dogs – fetching balls and bringing them back in their mouths.

3. Did the grocery shopping, sans underwear for baby girl because it took so long to get ready I forgot she’d taken them off.

4. Attempted to get baby girl to sleep while big girl was strapped in the highchair (her choice) with extra food and the remote control.

5. Got up to deal with big girl being stuck, gave up on bed and ended up getting baby girl to nap in my arms.

6. Big girl whispered ‘Fox in Socks’ to me and I did the long pages.

7. Collected and filled a million water bottles while both girls ferried them to the fridge and poked them in any gaps they could find.

8. Cooked chocolate cupcakes and decorated them with bright pink icing and sprinkles.

9. Sang nursery rhymes on my bed.

10. Daddy came home!

11. Chopped up chicken while big girl put it in the egg and flour and told me how much she loved having chicken for tea.

12. Counted each mouthful of salad for big girl and coaxed her to eat one tiny piece of chicken because she doesn’t like it.

13. Got out 50 pieces of ice because big girl ran into a pole while trying to sneak up on Daddy and split her lip and baby girl decided that sucking on ice sounded pretty good.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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Wordless Wednesday – Look Mummy! A goat!

Goat (and a couple of icons)

This page is linked at 5 Minutes for Mom and Wordless Wednesday

13 Milestones of Parenting

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1. The Emergency Shower…

Yelling “Come here quickly and take your clothes off!” to my husband and watching his face as he realised that it was never going to mean what it used to mean…now it meant getting in the shower to wash our son down after a ‘poo-nami’

2. The Poo Scoop…

Along the same vein as number 1. The horror of realising that your child has ‘number two-ed’ in the bath and the best way to get rid of it is to scoop it straight into the toilet with a bare hand. (Please note: My husband is very open to suggestions of better ways to deal with this situation)

3. The ‘Burmuda Triangle’…

Formally known as ‘the car’, the day you realise that toys, half eaten biscuits and odd shoes have all become part of the Burmuda Triangle in the footwell. Perhaps that’s where all the odd socks are too…

4. The Family Bed…

Anyone who tells you sleeping with a baby will kill any chance of romance needs to think outside of the box. While I know it’s not for everyone, there is nothing so special to my husband and I as waking up to our son’s big morning grin stretching across his face as he sees his favourite people.

5. The Public Tantrum Solidarity Nod…

Ok, I admit it. I used to be one of ‘those’ people in the shopping centre who always thought there must be a better way to deal with tantruming children. Now, I don’t pretend to know what parents should do…I just give a sympathetic nod of solidarity. There but for the Grace of God I go!

6. Time Share Toileting…

The day I left work to begin maternity leave I assured my boss that I would never, under any circumstances, allow a child into the toilet while I was in there. Two weeks later I was eating my words as I sat on the toilet, breastfeeding my baby. Ah, it begins…

Flash forward a year and we are still time sharing the toilet, only now my little boy sits on his potty and sings, until it’s time to press the button, clearly one of the favourite parts of his day. How can I deny him this very special treat?

7. The Public Stripdown…

This may occur if you unwittingly decide to try on clothes in a small change room with a gap underneath the door. Unfortunate timing may mean that your child crawls underneath and you find yourself with a major dilemma…the unwilling nudie run to retrieve them, or the child on the loose. Now I understand why people use strollers.

8. Those first few words…

They give everything away about your family. Smidge’s are:

“Tiggle tiggle” (tickle, tickle)

“Oooh look!” (along with pointing finger, which translates as “Mummy, tell me all about that!!”)

“Pat, pat, pat”

“Kiss Daddy, kiss Daddy”

“Blab-blab” (the new name for the dog. She even comes when called this)

And of course “Ooooh, gentle!”

9. The Mini-Me…

This is the day that you flashback to your childhood, when your own child does something so totally you that the last 25 years just drop away and you are the little boy laying on the rumpus room floor driving a Matchbox car back and forth as you rest your head on your outstretched arm. Grandparents love seeing these ones!

10. The “Oh no, why did I teach him that” moment…

The other day my son lifted his shirt, and with a look of surprise in his eyes, poked himself in the belly button. At that moment, without a single thought in my head. I made a raspberry sound. And now our life will never be the same… Every day since I have woken to the lifting of my shirt, the poke in the belly button and that sound, followed by a hysterical laugh and then the same process repeated on Daddy, then himself, then me again. And 13 month old children apparently have no sense of when and where it is appropriate to lift up your Mum’s shirt.

11. The joy of Christmas…

It’s back. The feeling of anticipation…the endless wait…the magic! It’s all back. Last year Smidge was just 4 months old and I had spent most of the last 6 weeks in and out of hospital, so the magic wasn’t as strong as it already is this year. I love that Christmas is the time of year where anything is possible, that wishes really can come true.

12. The Mummy Lioness within…

I expect every Mum will know what I mean by this one. The day that you have to protect your child. It doesn’t matter that you are the least confrontational person, or have never defended yourself.

I experienced my first Lioness moment the other day when I saw 2 older children hitting my son on the back as he climbed out of a ball pit. I looked around for their Mums, but seeing no-one, knew it was up to me. I calmly picked him up out of their reach and said “Oh dear, we can’t hit babies, we pat them gently” and stroked his back. The little boy repeated “Pat bubba, gentle” And I felt proud of myself. Because as much as I would have liked to freak right out on those rough kids, I know that a Mummy Lioness treats other kids the way that she would like other people to treat hers.

13. Falling in love all over again…

While I sit here, trying to think of a last milestone, my husbands voice drifts up the hallway. He is reading Smidge a story as he puts him to bed. Every few pages I hear a yawn- Daddy’s, not Smidge’s. Even though he has had a long day at work, he still has time to give me a break, time for his little boy who he adores and who adores him so much. And so, even though our life has become all about our son, we have these precious moments where I fall in love with my husband all over again.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wordless Wednesday- Swimming Lessons

Before…

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After…

October2009 040

Play Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom