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Tag: parenting (Page 1 of 4)

Hiking with Kids and Tips for Surviving It!

Hiking with kids is exhausting, but mainly in the run up to it. Once you get out there with your little tribe, it is so worth all the effort to get your family ready to hit the trails ūüôā I know only too well the effort it takes getting small people ready to go outside, especially during a Swedish winter.¬† I have a blog post dedicated to the whys and wherefores, joys and frustrations over at this link http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/we-are-going-out-in-quite-a-while/¬†Today I want to talk more about why it is so good for families to get out there and go hiking with kids, and offer some handy tips for making it more enjoyable.¬† In the future I will be writing more about how we prepare and the logistics of what we take.¬† First off, as the parent, you need to stay motivated and focus on the end goal of getting out there, knowing that everyone will be happier, have a great adventure together, and be immersed in nature.¬† To motivate everyone else through that door you need to be motivated!¬† I also try and let my trio experience a range of weather conditions (within reason!).¬† I am careful not to make hiking a sunny day only activity, as with the right clothing, fun can be had in most weathers.¬† Want to know about why it is so good hiking with kids and tips to make it great for everyone?¬† Read on……

Why Go Hiking with Kids?

  1.  They need to be in the great outdoors.  It is good for their development, self esteem, and makes them healthier.
  2. They need exposure to nature and wildlife.¬† Their enjoyment of nature will help protect it in the future.¬† If they have experienced it and been immersed in it, they are more likely to want to nurture and conserve it in future…you are investing in nature’s future as well as your child’s.
  3. They are learning new skills…they climb, they run, they negotiate together, they learn to take risks more and manage those risks, as well as learning skills such as looking after themselves in the great outdoors, some basic survival skills, using a compass, and using a map.
  4. They are exercising!¬† Need I say more ūüôā
  5. Out on a hike, everyone can truly unplug, leave screens and technology behind, forget about jobs in the home, and it gives an opportunity to reconnect together as a family.
  6. Hiking is known to be a stress buster, therefore increasing happiness and decreasing stress.

Tips to Survive Hiking with Kids.

  1.  Make sure you are carrying secret, emergency bribes.  Tired little legs sometimes need encouragement of the sweet variety.  It boosts morale, provides a little energy boost and you are good to go a little further.  Some days you may not need them, but keep them with you at all times!
  2. Take some props.¬† Our favourites are compasses, torches (winter), binoculars, bug pots, and cameras.¬† This in turn can lead to little tasks to help them along the trail’s way….we also like looking for tracks, especially in the winter snow.
  3. Plan the hike a little around food and play.¬† When I take my three trolls out, we hike a while, then I plan at least an hour, more like a 1.5-2 hour stop, then hike a little more.¬† During that stop they play and I cook.¬† They climb, adventure, explore, paddle or anything else that takes their fancy.¬† I get a fire going and we all get hot morale boosting food.¬† They will tackle the second stage of the hike with renewed enthusiasm even though they’ve still been expending energy throughout the break.
  4. Pitch your hike at their level…the distance to be covered, the weather conditions, the terrain.¬† However, feel free to stretch them a little bit.¬† Just get the balance right.
  5. Have little games up your sleeve to play….I don’t mean card or board games…I mean little games using nature while you are walking.¬† Or suggest a small stop to pick berries that can then be munched on route.
  6. Allow time, lots of it, and more again.¬† There is nothing worse than trying to hurry children along, they naturally get slower doing that.¬† They need to go at their pace, and not just their walking pace.¬† Their pace of life….looking, experiencing, collecting things all along the way.
  7. Take lots of food, and lots of water to make sure you are not caught short with the essentials.¬† These 2 things can alter a child’s mood substantially when the going gets tiring!

If you like the idea of hiking with your children and as a family, there are lots of hiking websites out there for inspiration and advice.¬† I like looking at¬†https://highpeakshiking.com¬†it’s a great site for the hiking community to share experiences, tips, and inspiration ūüôā¬† I enjoy just browsing through and getting ideas or being a little nosy!¬† So go on, get planning your adventure!

Hiking with Kids and tips for surviving it, hiking children, outdoors, nature, children outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Living In Sweden – A Year After Our Dream Move

Today sees us celebrating one year since I flew all three children, myself, 3 car seats, and four overweight suitcases, over to join Dadda to start our new lives together living in Sweden.  It seems a good time as any to weigh up the pros and cons of this move, and to look at whether we feel we are here for good (hopefully, barring any silly Brexit shenanigans!).

First off, living in Sweden, we gained 4 seasons!! ¬†The photos depict us losing/gaining various layers as the year progresses! ¬†We love being outdoors, and immersed in nature, and now we have the chance to experience all the seasons fully. ¬†It also makes you appreciate the summer quite a bit more. ¬†When the cold and snow came, life needed a little more planning (like digging the car out), but living in Sweden it does continue (unlike back in the UK where it stops just because it “might” snow!). ¬†The children have embraced everything that has been thrown at them weather wise, and we live with the motto “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”….we have a whole outdoor shop’s supply of outdoor gear now ūüôā

The great outdoors, and the Swedish ethos of outdoor living, was a huge attraction for us and for living in Sweden. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, we did live in a beautiful part of the UK, but over here it is all much more natural, wild, and rugged. ¬†Being a larger country, with fewer people in, the natural spaces and wildlife are left well alone and thrive without such a heavy presence of mankind. ¬†There is wildlife and space all around you. ¬†You know that while you are sleeping, the local √§lg (moose) are checking out the golf course up the road, or the deer are stealing the carrots from your children’s snowmen in the garden! ¬†The public right of access allows everyone to roam freely, as long as they respect the land and nature. We have got to grips with outdoor fires, and enjoy using the regularly placed outdoor fire pits on our hikes. ¬†The beautiful landscapes, the freedom to roam where we want to adventure, and the provision of fire pits in the wild, have definitely fulfilled this reason for moving here. ¬†I think it is fair to say we have been taking full advantage of it all so far!

Let children be children!!  I need to let them run, climb, and explore.  In the UK, this got me a lot of frowns (especially in parks) when I deliberately made a choice not to helicopter parent any of them, as well as letting them use apparatus how they wanted to (provided no one else was affected!).  Plus in the UK there are a lot of expectations of how children should behave, often making them suppress a lot of their childhood instinctive behaviours, and in turn dampen down their spirit, curiosity, and excitement about life.  Over here it is a lot different.  Children are expected to want to make a noise, run around, and climb.  It’s quite common for my little lady to climb the trees in her playground, or twin 2 to be found dangling upside down precariously from a high bar, whereas in the UK those were a definite no no.  They are outdoors in all weathers, not cooped up because of some wind and rain.  The Swedes have clocked onto the fact that children don’t want to, and won’t sit still like statues, but instead they expect them to be moving.  The best bit….no one’s looking at your parenting skills or your child and seeming to be criticising them, when children are just being children.

Living in Sweden we have all left lovely close friends behind.¬† Only yesterday I opened a lovely parcel for the family from some close friends in the UK that made me a little weepy…..of the happy sort!¬† A year on though and we have met some very special people here who have helped us to settle in and go out of their way to help us. ¬†They have become very good friends. ¬†Also, our summer was very busy with close friends from the UK visiting, and the whole year has seen many friends and family coming.¬† There are five more sets of visitors booked for the next four months already!¬† It was hard leaving family and friends behind, and we do miss them a lot, but we are so grateful for those who have offered us friendship here¬† in Sweden ūüôā

Having left a pressure cooker education system behind that has children exhausted, in tears, and feeling a failure, we are more than happy to embrace the Swedish positive approach to learning.¬†¬†School is important to us here as a place for the children to meet others their age and learn the language, coming from an English speaking household, so it serves us well too. ¬†It‚Äôs such a lovely environment‚Ķ.oh, apart from the no shoes indoors policy‚Ķ.I have to keep a better eye out for the holes in the socks situation! ¬†But on the flip side they love running and sliding down the corridors ūüôā ¬†The lovely island school has turned out to be just what we wanted for our trio, and more.

With three children, life can easily start feeling like a hectic race from the moment you get out of bed, until the moment you collapse into it at the end of the day.  A huge reason for moving here was to slow right down, and commit to a much simpler way of living.  It just seems a lot easier to do here.  We have moved to a small island community, you can’t just pop to the shops to spend frivolously (the nearest are about a 30 minute drive), and there are no other material distractions, so life is lived at a more leisurely pace.  We’re no longer sucked into things like a weekend chocca full of children’s parties, activities, or shopping.  Instead it is full of family time, hiking, exploring, and lots of play!

The language is another harder aspect of living abroad. ¬†Our trio are now immersed in it during the week at school, but they are still on a very steep learning curve. ¬†Dadda and I are trying to teach ourselves. ¬†We are making a little headway, understand a lot more than we used to, and can make ourselves understood…albeit with a lot of gesticulation too. ¬†It’s hard learning a new language, but we try and at least begin to speak to the locals in Swedish (we’re lucky that so many are great at speaking English).¬† The trouble starts when people then respond in Swedish, and we sometimes lose the thread of the conversation, but at least we have made some baby steps. ¬†With this comes other things that are very hard…school homework, when it does come home, takes twice as long as we have to understand it before we can help her with it. ¬†Everything takes longer due to translating along the way (very slowly) and sometimes this can be very frustrating. ¬†Something that is usually an easy task can seem to take forever.

Learning to drive on the other side of the road, in a car set up the opposite way, was another challenge too. ¬†You’d think a year on we’d be OK, but the other night I drove about 500m on the wrong side before realising, so some habits are hard to kick.

There has been a huge downside though, and that is the lack of grown up time for Dadda and I.¬† There are no baby sitters here (yet, cross my fingers!), and we have moved abroad knowing there would be no one-night escapes to get a yearly lie in, or no time alone without the presence of our three cheeky monkeys.¬† As much as I know the younger years fly past in the blink of an eye, I wouldn’t ever say no to some peaceful calm time together, enjoying something as a couple outside of our four home walls.¬† However, for now, we will have to take the evenings collapsed on the sofa once we’ve tucked the trio up in bed.

If this family adventure does end up with us returning to the UK, at least there will be no ‚Äúwhat ifs‚ÄĚ, and so no regrets. ¬†We will have tried living in Sweden, and given it a go. ¬†The children will have experienced the world classroom, and a different culture, language, and lifestyle.¬† Although I really hope we are here to stay now, as this was how we planned it.¬† I think we have all adapted pretty well so far. ¬†We seem to be integrating a little. ¬†I can‚Äôt say enough though about how much we love living here, and I feel that maybe we have found our place in the world that we can call home¬†🙂

living in sweden, living abroad, moving to sweden, moving abroad, Sweden, www,mammasschool.co.uk

Our Autumn Bucket List – Getting Cosy In Autumn

I love all the seasons, and I am not sure I favour one more than the others.¬† However, when the seasons start changing and moving on, I am always ready for a change and love what the next one might bring – especially now that we live somewhere that has four distinct seasons!¬† So, now that autumn is well and truly here, we have spent the afternoon leaf rubbing in our nature journals as the background decor to our autumn bucket list – a list of everything that we would like to do during this season.¬† We’ve then made one giant list incorporating everyone’s little lists, so we can tick them off as we go.

Our Autumn bucket list ended up consisting of 34 things, and here they are:

1. Have a leaf fight

2. Catch falling leaves

3. Paint leaves

4. Kick leaves

5. Play with toys by the fire

6. Have a proper hot chocolate – with chocolate spoons, cream, and marshmallows

7. Eat warm kanelbullar (cinnamon buns)

8. Look for conkers

9. Roast pumpkin seeds

10. Roast chestnuts

11. Do nature art with leaves

12. Have a cosy afternoon in the library

13. Enjoy a season-scented bubble bath

14. Enjoy a season-scented candle

15. Sunset picnic

16. Sunrise picnic

17. Bake with apples

18. Bake with ginger

19. Carve a pumpkin

20. Count the leaf colours on a walk

21. Jump in leaves

22. Light indoor fires

23. Cosy on the sofa with stories and blankets

24. Watch a cosy autumn movie

25. Have the whole family toast marshmallows

26. Make a leaf caterpillar

27. Throw leaves

28. Autumn Camping

29. Autumn walk

30. Collect leaves

31. Make blackberry jam

32. Apple experiment

33. Sloeberry experiment

You may well be intrigued by a few of the things on the bucket list…I am!¬† But I guess that’s what you get when you ask two 5 year olds, one 9 year old, and a 41 year old what they would like to do this autumn ūüôā

Our autumn bucket list, autumn, things to do in autumn, cosy autumn, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Sticks Are The Best Toys Ever!

Sticks are great toys….they are free, abundantly available in the outdoors, and have many play possibilities and functions. ¬†Plus, children seem drawn to them like magnets ūüôā ¬†Anyone that follows us on Instagram (@mammasschool) will know that my trio are rarely seen without a bundle of sticks, or trying to drag what is more like a tree trunk along on a hike.

When playing with sticks there is an added benefit, in that they are generally to be found in the outdoors, which means they lend themselves to naturally be played with in the great outdoors.  I have many posts about the benefits of outdoor play.  They can be found in the following links:

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/balanced-barefoot-importance-unrestricted-outdoor-play/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/healing-nature-relying-beach-work-magic/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/outdoor-adventures/wild-camping-children-sweden/

In today’s post I want to chat a little about why sticks are so important and a method of play for children.

Sticks are a “loose part” toy. ¬†That means that they have no predetermined role. ¬†It is all down to the child’s imagination and creativity as to what they become, or are used for. ¬†This is important for growth and development. ¬†They can build and construct with them, role play with them, create art with them, and even use them as writing tools. ¬†They also come in lots of shapes, sizes, colours, and textures, adding to the fun. ¬†Many parents shy away from letting children play with sticks on safety grounds. ¬†We have 3 main rules; the sticks do not touch people, you don’t hit anything with them, and lastly (but important for my sanity), they stay outdoors! ¬†Every stick they find is always “the best ever” and I’d have a house full without this rule. ¬† So, with these three little rules in place, a lot of fun can be had. ¬†They may still need a little help drawing the line if play gets a little exuberant, but instead of teaching children that nature is dangerous, we are teaching them it is fun to play in, and then they will have more of a desire to protect it as they are growing up. ¬†They are being able to integrate with nature more.

There are lots of other benefits to playing with sticks too:

It teaches the children personal space and awareness.

It allows them to build strength and muscle (some of them are quite heavy that they shift around).

It allows them to get dirty and “hands on” with nature, helping to build their immunity (a discussion for another day!).

They are allowed to explore their own environment and work out what takes on which role.

It increases stimulation and awareness for the child.

They are using both large and small motor skills.

And of course, they are doing a lot of physical activity when playing with them…all very healthy.

 

So, next time you are headed outdoors with the little people, embrace the stick play ūüôā I find it hard to not keep saying things like “be careful”, or “do you really need to carry that?”, but I try very hard and leave them to it, and generally it all works out OK. ¬†They’ve had a lot of fun, they’ve learnt a lot through play, and I am more relaxed because there have been less arguments as we’ve all been outdoors (even if I was tripping over someone’s log being dragged on the hike!!).

 

sticks, play with sticks, stick toys, outdoor play, nature play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Watch a Sunset-Watch Nature’s Magical Show.

watch a sunset, nature, sunset, www.mammasschool.co.uk

“Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second” – Mattie Stepanek

Last autumn I started taking our trio for sunset picnics…the joy of living in a country where it gets dark very early in the winter ūüôā ¬†The sunset provides some of the most stunning sights in nature, and I challenge you not to be in awe and dream while watching this amazing event take place. ¬†Being a mamma to three young children and collapsing into my bed as soon as I can at night, the summer sunsets have been rather too late for me living in Sweden!! ¬†However, they are now returning to a more sociable hour for me, and last night, for our little lady too. ¬†We took a sneaky trip out on our bikes to watch the sun set for the day (leaving the mini men snoring their little heads off in their beds!). ¬†In fact twin 2 had already asked me at breakfast that morning if we could have a sunset picnic….”soon” I said, not long to wait now, and I was so happy he remembered the experiences from last autumn, winter, and spring.

We wrapped up, packed our kelly kettle so that we could have a warming brew, and once we’d located the long lost bike lights, we cycled up to the north west point of our island. ¬†It was so lovely to head out just the 2 of us, for this peaceful and calming experience. ¬†We sat there, in almost silence, holding our hot chocolates, and watching the sun saying goodnight for the day as it sank into the sea below our horizon.

This is a really easy mini adventure that I think all children should experience every so often as part of their immersion in nature, that in turn helps towards making them more aware of their environment and wanting to care for it and its future. ¬†It helps nurture their love of nature. It teaches them to enjoy the simple things in life, living in the present moment, whilst instilling a sense of awe and adventure….part of the excitement for our little lady was also the ride home in the dark! ¬†It’s a time together with your child/children that definitely allows bonding and strengthening of relationships, as well as providing cherished memories.

I can see there will be a lot of sunset picnics coming up in the next few months as our seasons change, and so do the views and light cast by this spectacle. ¬†We may be eating our food in gloves and woolly hats soon, but my three wouldn’t miss these for the world, and that makes me happy!

Wild Camping with Children in Sweden.

Wild camping….with three little people….I think Dadda might have thought I was a bit daft, but he agreed we should try so we did! ¬†Here in Sweden, we have this fantastic thing called “allemansr√§tten”: ¬†this is the right of public access to roam freely almost anywhere in the countryside. ¬†There are a few responsibilities that come with this; you take care of nature and wildlife, respect landowners and others enjoying the countryside, respect the land and leave no trace you have been there, don’t disturb and don’t destroy.

I had really wanted to get the children away for wild camping, and with the summer now slipping away from us fast, we felt it was now or never for this year.  I had taken them away for 2 nights on my own somewhere over the summer holidays, but it was on a campsite.  It suited our needs well, especially as I was on my own with them, but it was noisy, cramped, and expensive!!  I wanted a closer experience to nature for them, and a more basic, less commercialised one as well.  Where else can you play in trees and swim in freezing sea, all before breakfast?!

I have written a lot in the past about the benefits of the great outdoors and nature play.  You can take a peek at the following posts to go into those in more depth;

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/take-a-risk-explore-inside-a-tree/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/balanced-barefoot-importance-unrestricted-outdoor-play/

There were a lot of those reasons involved in our decision to get our children out for a night of wild camping. ¬†Being outdoors and in nature, supports all forms of development, there is more adventure to be had, there are more challenges (and mine up the ante with these by competing, for example who can climb the highest in the tree), and there is more creativity at work. ¬†They love to explore and there is much more to explore in the outdoors, teaching them to adapt to their environment and take risks. ¬†It increases their teamwork as well as their confidence, both very evident in how they helped and persuaded each other during little excursions into the woods during both the daylight and the dark, while we cooked and cleared away. ¬†They taught each other little things too. ¬†However, our decision to take them wild camping was not just about the children. ¬†It is also about looking after nature and there are benefits to us grown ups too. ¬†Our children will not grow up wanting to protect, respect, and look after nature unless they have experienced it, spent a lot of time immersed in it, and been allowed to enjoy it. ¬†This will increase their desire to conserve it. ¬†Also, while I will be the first to raise my hand and say any camping is hard work for the grown ups, before you even make it wild, we too benefit from being outdoors and in nature. ¬†We are getting our fresh air and vitamin D and N, our moods are better (although I have to say the weather does have the potential to alter this!), and our blood pressure¬†should¬†ūüėČ be lower!

We headed off on our wild camping trip to a place west of us called G√∂. ¬†It’s a delightful little peninsula, and whilst here in Sweden you don’t have to go far from any car park to be in the middle of nature and away from people. Plus it was really accessible for us with three small children, and I knew it would be relatively easy to pitch our tent. ¬†We were on our own surrounded by beautiful nature, and it was very peaceful too. ¬†The children learnt a lot of new things as well on this trip. ¬†They helped with the tent pitching, the fire building and lighting, how to toilet, cooking, we star gazed which initiated a whole torrent of questions, and during the night a lost young deer could be heard calling for its mother. ¬†They learnt a lot about looking after themselves, from the importance of insect repellent, to getting over the confusion about sleeping in their clothes, and how to not traipse all the sand and dirt into the sleeping areas. ¬†We watched the sun set, before we laid on our backs and watched the stars come out. ¬†Then in the morning, we had a very freezing dip in the sea after they had been climbing trees!

So, after returning very tired (between them, their sleep talking was constant!), very smelly, and needing a decent loo, are we pleased we did this mini adventure? ¬†Too right we are. ¬†It was a break from the norm for everyone, and for that reason it has provided everyone with a very memorable experience. ¬†The children loved the increased freedom (although they enjoy quite a lot of freedom here in Sweden anyway, they were allowed to wonder into the woods and explore the cove on their own….we could hear them before you panic!). ¬†It was back to basics, with no distractions, bonding time together as a family and as siblings, and lots of fun had with nature play. ¬†I would definitely recommend this to any family (but as we did, go for the easier option of a dry period!!). ¬†Good luck and I really hope you’ll step out of your comfort zone (as we did) and give it a go. ¬†You’ll be seriously pooped but left wanting to do it again…..maybe in another year ūüôā

Wild camping, kids camping, children camping, nature, outdoors, sweden, camping, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Goodbye For Now….

Over the last 15 months of writing this blog, life has changed dramatically for me and my little family. ¬†The reason for starting the blog was to document our home schooling journey, that then became a following of our dreams journey, to now settling down to living abroad and embracing a new culture. ¬†I have loved writing and I have loved having the blog, but in the last few weeks something has shifted. ¬†Originally it was a diary to inspire others, but I’ve got caught up in the whole stats and numbers thing, and wanting to be read. ¬†I think it stems from trying to get your blog “out there”. ¬†There is so much competition and so much background work that needs to be done, I felt that I am always on the alert to make sure that a link up is made before the dead line, or the comments are submitted before closure. ¬†There have also been a few personal things going on in the background too that make me feel I need to take a break and concentrate on my young family, instead of where the next post is coming from. ¬†I hate being online, and yet if I don’t reply or comment on various platforms, algorithms ensure your material doesn’t appear…cruel but it is reality. ¬†So I feel this is all dictating our days that are about living in the moment, and being immersed in the outdoors and nature….all a little bit of a contradiction and it’s been eating away at me. ¬†So, I guess, what I am trying to say is, I am in no way clear aboutwhere I go from here, so over the summer I will take a break, and see how it affects our daily life. ¬†In the meantime, I shall spend my daylight hours running after three very energetic children, exploring Sweden, and being company for my husband in the evenings!! ¬†After the Swedish summer break is up (which starts mid June and finishes at the end of August), I shall decide whether I either missed it, or it just wasn’t for us ūüôā ¬†I will keep the¬†https://www.instagram.com/mammasschool/¬†Instagram account going for now, that will tell the story of our journey in pictures, as I know a lot of my little lady’s friends will like to see what she’s up to..and hoping mine too ūüėČ ¬†xxxxxxxx

Imaginative Play – Let Them Learn Their Way.

So, it is Wednesday morning in our home, our little lady has trotted up the road to school, and it’s me and the boys home alone. ¬†Usually, after I have sorted the washing (I swear there are people living in secret with us, the amount of socks that come out!), and done some housework, it is time for a little more formal literacy and maths with the mini men. ¬†However, by the time I got to them this morning, there was a mountain climbing, chicken healing, spider man requiring mission in full swing! ¬†It took me all of 1 second to decide to ditch the workbooks in favour of this imaginative play game. ¬†Why? ¬†Am I being lazy? ¬†Am I shirking my responsibilities to keep up their English language skills living in a foreign country? ¬†No, I am letting them learn the best way possible, their own way. But as an added bonus, what mummy won’t take the opportunity of calm to get things done ;-). ¬†One of the many reasons we uprooted the family to Sweden was to embrace and be part of their culture of letting children be children, and the importance they place on child’s play.

There was a great deal of planning involved in this game, which in itself is an important life skill to learn.  Outfits had to be chosen, and today it was necessary to be wearing football shin pads and ballet shoes.  Food and drink were required, so paper sausages and drinks bottles made from paper and old bottle tops.  Torches (push up ice cream bases), light sabres (toy screwdriver handles), rope (old string), and homemade telephones were all packed, and they headed off into the wilderness (our upstairs!).  The baddies were in our room, whilst the nursing and feeding of a poorly chicken took place in the spare room.  Extra superhero powers were required in the form of spider man.  For three hours this game was played, changed, and progressed, and the whole time they were busy learning some very important things.

So what has this session, like any other of imaginative play, been teaching them apart from planning? ¬†It has taught them a variety of skills, the first one today being dressing themselves (not necessarily to my taste!!). ¬†They have sorted their own outfits as were required, they have done their own undressing and dressing to accommodate the story line. ¬†They have made hundreds of decisions throughout the morning, developing their decision making skills, but this has also had a big impact on increasing their social skills at the same time. ¬†There has been A LOT of co-operation (trust me we are not the perfect family, they hit and kick each other out of frustration at times too and scream at each other, but today they learnt the benefit of staying calm and using words to communicate so the game was enjoyed…it was just a really good morning for them today). ¬†There has also been sharing, negotiations that would be fit for running a country, taking turns, and a lot of self restraint from the pair of them. ¬†Very often they can be quick to lose their self restraint, and it’s hard being a twin in each others pockets all the time, but when they can hold it, and see the benefits, it reinforces that it is a beneficial way to behave. ¬†Imaginative play, by nature, is role play or acting out some sort of experience. ¬†This is the way little people are able to make sense of the big bad world around them.

During imaginative play there is a lot of emotional development occurring, as it is a very safe place and time to express their feelings, and try and sort them out. ¬†Their thoughts, feelings, wishes, and fears can all be processed through their play. ¬†As was shown in today’s game, they can learn about empathy and caring too. ¬†Their self esteem can increase because they can be ANYTHING they want to be, there is nothing holding them back, anything goes ūüôā I might have given the formal literacy a miss but they have been busy developing their communication skills, both verbally and non verbally. ¬†During imaginative play they can experiment and mistakes don’t matter, but are there to still be learnt from.

So next time you feel guilty about leaving your little ones to play while you sneak a peaceful 5 minutes, or more realistically work through your “to do” list, DON’T! ¬†They don’t need our grown up interaction all of the time. ¬†Their own imaginative play without us is just as important to their development. ¬†Sometimes, their games may require you as part of them, but be careful you leave all your grown up ideas at the door to the room…this is their game and it is played their way!

Imaginative play-Let them Play their way, play important, role play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Dear Bear and Beany

Healing Nature – Relying on the Beach to Work its Magic!

The past few days have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of squabbling, arguing, and whinging going on in our home. ¬†We were in need of some emergency healing nature power! ¬†I was getting close to the end of my tether with my trio. ¬†I’d seen everything over the last few days. ¬†We had death stares and grumbles from the little lady because someone dared to choose the same cereal to eat as her! ¬†I’d seen breakdowns over someone wanting the same jam on their toast as someone else. ¬†There had been fighting over who was taking what to lay the table. ¬†Twin 1 had been hiding twin 2’s outdoor clothing during the mad morning dash to get out the house, resulting in a distraught, not ready twin 2. ¬†Twin 1 had also been pushing twin 2 over into the door. ¬†The list just goes on…..I was coming down stairs in the morning, and my first words for the past few days to my children had been cross and frustrated ones. ¬†To say I was exasperated is an understatement! ¬†So we packed the car and headed off for an afternoon of that well known remedy….healing nature.

Being surrounded by nature has so many benefits, and the main one I was in search of today was the gentle lapping sounds of the waves (hopefully I’d be able to hear them over the bickering!). ¬†This sound instantly de-stresses me, lowers my heart rate, and I find my lost patience again. ¬†Nature is a well known regulator of stress, so it’s a very valid reason to seek it out in times like this. ¬†However, the benefits would not just be mine. ¬†Nature play is known to resolve conflict and encourage team work….well, hello….if there was anything these three needed reminding of, it was that they liked each other, could enjoy each other, and play together! ¬†They could also do with a little de-stressing too! ¬†There are so many other benefits of nature play that I have written about already, http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/¬†but for today and our current situation, these were my main aims.

The children settled into their play fast, while I lit a fire and prepared some food, breathing a sigh of relief as I listened to their happy chatter.  All three worked in pairs at some point, in varying combinations.  Our little lady was engrossed in making a complex river and dam construction from redirecting the sea.  Lots of learning thrown in to her afternoon, while the boys mainly busied themselves building castles and moats, and using their dumper trucks to transport construction sand.  The food was well received in a opportunistic break from play, but they hurried back once it was scoffed down.  I sat back and watched them play, and enjoyed them in that moment, after a painful few days.  My plan had worked!

We headed back to the car after over three hours chilling on the beach, nature having worked its magic while we were all immersed in it. ¬†As they clambered back in, the bickering started up again over the seat belts and who was in whose way!! ¬†Well, all good things must come to an end I guess, but at least my patience fuel tanks were topped up again to deal with it all and we’d had a lovely few positive hours!! ¬†However, I can see the wine tank in the fridge being a little more depleted later, and thank goodness we’ve just had Easter so the chocolate supply is high ūüėČ

healing nature - relying on the beach to work its magic, restorative nature, nature play, outdoor play, benefits of nature www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Country Kids

Taking a Blogging Break After a Year

I have now been blogging for just over a year, and posting 6 days out of 7 during this time.  I feel it is time for a little blogging break!  Not long, but just enough to recharge some batteries.  Just a little week off to enjoy my not so little family even more, and relax with them (well, as much as a Mamma can with three busy children!).

Our little lady has one week off school for Easter. ¬†Don’t feel too sad for her though, as she is then only back for around 8 weeks before having nearly 10 weeks off for the summer. ¬†There are quite a few, what the Swedish call “red days” in those 8 weeks too. ¬†These are like bank holidays, except they aren’t necessarily on a Monday or a Friday. ¬†She will finish the week before midsummer’s which is a huge celebration here, and then everyone spends summer relaxing and being on holiday ūüôā ¬†So, as you can see, one week at Easter, in the bigger picture, isn’t a great shame. ¬†They get their priorities right, allowing the children to enjoy a very long, relaxing summer, when the weather is at its best! ¬†I therefore thought, this might be a good time to take a little blogging break.


The time I have been blogging has been a time of great change and adjustment too for all of us. ¬†First of all stopping conventional schooling in the UK (the reason for starting the blog), and then through an international move and settling into a new country. ¬†I feel it is time to take stock, switch off, and relax for the one week my little lady is with us 24/7….let’s face it, she is still mainly with us during a school week too!
I will return the Monday after Easter, letting you all know how our Swedish Easter went, how we celebrated, and what we did (we have a few plans up our sleeves!!). ¬†I have been busy sorting the children their Swedish Easter supplies out!! ¬†Make sure you keep an eye on Mamma’s School Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter as we will still be lurking there. ¬†Otherwise I will see you after Easter, with lots of tales of what we have been up to! ¬†Hope you all have a very Happy Easter, with lots of sunshine, chocolate eggs, and relaxing with your families xxxxx

Taking a blogging break, having a break, holiday, rest www.mammasschool.co.uk

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