Heavy Work for Kids

Let’s talk about ‘heavy work’. 💪 Heavy work is any activity that requires you to put pressure on your muscles and joints as they are moving. During yesterday’s playgroup, there was some brilliant heavy work happening as the kids worked together to load up and push a wheelbarrow full of big rocks, which then transitioned to loading up and pulling each other around in a wagon. 🙂

“Heavy work helps your child in more ways than one. Aside from helping your child to feel calm and self-regulate, it also improves clarity and alertness, extends attention span, aids body awareness, and strengthens muscles.” (via Connections Therapy Center)

From little things, big things grow!

This holiday season has been a bumper time for this little business. So many consults (yay!) and lots of installs for the new year. As things gets busier, I’m still figuring out the time juggle between working and mama-ing full time (any hot tips?). I so appreciate your patience as we figure out the best way to grow and make sure we’re giving you the best product and service, while still maintaining some resemblance of sanity at home.

My own outdoor play space has been in flux this fall as we prepare to do a major overhaul of the space. The cold wet weather definitely slows down outdoor progress, but we’ve finally got a (mostly finished, insanely huge) sandbox back in action. My playgroup crew were so happy to get back outside into it this week, and were even more excited to find that the slide now lands into the sandbox. Now onto the new mud kitchen and play structure. #cantstopwontstop

Clay | A fun first introduction (warning – its’ messy ;)

48a885b8-b8ea-4985-a1ca-5efe5df5d1c1Wednesday’s are for #humpdayhangouts – a weekly play date I host with friends and their little ones. This morning’s session was taken up a notch with an unexpected acquisition of a lovely chunk of clay. I know your instinct might be to give each child their own little piece to work with, in the same way you would play dough, but I find that young children need a chance to fully explore the clay as a whole before they are ready or willing to create individually.

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For today’s play invitation I laid out a large plastic drop cloth and put the whole piece of clay in the center of it. Around the clay I placed various tools and materials – kitchen utensils, tongs, rocks, seed pods, little branches with leaves, a large log, yard flamingoes, and a bowl of warm water with little sponges. The children watched as I set it up and naturally were interested in taking a closer look. They took their cues from each other as they played and explored, learning about how the texture changes with the addition of water, or the ways the flamingoes beaks made such a lovely little finger sized hole.

fdf75f3d-8a92-4265-aaac-15965e140e37The first part of the play was really just getting familiar with the materials, then play arcs started to take shape. More tools were gathered from the sandbox area. The clay started to be shaped into things. Games started evolving. All of this with very minimal adult direction or interaction. Just beautiful independent social play with friends. #myheartishappy

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Gemstones + Crystals | #unexpectedtoys

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GEMSTONES + CRYSTALS are this week’s #unexpectedtoys. 1) They are eclectic, beautiful, and they bring good vibes to your space (all the wins). 2) They are a lovely play invitation (who can resist?), open-ended and can be used in lots of fun ways in play. My boys have used them:

  • in their play kitchen as candy and other food,
  • in small world play as treasure,
  • as a fine motor tools (they love to pick them up with tongs and place them into containers and jars); and
  • as trash in their big rubbish truck.

I’ve bought them from Amazon, Energy Muse (these ones are for me, but somehow my kids always seem to claim them), and we’ve found they are often in gift shops when we travel (a much better option than plastic junk that is just going to be tossed).
So do your kids and your chakras a favor, and add a little gemstone magic to your home/play space. ✨

Loose parts in the sandbox | #unexpectedtoys

It was out with the mud pies and stews today, and in with ravine digging, ramp building, and car racing. Today’s #unexpectedtoys were wood offcuts and old bricks. I took cues from my oldest’s spontaneous play (ravine digging) and brought over some loose parts I thought might extend his play arc. They were met with enthusiasm, and with a little trial and error and lots of big ideas, my boys worked together to build a ‘car racing water slide’ that kept them busy alllllll morning! #winwin

⋒ Don’t have a sandbox? No worries. Loose parts like scrap wood and bricks make for great play anywhere outside (and they’re free!). Build fairy houses for small world play, obstacle courses for gross motor play, faux fire pits for dramatic play. Your child’s imagination has no limit!