Flower Power (in your mud kitchen and beyond)

Did you luck out with a lovely bunch of flowers for Valentine’s Day? A week on they may be ready for the compost, but don’t be too hasty throwing them away. Instead pull off the petals and use them in your tiny human’s mud kitchen.

Don’t have one? No worries. Why not set up a little potion making/cooking station inside with the petals, water, and any other natural ingredients you can find. Worried about the mess? Use a towel as a tablecloth/rug to catch all the spills.

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)

Mud Kitchen Treasures (thanks, autumn)

Autumn is wonderful for so many reasons – cute vintage knits, no mosquitoes, zero reason to shave, and plentiful nature treasures for your mud kitchen*! We have an old metal oven as the heart of our mud kitchen, and my kids love it when they find a play invitation laid out with new natural goodies. All these lovelies were picked up on our walk/bike ride this morning. Zero effort (minus bulging pockets). Zero cost. Huge inspiration and magic. Note the look on my oldest’s face when I told him he could have at it post picture taking. #priceless🍁🍃

*Don’t have a mud kitchen? No worries! Bring these babies inside and see how they transform your child’s dramatic/small world/block/art play (all the play!). So next time you’re walking, bring a basket or big pockets. ;)

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The ‘Thoughtbarn’ Playhive you’re going to NEED!

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Many many years ago before we had kids, I discovered Thoughtbarn’s amazing ‘Playhive’. It was love at first sight and I always dreamed of building it at one of the schools I worked at. Fast forward to life as a mama at home with a toddler and I decided that now was the time to make that dream a reality for us. Enter my lovely husband who makes all my crazy dreams and aspirations come true, a few months of tacking away at it (because every single piece needed to be cut and sanded by hand) and finally we had our very own Hive. And the best part – you can build your own too, because Thoughtbarn is insanely rad and shares the plans for FREE! Download them HERE.

Update – over the years we decided to pimp out our Hive a little, by adding a slide and also most recently a play telescope. This created new invitations to play and has revigorized how our boys and their friends use it.

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DIY Nature Tray | #unexpectedtoys

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Created using a drawer found on the side of the road, scrap pieces of plywood for the dividers, and this mirror from Amazon (I made two identical trays). This tray was filled with natural items found on walks around our neighborhood. A pair of bamboo tongs were added, and this was delivered as part of a little one’s play space make-over in April.