Sunday 30 May 2010

All Aboard (for fun & activities with The Old Station Nursery)

As a mum of three children, aged 8, 5 and 10 months, I've got quite a large repertoire of fun (and often messy !) activities to do with the kids. Just like Mister Maker (who the girls love to bits), we have our very own crafts cupboard full of glitter, funky paper and googly eyes. I keep a constant supply of toilet rolls, round cheese spread boxes and interesting looking odds and ends for when they want to get imaginative. I'm quite happy for them to get messy as long as it's "hands in the air all the way to the bath so you don't touch anything with painty fingers" afterwards ! I actually almost caused a woman to crash her car one day when I got the girls all dressed up in grubby worn-out clothes and wellies and took them for a session splashing in the puddles ! They're not big on messy play here in France ! When I laughingly recounted the puddle-splashing episode to some French friends who are also mums, they told me that their offspring get a smacked bum if they dare to put as much as a toe in a puddle ! Oops, that'll be a black mark against my name then, especially as we were splashing happily in the puddles on the school car park in full view of everyone !

But despite my constant brainwaves (indoor picnics ... nature scavenger hunts ... growing cress seeds in egg-shell heads ... making mouse-shaped pizzas with cheestring whiskers ... pin the tail on the pig, which the girls loved so much it has been on the wall for months !), even I found loads of inspiration and new ideas that I'd never have thought of in the pages of All Aboard. Some of them I will definitely not be doing - judging by the horrified reaction to a bit of healthy puddle splashing (and, admittedly, the fact that I doubled up in hysterics when Juliette, then aged about 3, actually decided to sit down in the middle of one especially big puddle !), putting powder
paint in puddles and mixing up the colours with a brush would probably get me locked up ! Some of the other ideas are really easy to do though, and sound like great fun for parents and kids alike - hiding little plastic animals in paint-covered cooked spaghetti sounds great fun to me ! Can I play too ?! And I definitely want to try rolling around marbles in gloopy paint to see what patterns we can make.

The best thing is knowing that all of these ideas will really work because they've all been tried and tested : author Sarah Steel is a working mum who set up The Old Station Nursery group in 2002.

Whether you're a childminder, parent, babysitter or doting grandparent, this book will give you absolutely loads of ideas for things to do on a rainy day that won't cost the earth and mainly use equipment that you'll have lying around the house. I also love the fact that when someone pays us a surprise visit when we're in the middle of messy play at home, I can now point out in a book that this is really a recognised element of child development and that I'm not just some crazy English woman who doesn't know how to bring up kids properly ! If you're very houseproud and dress your kids in designer clothes that need to stay spotless, you probably won't be quite so enthusiastic but I absolutely love it !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £12.99

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