Children and Age Appropriate Chores

Now some children do chores for money, some children do them because it is expected and some children don’t do chores at all. Whatever the case may be I do think is important is that children are seen as CAPABLE and RESPONSIBLE. Children need to be given the tools and opportunities to take care of themselves and their environment, and contribute to their home and society.

At our preschool, we encourage our children to sort out their rubbish scraps into recycle, garbage and compost. We also expect them to pack away their toys/resources after we have finished playing with them. This is valuable not only to our environment but to their independence and the effect their actions have on their environment.

At my home we try to practice some ‘chores’ as well. When she was able to stand on a chair with some support, Little Miss A LOVED ‘helping’ with the dishes. She would mostly play with the water and bubbles, but it did help her feel a part of the experience of looking after our home.

Now she is a little older, she has proven to me her capability of scraping her bowl into the bin – something that I personally have not shown her, and would have done myself, but given the opportunity recently as I had my hands full with Little Man, she proceeded to empty her bowl into the bin without prompting. IMG_5637

And whilst neither of my children are fans of the vacuum cleaner due to its noise, Little Miss A recently helped sweep the floor. I am lucky enough to have a interchangeable handle and could change the size to make it more practical for her.

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The key to making ‘chores’ or ‘tasks’ work is making sure they are suitable to your individual child’s needs and abilities. Remember it is all about giving your child confidence and letting them be included in the process.

A link to some age appropriate chores and some of the benefits of chores/tasks, can be found here from the Raising Children Network.

And as Mary Poppins said “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap, the job’s a game … And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake…”

Janice

xx

DIY stamps to make with kids

Easy DIY stamps for kids Barefoot PlayEasy DIY stamps for kids materials neededMaking art materials with children is a great way to encourage them to get creative but it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can try out this tutorial with your child using lots of recycled materials.

To make these stamps, you’ll need some thin plastic; like an ice cream lid or a take away container lid. For the handles you can use cotton reels or bottle tops or anything plastic that children can hold onto.

For the stamps use house hold sponges (new ones!).

You will also need a pen, scissors and hot glue.

DY Stamps art tutorial kids Barefoot Play

Cut shapes you would like out of the sponges – I drew stars, but your kids could draw their own shapes. Attach the sponge to plastic with hot glue, and then cut the lid to fit around the stamp. Glue the handles onto the other side of the stamp.

When it’s all dry, put some paint out and let your children get stamping! We would love to see what stamps you children create!

If you would like some more art ideas check out our Art Play Pintrest board.

Have a play-Full day 🙂

Erin

Playground Review – Adventure Playground in Orange, NSW

happened to be visiting Orange, NSW in the school holidays and was told about a fun playground up near the Botanical Gardens. I was glad I went and checked it out! This fully wooden playground was built by the community in 2002 and is full of physical challenges, swings and a maze of wooden walk ways.

Playground Review Orange NSW Barefoot Play

The main part of the park is a huge wooden fort, with lots of hidey holes and climbing opportunities. There is a simpler climbing area to the right that would be appropriate for younger children.

Pack your bikes and scooters as there is a long bike track complete with road signs and round about to engage children in road safety. You can let the children explore the winding track without fear as the whole park is fenced and the only way out is through the front path, beautifully surrounded by pine trees.

I loved how the community’s names were on all the areas, showing who helped fund the park and create it. The schools also helped out with decorating the structures.

Adventure Playground Review  NSW Barefoot Play

There is a wheelchair accessible swing, something I am always excited to see in large playgrounds. There are lots of swings surrounding the play equipment, enough that I don’t think you would have to wait long for a turn.

If you live around the Orange area, this park would be a favourite play area. For those passing through it is a perfect place to stop and let the kids get all their energy out.

Don’t forget to also take a walk through the Botanic gardens next door, it is a lovely little stroll around exploring some nature and lots of areas for picnics.

Parking: The park is right next to Orange Botanical gardens and there is lots of free parking.

Shade: So much shade! Very impressed by the amount of shade sails and trees around the equipment.

Toilets: In the cafe next door

Food: Patmos Cafe is right next door, you can grab something there, or take it away to eat in the park.

Picnic Tables/BBQ’s: Lots! They are in view of the equipment so you can sit and eat while the kids play.

Age suitability: The range of climbing challenges means all primary school aged children will be actively engaged. I took a 26 year old kid with me and he had a blast 🙂

Disability Access: There is a wheelchair swing, and the range of bike tracks would be fun to explore.

Barefeet and learning to walk

Little Man has recently started walking. He was 9.5 months old. Now this is fairly early on the spectrum for walking which can be anywhere between 9-14months but there are exceptions to this guideline too, as some children will start earlier or later than these times.

When out one evening recently, someone asked me why he was walking so early, our friend Justin, who is a chiropractor, chimed in with this piece of information.

“Babies have to claw with their toes to learn how to walk. They need to feel where the ground is and so they claw with their toes. Shoes inhibit this ability.”

Barefoot Truth

And it is so true!
I thought back to Little Man just standing on the edge of our carpet and he looked like he was really testing out the carpet between his toes and when Justin explained this it made so much sense. He clearly was using this act of ‘clawing’ to gain feedback from the ground.

Going barefoot allows childrens feet to develop correctly and decreases stress

Truth be told Little Man has worn shoes twice. Yep, 10 months old and worn shoes twice. Now I’m no scientist or pediatrician or anything but I do believe there is a strong correlation to Little Man and Little Miss A’s early walking (she was one of those exceptions I referred to earlier – she was just 8 months old) and going barefoot the majority of the time.

Now REMEMBER, every child is different and will walk in their own time, but we can give them the best start to walking by letting them be barefoot everyday.

So go on – go and play barefoot today!

Janice

xx

Teachable Moments – FireTruck Visit

At the St Alban’s Five Dock ‘We Heart Five Dock’ which Barefoot Play attended, there were some local Fire Fighters and their Fire Truck.

This was a perfect opportunity to follow on from our discussion last week when we met police officers.

We said “Hi!” to the fire fighters who were very friendly and chatted with us about our favourite football team (Parramatta Eels) and if we’d been having fun at the markets.

We pointed out the hose and how it sprays water out to put out any fires.

The fire fighters even let us hold the hose!

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We also saw their helmets to protect their heads, their fire safety uniforms and heard their radios that help get information.

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Local Fire Fighters along with Janice, Little Miss A, Little Man & Andrew

Little Miss A liked the lights on the front of the truck and remembered that the sirens meant, “Help is on the way.”

Don’t forget the importance of explaining to children the importance of knowing who to ask for help!

Janice

Five ways to enjoy daily nature play when you don’t have a back yard

I grew up with acres of land and bush around the college we lived in. My brother and I could explore lots of nature all around us each day. I dream of being able to give my children that experience. But most people don’t have that privilege. I currently live in a flat with my husband and we expect to still be here when we have children. So I am facing bringing up my children in a flat with no back yard, like many other families that live in my area. So how do you expose your child to nature, when you can’t go out your door to a fun nature wonderland? 5 ways to play in nature daily when you don't have a back yard Barefoot Play

  1. Find a local park

It’s obvious I know, but it is good to remember that even when you are in an apartment most places have some sort of park nearby. Going for a walk to a park is a great free afternoon activity and you can use the experience to explore as much local nature as possible.

  1. Have a sandbox or tray

If you have a balcony you can have a little box of sand (you can get sand at a hardware store) that your child can sit and sand pit for the balconydig in. If you don’t have space for a box you could have a tray with sand that your child can play with. Also a tray or bucket of water will always be a fun natural element for children to get their feet and hands into.

  1. Buy fresh flowers

Fresh flowers can be bought cheaply at the supermarket. You can then use them as a provocation for artwork, to add to a set of plastic animals, and to pull apart and explore all the parts of a flower or add to play dough.

  1. Have an indoor or balcony gardenBalcony garden when you live in an apartment Barefoot Play

This is a photo of my garden. It’s not much, but it is a little bit of greenery in amongst the concrete and bricks. I choose plants that are easy to care for, so it doesn’t take lots of my time. It’s great for children to get their hands dirty, and help with watering and weeding of the plants that you have.

  1. Scavenge natural items for play

When you are out and about (like on your walk to the park) you can pick up natural bits to bring back to your flat for play. When I collect things with children we only collect things that have fallen on the ground – so we are not removing parts of plants that are still alive. Things you might like to find are leaves, pieces of bark, gum nuts, seed pods, branches. These items can be loose parts for imaginative play, added to play dough as a provocation, in a sorting activity or as collage materials. Natural items for play when you don't have a backyard Barefoot Play While we all dream of having a huge natural play area for our children to explore living in an apartment the city doesn’t mean we can’t have a bit of nature to explore. How do you add nature to your children’s play? Have a Play-full day! – Erin

Painting with Flowers

Experimenting with unconventional paint brushes is one of my favourite ways to extend a painting experience, or to Painting with Flowers earlychildhood art Barefoot Playencourage new ways of being creative. Using something other than a paintbrush to spread paint is a way I’ve found to encourage children who don’t normally paint to ‘get their hands dirty’ and encourages other children to think outside the box when it comes to making art.

This experience was spontaneous and child lead – which is often my favourite type of experience!

I had set up paint and a bunch of flowers on the painting table as a provocation to paint the flowers. One of my children asked to cut off a flower and (being a ‘cool’ teacher) I said yes, and he immediately smooshed it in the paint. I came over and played with the flowers as well; experimenting alongside the children – using the flowers to make prints on the paper and also as you would a normal paintbrush, to transfer paint onto the paper.

It’s easy to do – just cut the flower off with a little bit of stem left as a handle. You can then hold onto the stem and dip the flower into the paint like you would any other painting implement.

We experimented with all the types of marks you could make with  the flowers, and I loved the way petals fell off and stuck to the paint, creating a collage effect.Painting with Flowers Barefoot Play

I also cut off some stems to draw lines in the paint. It was fascinating to see the different effects one simple bunch of flowers could have on all our artworks.

have you tried painting with Flowers Barefoot Play

Have you ever painted with flowers? What types of unconventional art materials have you used before with your  children?

Have a Play-Full day!

Erin