Parenting and Grand-Parenting isn’t easy on the best of days. Throw lashing rain, cyclones and virus isolations into the mix and we have a recipe for disaster. Let’s take a moment to point out a few resources of inspiration as we nod our heads to Jack Frost and the elements of Winter.
If you haven’t checked out the Toy Library yet it is a must @Whaingaroatoylibrary. Pauline Reilly and Charlotte Hartsone maintain a treasure trove of excellent quality toys for all ages. They have an under2’s room, as well as games, puzzles, toys, ride-ons, toy kitchens, workbenches, honestly the list goes on. They have classic Fisher-Price toys which are adorned with the pang of nostalgia from our childhoods, but we don’t have to buy them – we can borrow them.
Charlotte has managed the place for the last 15 years and has established a fully fledged NGO. The Toy Library is recuiting and happy to hand over the reins to other intersted parents. If this sounds like the sort of community group you could run, reach out to them.
In Whāingaroa we have access to all of natures beauties at our doorstep, but the bad weather can makes things a bit less than magazine glossy. One great idea is to go foraging for natural play materials and then bring the outdoors inside to create with your children. I cannot recommend this quick insta follow enough – Marina Pauliukova’s nature art page @unbewohnt – she is a constant inspiration to me.
Then there is reading with children, which really deserves an entire article of its own. In my work as ECE teacher I often encourage colleagues and parents to sit on the floor and read books from front cover to back cover. Even if young children wander off, lose interest, disengage. Children are always listening, and it is perfectly reasonable (and also very respectful) to allow children to wander off whilst we are reading out loud. They really DO want to know what happens in ‘in-the-end’ even if their energetic and inquisitive bodies do not allow them to remain seated.
Other top tips: scrapbooking, botanical drawing, stacking wood for fires, making pies from scratch (pastry and filling), bathtime in the middle of the day, and of course the good-old-classic toy rotation. The aim of toy rotation is having less toys ‘out’ and rotating the selection. You can put toys in carboard boxes in the cupboard, or under the bed, or in the garage. And of course this brings me back to the Toy Library. We don’t even need to waste a second thought about the toy rotation idea, Charlotte and Pauline have done it all for us!
If you want to find out more they are open Tuesday’s 9-11.30 under the Community House, toy rental costs are minimal and the range is huge.