Elements of a Child-Friendly Garden

The following post is by contributor Catherine Way of Adventures With Kids and originally appeared March 2011.

There are many physical and mental health benefits to children in spending time outdoors.  One easy way to increase the amount of time your child spends outdoors is to make your garden an appealing outdoor play space.

What do children want in an outdoor play space?  Children prefer natural playspaces that have plenty of opportunities for exploration, challenge, interaction and learning.

There are many ways that you can add child-friendly  elements to both big and small gardens.   Adding some of these elements to your garden will help make it a space where you child loves to be.
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Visualize Your Way to Family Serenity

The following post is by contributor Catherine Way.
What times of day or family activities are stressful for you?  What makes you through up your hands and say I just don’t know how to make it better?  A technique I use in my offline life as a preschool teacher, visualizing classroom routines and creating a procedure, has turned out to be surprisingly effective at helping me be a more serene mother.  

One time of day that is always tricky for my family is getting ready for school and work in the morning.  I find it hard to get ready when I’m being interrupted by children wanting breakfast or needing me to find their socks.  And when I’m ready, I look at the children to find that they have undressed and are creating a race track in the middle of the lounge room.  I get frustrated and try to hurry them up so that we aren’t late.  They get angry that I’m trying to pack up their racetrack and suddenly we are all yelling.  What’s a mum to do?

To help make this time of day flow more smoothly, I take some time to visualize how I’d like the morning to go, from the time we wake up until we walk out the door.  I look for trouble spots and decide how those problems can be avoided.  I take into account what I need to have to make the morning feel peaceful (coffee and time to do some jobs on my own) and my children’s temperaments (for example, my eldest son will not eat breakfast as soon as he gets up). [Read more…]

Play With Light this New Year’s Eve

The following is by contributor Catherine Way of Adventures With Kids.

New Year’s Eve is one night of the year when my children usually stay up long after dark.  We give them glowsticks, torches and sparklers.  As I watch them playing happily for hours with these simple, inexpensive toys, I am always reminded of how the simple things in life are often the most enjoyable.

If you give them torches or glowsticks on New Year’s Eve your children will undoubtedly come up with many wonderful ways to play, but to get them started here are some fun activities to try with torch or glowstick light. [Read more…]