It is fun letting youngsters discover things for themselves, whether tree climbing or simply different textures, quantities and colours.
In the kitchen I well remember mum letting us go wild with our own creations – most failures, some successes, but we learned through it!
The key, dear adult, is learning to enjoy a home that’s a muddle and a mess with play-full happy people, where your own inner child is given free reign.
You don’t have to go far to disappear into a different world……
Rose petal perfume: rose petals placed in water.
Sugarelly: place a liquorice stick in an empty bottle, add water and a little sugar. Tighten lid and place in a dark place and shake every day for a week! How does it taste?
Play dough: place 2 cups plain flour, 1 cup salt, 4 tablespoons cream o tartar in a saucepan, mix. Add 2 cups water, colouring, 2 tablespoons veg oil. Warm gently for 3-5 minutes over a low heat. Roll out onto a dry, smooth surface allow to cool until little hands will not be hurt. Then knead and flatten – wonderful. Once cool wrap in plastic to prevent the dough from drying out.
Mud pies: add water to a small mud area – collect a few spoons, plastic jug, bowls, saucepan, sieve, cups, a baking tray – hours of fun.
An outdoor shop: selling mud pies/soup/cakes paid for with dandelion/daisy pennies.
Sand miniature gardens on a tray: place sand on an old tray or cardboard box lined with a bin bag. Decorate with stone paths, sprigs of green as bushes/trees, little flowerbeds with daisies, speedwell etc, fencing with matchsticks/twigs. Add little animals or make a wee house or a farm.
A den: this can be outdoors or in – a few branches if outdoors, blankets or scarves over chairs indoors.
Indoor shop: create a box of cardboard empties, containers etc eg toothpaste, hot choc, tea, salt, juice cartons etc. Create sale tickets, receipts. Set up a corner with a cardboard box.
What about a library, hospital? Often the most fun is had in the setting up of these things. It is play in itself.
Mural wall: a long strip of old wallpaper, PVC glue – what’s a summer theme? Shells, waves, flower pictures (painted, created from junk, or cut out from old magazines).
Dressing up: create a box of discarded clothes or raid the 2nd hand shop for some colour and glitter, heels and jewellery. Or outdoors ferns and sticky wullie make wonderful headresses!