Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tasha Tudor Day 2014

Tasha Tudor Day - It has snuck up on me this year!!
It always conflicts with our oldest son and his birthday but now he lives away from home and we can not actually celebrate his birthday on the day, I feel free to have my own 'Tasha Day.'

What that means at this stage I am not sure but I am slanting towards a quiet day or evening, with the emphasis on a pretty Tea Time, some craft and a book to read in front of the fire.
I may finally do a make over for our Sparrow Post if I feel inspired too.

Here are some ways we have celebrated in the past -
Last year  2013 we had a Doll's Fair, it was such a fun day and here is the planning stage we usually go through first
Gardening in 2012
Reflections on what this day means to me in 2011
Quotes that remind me of Tasha in 2011
The elaborate Tea Time we had in 2010 and plans we had for this year as well
The books I have collected and my thoughts in 2009
Our Version of  'Sparrow Post'  in 2009

I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else shares this year too!

Blessings to you and your homes,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Home-made Detangler and leave in Conditioner!!

If you look on the internet for a recipe for detangler you  will find many recipes that are simply commercial conditioner watered down.
As we don't use conditioner like that  normally the whole idea of using it for a detangler was foreign to me.
So I kept looking, let me tell you it took a while, for various herbs and other ingredients that had properties that would be good for a detangler that I was happy to use on my family.
I also wanted to use this as a leave in conditioner for myself and the older girls too.

I have curlyish hair that goes frizzy if I don't do something about it. In my journey to non commercial solutions I have been using Argan Oil that I use daily after wetting my hair, 1-2 squirts and rub through the ends to stop the frizzy.

This is quite an expensive little bottle though. You especially have to look out for  products that only have a part of Argan oil and then add other ingredients. I only use the pure oil. So as part of my detangler  I had to have a  hair product that I can use to help my frizziness.

Through my research I have come up with this mixture below that we are finding works on the most tangled hair, not that we ever get hair like that :)
Of course  we do! We have a head or two of thick wavy hair that it is fantastic on and for our Sensory Defensive girl it is a lifesaver.

Enough rambling about the goodness of this and now to the recipe!

This is a two step process but relatively easy, really it is.... trust me!!

First off you need to make your Marshmallow Root Liquid-
You need:
1.5 cups of water
3 tablespoons  of marshmallow root
Boil the water and then add the root.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 30- mins
Cool and strain through a cloth

Next  step:
Pour your marshmallow root liquid into a spray bottle
Then add,
2 tsp of Apricot Oil
2 tsp of Aloe Vera
1 tsp of Glycerin
10 drops of rosemary essential oil
10 drops of lavender essential oil
10 drops of sweet orange essential oil

Shake, Spray and brush!!!

Oh yes you could put a really cool label like I did on your bottle! Yes I know not very professional, but hey, I was in a hurry to use it for my girls. Just keeping it real here!
I am sure you could easily make one that is far more professional using a picture making programme. Maybe one day I will do that too.

To fill the bottle above I doubled the recipe and then added  a bit of extra water to fill the bottle.
Just give it a little shake before use as it may settle a bit.

If you do end up using this please let me know what you think.

Blessings to you and your homes,

Monday, August 11, 2014

Queen Of My Castle Series - Part 3: Living what I Preach!!

I know what you are thinking!!
After my post, ummm, yes it was ten days ago where I said I would post part 2 of my series and now you see a title for Part 3 and don't remember Part 2, and you are saying "Hey, what gives?"
Well that would be because I haven't worked on part 2 yet!!
And the reason I haven't worked on Part 2 is - I have been busy actually living Part 3.

Part 3 is where I live that life I am accountable for and be the wife, mother and homemaker I claim to be.

Since posting that post days ago our family has continued to live it's life in our ordinary way, which as I see it is anything but ordinary because it is uniquely ours.
It is never the same again, because life moves on whether we want it to or not and it does not wait for us to be ready! 
It is up to us to create memories and live our lives with true love, compassion and produce fruit that is everlasting.
In our ordinariness we have driven 10 hours in one day to take Autumn back to her College studies after being home for over a month, only to discover once home again that some of the children have become infected with some sort of cold/flu virus again this Winter.
This of course requires attention and love from me, of which I am only too happy to provide.
This however means prioritizing all other activities for the day or days as it happens to be and giving the best of my self and time to those I love and care for most.
Again living what I preach to those who matter most.
This involved making some soothing cough syrup and mixing up a version of Thieves Oil for sick little people to add to our increasing supply of Winter Cold/Flue Fighting Arsenal.

As being sick causes little people to need lots of attention and care (they tend to be grumpy, like all of us do) we found that a lot of the 'normal' activities got left out in exchange for................
Sitting in front of a warm fire as we snuggle down against the freezing cold outside and warm our hearts and bodies together........
While I read aloud from this family favourite.
In fact I have not read it aloud to the younger ones really and they have been enjoying it as much as we did the first time when they were little, and so they don't really remember it!
As the children listen they have been occupying their hands as well so we have had a little knitting and crocheting thing happening with some of them
 Or playing with other toys that encourage creative play as we listen together to the book.
Some things don't wait because we have sick ones and these need to be dealt with by those who are able at the time. Part of the lessons we can learn while sick- to give our time (to do someone else's chores) as well as our love, are life lessons that can build character and virtue. A skill that is essential all our lives.
Each day well, someone or two, will  collect all the eggs, there are  not so many in winter but still some and we frankly we need to work out which of our hens is not laying and give them the .........well you know what I mean!
As some people tend to be woken in the night and then have trouble getting back to sleep I made up a little 'sleepy dust' to try to help with this problem. I'm still waiting for those who have been using it to give me a review on whether it works well.
 I am a big believer in sunshine and fresh air in helping get over illness and so as the children have become a little better I have encouraged them to get out of their PJ's and outside to gather some of this 'free medicine'
Naturally this involves  playing around with the wildlife they find, this time snails and then obviously relocate them to their own improved  home.
This time they were given some 'free food' - Goji berries. Obviously these were the health conscious kind of snails! Sadly I don't think they were used to such a rich diet and succumbed from said diet to a shorter life span.
I have been making my own almond milk  on a much more regular basis and have been thinking about our, being society's, diet and the buy it all V's make your own options.
As part of this thinking I have been reflecting on a quote form the series of 'Victorian Farm' we have been watching that seems as relevant today as it was back then. (thinking of maybe reflecting more in a post)
 This is the almond meal left over after extracting the almond milk. I have dried it out in the dehydrator and we use it for making almond flour recipes. I have also kept the moist version in the fridge and used that but as we don't always bake I wanted to dry it out so it kept better.
I was happy with the result of my dehydrating experiment and both versions baked up well too.
 he other thing that has kept us busy at the moment is that two of Rogan's rabbits have had Kits, with another due any day now.
This is his first lot of baby bunnies and we are all learning on the job so to speak.
I must say that they are incredibly cute and he is hoping to sell them on his/our Facebook page very soon now as they are nearly ready to let go.
Our older children are planning a movie day with some other homeschooling friends and so the little girls with a couple of our younger boys thrown in will be having a Spa/Fairy day while they are out. I do have a little pirate theme for the boys that I am sure they will like, but Fairy Food will always be acceptable to boys too.

I have a few things planned but as yet nothing organised so I need to get on with this as we only have two days left before the big event.
Hopefully the little girls will think they are Fairy Princesses after this little afternoon.

After a long week or so of illness and other events in our lives I am hoping this new week will bring a more settled routine to our lives (although I'm not counting on it , smile)

Whether it does or not I will still continue to play my part in our 'family circle' as I said in my Part 1 post
"Living my life with Faith and Love.
Being the Queen of My Castle!
Valuing my vocation of Wife and Mother.
Protecting  and nurturing those I love.
Being who God called me to be and luxuriating in this great gift of life that I have been called to live."

Because that is my life and I am blessed to live it!

Blessings to you and your homes,

Friday, August 1, 2014

Queen of My Castle Series- Part 1: In Honour of Motherood and Sara (Clay Rosary Girl)

A quick house keeping detail :)
I'm told by my daughter that my "meaningful posts" are too long (like this one). So I am breaking this into two post today because the theme really does mean  a lot to me, and hopefully tomorrow I will post the second part of the 'series' due to the fact that the two events in my life are so related.

Life while interesting can often be a bit overwhelming and then it happens, I see the workings of God in my life.
In the space of a few days last week, significant events happened in my life that forced, well not forced, but reminded me of the most important gifts in my life and in that realising I mulled over these events and so saw the significance of those events and how they were truly entwined.

About four years ago I won a beautiful bracelet from Sarah that I wore that bracelet every day and night for about three years. I so loved it and our children were equally thrilled with the symbolism in the bracelet that for Christmas that year, seven  of us received full Rosaries for gifts.

Now due to  the fact I wore this bracelet so often it started to get a bit stretched and I really didn't want to lose any of the beads, so I stopped wearing it and had intentions to send it back to Sarah one day to have it re-stringed.
Sadly that can no longer happen and when I first read about the prayer requests for Sarah and her baby's life I remembered my bracelet and put it back on and we prayed for her with the Rosaries she had made for us.

Now I am not sure if I really want to take the bracelet off because it reminds me of the importance of each and every moment of my life and how precious it is to spend it on those important details.

First and most importantly my Faith - that I may truly be a woman of God who lives her life in service to Him. That at my end  time I may know that I had done all I could to be a faithful and loving daughter of The King.

Second - to honour and love my dear beloved and be the wife and helpmate for him. Uplifting and encouraging him in all things that he may be proud and honoured to have me as his wife and mother of our children.

And thirdly after these two most important roles are fulfilled I need to be the best and loving mother to each of the children we have been blessed with.  Heaven knows how thankful I am to have this opportunity.

Each and every day I am surrounded by each of these roles and I can see each day as a gift to be lived and cherished or be bogged down in the little details that take the joy, comfort and animation out of my life.

It is so easy to allow this to happen!!
Not once or twice but continually and so miss the opportunities to be a source of inspiration, love and as a precious jewel to those around me.
It is easy to let the world and others take the joy from us as they continually tell us that our values are old fashioned, that the lives we choose to live are not nearly as important as the opportunities that exist out in 'the real world!'
That we raise our children wrong because we do not conform to today's twisted and perverse ideas of 'normal.'
That we need to conform with what everyone else is doing and not to think that our own views are of any value at all, due to the fact that the majority of society does not value those things we do - Our living of our Faith and the loving in self sacrificing ways of our families.

However I know now as never before, that as I wear this bracelet I will be reminded of the fact that like Sarah who loved and cherished her family and them her - that I don't know the number of my days, any more than you do, and I need to spend it in creating memories with those whom I love the most.

Living my life with Faith and Love.
Being the Queen of My Castle!
Valuing my vocation of Wife and Mother.
Protecting  and nurturing those I love.
Being who God called me to be and luxuriating in this great gift of life that I have been called to live.
The same as you!
The same as Sarah!

May we live it to the fullest without any regret!

Blessings to you and your homes,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Learning for our Younger Children

Typical School Day 2014: Moran Myffwyn Corbyn Arwen and Trahaearn

*Early Morning-
Read Bible
Private Prayers
Walk and  exercise
Daily Chores

*Morning Time/Devotions-
24 family ways
God’s Wisdom for Little Girls and God’s Little Book of Wisdom for Boys
Saint of the Day
Saint Book
Pray for the day (approx 30 mins)

*Circle Time-
Gathering Verse
Opening Verse and Light candle
Seasonal Verse
Seasonal Song
Scripture Verse
Seasonal Poetry
Read a chapter from Picture Bible
ActionVerses and Songs
Skip Counting and Times Tables with Actions (2 or three numerals)
Stories- Angel Food, Enchanters End Game, The Tale of Tiptoes Lightly and Fairy Necklaces (or equivalent books when finished)
Closing Verse
Candle blown out (all takes over an hour)

*Focus Time-
Reading with Moran, Myffwyn and Corbyn with Me, Vellvin and Rogan. (approx 20 mins) – Arwen and Trahaearn doing their own table time activites to keep them busy
Daily Main Lesson approx 1 hour – History, Geography, Science, Nature and CGS
Daily Activity approx 30 mins – Baking, Painting, Colouring, Gardening, Craft
Maths- Oak Meadow and Maths Read Alouds (Together) 15 mins
English- Voyage in Language and An English Manual (Together) 15 mins
Faith- First Communion Reading and Sheets (Together) 15 mins

*Table Time-
Individual Work sheets : Weather, Clocks, maths,
Maths on Line
Spelling - from book
Dictation - from book
Copywork - from book
Daily Grid - God's LittlE Boy and Girl
Memory Work: Poetry, Catechism, and times tables  (up to an hour)
*Arwen and Trahaearn – focus time on learning to read ( ABOUT 20 mins) while others do Table Time
Also Funnix reading and maths and assorted Computer orientated learning programmes
Nature books
Alphabet Play
Cupboard Play

 with Read aloud and Credo, Choir and Poem Recitation (30 mins)

*Handwork- knitting, crocheting, work with our fleece

*Evening Routine-
Bible Story
Read Aloud
General Prayers (45 mins at least)

*Little ones up to Bed with a Candle
Tuck into bed say little prayer
Read a couple of little books or tell a story
Sing a song
Blow out candle (30 mins)

*Older kids-
Assigned Reading or other activities
Private devotions and bible reading

Blessings to you and your homes,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cambric Tea Comfort

Some days we all  need that little extra comfort in our lives that can nurture and soothe us. A routine or action that we do that is part of our family circle that says we are loved and cared for even as we are hurting.
I know that our little ones especially love this process when they have an emotional or physical situation that not only needs mama love but something extra, something special that gives not only physical comfort but comfort  for the soul as well.

One of these comforts is something called Cambric Tea!
It really is something that in our home is known to be a therapeutic care process for everyone. Of course this applies not only to little ones but older members of the household, even Mum and Dad!

It seems that Cambric Tea has been a part of our home for quite a long time.
Frankly as a mostly coffee drinker I have never really enjoyed tea and so did not introduce it to my children for a long time.

When we first started celebrating Tea Time with our children as we embraced the Charlotte Mason philosophy of Education at the start of our Learning at Home I would make up a  pot of Cambric Tea for the children on a Friday afternoon. This came about  after trying a variety of herbal teas with the children, which they did enjoy but only  a few  varieties of and  really they didn't have that same 'tea time' look the same without the milk!

Now our children often have Cambric Tea but it really takes on a special something when served in a special tea cup and adding a little honey which we have as an extra special treat.

There are quite a few differing ways of making Cambric Tea but essentially it is a mixture of a very weak tea that has a lot of milk added and a sweetener, but really I like it with honey 'cause milk and honey go so nicely together.
A simple version is to simply put a tea bag into a tea cup or a mug for a non special event.
Pour in water just of the boil to  not even  half way
Then add the sweetener of your choice- I like honey for the little ones. Stir to dissolve.
Add milk to fill the tea cup or mug and enjoy.
This is an everyday version that we use often.

For a more Special treat: which serves two (obviously double or triple to make more)
Vanilla Tea:
1/2 cup of already brewed tea and 1 cup whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 Tablespoon honey or more to taste

In a small saucepan, whisk together the tea, milk, and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, split lengthwise. Heat over low heat until steamy. Remove from heat. Strain the tea into a tea pot, and stir in the honey. Pour into two cups and serve.

Of course this is a very old tradition and can even be found in one of our favourite series of books  ~The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
"The cold crept in from the corners of the shanty, closer and closer to the stove. Icy-cold breezes sucked and fluttered the curtains around the beds. The little shanty quivered in the storm. But the steamy smell of boiling beans was good and seemed to make the air warmer.

At noon Ma sliced bread and filled bowls with the hot bean broth and they all ate where they were, close to the stove. They all drank cups of strong, hot tea. Ma even gave Grace a cup of cambric tea. Cambric tea was hot water and milk, with only a taste of tea in it, but little girls felt grown-up when their mothers let them drink cambric tea."

So do tell do, you have a Cambric Tea tradition in your home?
Blessings to you and your homes,

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Little Girl Tea Party ♥

Last week our sweet little Arwen attended her very first ever away form home Tea Party!!
She had received her invitation the week before and had been counting down the days until I took her to the party.
Of course no one else from our family was invited cause it was just for little girls, so this made it even more special for her although she did have 'pre party anxiety' which is something I am discovering this precious little one has.
 I must say how impressed I was with this little afternoon for the girls as I have never had an outside the home experience either.
Arwen's little friends have big sisters too and they were part of the organising as well as my friend Shell.
When we arrived one of the older girls settled them down with a book and they read stories together for a while.
It was adorable to see, six little girls ages 7 down to nearly 5 so excited by their 'afternoon tea'.
The table was being prepared and Mabel had made each of the little girls a giant letter of their name.
The little girls had Cambric Tea (with out the tea I think and a spot of honey) while their Teddies who had accompanied them had a special tea cup with water in so they would feel welcome too.
The request to dress up in their  best clothes was attended to and Eden fixed up Arwen's hair in a braid which is very fancy, don't you agree?
Arwen's companion of choice was Felix who was named after this family favourite book: Letters from Felix, a book we have had for at least 16 years.
The little girls had such fun eating the special food drinking from their tea cups all the while in an atmosphere of beautiful  aroma from the many scented candles around the room while the festive bunting was so pretty too.
 The giant cookie was such a personal gift  for each girl and I think they really enjoyed that.
After the tea part eh little girls were given a craft to do.
A little embroidery for each girl that they could have as a special hanging for their doors.
 The girls could choose the colour they wanted to embroider with and the shape was pre-drawn on the reverse of the ada. Each girl was very patient while waiting and chose her colour carefully.
Mum's or bigger sisters were able to help.
 It was delightful to see how much the girls concentrated on  the project at hand and the project was just the right amount of time before little ones got bored with it.
My friend Shell helping Abby who is one of Arwen's special little friends and a hostess of the 'Tea Party Afternoon'. It is so special when Mum's and their children are good friends I think :)
Arwen's  other friend and co hostess Lilly was the oldest of the little girls and was a very adept hostess too.
Naturally after the other girls had gone home Mummy and Arwen stayed later to play and chat because everyone know that Mummies always take at least another hour .....or so...... to say goodbye.

I think that Arwen had a very lovely time at her first 'all girl tea party' and I certainly enjoyed the Mummy time.

Thank you to all the girls who prepared and shared the tea party with Arwen.

Blessings to you and your homes,

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lemon, Ginger and Honey Cold and Flu Remedy

 So we have been struggling with a few health issues lately and as Winter is upon us we have a few colds and sore throats we have been battling.
Last Winter I was keen to add this mixture to our Cold and Flu Arsenal (which reading I said I would share our Chest Rub recipe as well as the soothing moisturiser we constantly use, which I would like to update as we have used them for quite a while now), but did not get around to making up.

It only requires three simple ingredients and a small amount of time-

1.Raw honey is antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-tumor and high in antioxidants. 
2. Lemons are antiseptic, anti-viral, antibacterial, aid digestion and contain immune-boosting vitamins and minerals like Vit C, Magnesium, calcium and bioflavonoids.
3. Ginger is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, aids digestion  and helps soothe inflamed sinuses and throats. It also helps boost the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Also effective against human respiratory syncytial virus
4. You will also need a jar to put it all in.

You will also need a jar to put it all in.
1. Cut up your lemons into thin slices I used three for this jar
2. Cut up your ginger into small discs
3. Layer lemon then ginger and repeat layers till you have the amount you require.
4. Pour honey over the top and allow to settle.
5. Put lid on and store in the fridge.
6. It may thicken to a gel or not, it isn't a big deal

To Use:
1 Take a spoonful out of jar and pour hot water over when you are ready to use.
Blessings to you and your homes,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Creative Imaginative Play is an Essential Childhood Activity

If I know one thing from years of parenting it is that I treasure as much as the children do those times when they use their imaginations and create a new game or activity that sometimes can even evolve into a whole new world even when using the same raw materials each time simply from the source of their own minds and imaginations.
It sounds like such a simple thing - this world of creativity and imagination that every child should be able to play like this. However I would challenge this claim and say that so many children have their days structured from the time they wake up till the time they go to bed that the idea of having enough non-structured, i.e. free time to even contemplate such an activity probably does not even cross their minds.
I would further say that having given this free time that many of them would not know what to do with it because they live in such a structured and ordered environment and you really do need non adult intervention (except for small children who need a bit of help in the beginning or perhaps a start to get over a 'stuck' part for older children.
I think play time should belong to the children and we should only be a part of it if invited or if there is need as stated above or as occasionally happens, to intervene due to some friction that can't be resolved amongst the children.
The games the children come up with can be varied or the same game played continuously for days until you think they could not possible play it any more. To the children though it is a chance to develop so many skills and social etiquette that can be of such benefit to them not only now but in the future, too.
How I love this quote “Play is the work of children”….. J. Piaget
It encompasses so much about the very nature of children and how they learn.

I feel sorry for those children who are not given those opportunities to play as they go on the endless round of activity after activity to school and homework. Their lives as adults already in existence as children.

The most important skills that children everywhere need to learn for their lives to be happy, productive, and to live deeply moral lives are skills that cannot be taught. These skills are what they learn while playing. What types of skills are learnt?
To think creatively, to get along with other people and be able to cooperate as well as to control their own impulses and emotions.
This means that as adults we have people who can in work situations or even at home be able to think creatively about any situations and thus look in different ways for the answers to the problem at hand.

Our society seems bent on creating little adults of our children, giving them limited 'free time' and expecting them to mature faster and faster and being little clones of the adult world.
The expectations that are placed upon our children academically at an earlier and earlier age.
The fact the most Early Childhood Daycare Centers are emphasising the 'early learning' the children will get when enrolled.
Rarely is it a play environment and I believe it fosters a competitiveness at a much earlier age than necessary.
Social success seems to be the reason for the early intervention at these centers and in homes.
If my child does not start reading before .......then she will be at a disadvantage in the future!
If my child does not attend .......then this will affect his future career!
I believe that fostering the love of play and creativity with imagination will help the children to be more grounded and have the ability to move on academically. I don't believe we should compare any child to another in regards to academics, sports or other pursuits.

This does not mean we cannot help each child to better them selves at something or to play competitively. But the competitiveness need to be about bettering ourselves not at the belittling of another's work or efforts, even in the competing of sides against another.
Play is also an opportunity to know your self more. To understand your strengths and weaknesses. Your likes and dislikes and to then use that knowledge to make yourself a better person.
Obviously younger children don't work this out to start with, but still the growing happens and it does help them as they continue to play and to develop.
Our children do enjoy this type of play and although our younger children certainly have more aids and extra props to help them I still remember the older children playing similar games when they were little.
Play is universal and imagination is normal for children.
We can foster this with activities and lifestyle choices to help our children or we can limit them with no opportunities for this type of play or perhaps limiting them to computer games, TV and other less messy 'play'
Did I mention that the free unlimited type of play tends to get messy?
Oh my yes it does!
So for this reason only it can be a reason in some eyes not to foster the type of play.

Imaginative play does need tidying up and that can impinge on schedules that need to be met.
Better to just get the kids to sit down and play a non messy game.
Now, don't get me wrong. Our children do play some computer games (we have age restrictions and time limits that are enforced rigorously), we do watch DVDs (we have no TV access) we have some great family movie nights and do allow our younger ones to watch DVDs, (again we have fairly strict control on content too) we have watched you-tube for some things, I very occasionally let the younger ones play a game on my I-phone: we aren't living in the dark ages!!
Given the opportunity mostly I encourage them to play outside and to play imaginative games.
Of course like everyone else we have succumbed to the "It's a madhouse I can't think- turn on a DVD for the children to watch so I can get something done!" syndrome.

I myself love to watch a great movie with my Beloved or the older children. I love a great mini-series and the relaxation that comes from that too.
It thankfully isn't my only type of 'play!'
I can do other activities as well and I do believe that what children play as children and especially teens they tend to use that some type of activity for relaxation as adults.

So I would like to think that we are helping our children to think outside the box - literally. To do more with the free time they have as young adults than simply turning on a box of one sort or another.
I remember doing so much more as a young teen and adult. More outdoor and creative activities that seem to be disappearing from the social lives of our young people.
Do many of them go for a walk just to be outside?
Do they plan picnics and go to local events together just to spend time and make memories together?

I sadly think this type of activity is disappearing and that the young children of today will have even less chance of this as they become conditioned to going to constant round of structured events and being 'guided' in how to use the free time they have that they will not know how to use any time they have unless they have an organised activity.
I think we mistakenly think that if we are 'busy' that we are actually 'living'.
We all have spent lots of busy time on the computer or in front of TV only to realise that what we have actually done is fill in time but not achieve anything creative or useful.

Now I know that not all time has to be counted as useful or creative but the more time we actually spend in 'fill in' time the more we accept this to be normal.
There are so many outlets that count as Imaginative or creative play.
Outdoors is one of my favourites but indoors can be just as imaginative if we provide the time and effort to encourage this....

Activities that don't require us to passively allow others to fill our mind with thoughts and ideas rather than using our minds to actively engage in our situation.
It really is up to us adults to encourage and help our children achieve this blissful imaginative and creative part of childhood.
It is a well documented fact that the dramatic decline in children’s opportunities to play has seen an equally dramatic increase in childhood mental disorders.
So sad when most of this could be avoided by actually allowing creative and imaginative play
Building relationships and bonding while actively engaged in creative and imaginative play create many childhood memories that can be drawn upon as adults to feed the souls when in difficult situations.

We all carry remnants of our childhood with us and so we can give our children the best opportunities to use these for their benefit or sadly we can restrict the way in which our children best grow, by restricting play and as such effectively limit the children as they grow to be all that they are capable of.
So no I don't believe  our children don’t need more structured learning or even structured activities. They definitely need more play. It isn't just for our children but for our children's children that we need to encourage creativity and imaginative play.
I have heard the term 'give childhood back to children' before and seriously we do need to allow our children to be exactly that - children. We must allow children to pursue that which comes naturally to them to play and explore so they can use this 'play/learning' to grow into strong adults in the ways that matter: intellectually, emotionally and socially.
Here are some more quotes by others to inspire you to recognise the true value of childhood play:

Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning. –Fred Rogers

Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity. -Kay Redfield Jamison

 Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn. -O. Fred Donaldson

When children pretend, they’re using their imaginations to move beyond the bounds of reality. A stick can be a magic wand. A sock can be a puppet. A small child can be a superhero. -Fred Rogers

 It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self. -D.W. Winnicott

Blessings to you and your homes,

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