acepuppets

Archive for September 2015


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As you know my son is techno geek and does spend rather a lot of time on his computer either playing games, watching gamers videos or making his own videos.  He frequently comes to tell us what he is doing and shows us the worlds he has created in Minecraft, so he doesn’t sit there like a zombie all by himself not communicating with anyone.  When we are out he talks about different rocks and finds interesting stones and asks what they are. Often we have discussions about what would happen if you tried to mine all the way through the earth and how mountains and valleys are made.  We discuss time travel and the possibility of using portals to travel from one world to the another and what type of world you would like to travel to.  In fact the topics we discuss are all about life from creation to death and what it would feel like to be dead.  Of course I can’t answer all of his questions but can talk about different peoples’ beliefs. The most amazing part of all of this is that all of this curiosity stems from the Minecraft worlds he creates.

At the moment he is working on an imaginary world called, ‘The Netherland’, which I think is a miss hearing of Neverland as opposed to referring to the country we once called Holland.  Any way he has been working on this land for a long time and shares his ideas by leading all of his friends in an imaginary game at school.  All of his friends go to the Netherland at playtime  and look for magic portals to new worlds – Alistair of course is the inspiration for all of the games because he describes the landscape to his friends and paints an imaginary world on the playground.  When I pick him up from after school club he is always looking at a little hole in the wall with two of his friend because it is a portal to the Netherlands.

Alistair’s fascination with Minecraft has given him an interest in how landscape is formed, what it is made from and what is possible in the real world.  He is totally inspired to tell and act out stories and will be starting Story club soon so that he can hopefully tell stories about his worlds.  We rarely have to help him with his computer because he is very good at reading and can often find solutions by using search engines.  Alistair’s ability to transfer a computer game fantasy to imaginative play in either a playground or garden reassures me that he is not wasting his time on the computer.  He is not a recluse and enjoys getting down and dirty in puddles and flower beds, he is sociable and communicates really well with his friends and adults.  I have to admit we didn’t let him have a computer until he had reached a good level of reading because we wanted reading to be the most important skill he had before he did anything else.

Computer games are wonderful as long as children are able to talk about what they are doing and show an interest in what their children have learned and discovered.  A computer isn’t really a babysitter but does give you a bit of peace and quiet when you need it.

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oliver____screencaps___part_2___12_by_oblivionsgarden-d4ns121

Celebrate the small victories. Have they been fed? Put to bed? Are they clothed at all? {Dirty, clean, matching…it doesn’t matter.} Are they chattering, smiling, maybe even singing? If the answer is yes to any of these, you’ve done something right. Scooper.

Sometimes at night I dream that my son looks underfed, dirty and is really unhappy because I haven’t looked after him properly.  I think that this may stem from the fact that his umbilical cord was very narrow causing him to be tiny at birth and for many years he only tended to eat until his tummy was full.  Everyone always commented on how small he was and I really felt as if I was failing in some way because I didn’t try to force him to eat more than he could manage. His small stature meant that although he had all of the motor skills necessary do do things he didn’t have the strength or height.  I overcame this hurdle by waiting until he felt ready to do things – such as using the toilet instead of the potty or climbing up climbing frames.  He was never behind -just left it until the last minute. He has finally started to catch up with his peers and no longer stands out as noticeably smaller – also he uses words like starving, his appetite has finally exploded and he gets wakened by growing pains which is fantastic.

My son never looked like Oliver Twist and except for the minor little things that upset young children like; having to go to bed, me not letting him have the contents of Amazon’s warehouse or asking him to tidy his bedroom, he is a happy little boy. I often wonder if other mothers have dreams like that or it is just me being weird. Alistair is a cautions child which means that he will eventually be able to climb to the top of play tower and use the slide but not as quickly as some of the younger more daring children.  Luckily my son doesn’t get bothered about admitting that he can or can’t do something and seems to anticipate that eventually he will be able to do it.

All children are different, as are all mothers, they way my friends bring up their children will have similarities but will have many fundamental differences due to our own life experiences.  Alistair often claims that I am not very caring when he falls over and hurt himself compared to other mothers who rush to stop the tears.  This probably stems from me having to deal with other people’s children and trying to chivvy them along.  I also continuously do risk assessments of what my son is doing in my head with the intention of letting him takes risks in safety – sometimes this looks as if I am just letting him walk into danger when in fact I am ready to pounce like a cat to stop him from hurting himself too much.

I put the quote from a blog by Lisa Jo Baker because it made me realise that all our children want from us is for us to be there and deal with their basic needs.  One day we will solve our odd sock problem (I have a pack of seven new ones that I bought for the new term but have lost them already) and maybe he will stop being Oliver Twist in my dreams.


A great day out in Haven Lakeland Park

heydaysandholidays

Living in a holiday area means that we can enjoy holiday type activities all year round regardless of the season. The only places we can’t access are holiday parks because they are reserved for residents only which is a great shame because the swimming pools there are fantastic.  For some reason Grange – Over – Sands has not been very good at looking finding good companies to build maintainable swimming pools so they seem to go into disrepair and are either listed as a grade 2 building that is too dangerous for people to used or knocked down to make way for affordable houses.  The only other alternative are the many hotels in the area or in leisure centres a good drive away.  The Haven Holiday Park in Flookburgh is only walking distance away and would be the perfect pace to go swimming if we could have access.

This weekend…

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#nowhere2play

The Association Of Play Industries (API) have become greatly concerned with the lack of play facilities for children, particularly in urban areas, and are conducting a survey to find out from parents the state of play facilities in their area.  The campaign is called #nowhere2play and is supported by Playdale Playgrounds Ltd who are experts in designing play equipment and installing it all over the world.

Do your children have public spaces to play in?  Even in the countryside we are seeing green patches of land being swallowed up by housing estates and school playgrounds sold off to building companies.  Is your local playground somewhere where you and your children like to meet friends and have fun or has it become dilapidated and rarely used.  The Association Of Play Industries (API) have become greatly concerned with the lack of play facilities for children, particularly in urban areas, and are conducting a survey to find out from parents the state of play facilities in their area.  The campaign is called #nowhere2play and is supported by Playdale Playgrounds Ltd who are experts in designing play equipment and installing it all over the world.

We are pretty lucky in this part of Cumbria, as there are plenty of places for children to play, and the majority of playgrounds are well resourced and maintained by committees. In Carlisle funding cuts meant that the council considered bulldozing unused playgrounds down, leaving spaces for imaginative play.  This article in metro.co.uk explains their intentions. I am not sure if they followed through with this plan or were stopped in their tracks.  To be fair the council were only considering removing playgrounds that were rarely used anyway as opposed to ones that were the meeting place of children in particular areas.

Are playgrounds used less these days because we are reluctant to let our children wander from our sight when they are playground age? There are significantly more cars than there used to be, causing us to be more overprotective than we may have been in the past. We are in an age where we fear strangers hanging around our children and allowing them to go and play out of our sight in a playground where there is no one to protect them scary.  Children don’t really gain independence until they are in the upper juniors or starting secondary school, depending on how sensible they are.

As the population of the UK increases we find our selves in a space paradox, we will have more families so we need more houses, we will have more children so we need play areas but the houses have been built on the land that was once a playground.  If children don’t get the opportunity to play outside they become obese and cost the NHS milions so what do we do?