Yes, I have travel photos that make me ache for a place or time. Yes, I’ve got arty photos that capture an experience. But if I were to choose a photo to use as cover art for something I personally would really like to read at this moment in time, it would be this one.
The book would be on the art of simple fun with babies and toddlers. Not a glamorous coffee table tome, admittedly. But I bet it would be a well-thumbed favourite with stay at home parents and mums on maternity leave! Even ‘yet-another-rainy-weekend’ parents looking for inspiration would probably be quite grateful for a little peek at it!
The little girl is mine, absolutely beside herself with happy excitement when I surprised her with a big chain of balloons, tied together with string. We played with it for a whole afternoon over the weekend. Swooshing it up in the air and watching it fall, running around with it, spinning it round and round her until we felt dizzy. She squashed it and pulled it and played peek-a-boo from behind it, and generally just had a brilliant time. All for the cost of a packet of balloons.
‘I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all.’
(Laura Ingalls Wilder)
It can sometimes be hard to resist the pull of the commercialism of childhood. I am not immune to it. We absolutely do buy toys, books and games; probably a few more than really necessary. But we also try to keep things simple and have fun with our imaginations. Musical instruments made out of old water bottles, each filled with different materials like pasta, rice, toothpicks. Sensory exploration with jelly, blocks of ice made from glittery water, stodgy mashed potato. Hours of fun with a bowl of soapy water, two plastic cups and a whole heap of towels to mop up afterwards! All cheap and simple to prepare, and so much fun for little people.
I love finding interesting ways to help my little girl learn, grow and have fun. But I confess that it can be hard thinking of endless things, searching for age appropriate ideas. Having favourite activities is great – balloons in our house are a guaranteed hit, and are a relatively lost cost, low effort endeavour for me. But it’s good to ring the changes too and keep things exciting and engaging.
So a book with age specific chapters, crammed full of fun, simple, low-cost ideas to try, adapt and develop into family favourites would be a very welcome addition to my bookshelf. I’d certainly spend a lot less time on Pinterest!
‘Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple, and the simple thing is the right thing.’