Boxland

How many of us have experienced the delight in giving a small child a brand new toy, only to find he or she really does prefer the box it came in?

Well, two can play at that game.

Welcome to Boxland, where anything may happen. Let your imagination run wild and spend some quality time with the little darlings. Added bonus: you can leave your credit card in your wallet. If you’ve just had a de-clutter or a spring clean, you may have to do a little collecting first. Look out for, and stash:

Cardboard boxes:
To make two of the projects on this page you’ll need a box large enough for your child to sit in, as a base. Then collect any other cardboard boxes, cereal packets, paper plates, anything that’s clean and food-free.

-Junk Mail comes in handy:
Collect junk mail, advertising brochures, catalogues and magazines. Anything colourful will do.

-Packing:
Bits of shredded paper, wrapping paper with a raised pattern, look for different textures to make it more fun and interesting.

-Haberdashery:
Small pieces of cloth, ribbon, shoe laces, yarn, rope and any other trimmings are great for adding finishing touches.

Alongside all these recycled goodies, you’ll need:

-pencils, markers, crayons, paints etc;
-a decent pair of scissors, and perhaps a craft knife. Keep these out of reach of little fingers.
-glue, sellotape, maybe a little ‘blu-tac’
-paper fasteners

So, here we go…. projects and ideas for recycling household stuff into delightful toys;

Trains, Boats and Cars

… whichever your child happens to be into at the moment. The only downside to this – you need a strong back as you’ll be expected to provide engine power when the vehicle is built.

Start with a large box that your child can sit comfortably in. Put a cushion inside if they are too little to see over the top.

With paper fasteners, attach paper plates for wheels and steering. Or cut circles out of card and attach with a length of yarn through the centre. Make the wheels turn somehow.

-Cut out a windscreen from another box or piece of card, with a window, and glue to the main body.

Add extra ‘carriages’ to a train by tying smaller boxes on a length of rope, or ribbon behind the main carriage. These smaller boxes can carry the passengers (teddies or other favourite toys)

-stick pictures or stickers to decorate or paint the whole thing.

  • optional extra: An engine needs horsepower, so you need some reins. A fairly sturdy length of rope attached through the front of the ‘vehicle’ should do it. Now you can pull your tiny around in their train, car or boat until you run out of fuel.

Fairy castles and Doll’s Houses

A house or castle shouldn’t need pulling round so you can sacrifice a little sturdiness for size. Put 2 boxes together to make a large house your child can go in and out of. The only thing to look out for, is the child leaning on the walls… they may fall down. A large cushion may help secure it, or will at least break the fall 🙂

If you’re making a castle, glue some smaller boxes round the top of the walls for turrets.

‘Wallpaper’ the insides of the house or castle with pictures from magazines and old catalogues. Paint the outside in bright poster paints.

Cut out windows and stick two pieces of cloth on the inside to represent curtains.

Outside the box: Cut a circle of blue card or cloth and lay it outside to serve as a pond. Cut out orange fish shapes from card and scatter them on the ‘water’.

Theatres and TVs

Find a box that will sit on the table and be big enough to partially conceal someone sitting behind it.

Cut or remove half the base of the box. Then turn it on its side. The piece you removed is where the stage is set. If possible, instead of removing the base half, fold it back and adjust the width, so that ‘props’ can sit on it.

Decorate the theatre lavishly with shiny paper, ribbons and bows etc;

Hang a length of cloth over the back of the box (originally the open top) to hide the pupeteer.

Then hold your own puppet show. Make up a script and see how long you can stick to it before laughing!

Ideas for home made puppets:

  • Cut celebrity pictures from old magazines and stick them to thin card, Attach a sturdy length of card or a smooth stick (chopsticks perhaps?) with sellotape to the back of the ‘celebrity’ puppet.
  • Wooden spoons make very effective glove puppets that small children can work easily. Tie a piece of cloth round the ‘neck’ of the spoon. Paint on a face and stick on some ‘hair’ using yarn or something similar. The child can hold the handle of the spoon under the cloth.

Un-armed Bandits!

Turn a medium sized box onto its longest edge and on the inside of the edge, draw target areas. These could be strips of different colours with numbers, or different sized numbered circles. Don’t make the numbers too high, no more than 10.

On the base of the box – at the ‘top’ edge, cut 2 slits a few inches apart large enough for a counter to pass through.

Use plastic counters or cut circles from card. Make lots so you don’t run out too quickly.

Child pushes their ‘coins’ in one slit and if it lands on a target area clear of the lines, the child wins that number of coins. There’s room for diplomacy here; if the young player is getting to the end of their coins, a little extra bonus wouldn’t go amiss 🙂

The ‘winning’ coins are posted back through the second slit, much to the amusement of the child, especially if you are slightly hidden from view.

These are just a few of many creations you can make in the wonderful world of boxes. How about…

  • making a doll’s house as an ongoing project, slowly adding matchbox furniture and pipe cleaner dolls
  • building a complete model village around a village green, space permitting

When the box finally gives up its struggle to survive under such heavy play conditions, recycle what you can and make something else!

Have Fun!

Linda x

P.S. If you’re not into doing all this right now, don’t miss out on quality time together. This handy download has plenty of off-grid games to play for all the family.

Family Games

Indoor Family Games to play at home or away, and mostly for FREE!

This is the fun stuff that children got up to before the days of computers. Bring the whole family together with a fun idea and the little darlings may even switch off the computer game voluntarily!

Using everyday items, and sometimes none at all, all 31 games are played without plugs, batteries or chargers. Pure and natural resources – imagination, creativity and a little energy – help develop life skills while having fun.

Finding the kid in you keeps you young, and, of course, you get to spend quality time with the children without having to dig out the credit card. Just about every game can be adjusted to suit the age and number of players.

Enjoy a whole month of rainy day games you can also play in the sunshine!

Choose from your favourite online bookstore

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Barnes & Noble , Kobo , Scrib’d , Apple Books , Payhip , Etsy

Breaking Ice with Parlour Games

Playing parlour games was considered to be part of every day life just a few short decades ago. Digital games tend to be quite solitary – unless you’re on an online team game I guess!

But what happens when the internet’s down or there’s a power cut? Relying on ‘the system’ can be very disempowering but I’m here to say ‘Bring the fun back whether the leckie or the teckie is working or not!’

So let’s break some conversational ice. When you play games, whether they’re board games, card games, pencil and paper games or any other game that doesn’t need to be ‘plugged in’, you do have to speak to each other.

That could mean simply saying things like ‘it’s your turn’ or ‘pick a card’. But if there’s someone in your game who can press his or her fun button, these quick speaks could be lengthened and before you know it, you’re all chatting and having fun. For example…

  • Pretending that you’re going to cheat can cause riotous behaviour, although how riotous will depend on the atmosphere and length of fuses the players have.
  • Getting it wrong as an adult always makes the kids chuckle. Happy kids are what we’re going for after all. I employed this tactic many times over the years and although my grown up children still probably think I’m a bit dippy, I can laugh alongside their sibling jokes about me (sssh… because I know better!)

So, here’s a game that’s been played for many years in various forms and is suitable for all ages who can put pencil to paper. Young children especially like this game.

The more players the merrier but the game can be played with just two players. Each player will need a piece of paper and a pencil. Cut A4 pages in half lengthwise and give one piece to each player. I would also have some paper clips ready if you have some and if none of the children are likely to put them in their mouth, nose or ears 🙂

Each player draws a picture of a head and neck at the top of their paper. This could be the head of a monster or a person or maybe a robot? The drawing must be kept secret. Make the neck slightly longer and fold over the paper twice to hide the drawing but leaving the two marks for either side of the neck visible.

Pass the piece of paper to the player on your left. You may find it easier to use a paper clip to hold the paper in place.

The next drawing is a body and arms. Each player draws a body and arms taking the two neck marks as guidelines but not looking at the head that was drawn by the previous player. Mark the bottom of the body so the next player knows where to start the legs. The paper is then folded over as before and passed on to the next player.

The next drawing should be the legs. You could include the feet on this one or make the feet another stage. Using the mark at the base of the body drawn by the previous player, draw the legs and fold over the paper again. Mark the bottom of the legs if you are passing it on again for the feet to be drawn by another player, or include the feet in your drawing.

Fold over the paper after the final drawing and pass on to the next player to open and reveal the weirdest and funniest people/monsters/animals that you’ve ever seen!

Have Fun

Linda x

P.S. This idea was taken from Family Games updated and available now!

Family Games

This is the fun stuff that children got up to before the days of computers. Bring the whole family together with a fun idea and the little darlings may even switch off the computer game voluntarily!

Using everyday items, and sometimes none at all, all 31 games are played without plugs, batteries or chargers. Pure and natural resources – imagination, creativity and a little energy – help develop life skills while having fun.

Finding the kid in you keeps you young, and, of course, you get to spend quality time with the children without having to dig out the credit card. Just about every game can be adjusted to suit the age and number of players.

Enjoy a whole month of rainy day games you can also play in the sunshine!

Choose from your favourite online bookstore

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Barnes & Noble , Kobo , Scrib’d , Apple Books , Payhip , Etsy

Homemade Gifts

Homemadegifts-pin

Making gifts for family and friends is so rewarding and there are many crafts that can be turned into pleasing and organic homemade gifts.

And you don’t have to be a crafting expert to create beautiful gifts. A while ago, I wrote an article called ‘Giving Green which includes a few project ideas to inspire new ways of giving gifts.

We all tend to live busy lives and often realize a week before a special birthday or a celebration such as Christmas that we haven’t sorted out gifts and/or decorations. So, off we trot to the shops and buy something we hope will be gratefully received.

And if you’re living on a tight budget as many of us are, that purchase can be based on cost and will possibly create a hole in the budget that week or month.

A couple of years ago, I found myself with a huge amount of knitting yarn in October and very little money so I bought a knitting pattern from Etsy (only a few pounds) for a pair of cozy slippers and spent most evenings knitting for my family.

On Christmas morning, they were all delighted with their gifts. I also made some finger-less gloves and, to avoid buying plastic coated wrapping paper, I tied each ‘package’ with a wide red ribbon.

Altogether, I had to buy some stop slip glue – which, yes, is plastic based, but unfortunately I couldn’t find an alternative at the time. It seemed quite expensive – around £5 for a small bottle, but the bottle covered all 12 pairs of slippers.

And I bought a few metres of wide red ribbon (Instead of wrapping paper) which also only cost a few pounds. Oh, and the original pattern, because I couldn’t find one I liked in any of my knitting books.

All, in all, I spent around £12 and created 12 gifts. Now, I did have the yarn to begin with, but a lot of that yarn was bought in charity shops and some was recycled by un-ravelling previously hand knitted items.

knitting

Getting into recycling and handmade mode is incredibly good for the soul. Even if you have to go to work every day, there are still evenings or a couple of hours every day when you could be enjoying a creative hobby, and turning that hobby, not necessarily into a side hustle business, but a way of giving handmade and unique gifts as well as saving money.

And a special bonus, is that you have complete control over the materials you use, which means you can be plastic-free as far as possible.

Have a quick look at the ideas in ‘Giving Green‘ and come up with some of your own that suit you and your abilities. Crafting for a couple of hours or even 30 minutes a day frees your mind from problems and as an added bonus, helps eliminate snacking in front of the TV – no more diets necessary!!

Happy Crafting!

Linda x

P.S. I’ve just updated my knitting pattern designs which are available on Etsy and in other stores. Check them out and get knitting now 🙂 Stix & Yarn

Related Pages:
Giving Green
Green Gifts
Christmas in August
Knitting Seasonal Dolls
Making Purses

Seasonal Creations

If you create products in any form, whether they are physical items or digital books, they have a good chance of being seasonal.

I use the word seasonal loosely as there are many special days throughout the year including celebration days such as Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day etc; and a whole lot of awareness days including ‘potato month’ or ‘asparagus day’ –

I just made them up but a quick google search can clue you into national or international celebration days.

Having said all that, planning your product launches can be complicated and I would suggest creating a spreadsheet or using a diary on or offline to keep track of everything; Product ideas for each month/season, ordering supplies, dates to launch and market etc;

Always allow enough time to make the items and have a strategy in place if you get more orders than you anticipated.

So apart from the great ideas flowing out of your ears and the boring admin stuff weighing you down, there is another issue that creatives have to address. It’s an issue that magazine publishers have been dealing with forever and we have no choice but to comply with the way it’s always been done. We have to have a lead time, even if you do think outside the box and want to do it your way!

I get it. I’m guilty every year of deciding to write a book about making Christmas gifts or crocheting christmas tree decorations at the end of NOVEMBER! This does NOT work if you are trying to make a living from your creations or are already running a small business, believe me….

As living beings we’re very likely to be affected by the weather, temperatures and daylight hours, hence wanting to start making Christmas things at the end of November. But there is a way to find that Christmas creative spark in July, or a summer cocktail recipe in December. By stimulating our senses we can trick our brains – left and right sides 🙂 – into finding the inspiration and motivation we need to get the timing right for our small or hobby business.

A while ago, I wrote an article Stimulate Your Senses that was related to creative writing and it was published on a few popular writing websites at the time. I haven’t edited it and it still veers towards writing but I’ve decided to apply it to my other pursuits and it seems to be working well. I’m working on Easter Bunnies as we speak!

Check through the article as I’m pretty sure you’ll get some out-of-the-box inspiration to help you get your products out on time next season.

Good Luck and stay safe

Linda x

P.S. The article is only a 5 minute read – less if you scan! Copy it onto your phone or desktop and refer to it when the weather is playing with your motivation. Stimulate Your Senses

Shopping Small

With all the upheaval in the world today, our shopping habits have changed, are changing and will probably continue to change in the future.

Just a few years ago, the only way to shop was by physically walking into a store and choosing what we wanted to buy. Then along came those big shopping-from-home catalogues – if you remember them, you’re giving away your age here! Goodness knows how damaging their thousands of glossy pages were to the environment. Probably best not to go there…

But now, only a generation later, we can literally buy more or less exactly what we want by tapping on our phones or tablets a couple of times. There are, no doubt, plenty of downsides to this system, although with the events of this year stunning us all, shopping online has literally become a lifeline for many of us.

Being a bit old-school – or possibly a lot old-school – I do prefer to shop physically for certain items. Sure, buying the same tea bags you always buy from the store you always buy from is practical and often less expensive if we take into consideration fuel costs and time. But when I need a new pair of shoes, for example, I really do prefer to try them on first, rather than wait for them to be shipped and then often having to go to the post office to return them. Not always, but it happens.

With the shopping season of the year creeping up on us, the excitement and chaos of Christmas shopping has changed in very recent times..

Budgets have been severely cut and buying hundreds of cheap stocking fillers may be a temptation that’s hard to resist but take a moment to consider the implications before you dive into poundland ..

  • cheap stocking fillers are often plastic and mass-produced
  • many get broken or discarded within days or even hours of the big day
  • the extra refuse can, and probably will, end up in our already over-polluted oceans
  • is this purchase putting more of my money into a CEO’s already huge bank account?
  • are we really preparing our children for the future?

So, what’s the alternative? Well, as far as I can see ‘more’ isn’t always ‘better’.

When you buy 2 huge packets of cheap potato crisps for the price of one, isn’t that just a marketing ploy to get your family to eat more rubbish food? Those marketing experts know their stuff and cheap products are purposely targeted at families who are already on a tight budget. But we know all this, so back to this year’s Christmas list…

Rather than scribbling down names and quick gifts (e.g. “Aunt Mabel – bubblebath” ) consider the likes and dislikes of everyone on your list. Even if you just buy for your closest family members, not all of them may appreciate that family-sized box of chocolates…

  • Gluten-free, dairy-free or even sugar-free products are always loved by those with dietary issues. Jams and chutnies are a favourite too.
  • A framed print or an uplifting poem could help someone through a troubled time
  • A handmade item of clothing, or a novelty lipstick case will be unique and could even be personalized.
  • Handmade organic soaps and bath products are healthier and often beautifully packaged

So, I am writing this shopping small post to help support small and local businesses who have been the worst hit in the business world – as they often are – and to encourage everyone to not only buy ‘green’ which is my usual rant (!) but also to explore the gift ideas that creative and talented folk are producing, because they are, after all, the people who live down your street and support your local economy.

Although Etsy itself is a huge site, most of the sellers are small businesses and do a happy dance when someone orders their products! I’ve recently opened a new Etsy shop called Stix & Yarn where I’m posting my handmade creations – have a quick look, there may be the perfect gift idea for your friends and family and you! Stix & Yarn Shop

Whether we’re stuck inside our ‘boxes’ or not, this is definitely the year to be thinking and acting outside the box, shopping small and supporting each other as much as we can.

Stay safe

Linda x

P.S. There are lots of handy pdf downloads in my other shop at Etsy that could maybe be printed and put in a personalized folder as a special gift for someone you love! My shop Gran’s Choice

Dusting with Lemons

I’ve lived in flats, houses, a wooden shack and even a van and one thing that appears to be common to all these environments is dust – especially if you have a wood-burning stove it seems!

However, after years of ‘keeping house’ I would like to share a tip that really cuts down on the dust and the dusting chore 🙂

When you use a dry duster to wipe the surfaces, the dust tends to float around. You’ll collect some on the duster but a lot will simply float in the air until you turn your back, then it will settle down onto the surface you just wiped… ho hum…

And if you use a spray polish or cleaner first, you’re adding to the maladies of the planet, inadvertently of course.

So, here’s an idea.

Rummage around the fruit bowl until you find that lemon you know you forgot about – if you really haven’t got an old lemon, you can use the end of one or even the peel. No lemons at all? On your next shop, cross off polish and add ‘lemons’ to your list.

Then you need a clean, washable cloth and a bowl of warm/hand-hot water.

Either squeeze a little lemon juice or rub a little zest from the lemon peel onto the surface you’re going to clean. Wet the cloth, squeeze out excess water and wipe across the surface. Don’t use too much lemon. It can be a bit sticky. You won’t need it anyway.

OR squeeze some lemon juice in a bowl of water first, and just attack your surfaces with a bowl of lemony water and a cloth 🙂

As well as reducing the need to dust so often, you leave a lovely light lemon scent around your home.

AND you get to reduce the aerosols and chemicals clogging up your credit card, cupboards and our wonderful planet.

Happy Cleaning!

Linda x

P.S. You could perhaps grow your own cleaner!

How to Grow Lemons

How to Grow Lemons is a mini beginner’s guide to growing these vitamin C packed fruits at home. Treat yourself to a G & T with your own organic slice of lemon!

Although lemon trees need a little care and attention, they reward you with the most wonderful fruits and their beauty! Find out how…

The contents include
-growing advice
-and a couple of delicious recipe ideas designed specifically to get your mouth watering!

Choose from your favourite online book store

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Apple Books , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes Noble , Etsy

Late Night Knitting

heirloomthrow-pin

Well, it’s up and running. The pattern’s in my Etsy shop as of a couple of hours ago. Pulled a very-late-nighter but so pleased it’s done and I can share it with everyone.

I’ve been asked about this throw for ages and finally got my act together to create the patterns. Getting the ‘math’ head working isn’t always easy but after triple checking everything, I hope I remembered all my multiplication tables correctly!

Scroll down for the direct link to this pattern.

The nature of this design means you can use odd balls of yarn or create a blending design. It’s up to you. I’m not an artist but because I only used three colours, the ‘blending’ worked really well.

Size is down to you as well. Make it as big or small as you want. Anything from king sized bed-size down to cushion covers perhaps?

Knitting is such a good antidote to snacking. It hardly takes up any room. And you can often find knitters donating odd balls of yarn if you ask around. Or you could buy a pack of multi-coloured yarns on Amazon. Get your pattern first though – whether it’s for a throw like this or anything else, so that you know what needles and yarn type you need.

And how about knitting Christmas this year! I’ve got a few patterns at the Etsy shop designed for beginner knitters, including the Ekokid doll range, that could all be possible Christmas gifts. (The Ekokids are non-plastic versions of Barbie, but much easier to play with for little hands and much less plastic!)

Knitting is an amazing hobby and this is a time we can explore new ways of living and consuming. Millions of people are taking up gardening – like we should ever have stopped growing food! And so many more hobbies and life skills to explore. Start easy though. Enjoy the moment and whatever you decide to nominate as your next project, I wish you pleasure in your pursuits 🙂

Happy Knitting!

Linda x

P.S. So, as promised here is the direct link to The Heirloom Throw pattern.

This beautiful family heirloom is a great project that can be picked up at any time and made to your own design and with your favourite colours. If you can cast on, cast off, knit and purl, you’re off the starting block already!

There are 25 patterns with 16 graphs included and lots of tips in this downloadable pattern.

Print each graph separately or work straight from your device. Printing or working from a tablet, laptop or PC is recommended. A phone is a little small for following a graph pattern.

There are three files to download ‘Heirloom Throw Book One’, ‘Heirloom Throw Book Two’ and ‘Heirloom Throw Book Three’. Please note this item is a pattern, not the finished product. Heirloom Throw Pattern

Home Life

homelife-pin

and what it could be like.

With recent events causing more time spent at home, there are a few questions coming up as to how to cope with it all.

Apart from the usual keeping yourself well by eating healthy foods and not going anywhere near the rest of humanity, there are the everyday practical, mental and spiritual issues to take care of.

If you’re not sure you’ll still have all your marbles at the end of your isolation period, check out these few home life ideas in case…

It’s all just too Boring?

Well, isn’t work boring sometimes? What about those mornings when you’ve wanted to stay home and get the housework up to date or prepare for a celebration?

Actually there may be lots of loose ends you could be tidying up right now. Have a wander round and make a quick note of jobs you’ve wanted to get around to for ages. Perhaps…

  • de-cluttering
  • sorting out the kids clothes
  • general tidying up
  • taking up the hem of the curtains

and then sort out your notes into a schedule – and if you don’t keep to it, juggle it around until it fits with your mood of the moment.

And there are probably some creative pursuits you would have time for at home. Is the sewing machine collecting dust? Or maybe you learned to knit, bought some patterns and yarn and never got around to knitting those winter gloves or hats. Are you a closet artist? Get drawing!

Maybe you’ve been dreaming about your own business, or starting a blog but don’t know where to start. There are hundreds of thousands of videos on youtube. Get inspired by watching others’ online success stories – although I would add a disclaimer here – not everything you find on the internet is true for you!

And remember to take some action on anything that resonates. Or you’ll find yourself drowning in a sea of overwhelm 🙂

kids

Kids driving you mental?

Children are sponges for knowledge. How many times a day do you hear ‘why’ as the beginning of a sentence? Use the time to learn with them. Try not to ‘copy’ school. Home life is different.

Decide when your own child/children respond best to learning and learn with them. We know, from various tv programmes and social media posts that parents have forgotten – or indeed never learned in the first place – a lot of the stuff that kids are learning now.

Home schoolers have support groups online and your local authority may have some guidance available for your child’s grade.

And, learning aside, how about some fun? The biggest challenge with today’s kids at home seems to be separating them from their devices and screen-time. So, get the board games and jigsaw puzzles out of hibernation if you have them. If not, don’t despair! Get into some traditional games that our grandmothers would have played. They were often fun and educational.

If you have a garden, or even just a little windowsill space, sow some seeds with the whole family. Nurturing plants is a joy in itself and you may be able to grow some nourishing organic food. There are some useful gardening posts here so no excuse!

housework

More household chores?

Well, yes, but you have time to do them now.

But again, the household chores can be turned into a learning time and also fun. How about either a recap or a new experience in …

  • tidying away toys and belongings – adults too!
  • putting laundry in the laundry basket – ditto 🙂
  • appreciating their space
  • baking sugar-free cookies
  • putting a meal together

Age has to be considered of course, but with some proper coaching about possible dangers and how to avoid them, children can surprise us every day with their ability, responsibility and creativity and imagination.

My grandchildren could teach me a thing or two in the kitchen!

You’ll have no ‘office’ clothes to launder so enjoy the yoga pants every day. And yoga pants don’t need ironing – Bonus.

money

Less money?

Tricky, as money always seems to be an issue when trying to raise a family or simply survive in recent economic times – although I’m not sure it hasn’t always been like that.

It’s about how we respond to the bills and finances generally that makes the difference.

Being at home all day is bound to increase home utility bills but being aware helps. Did you really need to put the heating on that early when there are lots of people milling about generating body heat? Maybe not. And it’s not really necessary to always sprawl on the couch in your underwear. Turn the heating down and put a shirt on!

Washing hands and general cleanliness is of course important, but if you don’t have to take a shower first thing before going to work, perhaps take one later when economy fuel time kicks in, or limit yourself to every other day? Just a thought. 🙂

A small investment in seeds and pots could result in some good food you can pick yourself, as I mentioned before. And getting creative in the kitchen can really help reduce food bills. Find vegan recipes and test them out on the family. 🙂

Keep well and enjoy the moments you can

Linda x

P.S. And make sure you enjoy some quality time together. This handy download has plenty of off-grid games to play for all the family.

Family Games

Indoor Family Games to play at home or away, and mostly for FREE!

This is the fun stuff that children got up to before the days of computers. Bring the whole family together with a fun idea and the little darlings may even switch off the computer game voluntarily!

Using everyday items, and sometimes none at all, all 31 games are played without plugs, batteries or chargers. Pure and natural resources – imagination, creativity and a little energy – help develop life skills while having fun.

Finding the kid in you keeps you young, and, of course, you get to spend quality time with the children without having to dig out the credit card. Just about every game can be adjusted to suit the age and number of players.

Enjoy a whole month of rainy day games you can also play in the sunshine!

Choose from your favourite online bookstore

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Barnes & Noble , Kobo , Scrib’d , Apple Books , Payhip , Etsy

Family Games

familygames-pin

Oh wow, crazy times we’re living in at the moment. But I guess we just have to do what we can to keep well and accept that what is, is! But if you find yourself at home with the kids with or without any outside space for them to play, it’s important not to let them spend 12 hours a day on their devices.

We all know that, of course we do, but often these devices are handy ‘baby sitting’ tools when we are rushing around trying to get a meal on the table or cope with other household chores after a day at work.

But what if you aren’t going out to work every day. Some will be working from home (which might mean you can juggle your time a little) but others will be at a bit of a loss as to how on earth they can keep the kids entertained in a confined space without resorting to video games etc;

Aside from craft activities, board games and jigsaw puzzles, there are plenty of other games to play. The secret?

Time Travel!

Step back in time to when you, your parents or grandparents (depending on your age!) made their own entertainment. Before the days of TV.

What did they do? They played Family Games!

There was a lot more ‘playing out’ going on back then, but the communities were tighter and there were fewer, if any, cars on the road so it was probably a lot safer for kids to play out on the streets with often no more than a ball and/or a skipping rope. But there were always those days when it was raining too hard or far too cold to go out to play.

Time to flex the imagination muscle. The games we made up as kids were often bizarre and had no meaning to them other than they passed the time and often made us giggle uncontrollably. 🙂

We also played family games, sometimes simple games like noughts and crosses or joining dots to make boxes. But often we played games that stretched our thinking but were still fun and still often hilarious.

One such game was:

TABOO

Players decide what word is ‘taboo’. For example, you may decide ‘and’ is taboo so therefore every time a player has to say ‘and’ he must say ‘taboo’ instead.

One person is chosen to be the questioner and can ask each player as many questions as he wants to try and catch them out – if they say the taboo word, in this case ‘and’ then they drop out of the round. The last player left wins and becomes the questioner in the next round.

The secret to this game is speed. The questioner can ask questions at random and may interrupt a player in mid-answer to try and catch them out.

For example, if the questioner asks a player, “What did you have for breakfast this morning?” the player may answer “Toast.”

The questioner should then quickly ask “Did you have anything with the toast?” The player may answer “Yes I had toast taboo cereal”. If player replies “Yes I had toast and cereal”, he has said the taboo word ‘and’ and therefore must drop out of the round.

Can get kind of confusing at times this game!

…………

Google traditional games or family games and enjoy some quality fun time together as a family while you can. They grow up so quick!

Have Fun!
Linda x

P.S. This Family Games book will give you a head start!

Family Games

Indoor Family Games to play at home or away, and mostly for FREE!

This is the fun stuff that children got up to before the days of computers. Bring the whole family together with a fun idea and the little darlings may even switch off the computer game voluntarily!

Using everyday items, and sometimes none at all, all 31 games are played without plugs, batteries or chargers. Pure and natural resources – imagination, creativity and a little energy – help develop life skills while having fun.

Finding the kid in you keeps you young, and, of course, you get to spend quality time with the children without having to dig out the credit card. Just about every game can be adjusted to suit the age and number of players.

Enjoy a whole month of rainy day games you can also play in the sunshine!

Choose from your favourite online bookstore

Amazon (US) , Amazon (UK) , Barnes & Noble , Kobo , Scrib’d , Apple Books , Payhip , Etsy

Easter Plans

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Let’s be good to our fluffy and feathered friends, as well as all the other wonderful creatures on the planet – I include (most) humans as well!

I only say ‘most’ because there are still some strange humans who think trophy hunting is something to be proud of.

Anyway, before I start ranting on about that, there are a few Easter plans we could make this year to help save the planet. Yay!

Often, at this time of year, the shops are packed with chocolate and plastic novelty toys. And parents everywhere are adding stuff to their to-do lists in lieu of creating egg hunts and making all the Easter plans that pop up at Easter time.

One of the wonderful things about Easter is that it usually arrives along with the Spring. Although sometimes we get snow at Easter – but moaning about the weather is not what I’m doing today – the sun’s been shining!

Chocolate is actually good for you (see my post here ) but the problem is that it’s only the dark kind which doesn’t always appeal to the children’s taste-buds. If your children love it, then great! But regular easter eggs are often packed with sugar and additives and all they really do is satisfy the craving for a few moments and turn the kids into hyper-active crazy people. Yep, been there, done that.

So, how about going down a different road this year? We still have a while to go and time to get creative – how about…

**Making energy balls? There are tons of healthy recipes online – I found this one on Nest & Glow. Although one of the ingredients is cocoa powder, there’s usually organic cocoa available in most good health stores.

Sesame chocolate raisin balls

1 cup / 140g Sesame seeds
1 cup / 150g Raisins
½ cup / 50g Cacao / Cocoa Powder

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until the paste starts to stick together
You may need to shake the blender or scrape the inside a few times between blends
Scoop out a heaped teaspoon at a time and roll into balls
They will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container in the fridge

NOTE– they will only keep for a few weeks if you hide them!

And when the big Egg Hunt Day arrives, maybe they could be wrapped in greaseproof or waxed paper – anything other than plastic is a plus.

**Avoiding plastic novelty toys really should be priority these days – I suppose it always should have been but we do know better now. How about checking out local eco-friendly craft markets. Supporting small businesses helps families pay their bills and take their children swimming, rather than lining already rich pockets with more of your hard-earned cash.

Have a look on Etsy. I just typed ‘childrens easter gifts’ into the search and came up with some amazing natural gifts. Really worth a look.
**And if you’re feeling creative yourself, make something! Many years ago, I was strapped for cash when my youngest daughter’s birthday was coming up and I designed a doll – since then I’ve developed many costumes and themes for the doll and made the patterns available for everyone to try.

If you’d like to try it yourself, pop over to the Ekokids. page

But if dolls or knitting aren’t your thing, what is?

Again, have a look on Etsy and see if anything springs to mind. Are you an excellent wood carver? Maybe you could create wooden egg cups or Easter bunnies! Really, looking at some of the wonderful creations made me want to immediately sort out some crafting space in my home.

So, if you’re reading this only a month before Easter, there’s still plenty of time to create something different this year.

Anyway, Happy eco-friendly, sugar-free Easter everyone!

Linda x