With tighter restrictions on who can leave the house and when, the children and I have been making the most of the resources we have at home and truthfully I’ve fallen back in love with organised play. When Florence was a young toddler, we used to have a different play theme each week and I’d pack our days with fun activities to do. And then came newborn William and my focus was more on surviving the days with two under two than it was on any sort of structured play planning. Don’t get me wrong, we still played! But there was rarely a theme or a plan in place. However, since ‘social distancing’ came Into place and our usual routine of classes and play dates went out the window so I’m order to give us all a bit of structure I’ve returned to theming our weeks activities. This last week the focus was on flowers & plants.
We started our week of flower play by making Mother’s Day gifts for the children’s Grandma and Nanny. I’d picked up some terracotta plant pots from B&Q and let the children paint them before planting some Sweet Wiliam seeds and another really pretty white flowering plant I can’t remember the name of! I’d wanted to find Both of the children have floral names – Florence means blossoming, her middle name is Ivy (which I couldn’t find anywhere, and obviously William is where the sweet William’s come in. I thought that added a nice personal touch to the gifts and teach Florence about their name connections too.
Throughout the rest of week we’ve been busy planting some of the seeds I’ve had saved up. It gave us a great opportunity to talk about the things a plant or flower might need to help them grow and Florence really surprised me by how much she already knew. We received our first toucan box this week and inside was a DIY greenhouse, complete with nasturtium, sunflower and basil seeds which was the perfect addition to our week of flower play.
We’ve also started to think about how we can look to grow more of our own food and as well as planting seeds, we’ve saved some tops from root vegetables to grow from. Florence loves checking on these each day! Once the shoots have grown, we’ll plant them in soil.
The Flower Shop
Last weekend, in search of a project I gathered some unused crates and wood from the shed and knocked up a little shop for the children’s play area in the garden. I filled the shop ‘shelves’ with pots and vases and added some artificial flowers we’ve collected over the years for birthday decor. I also gave them a big trug of soil. Over the last week, this has been something the children have returned to over and over again. Florence has been busy delivering her bouquets to her customers – some even via face time! – and is quite the florist! William, being William was mostly drawn to the mud, Digging and transferring it from the trug to the pots and back again, poking the stems of the flowers in before taking them back out.
Arts & Crafts
As well as the plant pots above, we also made some paper plate flower cards which we sent to friends. These are so easy to do and a really nice quiet activity to do sitting at the garden table. I had cut out a bunch of different coloured and shaped petals and set them out with some glue sticks, cake cases and paper plates.
I was so excited to get the water table out again. It is by far our most used garden toy and I knew William was going to love it as he’s a real water baby. To incorporate our play theme I added some petals and leaves to the water along with some toy flower links and a couple of watering cans and scoops. He played for ages and ages!
At the beginning of the week, Florence and I took the dog for a walk and while we were out decided to go on a flower hunt. Not only was it a perfect activity for our week of flower play but a welcome distraction from the cordoned off play area! We found daisies, dandelions, blossom, holly & ivy and talked about each one and their features.
We’ve spent much of the week out in the garden digging, carrying and delivering our flower shop produce lost in a world of gardener and florist play. We also spent some time on the decking pretending to be sunflowers growing from a tiny ball to a great big tall flower with wide stretched leaves waving in the breeze. William particularly enjoyed joining in and stretching as far as he could!
I’m really excited about our next week of play as it’s all about bugs and insects which I think follows on perfectly from out week of flower play. I’ll be sharing what we get up to on Instagram and Facebook too so if you want to play along come and join us!
While I’m writing these little weekly updates so we can look back on them ourselves in years to come, I hope you’ll find some inspiration here for keeping your own tinies busy in these strange times. Stay safe and happy playing.