Wednesday, October 12, 2011

SIDE BY SIDE Workstations: How to be a kid and why we have to ask how!

The sun has been shining. The tadpoles are growing. The days are getting longer and we are outside.
The very hungry backyard Caterpillar...
Meanwhile a 'passport' for kids is in process of being handed out to 40,000 Western Australian school children by Nature Play featuring Fifteen things to do before you're 12.

Here is the list and underneath we have added a few more must-do's. Please add your own to-do's in the comments! 
  1. Climb a tree
  2. Build a cubby house
  3. Sleep under the stars
  4. Invent a game that lasts three days
  5. Learn to swim
  6. Catch a wave
  7. Play in the bush
  8. Play in a creek
  9. Visit a national park
  10. Play in the rain
  11. Catch a tadpole
  12. Make a mudpie
  13. Build a sand castle city
  14. Plant something and watch it grow
  15. Learn to ride a bike

The BIG extra's:

16. Hang on for one full rotation of the Hills hoist
17. Jump on the trampoline in the nude
18. Make a home made speed bump to sail your bike over
19. Let a snail leave a silver trail over your foot
20. Make and wheee on a tyre/ball swing
21. Run through the sprinklers
22. Dig a hole and bury something
23. Paint a rock, leaf or twig
24. Ride a bike with no hands

Rubble Painting
While this list is fantastic, it is incredible that we actually have to 'list' and circulate these childhood experiences. With TVs on the back of car seats blocking out the sense and concept of distance, travel, geography, the world outside and TIME, we are similarly worried about the direction of childhood. Andrew Daddo talks about this and engaging with your kids here and is a speaker at the Playgroup Australia Conference All Together Now currently happening in Melbourne. Also speaking is Tim Gill, the author of rethinking childhood. All this talk of mudpies and outside play collides with a post Lilly sent me today from Teacher Tom about risk-taking and the interest kids have in the darker side of human nature. Let's hope we never have to 'teach' our kids how to play outside; instead let's agree to let that snail leave a silver trail over our foot (and yes, I was coerced into this one today - ugh!)

For those that have the BIG mag check out pages 42-43 for tips on how to be a nature researcher and step outside - side by side - with your child to follow Alexandra Harrison's simple steps to bird watching and try out what it's like to be slow like turtles.
For those of you who want the BIG pages delivered to you this week SUBSCRIBE here!


  1. Great post, I am still refusing to get our children any dvd thingys for our car. People think we are mad. But well we are still happy counting windmills, singing the silliest songs and playing I spy.

    I have given a copy of your magazine to Jonah's school principal. She was blown away by it and was so interested in it, she is taking it to her next cluster school meeting to show other teachers. A beautiful ripple effect I would say.

    For your next project we thought as we have 3 faraway trees on our land here, each special and magical in different ways I had an idea of somesort of connecting map between them. I will putt the idea to the kids and see what they think. Although Jonah has strong ideas of his own. So we will see.


  2. Hi Rex, thanks for your response. Oh the faraway tree map sounds wonderful! We are HUGE fans of climbing that tree - and you have THREE...what amazing worlds you must find growing each day! Definately keen to hear what Jonah has to say too!

  3. As I was reading this 'to do' list (which I loved the content of) I was thinking to myself, 'surely kids do not need to be told to do this stuff? Surely this is a passage of childhood that inevitably happens???'. In our day? Absolutely. Nowadays there are probably people laminating the list and getting their children to tick it off! Sigh. The joys of Gen X parents!

    What I would add to the list? Put on a 'concert' for your Mum and Dad (and any other unsuspecting person who happens to be around); Make shapes out of the clouds; search for circada shells in your back yard (bonus if you find a circada still in one); go fishing; make 'boats' out of leaves and watch them race down the gutters in the rain...


  4. Hi multiple mum, awesome additions to the nature trail :) And yes, our thoughts exactly re the tick off the list mentality! ( but i will also admit to smiley head-nodding at each point) I have seen the 'passports' and yes, there is a page for each mission and a centrefold of stickers to chart your journey. That is is needed? Crazy. That we can talk about it and support our own kids to store the experience of childhood and hopefully watch when they share it all again with their own kids, thank goodness...


We love reading your BIG thoughts and really appreciate your comments, thank you!

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