Tag Archives: fun

Going with the flow

The unschooling diaries: week nine

I’ve been mulling over various different options for this post today – Arthur’s delight in playing with sand at Paignton sea front, his growing interest in helping in the kitchen, the hours of roleplay that followed when we found a Buzz Lightyear costume in the charity shop – but it’s actually an almost inconsequential moment that I keep coming back to.

Leigh was late home on Friday, but with it being the weekend I figured we’d wait for him before pushing on to bed after Arthur had finished his dinner. That’s daddy time, generally – the chats about the day and the washing things and the stories – and both of them miss it on the odd occasions when he can’t be around.

I didn’t really have a plan – which could, at the end of a long day, have ended in disaster – but as it was distraction came in the most unexpected form. I’d been unpacking a delivery whilst Arthur ate his dinner, and it had arrived in a box filled with little polystyrene pellets. I normally whip them away from Arthur whenever I order from this company, but on Friday I guess I was feeling a bit more relaxed and so I let him explore. And the resulting play was, I think, the best fun he’d had all week.


Things started pretty simply: having watched me unpack my order from the box, he proceeded to fill it with all of his precious things and offer it to me as a present.

Then once I’d gone through and admired each of his ‘gifts’, he decided that he wanted to see what it was like in there himself.


Then of course came the tipping out, and the moment when on another day I might have put a halt to all of it. The tuff spot comes in handy for that – even if it didn’t contain the pellets for long…


He piled them up and drove his diggers into them, threw them in the air to see how they fell, smooshed them and squeezed them and generally just experimented with this new material that had previously been off limits.

And whilst he played I sat and watched and laughed, until his daddy arrived at the door and came in to find us giggling in the midst of a pile of mess. Fortunately he got it too.


I couldn’t tell you exactly what Arthur learnt from this little bit of unplanned and unstructured play, but still it felt important: to give him permission to go a little bit wild at the end of the day, to go with the flow even if a part of me was raising some serious eyebrows, to let him lead and explore and make us both laugh.

As much as it’s great to have some carefully thought out activities on hand too I think it is moments like this that remind me why I am leaning towards unschooling, and the freedom it gives my son to be who he wants to be.




“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Another day, another box.

This time, just such complete and utter delight at being able to get inside and close the lid. He played for ages with it yesterday, climbing in and folding down the cardboard flaps, giggling until we ‘found’ him.

We discussed our ideas about what we might be able to make with it today. He decided he would like to make a flying train. After breakfast though he turned it upside down and it became a house, complete with doorbell and chimney and window and carpet.

It didn’t last long before the ‘wrecking ball’ demolished it, but it was fun whilst it did.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity for The 52 Project. 

Word of the week: fun


This week’s been a bit of a funny one. It feels like we’ve been doing lots of different things, but at the same time it feels like we haven’t done much at all. The weather’s been pretty shocking so we’ve spent lots of time indoors, but the outings we have made to Arthur’s regular groups have been great. When we’ve been at home, Arthur’s really enjoyed getting stuck in to some serious playing and when I haven’t been entertaining him I’ve been entertaining myself with some serious Christmas planning. All in all there is only one word to describe our week, and that’s fun.

Whilst I’ve been sat getting all excited about Arthur’s advent calendar, he’s been taking advantage of my inattention to create an almighty, joyful mess.


There’ve been some awesome train tracks…



And some equally awesome hats.



The second one was Arthur’s pick at his drama class this week, after which we actually managed to get a bit of fresh air. We went on a tour of our local charity shops where I was on the search for present-making materials. Arthur found a brilliant wooden tractor for just 30p. He drove it home alone the harbour wall – managing to fit in plenty of puddle splashing too.


Back at home there’s been some serious chilling, from cuddling up to watch Attenborough’s monkeys to greeting Daddy with a cup of tea when he got back from work.



There has been a healthy dose of pure unadulterated silliness too…



All in all a week of fun and laughs and love: just as it should be.


The Reading Residence


Word of the Week: Hiding

Today the word that sums up the week that was is:


Even just thinking about it now makes me giggle. It started in the kitchen, where Arthur often likes to wander around when I’m cooking or cleaning. He’d gone very quiet, and my heart leapt into my mouth – until I heard a squeak and found him squished in the corner by the dresser.


It happened again when we were up in the bathroom one morning getting ready for the day: we were both brushing our teeth, and I turned around to see him disappear into the cubby hole where the laundry lives looking very pleased with himself.


Then when we were in the park with friends he was all of a sudden nowhere to be seen. He’d found himself a quiet corner in the play house and was just hanging out, waiting to be found.


His favourite spot at the moment is under the stairs, and often when Leigh or I are panicking this is where he’ll be, tucked in between packs of nappies and his buggy.


It’s the glee on his face that gets me every time: he’s just so thrilled at having invented this new game. I’m not sure where he’s got it from as we hadn’t yet got round to playing hide and seek. I think part of it is just the particular comfort of being in a small space, but he’s definitely waiting for someone to find him too.

The game doesn’t always work out quite as planned. I had to rescue him when he managed to crawl under the sofa in my writing room when my focus was on the last few lines of a chapter.


And I think he’s chancing it a little to think we won’t notice when he slips behind the kitchen lamp.


But all in all this new game, and Arthur’s conscious sense of interactive play, has the potential to be lots and lots of fun. I’ll just have to hope he doesn’t get too creative in his hiding places!

The Reading Residence