mamafrog.co.uk- start here

This is where I blog about our lives with baby frog, flirting with waldorf education, solid in attachment parenting, sewing, knitting, crafting, raising chickens, growing vegetables and living in our country pub. It's a different world from my past life as fashion marketing pro in the city, but I love it.

Let’s just say, if you want to see a one year old, or a parent of a one year old. Try visiting before dinner time and definitely not unannounced after 7pm. By that point at night my one year old is attatched to me. Fast asleep but still feeding. His slow sleep feeding lasts about an hour, by which point, I’m knackered and neither of us fancy small talk.

We’ve been struggling with what to do for our son’s first birthday. The first year is a busy one. In that year a child’s brain grows and develops faster than any time in its life.
By age one a child can pick out it’s native language from foreign tongue, and their language comprehension is expanding daily.
As awesome as a one year old is, as much as they have learnt, they still are trying to break down and understand the complex world we live in.
They look to their surroundings to provide them with stimulus. They are unable to imagine yet (this skill expands this year) or play in the same way their toddler counterparts are.

Humanized toys

Presenting a one year old with humanised cars, animals , objects actually presents them a confusing stimulus. Is this talking bear human? Does it fit in with my known rules about humans- no. What about my known rules about animals- no again.
Whilst this isn’t harmful, it diverts valuable ‘experimenting’ time from real objects. Which seems like a waste of a crucial developmental point in a young child’s life.

Noisy/Electronic toys

Whilst not harmful. These toys can hinder development in young children. Elinor Goldshmeid, the child activist who coined the term heuristic play, stated that her work with children showed that active toys (the sort that perform at the press of a button) created passive children.

In other words, providing electronic toys for a one year old, produces an expectation in the child to be entertained. They don’t face to work to play with the toy. Which leads to an older child who struggles to play independently and think creatively.

Teaching tools

Can I share a secret? We’ve been pushing kids into learning earlier and earlier. Yet our adult literacy and numeracy rates are dropping like a deflated balloon.
The learniing that takes place in most of these puzzles, books, she’s and flash cards is not organic. A child can retain the knowledge that the image shown is a three or a letter d, but that is not the same as knowing WHY they are. It’s kind of like cramming from a buddies notes in an exam.

All learning is based on connections. Provide your child with lots of cool experiences, go for walks, gather flowers, read beautiful books. Then they will have a library of resources to make those connections with. When they are ready.


Too much stuff!

I’m weary of giving children too many gifts without purpose. It can set up a belief system, which attributes personal value/happiness with material belongings. Increasing likelihood of adult depression and teenage angst.

The solution to the dilemma of what to give a one year old?

Want - Need- Wear - Read

For Edwins Birthday we’ve adopted the WNWR gift policy. That’s four gifts from us.

Want- a heuristic basket from mamas wholesale storage. Everyone I open the storage cupboard he’s in tying to help himself. So we put this as his Want

Need- a trike with an adult handle to use instead of a sling when on nature walks.

Wear- Autumn outdoor wear- handmade hoody and fleece trousers .

Read- a gorgeous farm book created by Steiner book company Floris.

Definitely agree with this. Feel much happier and healthier since ditching supermarket food and growing our own

Definitely agree with this. Feel much happier and healthier since ditching supermarket food and growing our own

(via wannabe-spiritual-midwife)

One year olds are very curious, busy and constantly on the go. Well at least my (nearly) one year old is. My current challenge is setting up an treasure basket engaging enough that his first response isn’t to chuck the contents all over the floor with a maniacal chortle then speed of to create more havoc else where.
So I’ve been watching my little explorer, and have been taking note of the household items he most engages with. Things like remotes, tape measures, tea strainers, boxes and paper.
They’ve become the foundation of this ‘treasure basket in a shoe box. Yet to be tipped on the floor AND has held his attention for a full five minutes

mamafrog-blogs:

How not to make Steiner beeswax crayons.

This is not the post I was hoping to write this evening. I had such high hopes of natural coloured and scented tactile objects perfect to give to Edwin for his first birthday.

It started well enough. I successfully made the three scented colours with beetroot, tumeric and paprika in separate ramekins.

Next I added my beeswax bars to a Bain Marie. This is where the trouble started. The bars didn’t melt much, so I resolved it was for the best to try and hack them up with a bread knife. Unfortunately this is not an effective tool. So I swapped for a professional kitchen knife, which while a little large for purpose, worked a whole lot better.
It was still taking an age to melt. So I decided that perhaps I could pour what had melted into the ramekins of colour paste.

This was a bit of a fail too.

The wax instantly set and floated on the surface of the water based colour paste, in a scumlike fashion.

At this point my son decided he quite had enough of playing with silicon moulds and wooden spoons bedside me. He wanted a feed , or a nappy change, or possibly both. I put him up on my hip, and resolved to take a shortcut.

When I attempted to tip this scummy wax colour mix into my crayon (silicon ice cube tray) mould, frog pulled my hair. Causing me to spill the wax scum all over my counter top and cupboards.

Okay, I say. I set up water play in the kitchen sink and resolve to end this as soon as possible. With frog occupied for a few seconds, I devide the solid wax chunks into the colour paste ramakins, and put them into sauce pan to melt.

I forget (sorry Archimedes) that the mass of the three ramekins is higher than the Pyrex jug. Boiling water spills into all the ramekins and wax water starts spitting.

Edwin has a minor meltdown over being unable to hurdle his leg into the sink. It’s tears. Not just tears but end of the world sobs. I swish him up to the hip again. Kiss his salty hot face. And am just in time to save- nothing.

I do however have a crying baby and wax over two knives, one mould, three ramikins, one Pyrex jug, one sauce pan, the work top and the cupboards.

I’ve hidden the evidence. It’s all sat in my soap making cupboard. I thought perhaps I’ve done enough today.

Not everything has to be a pintrestable or instagram perfect. It’s disappointing but that’s real life

mamafrog-blogs:

His talk on education (and how the current system is failing our kids) is the highest ranking Ted talk ever. I shared it back in February and so I’m thrilled I can hear more through radio 4’s new show the educators

Why bother with play dough? We made bread together for the first time today. One of our kitchen chairs made for a perfect height work station.
This “work” held his attention for a long time for a toddler. I was able to even clean up during his play
Creating educational play can be such a time consuming task. It’s far better to combine it, where possible with housework.

mamafrog-blogs:

Welcome to the shop in a trolley.

I find it really funny that people part with good money to buy shopping baskets with mini cardboard boxes in them for kids to play with. Mostly because, before I had Edwin I was one of those people.

Like most kids toys, pretend kitchens, shops and food are made up of stuff you can create for free, with no skill at home.

Heuristic play baskets are the best toy for babies. I have them for my son. They are filled with real world objects. I’ve been collecting boxes and tubs for a while for this purpose.
I enjoy setting up themed play areas. We have done farms, beaches and gardens. This tho is much more suited to a toddler exploring imaginary play, or thrilled with the empty and fill stage (Edwin raises hand here - he’s all about the empty ).

So this shop in a trolley was a fun welcome diversion. It’s so cute to watch him play with and even better still it’s so cheap it’s free.

Okay. Not free. I had to buy things in containers which could be repurposed - no easy task in a supermarket free life. Oh. And the trolley. Mock gold doesn’t come cheap at my local charity shop. This classy number set me back £3.

I wished I bought more as I can see older versions of Edwin making this into a car/ plane/ carriage so it’s play value is infinite. As you can see from the photo set he has already purposed it into a climbing frame/ pretend shop.

I added pinecones (why don’t shops sell these) which offer a new texture to contrast with all of that cardboard. I figure some stones and dolly pegs would make for an awesome Montessori style sorting activity in the hot chocolate tubs. Maybe finally knit some fruit

So much play. For free. Why would you buy when you could recycle, and give young children to explore authentic objects

mamafrog-blogs:

mamafrog-blogs:

Uses for dolly pegs in creative or sensory play
1. Teething relief
2. Treasue for a sensory discovery basket
3. ‘Body’ for handmade dolls
4. Floating bath toy or for use in water play
5. Play doh tensil
5. Painting utensil
7. Teach Sorting colours
8. Give a toddler a bottle or a tub to put all the pegs into and then out of and then into again (best game ever)
9. To peg up indoor teepee
10. Put back in the bottle again and add lid for percussion instruments
11. Threading on to pipe cleaner to create jewellery and practice fine motor skills
12. Parachute weight for gravity lesson
13. Construction tool
14. Sand play digger, marker
15. Item inside touchy feely bag/ box
16. Drumsticks
17. Stock for play shop
18. Seed marker for garden
19. Pretend food for imaginative play
20. Aid for teaching counting
21. Missiles, arrows, darts
22. Flag pole for mini flag
23. Logs for mini raft
24. Base for making decorations
25. Baton for relay
26. Junk modelling aid
27. Markers for teaching scale
28. Artwork display
29. Collecting and storing leaves, flowers, feathers etc on nature walks
30. Cuttlery for pretend tea party
31. Troops
32. Throwing tool for learning about projectory
33. Dancing aid
34. Goop/ mud pies/ cake batter mixer
35. Ice pop stick
36. Log cabin logs
37. Farm animals
38. Pretend hair brush or styling utensil for imaginary play
39. Label for sensory baskets
40. Handles of homemade skipping ropes

Add yours if I missed any

Have you ever thought about how awesome the humble dolly peg is as a play, art and educational tool? I have .

mamafrog-blogs:

New ebay offer- search seller: mamafrogshop #waldorf #montesorri #handmade #wahm

New offer on my eBay store