Kids Corner for a Creative Christmas

I’m very immersed in our children at the moment so thought I’d share some creative products we’ve found as a family this year which may make it to your Christmas wishlist.

Old school? I have film-like memories of tyre swings I have met over the years hanging from a collection of fragrant branches. Kate and Cressida’s eucalyptus swing, Brookfield Kindy’s near-the-sandpit swing, Hollister Lane’s beside-the-rhubarb-patch swing. We have now looped one round our flowering cherry tree, and I discovered there’s a bit of an art to making one. One needs an old school tyre. So, if you want to avoid the hunt you could purchase a ready made old school tyre swing from Swings and Things in Auckland.

When we lived in Auckland I sang with a choir called The Souls. Amy Mansfield (choir leader and delightful creative) recommended Mr Roberelli as CDs of New Zealand Music for kids that won’t drive parents crazy. We’ve loved it. The music is fun with quirky lyrics and intelligent melodies played by a real band. It’s easy to order CDs from this award winning Auckland based band’s site. Check out their ‘music video’ here.

Whilst we’re on the topic of music, back in my twenties I appeared on New Zealand’s Civic and St James stages in a musical called The Underwatermelon Man. This originated as a boldly coloured and painted book of rhymes complete with a CD of these tales set to music sung by some of New Zealand’s best – Che Fu, Bic Runga, Neil Finn. I’ve dug it out after listening to Mr Roberelli. It shares a charming humour and sense of the ridiculous resonant of The Flight of the Conchords, for kids.

Amy also shared this antique like collection of french chansons. If you play the piano and/or sing and love to try to speak french, you must have these, available from the French amazon site.

At the beginning of Spring wild & grace brought Pennie Brownlee to Ohauiti to lead two workshops for parents and educarers. She re-introduced me to Dreamland’s creamy yet vibrant oil pastels. Not the kindest gift for parents of toddlers with white carpet but CPop (2 years) and I have literally a sensational time drawing together. These colours of nature are available in packs greater than 100 colours. We wanted the 48 pack and couldn’t find them anywhere in Tauranga (including Warehouse Stationery) and eventually tracked them down through CES for approximately $15.

For a baby shower present a friend gave me Pennie Brownlee’s book Dance with me in the Heart, and I can heartily recommend her Magic Places, as a reference for what to and what not to do to unleash children’s creativity. You can buy both via Pennie’s website.

Pennie is an advocate for Playcentre, you know that terrific learning place for kids where parents stay to participate in their kids ‘learning through play’ as opposed to ‘outside’ teachers experiencing their kids’ growth. C and I attend the aforementioned, which is where we saw these wooden playdough utensils. I find it very challenging to find stuff like this which isn’t plastic so I was tickle pink to see Teacher Direct stock them. They come in sets of 4 and are $27 each GST exclusive.                                                                                                                                                                          

Have a happy time making and being out in nature this summer.What’s your favourite creative or nature inspiring gift to give?

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