We had an unexpected visitor drop by for a chat the other day to discuss some body corporate matters.
We don’t normally have visitors and to say that our house was untidy would be an understatement. As my mother said many, many times when we were growing up, ‘it looked like a bomb had gone off’.
Generally I ignore the mess. The adage ‘cleaning with kids is like shovelling snow in a blizzard’ is one that comes to mind several hundreds times a day. I’ve got better things to do.
But as I noticed this man (who doesn’t have children of his own) gaze around the room I suddenly saw our chaos through someone else’s eyes.
Now he was too polite to say anything, but I could tell by the look on his face that he saw a house strewn with garbage. Derelict might have come to mind. And that is certainly one valid interpretation. But of course, we’ve learned to see things a little differently:
* The empty and partially squashed Vita-Brits box is a tunnel for the matchbox cars or a barn for the farm animals.
* The empty baking paper roll makes a great trumpet.
* The empty box is a rocket ship / a car / a storage box / a mountain / a slippery dip / a ramp for cars / a seat / a table / something to scribble on…
* The pile of rocks are endlessly entertaining, I don’t know why. Even the kid next door goes straight to the rocks when he visits as the little fella states proudly ‘MY ROCKS!’, slapping his chest like Tarzan.
* The spring-less kitchen tongs on the ground are for carrying and redistributing said rocks, usually into the empty ice cream container lying under the coffee table – good for learning manual dexterity.
* The planks of wood and other offcuts are car roads and ramps.
* The empty milk and yoghurt containers are great for sand and water play (along with the make shift soda water bottle funnel left lying in the garden).
* The torn up scraps of junk mail are left over from our collage making.
* The old oven mitt becomes ‘the claw’ good for tickles and challenging manual dexterity (have you tried picking up small things with an oven mitt on?)
* The coins scattered across the room are supposed to go in the money tin – another favourite activity, good for dexterity.
* The stuffed toys everywhere are the cat’s. I have yet to teach the cat how to put his toys away.
Yes it’s mess and technically it’s mostly rubbish that ‘regular’ people might put straight in the bin. To us, it offers a world of endless possibility, creativity and play. For free.
P.S The ‘tree’ next to the cocoa box ramp in the photo above is leftover from a bunch of grapes, stuck in a little play dough. The ramp is a box cut on an angle in half lengthwise, reinforced with a little masking tape. It makes quite an effective car ramp! Some kids websites talk about creating play scenes. This can be done without spending a lot of money.
Melissa Goodwin is a writer and the creator of Frugal and Thriving who has a passion for living frugally and encouraging people to thrive on any budget. The blog is nine years old and is almost like her eldest baby. Prior to being a blogger and mum (but not a mummy blogger), she worked as an accountant doing other people’s budgets, books and tax.