Monthly Archives: July 2013

Dinosaur swamp!


We’ve been loving the hot weather- the boys don’t seem too bothered by it and I’m in my element!  It has also meant that much of our play has been outside and it has been messy!

Last week, several of Toby’s friends came over to play and there were a few different things set up for them to play with:  we had dry, coloured rice (green) making up a farm-themed small world play with animals and tractors; a tent on the climbing frame for shade from the sun; the sandpit with various different containers and vehicles; and in the tuff spot?

A dinosaur swamp!


This is a picture from today, the swamp’s second outing, as I couldn’t get a pic of the first one before little hands got busy!

The dry land was made of a mix of oats, lentils and some stray green rice and the swamp was made with Gelli Baff.  If you’ve never come across this stuff before, you have to give it a try…if only once!  I saw several bloggers had used it for play on the ‘Messy Play for Matilda Mae’ linky hosted by Edspire and thought we’d try it.  I knew that Toby would not countenance the idea of his entire bath turning into jelly whilst he stood in it but I thought he might get stuck in from outside.  Not so the first time we used it, but with the dinosaur swamp, I made it thicker and added a secret ingredient….a bucket of soapy water next to the tuff spot!

IMG_2790This did the trick as all the children, whether mess-averse or not, enjoyed pushing the dinosaurs through the gloop and then dunking them in the bucket of water for a wash. Toby is wearing the beige hat…

IMG_2787 IMG_2789It occupied them for ages! And, as you can see, they were exploring different textures and mark-making.

Today, I recreated the scene to see what Toby would do the second time. From a bit of a reticent start:

IMG_2805we discovered that the dinos made footprints in the thick gloop before they all ended in the bucket!  Toby then played with his pirate ship for a bit before returning to the tuff spot for some genuinely child-led play.


He had added water to the swamp using one of his cups and then had redistributed piles of the stuff telling me that they were different lands.


The use of a cup distanced him from actually touching the stuff, but still allowed him to manipulate it

He then fished out a Mummy and Daddy dinosaur (his words, not mine!)


and asked for a baby dinosaur:

IMG_2817they then were given their dinner whilst we went in for ours!

IMG_2818After dinner, he went back to it and decided to get himself another tool from the sandpit to move the gloop from the tray into the bucket

IMG_2819 IMG_2820So although he didn’t actually put his hands into it, I’d say that was messy play! There was certainly quite a bit of tidying up…








To name but a few…


There are no great stories to accompany how we chose our children’s names, well, apart from the fact that they were both called Harry, at least for a few hours!
I had always liked the name Harry, but Dan wasn’t so easily convinced. To me, the name carried with it a certain amount of cheek; a happy sort of name. Dan could only think of a certain wizard when he heard it. Too bad, I thought when I had just given birth to number 1 son, who instantly became ‘Harry’ (I had just given birth…my choice, right?)! Dan’s first choice had been Toby, which I also liked but in a different sort of way – perhaps it was a little more enigmatic, I’m not sure.
Anyhow, that first, precious night with my first, precious baby, I looked at him and got to know his perfect little face and that little, new person told me that his name was not Harry! He just didn’t look like a Harry! I know that’s quite a peculiar thing to say, but I remember it very clearly. I didn’t just ‘settle’ for ‘Toby’, I knew, that first night, that it was his name and I have never felt any different.
We do, however, have a new baby card congratulating us on the birth of Harry! Word had got round and a card sent in the few hours before I changed my mind!

When second son was born, the name Harry cropped up again, but I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice! We had a standby with a very different feel and were prepared to wait and see what sort of a chap he appeared to be and name him when we were sure. He was born peacefully at home, but he did shock us all when he emerged with a true knot in his cord. The midwife said that perhaps that was a sign of things to come – that he would get into all sorts of pickles. Dan and I looked at each other and knew that his name was Harry! I hope that I haven’t placed expectations on him due to his name but at least its an adaptable one!

And then there’s little Rose, gone so very early but named so that we would think of her when we saw the beautiful blooms in our garden.