Feather Down Farm Days

Growing up, we were never too far away from the farm. The grandchildren of farmers and residents of a town built on agriculture, you could say that farming is in our DNA or at least in our collective subconscious. Maybe that's why Feather Down Farm is so terribly exciting to us!  Here you can
  the tour of the farm, see the behind-the-scenes workings and the daily chores necessary to care for animals and grow good food, collect eggs from roaming carefree chickens, talk to some cows, climb a tree, go for a bike ride, and thoroughly enjoy yourself!
Visitors stay in beautiful tents with all one needs. We want to sleep in the canopy bed (really a sleeping cupboard!- see the girl peeking out at you?) There are both cold and hot shower facilities, so no real roughing it required!

Seems like a wonderful way to spend a week in the summer and get away from it all!


Pedal on. . .

The UK's Mum Said has a collection of pedal toys that would delight any tot.  We want the goggles and hat!


Arrgh! Matey's

The Pirate Setting on Facebook has us so inspired! Aye, so many fabulous thin's so little time

New New York be takin' o'er Governer's Island this summer in NYC!

Shiver Me Timbers Thar Be a Pirate Camp for Yer Young Uns- it be closed to any new spogs for this season but check back next year!

Ahoy, we got a lot o' help translating from  aye Talk Like a Pirate Day.com

Arrr, this looks like fun A pence for an old man o'de sea? The Historical Seaport


Doll Clothes

Sweet doll clothes can be tricky to find especially outfits that are gender neutral.  Blabla has these sets which will keep your tots dressing and undressing their dolls all summer long!   


Where do the Children Play?

(Via Richter Spielgerate)
We feel this article is a perfect companion piece to all these lovely pics from Richter Spielgerate and Play Advocate Tim Gill. Found on the Michigan Public Television website as supplement writing for their documentary "Where Do The Children Play?" We will post about that film later in the month!
We couldn't have said it better ourselves:

"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in."
--Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory (1940)

(via Tim Gill)

Free play is slipping away from children’s lives. Yet time spent building forts or exploring outdoors, caring for animals, pretending or problem-solving with peers are now being shown by a wide body of research to be essential to healthy development, spiritual attunement, and emotional survival. Open-ended play in places that offer access to woods, gullies and gardens, ditches, boulders, and bike paths enhances curiosity and confidence throughout life.

Play takes many forms. It may be best defined from within as a spontaneous human expression that relies on imagination and a sense of freedom. Players invent alternative contexts for conversation, visualization, movement, and interactions with real objects. They find release and involvement, stimulation and peace. Although play may arise anywhere, even in a cement cell, children are beckoned by the natural world to enjoy sensations of being alive.

(Via Tim Gill)
While some benefits of play are obvious—fitness, fun, negotiating skills—the subtle, even sacred, ways play sustains spirit resist easy articulation. Excitement builds when children of all abilities are included in a playful and rich engagement with each other and the living world. Although societies tend to identify children and nature as property rather than as process, we are interconnected and patterned early on in ways that define us as adults. The observation and antics we bring to our first environments are transferred to every landscape of endeavor that follows whether in business, science or the arts.

Creativity develops through risk-taking, storytelling and secret world building. Engaging the local is a child’s work and play, the only way personal domains are enlarged. Certainly this process of self-discovery deserves to be treated with as much care by educators and families as the cultivation of literacy and the mastery of mathematical skills in schools. Yet we know little, it seems, about the intersection between play and the inspiration recreation draws from its physical context. What makes children gravitate to certain locales in search of comfort, security, community, self-awareness or beauty and avoid others?
(via Richter Spielgerate)

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics says what children really need for healthy development is time for more old-fashioned play. This deprivation affects mental and physical health as well as cognitive and social capacities. How can our communities offer this life-enhancing experience that prevents the decline of mental health and offers happiness and healing memories?


Seattle Children's Playgarden

This makes us want to go to Seattle very badly! Seattle's Children's PlayGarden  is the dream child of Liz Bullard.  Ms. Bullard, who is a Speech/ Language Pathologist noted that there were few options which were safe and accessible for children with developmental delays and physical limitations. Working with the Seattle's Director of Parks and Recreation, she was able to plan, fund, and build her dream.  The PlayGarden has a five stages of development and they are in their fourth. The park will be open to the public and will also offer other programs. 
They have already offered summer gardening programs and are going to have space for rabbits on the site.

Look forward to seeing the finished amphitheater and water feature!


Clear the desks!

Timothy Oulton has set the standard for the portable desk.  We're suckers for steamer trunks and this is no exception.  Roll it away, hide the mess and make more space for playing.  We want one, yesterday!

Believe it or not this Secretary is available from  Restoration Hardware.


Montessori and me...

Sometimes you just find great pics and aren't quite sure how to use them. Here's how we are using these. Maria Montessori!  Here is an assortment of fun pictures of children through the ages and we are going to throw in a few of our favorite Dr. Montessori Quotes!  Frankly, for some of them, writing your own caption might be more fun and we would happily welcome all submissions. Let her words be your guide...
Maria  Montessori ... "“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”

“If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men.”

“We cannot know the consequences of suppressing a child's spontaneity when he is just beginning to be active. We may even suffocate life itself. That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life.”

"Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world”
“We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master.” 
“And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”


Hall of Frame

This wallpaper designed by Graham and Brown is made from 50% recycled paper and is the perfect way to frame your ever changing collection of children's art.  We're big on chalkboard paint and letting the tots paint on a designated playroom wall.  But this wallpaper is so fab you'll want to show it off!  Hooray for design that is fit for the whole family!

Art displayed and a rocking horse to boot!  This looks fun but doesn't scream "we have kids"!

A closer look.


Richter Spielgerate

German Company Richter Spielgerate or United Play has been making play spaces where children's dreams can take flight for over 37 years. Featuring natural materials with occasional infusions of metalwork,  this company located near the Bavaria continues to lead the market in truly inspirational design for children. If you were wondering if natural playgrounds were nothing more than a landscaped plot of land, think again. United Play  has redefined the idea of playgrounds. Part art installation, part working set design, part physical challenge, all fun! This company's love and understanding of children's deep need to play is remarkable! Want to set sail!
This last ship is Captain Hook's ship which is part of a Peter Pan themed park in Kingston Gardens in London.
Or play in with water or sand.... We love that their playgrounds are used by a much wider age range than we generally see at playgrounds.

The picture below is a stone xylophone!
We want to go to there!

This one tickles our fancy due to our roots! Wanna be a Viking?

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