I am a fully paid up member of the club that suggests that kids need to be bored once in a while to force their imaginations to work. I live in a DS, Nintendo, computer game free world at the mo, and the TV is strictly regulated. I fling them into the garden with buckets and waterproofs and leave them to it while I wash up. I deny them Pokemon on TV and hurl jigsaws at them. I refuse the advance of the DS and crack out the playdough. I open the doors to the kids on the street and let them all in, on the proviso they stay OUTSIDE and leave the chickens alone. But I can't leave them to fester in their own juices for the entire time, not least because as an ex-teacher I am entirely meddlesome and don't want them to forget the last years worth of learning. And so I am sly.
In the first week, we nipped on the bus to the Ely Wilkinsons and stocked up on paint, glue and scrapbooks. I then force the kids to write a journal every other day about what their exploits, illustrate it, and stick in any treasures. This will be given to the teacher for a few weeks to see how their new pupil is rated on the levels, and then stored in my "Mum" box for me to weep over when they are 18. "I went to the beach and I sor some motorbikes. There was a Hyabusa". I love how he ignores the time spent in rockpools, the spelling of "saw", and his parents and sibling entirely, but details the best motorbike, and spells it correctly.
And then, I organise. I convened a meeting at the end of term of willing mums and invited kids to weekly activities. Yes, I know it's crazy to invite 12 kids into your house, but hey. This week was junk modelling. We spent an hour sticking and gluing in pairs, ate lunch, then an hour painting, then a few minutes describing our models on paper, to win sweets. And here they are. A Robot with 2 guns and big eyes, an alien dog, a fire engine, a car and a Hulk. They worked together, I bunged in some maths ( identifying shapes and comparing cylinders), they wrote about their creations, and ate a LOT. And then all the mums sneaked off and left me with the masterpices. No,wait, come back!
Next week is Treasure hunt week. Even if it rains.