Thursday, November 22, 2012

Paper, Sticks and Stones

The year end holidays are upon us once again. And once again, I'm wishing that the twins, like Muffin, were in childcare. Kindergartens run on regular school calendars which mean that there are regular vacations built in. Great for the kids but not so good for those who have to find things for them to do.

And when vacations come round, the easiest way to entertain them is to throw money in that direction. The problem is that most of the time, I don't feel like spending money so that fun could be had. With 2 and next year 3, on vacation at the same time, it will be a lot of money to be thrown. So I try to devise ways for them to have fun without going broke.

Of course, there are the perennial favourites that do require some money. The zoo and more recently, the Night Safari is a must for JED to go to during the holidays. There is something about the zoo that they cannot stay away from. At the same time, most eloquently put by a friend lamenting about a kid picking up sticks and twigs at the zoo in front of the awesome animals, JED enjoy the absurdity and the oft-dismissed details in things. So, they pick up flowers, pretty stones and seeds along the way and have as much fun crossing little man made bridges over streams and drinking from water coolers as they do looking at the animals. This last visit to the zoo, Jordan took part in an animal show, the both of them raced through the monsoon downpour to get to the tram and tandem sat with a friend in a pram not fit for 2 five year-olds and could not stop giggling about how the pram was groaning under all that weight.

But apart from that one visit which should actually have cost nothing if not for the fact that Packrat had to work and couldn't be around to present the corporate zoo pass, we haven't done anything else costly.

We've played with recycled paper materials. Boxes, of course are the choice prop to be played with. That's where their imaginations run and crazy stories about castles, bears (Mommy always has to be the evil bear) and secret hideouts come into full force. The thing is, we don't keep the boxes for long. An ENT told us that boxes and their associated dust trigger allergies in a bad way. But for a few days at a stretch, boxes are the best!

A recently discovered new favourite, more of Jordan than Evan, is crepe paper. She discovered, at a party, that crepe paper made great 'hair'. Rapunzel's hair in particular. So she's been walking around with a long paper trail tied to her wispy pony tail. But it keeps her busy. First, all the cutting; cutting the paper in half lengthens her 'hair' without compromising on how much hair she actually has, scotch-taping and eventually attaching it onto her hair occupies her for a long time. So does picking out the hair appropriate wardrobe. The best fun was when Chloe, their constant playmate who is also their school mate joined in. Then, Rapunzel had a sister and my, did they plot against the evil stepmother (me again)!

Sticks are often more Evan's things. For a long while, we had a collection of sticks growing outside our gate. It was almost as if we were storing sticks to build a fire. His favourites are long straight sticks, often sticks taller than himself. I sometimes think that he fancies himself as Gandalf, even though the movies were way before he was even a sperm and a thought in our heads! Jordan doesn't fancy sticks as much. Most of the time, while Evan is picking sticks, Jordan is off picking flowers. But in the recent weeks, her obsession for bows and arrows (inspired by Brave, the movie she cannot completely watch for fear of the bear!) has led her in search of the perfect stick (bow). And that, she found although lamenting that it lacked a string. And when that had been fixed on by Packrat and Mommy had gathered long enough twigs to pretend to be arrows, Merida J was off. "Call me Merida. I'm not Jordan anymore!"

So all in, we've managed to have lots of fun, this first week of the holidays without spending too much money but playing with things easily got or in reach and having hours and hours of fun. I hope it continues. My greatest moment of victory was when, at Grandma's house- home of 3 iPads, both twins elected to play outside, one with her bow and arrow, the other, picking up dropped mangoes to kick around and playing with sand and soil.

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