Why I love Tuesdays

Tuesdays are my day with TF. He is three years old, my only son, full of cuddles and will join his sisters at school next September. I can feel the clock ticking.

Quite often I find crafting projects with my daughters, do not interest him in the same way. Then I started reading about how boys like to play. The penny dropped. He is not so interested in making beautiful, artistically arranged items, like my girls. Decorative does not do it for him. He wants his crafting to have purpose.

In his play, he needs to be constructive and useful. I am gradually providing more suitable play activities for him, which is a whole other story. He still loves running around the garden and being part of the girls’ adventure games, but with my new insight, I can see he takes a different role in these games. He manufactures a meaningful job for himself, as part of their play. It is no less imaginative, but it has a different emphasis. More practical.

I love crafting and I want to pass this on to TF as well. I think it will provide him with so much. Again, a whole other story (partly covered here). This week we have been working on a project that ticks all the boxes. We started with a piece of cardboard, about 18cm square (7″), a cardboard cone which once held machine yarn and paint. In our case, we went for orange and white. I traced around the widest end of the cone, slap bang in the middle of the square card. Then cut in out, making sure it was on the smaller side.

Then TF pushed the cone through the hole. Smallest end of the cone first, so that the widest part is wedged in the hole. The square card now becomes the base. In all fairness, at this stage TF would have happily run off and played with it, but I had other plans. Oh yes.

So TF painted it white all over, using a sponge. He really loved doing this, because he knows what he is making and he is excited!

Then we tightly masked up a band of the cone using post it notes and sticky tape. A low tack tape would have been neater, but we went with what we had.

Then TF painted it orange. All over.

Here it is dry.

Here it is once the post it notes and sticky tape have been removed. TF’s traffic cone is ready. I barely had time to photo this as TF was so keen to put it to use.

As you can see, excavating potatoes is taken very seriously in our garden.

Holes can get very deep. You don’t want anyone to fall in by accident.

They have requested hard hats for their next dig.

They dug up a basketful of potatoes, handfuls of earthworms, two rusty nails and a fossil.

And like any dedicated worker, TF likes to keep all his tools clean and tidy, ready for another day. These ones stack nicely, taking up less room.

TF is hugely proud of his new traffic cones that he made. He is using them in his work/play. They have purpose and help to define his play. Perfect.

For me this is less of a “how to make traffic cones” and more about my journey of getting to know my son as he grows.

I’ve now got to plan our next crafting session!

20 thoughts on “Why I love Tuesdays

  • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    This is priceless!!!!
    What’s the book you are reading?

    My eldest loved Montessori by the way…he went monday and no tears at all!
    He could not wait to go today…it’s so homely there. Its great x

    • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 10:30 pm

      I’m so glad he enjoyed it. Must be a good feeling for you as well.

      I’m not reading any book in particular, but I have been blog hopping around. Two of note are the lovely Let the children play and also MamaMoontime. Both Australian blogs.

  • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Oh my goodness, this post made me smile – love the cones around the potato hole! My oldest daughter is our potato digger and she walked by while I was reading it and got a big kick out of it, too. Great craft project for a little boy! My son was the same way – I’d come up with elaborate craft projects that he’d be interested in for about 2 seconds. He would have loved this one (at 13, maybe he still would!)

    • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 10:37 pm

      Watch out, she’ll be making her own set before you know it. I’m wondering if I ought to have a set in the car. People always park too close to the back of the car. Real pain when I have loads of shopping to put in the boot. I’m sure TF would be keen to make some more.

  • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    What an excellent idea..didn’t he make a great job of them!
    and what you say makes perfect sense
    (I was guessing a model light house for a while there ..lol)

    Not very PC but Older craft books for boys might spring a few ideas if you get stuck… somewhere we have a booklet on making your own toys from the 4o’s (Ok found it “Make and Play” it was 3/6 and published during the war..)

    • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      I love the idea of a lighthouse. I see cogs and pulleys inside to make the light go round. I have one more cone, but it has wool on it. I might unwind it and have a go.

      Like the idea of the older craft books. I’ve got a ladybird one from decades ago. Includes a hearth brush, if I remember right. I’ll look it out for inspiration. Might be a good excuse to visit our local second hand bookshop.

      • Thursday 30 September, 2010 at 6:44 pm

        You could read “The Lighthouse keepers lunch” by Ronda and David Armitage and have fun making a pulley that would transport the basket of lunch from place to place …

        I want to play now..ah well.. back to the washing up…

        • Thursday 30 September, 2010 at 11:45 pm

          I’m liking this idea even more. I’d have to squeeze in a trip to the coast as well. So he could see a real lighthouse in action.

  • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    This post sooo reminds me of my boys now ages 28 & 26. I have very similar photos of them “excavating” our backyard when they were small ….sigh.

    • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 10:49 pm

      I’m guessing they have grown out of digging up your garden now. TF was out again today. When I checked after he had gone to bed, yesterday’s hole had been filled in by the spoils of today’s hole!

  • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    As a child I played almost exclusively with boys. (No girls in the vicinity except my sister who never played out outside the back garden. Really.)
    It was always assault courses, circus games, making go-carts. Or playing competitive games. Though the boys could knit and we all used to do origami and make Airfix models.
    It has definitely helped in my working environment (with behaviourally challenged youngsters), and I am still very target driven.
    Vive la difference!

    • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 10:53 pm

      I love that all my children play together. In the playground, I’ve noticed that by key stage 2, the children are playing in their own gender groups. It may be a development stage, but it seems limiting.

  • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    That is so cool!!! Totally love the cones, the painter and the worker in his boots!!!

    • Wednesday 29 September, 2010 at 10:55 pm

      Very muddy boots, which he forgot to take off when he rushed in the house. This is why we have tiled floors downstairs. So sweet when he realised what he had done! Hosed child and boots down.

  • Thursday 30 September, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Where can non-crafty moms get those card board cones? I don’t have machine yarn but would love to make these for my daughter. So cute! And I can just imagine the fun that would be had with these and her bike.
    Ver creative, thanks for sharing!

    • Thursday 30 September, 2010 at 1:32 pm

      These ones came from the Scrapstore here in the UK. I’m not sure if you have the equilivant in the US. You could try popping into a knitting shop and see if they have spare ones or if they know where you could get some locally. Alternatively use stiff card and make a cone out of it, which would work just as well. Good luck. I’d love to see how you get on and what colours you use!

  • Friday 1 October, 2010 at 1:06 am

    so fun! boys really are wired differently, aren’t they? something i was mostly in denial of before i had a son. i mean, obviously i realize how VERY different men and women are but what i did not appreciate was how early their differences in play surface. i believed it was mostly socially induced. 😉 to some degree, that is certainly the case with my son, though we lead as commercial-free lifestyle as possible. however, he has been way more physically promiscuous and obsessive about tools and cars since he could express such things. he would love your cones!

    • Friday 1 October, 2010 at 10:36 am

      You took the words out of my mouth. I think having the girls first meant I didn’t appreciate the differences. The differences have been there, if I think about it, since he could really move. I have not showered him with boys toys, but he makes his own. In the spring he found a stick which has become a treasured strimmer. Old sun glasses are used as googles. These are his inventions not mine. He is much more physical. He too is fascinated by tools and anything with wheels. I spend a lot of time with him watching trucks unload and tractors at work, when I would be happy to rush on. Reading through this again I sound naive, but I think it is because I too believed it was socially induced and not hard wired. I never stop learning.

  • Saturday 2 October, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Yes, we too spend lots of time watching building sites! He would rather watch that then go anywhere fancy.

    • Sunday 3 October, 2010 at 11:42 am

      Good point. I think you are right. I can think of plenty of “child-friendly” entertainment areas that I am happy to avoid.

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