Monday, May 2, 2016


I love our library services. We had just moved into our new home so were a bit out of the loop about any holiday goings on. Friends told us about a frankentoys session they'd been to at our local library. I was keen. I remembered late that evening and facebook messaged the library's facebook page, thinking they might get back to me sometime the next day. Two minutes later I got a reply...there was a frankentoys session the next morning at 10.30. All we had to do was rock up. Honestly, our librarians are just the best. 
So, frankentoys...pile of secondhand toys and you get to break or cut apart the toys and refashion them into a new 'frankentoy'. Total creative freedom + glue gun = much fun! 
There was something strangely liberating about cutting toys apart. Or maybe that was just me. It was all I could do to not elbow the kids out of the way to make room for me. No adults allowed. Honestly people, we have to do something about the kids getting all the fun. 
I think I will look out for those big bags of toys the charity shops package up and sell off for $5. I think a frankentoy session at home might be called for. 

( phone = not such a good camera. Hence the quality of these. Now I know.)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Learning centre at the dump

One of the homeschool mama's organised a trip to our local refuse and transfer centre. Otherwise known as the dump. I had no idea the council had a learning centre up there. It was all kinds of awesome. The women running the session were great: friendly, well informed and importantly for the kids, fun. It was cool to meet some new people and hang out with some familiar ones. The morning had just the right mix of freeplay exploration of the space and structured activities in the centre. 

The Centre and the garden and displays are all made out of upcycled stuff found in the dump. It reminded me of many intentional communities I have lived or stayed in. Yup, I felt at home at the dump. 

A highlight was the pedal powered pump and investigating the tiger worms in the worm farm. I am keen to build a worm farm in our new house. (Ah, there's a future blog post topic!) We got taken on a walking tour of the facility too. Complete with high vis vests and workhats. SO shocking how much waste we humans pump out. It's horrifying and so unnecessary. Good for Jed to hear the statistics from someone other than me too. Newly inspired to make a big effort to keep our rubbish output down. All that packaging in supermarkets makes my head spin. Ugh. 
Anyway, hats off to Auckland Council for their work with the Waitakere Refuse and Transfer Station Learning Centre, I hear it is often booked out with school groups. 

There is exciting news too. They have a shop. YES! Packed with all manner of wondrous things that people have thrown out. It's fabulous. It's run by the MPHS Trust and I recommend stopping by. Spread the word, they are great people doing super work. I brought home a beautiful hand woven double woollen blanket for $8. I will be back! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

an advanced version

It took us a few days to build this one. The satisfaction was huge when we'd finished. It was the first build using the motor. That was exciting. There was great fanfare as we switched the motor on. And super disappointing to not be able to get the tracks moving. I tried and tried. I discovered I can get a bit obsessive trying to problem solve, ahem.
In the end I put out a call for help. Big thanks to Michael down the road who took a break from his work and solved the problem. 
In case it's not obvious, the ball bearings travel down the tracks then sit in line and are picked up by a magnet which carries it up to the top and starts the ball bearing down the track again. Endlessly entertaining!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hands on homeschool physics

We belong to a Homeschool Science Kits group here in NZ. Every term we get to choose a science kit to work with. This term we've had this Fischer Technik Physics set. You work your way through building the different models, experimenting and learning along the way. We're into the super complex ones with the motor now - wait until you see pictures of that! Such a great service and opportunity to borrow these fabulous sets. I like to keep the science hands on. Lots of experiments around here. Hours of fun.  x

Friday, March 18, 2016

Nature immersion

Being in nature always helps. Though I may grumble about 'not having time' to go to the beach or for a bush walk or hang out in the forest, I never regret being in nature. It feeds me, grounds me. 
All my challenges and busyness gets put into perspective. 
We're back to being at our Forest Play homeschool days and they are good ones. I am not sure what next term looks like. There are many changes ahead of us, but for now, this is good. So much to be grateful for.