Simple Ideas for Children’s Activities

It is curious how easy it is to devise simple comforts from apparently useless items. Our toddler had got tired of standing and found an old car try to sit on.

It was just the right height for her. This encouraged our older children to try it but of course it was too low down for them. This was not a problem because when they found another one it could be placed on top to make a taller chair. It did not stop there. If they sat on the inside of the tyre then a plank of wood could be rested on top of the tyre to make a table. My problem now is that they all want one and we do not have enough tyres to please them all, or at least not at the same time.

It should be said that tyres should normally be thoroughly washed but in our case they had been used as boat fenders and had been washed with sea water twice a day for several years. We had to remove the seaweed instead. A pile of tyres is not everyone’s idea of garden the furniture but in my view no worse than the metal work that makes up garden swings and climbing frames. The tyres can always be painted to make them less conspicuous and when the children have grown up they could house some potted plants or a tree. I am all for recycling anything useful. Ultimately I am thinking of using them for a compost heap. It will be quite convenient to be able to remove the top tyres as the compost is used up.

Of course the innovations did not stop at the chair. with a plastic sheet we were able to make a small garden pool for our toddler. By stretching the plastic across the bottom rim of the tyre and holding it down with bricks we had a sufficiently water-tight seal to make a small boating pond. The boats were of the playing-in-the-bath variety but they provided sufficient amusement until the water had drained away. After that we applied some sealant to the rim and this made it more water-tight.

An advantage of the tyre is that it does not deteriorate with the weather. It must however be admitted that there is a drawback. Their shape means that it is difficult to remove the water that settles in the well and by the time some leaves have fallen inside it becomes messy. Our solution was to drill a hole in the tread to drain the water, then we only had to remove dry leaves.

These children activities do more than amuse. they provide a way of working together to solve the little problems that occur. I like to think they are instructive for the children too.