Close your eyes. Think for a minute. Imagine you are standing barefoot on grass in a peaceful garden. Around you is perfect silence, apart from birds singing and the occasional giggle from two happy children. You can feel the grass, warm on your feet, you can feel the sunshine warming you through, making you feel content, relaxed.
Open your eyes. In front of you is your garden, not what you want it to be, but getting closer. It’s a garden that’s already taken a lot of hard work to achieve. When we first moved into our house, the garden just seemed grey. Grey concrete slabs, white grey (asbestos) garage. Brown mud, weeds. The garden had no magic and little colour. We worked to change it. It’s taken lots of sacrificing family days to take up concrete slabs and replace them with grass, months of taking up the asbestos garage, sieving mud, levelling. We have no budget for these things so we do it ourselves. All done with one goal in mind: to make a garden your children can enjoy. To make a garden to have family barbecues, lazy swimming pool days, playing days and picnics in the sun.
Imagine how wonderful it would feel to win a competition, run by Activity toys direct (http://www.activitytoysdirect.com) to have enough money to give your girls the freedom to play, to imagine, to enter a world where princesses and dragons, and witches, and fairies all exist. To be able to watch your girls having the kind of childhood you had, the kind of childhood you want for them.
If we were lucky enough to win this competition, this would be our dream shopping list:
What child wouldn’t love this? Its beautiful, and can be used for a million and one different games. In the summer it can be a place to play in the shade, to play castles, princesses, fairies, dragons. In cooler weather they can still use the play house, with everything inside it. Their fun doesn’t have to end – for as long as they want to play, they have everything they could need to do so. And as they get older and their games change, these toys can change with them. The house can be used to play dens, to meet friends, to be a famous five secret meeting place. The easel used for writing secret rules, letters to friends, a diary. They will love their secret place, a place that’s all theirs, no rules except for the ones they make.
This is the second thing I would choose. My little girl loves playing in our garden with her little oven and play food anyway, and this would be perfect for imaginary cooking.
If we won this competition, it isn’t just ‘stuff.’ It’s a whole world for my girls – it’s hours and hours of imaginary games, of laughter, of fun and of love. Which is exactly what I want their childhood to be.
Below are our pictures. Our garden is half way there, and in some ways we have moved backwards so that we can move forward. Fast forward one year and it will be finished – a new shed, vegetables, a play area for the girls, and a nice table and chairs to sit and enjoy relaxing summer days. It’s not there yet, but its close.