Welcome to Dandelion Songs!

"We are two mothers who want our children to know what childhood was like. Before Nintendos, before computers. Before fear of freedom. What it was like for us, and for our mothers, and their mothers. We want them to know adventure, to know play, to know the world. And not the controlled, organised world that modern mothers seem to think they are tied to, but the real, natural world that is here on our doorstep. Come and join us on an adventure in childhood."

Ciara & Líosa

Grass Fight!

We have a birthday the first week of May and it almost always coincides with the first grass cutting of the year. Cue a boisterous grass fight.

It's so tempting to be clean and tidy with your clippings, but what is more fun than tearing around the garden in that first flush of summer, flinging freshly cut grass into the air, at your brother, and even at your Dad!

As the sun sets over the mountains, and the air starts to cool, it's time to finish up and go inside to a warm bubbly bath, before tired heads hit the pillow.

I'm Board Games.

We have two shelves full of games. All the usual suspects are there. And they go for long periods where they gather dust, especially in the summertime. Unless of course it's a damp rainy summer like we had last year. Then we get a couple of weeks where they become favourites again and are taken down and dusted off. This is often when we have people staying for the weekend and the extra numbers make it all the more fun. When we do sit around a table yelling and laughing til our sides ache, I always, without fail, think to myself, why, oh why do we not do this more often? But of course, being on holidays is always all the incentive kids need.

However, we have discovered a number of absolute favourites that are always floating around and are just the right length and the right amount of fun to be perfect time-fillers.

These were one of those brilliant presents you recieve that you want to buy for all you friends. Rory's Story Cubes are so simple that even younger children can play. Throw the dice and then you make up a story from the pictures. It becomes more hilarious as they warm up and let their creative juices flow.

Personally, I love the games where there is no particular winner, just success and a sense of achievement for the players.

Though sometimes a bit of cunning does deserve to win.

And I love the fact that things like Tiddlywinks and a ball and maze are just enduringly addictive. The latter is very easy to keep in your bag for those times when you have to hang around waiting for something or someone.

Maps and Capps

cartography(kär-tgr-f) n : the making of maps and charts, the study of maps for historical or geographical purpose, the science of maps.
Keep a few maps in your handbag or car, its great for when 'tweeners (8-12) get bored. The game is that they take turns to look and find a place on the map and the others then have to find it first. It works especially well with Ordanance survey maps of theme parks. My mother always pulled this one out of the bag when we were young, our favorite was the map of Six Flags! Its educational too, as map reading is usually part of the curriculum at some stage. You can take it one stage further and ask them to measure the distance between places with a piece of string and a ruler. They can make their own maps (all of ours love doing this) - or trace one and change it to suit...!
It promises much quiet and allows for full enjoyment of a nice cappucino!!

Are we nearly there?

If you've never heard that, you aren't a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle... basically you've never travelled with kids. Bless them, they give the first ten minutes a good effort, but those travel games last all of five minutes and reading in the car can make some people ill (I do know one lucky mother whose children can read away in the car, even the thought of doing that, however makes mine feel rotten!)

You may also have an advantage when travelling with more than one child as they can interact with each other, and even better in the same age range, but what to do on a long journey when you've only one... or two but the small one is happy to spend the time mashing liga into the car seat while the other one does her (or his) best to prolong the inevitable...

"Are we nearly there?"

I once passed a very long train journey without once hearing that question, in fact when we arrived at our destination there was a fleeting look of disappointment. How did I do it?

I simply told her to take photos of things she found interesting from the window and that she could tell us all about them when we reached our destination.

There wasn't a peep... and some of the snaps were quite good too....

Monte Cassino

Taken from the window of the Cassino-Roma Train

by Mary

Enviromental Art!

Sometimes there is just enough time in the day for a short walk, and if you're like me a nice stroll in the local wood is just enough. Its a nice way to "get in a bit of air" as my grandfather would have said!

I am so aware of the lack of daily exercise my children get - compared to my own childhood which consisted of long walks to school, fast spurts of chasing at playtime, and long afternoons of running, cycling or skipping... compared with todays sedentary inclinations of our children (faster traffic and fear playing a part in that)...

So when you're on a short walk why not set them a task, increase the activity in a fun way. One brilliant way to do this, and to encourage them to use their imagination and creativity is to set them the task to create art within the environment.

Give them a start by suggesting a theme, maybe a spiral or a star, and watch them run along collecting bits and pieces, as you stroll leisurely by...

This can be done by a solitary child or by a group and can be called upon at the drop of a hat when needed!


Butter me up!

Making butter with children is great because its quick (for some), energetic, and they can feel very satisfied with the results. Its also something that once they learn, they never forget and it can be called upon whenever needed, or whenever they utter those three little words "I-am-bored" which make every mothers brain fizzle.

Grab a few clean jars, a sieve (or muslin if you have it) and some double cream and you are good to go. Outside or in, upstairs or down, even in the car!

Its so simple - Cream in the jar, lid tight, shake shake shake...

You can tell them the 3 stages of butter so they can feel in charge of the event.

1) it will go from creamy slooshing to solid

2) it will feel like you are shaking nothing

3) you will hear slooshing noises again.

When they hear the 3rd stage, tell them to look and see is there yellow butter in the jar. Cream or white is not butter! Any buttercup will tell you that!
When the butter is present, get them to tip it onto a sieve or into some muslin and allow any milk to run off.
Mash with whatever flavourings you have handy... garlic or chili or both, salt and pepper, whatever you like - blitz in a mini chopper or processor and mash through the freshly made butter. Wrap in parchment and refridgerate until they are hungry... Funny how bread and butter sandwiches aren't snubbed when the butter has been made themselves!