Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The F word


They built a camp.......


.....and then they put signs up and wouldn't let us in without a pass.


"It's your fault." a colleague said "You told them they could do what they liked within reason, and now look"

I looked.

Heh. So they were.

Six weeks ago I embarked on my first holiday club. Twenty-five years of working with children within a curriculum framework was about to be put to death. My new buzz word was 'FUN' - how weird is that?
It would have been easy to plan a whole bunch of 'fun type' activities but I never seem to take the easy route and my staff looked on in horror as outlined my ideas and turned an already established club on its head.

'No plans, let them lead'.

In six weeks the kids (a wild bunch of assorted problems) have built camps, made passes, dug pits, decorated totem poles, written a play and designed hats, clothes and furniture.
They elected to ban the PlayStation and other electronic entertainment after 9.30am, made a picnic area, cooked their own snacks and lunch and worked all day on completing projects of their own making.
They have also planned, written and edited three newspapers and taken some truly stunning photographs.

Maybe we went back to yesteryear, when children made their own fun and spent their days mostly wet and muddy- a strange concept.

And the greatest fun? £2 of tarpaulin, a bottle of dish detergent and a hose.

Will they remember it?
I hope so


(photographs taken by J aged 9, P aged 7 and L aged 4 - his is the spiderman face)



The Mignoids invaded. We were prepared - phew!




Jon M said...

You bet they'll remember it! And too right about making your own fun. Although I do fun things with my kids, my slogan is often, "My name is not Mr Giggles, I am not a children's entertainer!"

Roberta said...

Minx, this is outstanding! Those kids will never forget you or their fun summer.

You need to receive an award!

soubriquet said...

Absolutely fantastic!
And so much better than having adults tell you what to do and then chide you for not enjoying being pushed around.
It is not a child's job to realise an adult's dream, it is not a child's job to re-enact, for an adult, the adult's childhood memories.

It IS a child's job to play, to learn, to interact as a child.
And an adult's job? to facilitate this, then stand back and let it happen.

Three cheers for Minx!

And the award for outstanding services to kids... goes to......

p.s. I agree.. loved the photos!

Saaleha said...

actually, i didn't know that there was any other fun tobe had other than the wet and muddy variety. My kids look for every excuse. And in winter that can be very problematic.
BUt your kids sound like they've been having a blast. They would... having another 'great child' to do things with them :-)

Unknown said...

Minx, considering recent events in the news, you are going back to my youth. Get shit up and have fun. No kids wrapped in cotton wool, clean to the point of sterilized, get them mucky and give them an immune system.


Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I LOVE that! That's so wonderful, of course they will remember it.

How is your injury? Foot all healed? Enough to play with the kids?

Looks like great fun. YAY!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Anonymous said...

Brilliant - absolutely brilliant!! - so this is why you have been so busy?

Unknown said...

So right, Jon. I have worked with children for twenty-five years - they have taught me everything I know.

Roberta, I will have you know that they gave me an award for 'The Crappest Cake' (actually it was spelled 'Crappust, which was closer to the truth).

Soub, kids know what's best for them in the fun department. Who am I to say that we should not hang 25 jelly filled balloons from a tree and then invent the mother of all sling shots? Whoo hooo!

Saaleha, winter is even better. I have this company that supplies us with wet weather gear. There is never such a thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!

John G, we got the shit and very soon it all has to end when we go back to the real world.

Scarlett, do you honestly think that I would miss out on a spot of 'slidin'? I have bruises where I shouldn't.

Unknown said...

Sorry Muts, you snuck in again.

Yes, yes, busy, busy, tired, tired and very, very happy!

It all went well - phew!

Unknown said...

Oh and Mr Soub, would you mind if I pinch this.....

"It is not a child's job to realise an adult's dream, it is not a child's job to re-enact, for an adult, the adult's childhood memories.
It IS a child's job to play, to learn, to interact as a child.
And an adult's job? to facilitate this, then stand back and let it happen."

..I think it needs pasting up on the wall of every classroom in the country.

And please stop with the praise - the awards should go to the children (although I quite like the sound of Dame Minx).

I must away to bed to prepare for the invasion. I left them a roll of silver foil and a note, it says....


Roberta said...


smiles. Good work, darling.

Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff, Minx (sorry, I just had to add more praise!).

They'll definitely remember it, whereas five hours spent on a PlayStation would have definitely evaporated by the next day...

Unknown said...

Psst, can't talk - the MIGNOIDS are here.....

Unknown said...

I want to be a children again! Minx, this is brilliant! Well done, you! Viva!

Chris at 'Chrissie's Kitchen' said...

Great pictures! Well done to the boys! (I too, in the past, have done holiday camps/school. Great fun but exhausting.)
Lizzie x

Unknown said...

Sounds like great fun, wish I was there. And how are the Mignoids now?

Taffiny said...

sounds like they had a fantastic time.

Afraid my own dear boy is not much of joiner, so he misses out on a lot of fun.
He will come home from school oriention today, and take a shower, then try and play video games, while we try and drag him outside. (his BF just told him he needs more hobbies than doing nothing)

How good it is to see these kids with you, all tromping and mucking about.

I shall tell my son of jelly filled balloons and slingshots, that just might peek his interest.

Poetess said...


I used to run a cub pack and loved this sort of thing.

Fun fun Fun


Taffiny said...

by the bye,
How does one fill a balloon with jelly?

Unknown said...

This brought a smile to my face - my lot are always at this - using their imagination, we call it.
At school they are each (in thir separate classes) renowned for their 'unique' take on stuff that they do in classes. *sigh*
You know how kids work minx, you were once one yourself and ain't forgotten - best thing you can ever give kids is their own leash!

Unknown said...

I think it's just all about finding the right key for the kid door.

Taff, jelly balloons? Fill a balloon by pouring the dissolved jelly down a funnel - works a treat.
We have also made 'ice hands' by pouring coloured water into latex gloves and then freezing. No end to the fun you can have with those - watch yer back!

Anonymous said...

WOW .... cool hats!!!!

Debi said...

I recognise that little freckly face in pic no 1... Say hello from us.

Way to go, Minxy. Great summer for this bunch.

Unknown said...

They are not hats, RDG, they are anti-radiation devices! Goddess, some people!

Will do , Debi, if I can catch the little bugger.

merry weather said...

Looks great! Well done you, very brave. Thinking boys = noise, so did you wear earplugs or was there enough space to bear it?

Unknown said...

Girls are noisier than boys, Merry, they scream (loudly) when they don't get their way. The boys just punch each other!

Have to say though that the girls are the first ones in there if there is anything dangerously dirty to do. Some of the boys worried about their hair!

Pants said...


This is wonderful. I could almost the will to live again. I reckon you've given me 48 hours at least.



Anonymous said... guess i forgot to read the words. sometimes i do that.

look but don't read.

Unknown said...

That's good, Pants, hang in there!

Apologies, Red Dirt,my own device failed miserably leaving me exposed to the true horror of Mignoiditis - they are hats, of a sort!

soubriquet said...

Go ahead, Minx....
The words will be part of your manifesto, in a campaign against over-organised play?
if so....cooooooooool!!!!!!!!!!!

soubriquet said...

Oh... nearly forgot: a warning. Tin Foil Hats have been infiltrated by the U.S. government. They may afford some measure of protection against the Mignoids, but leave the wearer dangerously vulnerable to mind control signals.
"On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets:An Empirical Study"
Take care.

Unknown said...

Roger, roger, Master Soubriquet. Message received and understood.

Umm, how does one go about making mind controlling signals? This could be very useful. I have some cereal boxes, a cat food tin and a ball of string - any good?

pee ess - The Ersatz Soubriquet Manifesto of Disorganised Play is currently winging its way down the intertube to other like minded souls. We shall take over the world - mwaaahaaaaaaaaaa......

Anonymous said...


no apologies necessary ... i was slowly edging towards the panic button even as you wrote ... i KNEW something or someone had scrambled your waves - but just for a second ....(sighs with relief - that was a close one, minx)

thanks to m.soubriquet's findings:

"On the Effectiveness of Aluminium Foil Helmets:An Empirical Study"

I COMPLETELY understand the stress you were experiencing .....

hahahahahahahahahahahahahah !!!!!! (edging out the door, laughing hysterically, looking for a bathroom - NOW ....)

Meloney Lemon said...

I did something very similar with a tarpaulin, detergent and a gaggle of pre teens, teens and regressed adults. Am now fascinated by this jelly balloon thing - do you use the balloons as ammo? Can it be any flavour?

Unknown said...

Thank you, Dirty girl, you is as loopy as me!

Meloney, perhaps me next venture into publishing should be 101 ways with five pints of jelly!

Jelly balloons can be used for any environmentally friendly war. Water bomb balloons are best used. These can be fired from a simple foot operated see-saw action catapult.
I can recommend no flavour over any, but have a bit of weakness for being hit with lime.
We made bows on Friday (from plastic pipe)and we are going to kill some playdough tomorrow.

I get paid for this!!