Girls Who Climb Trees

Girls who climb trees

I watched you the other day, sitting high up in a tree, watching the world go by. Actually, high up in a tree isn’t an unusual place to find my daughters when there is a tree around. I watched you scamper down again, skirts billowing, underwear flashing to the world, newly ripped tights revealing a red patch of scratched skin you didn’t even notice.

I need to tell you something about girls who climb trees:

Actually, there isn’t a quote I know of about girls who climb trees, because apparently, girls don’t climb trees. There’s something about girls who sit on tables – apparently they don’t find husbands, or so we were told, growing up.

But there’s nothing about girls who climb trees, because girls are supposed to be too busy painting their nails or looking for prince charming.

So let me tell you a few things about girls who climb trees:

(Yes, girls can possibly be substituted for boys too, and no, probably doesn’t apply to every girl, but I’m really thinking about my girls as I write this, so the generalisation of ‘girls’ will do!)

Girls who climb trees have the best views 

Yep, you’re high up in that tree, and I can hear you singing to yourself with the blissful content of someone who is exactly where she is supposed to be.  From up in the high branches you can see the whole world – or it feels like it. Because up in the tree, you can take a break from the noise, you can breathe the fresher air, you can take a moment to think. Up there vision is clearer. Girls who climb trees can see things clearer, because they can see farther, because they rise above everything else, take a moment and take a breath.

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Girls who climb trees know their limits

Girls who climb trees know what happens when you put your foot in the wrong place. They know what happens when you stand on shaky ‘ground’. They know what it feels like when the wind blows and the unsteadiness reaches to your core. These are girls who know how far they can go before they no longer feel safe. These are girls who learn to listen to the most powerful sense a woman has access to: her instinct, her intuition. 

Girls who climb trees take risks

These aren’t girls who will sit back and wait for prince charming to lead them off into the sunset. No, girls who climb trees might one day climb on a plane and set off for new worlds. Or whatever the future’s equivalent of new worlds might be. These are the girls who will set trends, who will lead the way, who will be the leaders , not the followers. These are the girls who give the rest of us hope for future generations. The girls who know their limits and take calculated and measured risks. Who break boundaries and records and take the rest of us forward.


#Wildplay in the woods at #feastinthewoods #feastinthewoods2015 #nochildleftindoors


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Girls who climb trees are fierce

It takes guts to climb a tree. You have to conquer a fear of falling, and more, of landing. You have to know that you must get yourself down again. You must know that you could be in danger. Girls who climb trees might get stuck, but they do it anyway. They take chances, they take risks, and they learn their limits. Girls who know their limits, know themselves and their capabilities, and those girls don’t believe there’s anything they can’t do merely by virtue of being girls, and a girl who knows that, is a fierce and powerful force.

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Girls who climb trees aren’t afraid of the unknown

Girls who’ve climbed to the top of trees see the squirrels. They see the birds, they see spiders and other tree-bugs, and they aren’t afraid of them – or even afraid, they go on despite it. They don’t stop climbing trees because of what’s already in them. They respect the natural inhabitants of the space, and find a way to co-exist, knowing themselves visitors, respectful and relishing the chance they have to be there. They learn respect and compassion for those creatures smaller than them, and become protectors of them.


Tree hugger #natureschild


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Girls who climb trees have mothers who pray

I’ve more than once had someone tell me that one daughter or another was too high up in a tree (for that person’s comfort level). Of course I go, and I look, and I stand under the tree with my heart in my throat, while my head works out every possible fall trajectory and I try to calculate if I could get into all areas of the fall-zone fast enough, while working hard on keeping my face as impassive as possible. It may not matter what you believe or who you pray to, but girls high up in trees likely have mothers who call on Higher Forces frequently, covering them in angel wings and good thoughts. I normally hug my girls tightly when they’ve come down from a tree. They think it’s because I think them brave as their chests swell with self-pride. Really it’s because I’m glad they’re still alive.

If a girl climbs a tree, there’s nothing she can’t do

I never climbed trees. There were trees, I just didn’t like the thought of falling out of them. There are so many things in my life I didn’t do because I was afraid of it not working out. I know that. I recognise it. I wasn’t a girl who climbed trees. But my girls are, and I’ll never tell them they can’t. Because they can. Because I’ve seen them at the very top of trees. Whatever else they may be in life, where ever else they may go, whatever else they may become, and wherever they may lead:

These are girls who climbed trees.

The Incredible Journey Free Printable Resources

Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on The Incredible Journey – by working on, I mean ‘reading’! We’ve also done a few other activities – a board game and an animal categorising ‘game’. I’ve also made some of our usual printable activities to share with you.

I remember reading The Incredible Journey as a child, and finding it disappointing compared to the movie, and reading it now as an adult I can see why – it’s not as Americanised as the movie – the characters have names you have to think about and they don’t talk as their movie-counterparts do. It’s not a long book, but it’s not always easy reading either. It’s a beautiful story of love, courage, friendship and perseverance and purpose though, and well worth reading together.

Below you will find letter writing practice sheet, a crossword that asks questions about the story (you won’t be able to answer this from watching the movie) and an easy and a difficult maze and finally, a word search. This is a harder word search, because some of the words go backwards.

To download a worksheet, just click on the image. It’ll open a PDF in a new window for you to print.

The Incredible Journey Writing Practice

Children can trace the letters to help them learn the sizing of letters compared to each other, or simply just to practice.

The Incredible Journey Handwriting Practice

The Incredible Journey Crossword Puzzle

An 11 clue crossword puzzle – the answers are at the bottom of the page. I thought rather than use a second page, just pop them on the bottom and fold the footer area over so little eyes can’t see the answers.

The Incredible Journey Crossword

The Incredible Journey Mazes

There are two mazes here to choose from – a simple one here and a tougher one. Pictured is the harder one.

The Incredible Journey difficult maze

The Incredible Journey Word Search

This word search is a little harder than the ones I normally do, I think, because the words run back to front and from the bottom up. I don’t normally like doing them this was as I think it’s confusing for younger participants, but it’s how it worked out this time.

The Incredible Journey Word Search

If you’ve enjoyed these activities, remember to check the rest of the tag for The Incredible Journey resources

Incredible Journey.

Catch A Falling Leaf

The end of the summer is coming, and pretending it’s not so doesn’t do anything to stop the impending doom winter. I think we may have some exciting plans up our sleeves for this winter, but I’ll have to see how it all pans out before I start sharing. In the meantime, we’re carrying on with our #50things and well on target to get through a lot, if not all of it, this year.

Earlier this year we went to the Whipsnade Zoo for a family day out. It was an early spring day, and the air was thick with cherry blossom scent. Yes, cherry blossoms aren’t leaves, I know, but hey ho, the skills are the same. Catch A Falling Leaf

There’s something about standing waiting in anticipation, spotting a leaf – blossom – jumping into action, grabbing, missing, catching that can’t but make you feel 5 years old. There’s nothing you can do but laugh, and giggle, and shout as you wait and act. The feeling of success as you finally clutch that foliage in your hand.

It’s a great way to burn energy, and to laugh together, play together.

It also costs nothing!

And while catching spring blossoms is imbued with the hope of warmer days, catching autumn leaves are indicative of chestnut roasting, mushroom foraging, and berry picking – there’s nothing not to love.

And while you’re having fun, the kids are learning hand-eye coordination, action and reaction and that mama can run and laugh and play too.

Get out there this autumn, and chase the leaves.


We’re completing  the National Trust’s #50Things campaign because, well, it’s great. This was number 33: Catch a Falling Leaf on their list. You can see the full list here.

Five Reasons Kids Must Roll Down Hills

When I was studying to be a Rhythm Kids and Baby Massage instructor, I was surprised by a fact that has always stuck with me: in our age of health and safety and what ever else, kids no longer roll down hills like they used to and this is a very big problem.

Roll Down Hill

Rolling does a few different things for a child’s development. It aids in:

  • Vestibular Development which they need to improve their balance
  • Midline Crossover helps us become physically better coordinated and mentally with the act of thinking, and later reading.
  • Sensory Development, which helps in creating understanding of the world – like up and down, and danger or hazards and risk taking.
  • Gross Motor Development as we build strength
  • and proprioception, the tactile understanding of space.

Big words, and I’m sure you’ll agree all valuable skills that we never really think about, but just take for granted.

Of course, you can learn most of these thing in other ways too, but rolling down hills is just so much fun.

My friend Yasmin and I  threw caution to the wind and joined them in rolling down the hills one day. I can’t remember the last time I laughed as much as we did then, and I think the suited men in their meeting in the fancy building behind us were secretly wishing they could do the same! (Or really glad their wives would never do anything like that!)

YouTube Direkt

Tell me that didn’t bring a smile to your face!

No, there is definitely value to rolling down hills. It’s good for kids, and it’s fun.

I heartily recommend it!

Roll Down Hill

We’re completing  the National Trust’s #50Things campaign because, well, it’s great. This was number 2: Roll down a hill on their list. You can see the full list here.

Literature To Crafts: The Fish With The Deep Sea Smile

It’s been absolutely ages since we’ve had a chance to read a story and do crafts from it, but the opportunity presented itself today and I grabbed it with both hands.

A few weeks ago we were going to make an ocean diorama, so we painted out a box in shades of blue and green. Our plans didn’t quite work out – my girls aren’t fond of colouring, what’s that about? – so we abandoned it, but I still had the box, in hope.

We read The Fish With The Deep Sea Smile by Margaret Wise Brown (currently £5.16 at Amazon UK/$7 Amazon US), which is a story about … well, endurance, I guess, because I couldn’t really find many other lessons in it. But endurance is a valuable skill and in this story, the fisherman search high and low for a fish with a ‘Deep Sea Smile’. They don’t find one for ages, but come across many other fish in the meantime: there’s one with a strong jaw, one with an electric tail, one with eyes on sticks, one with terrible claws and even one with a laughing eye.

The Fish With The Deep Sea Smile

The ability to see something through, in this case finding the fish they were looking for, is valuable, and uncommon in our quick-win society, so I think it’s a great life skill to talk about.

I also love the illustrations in this story. They are done by Henry Fisher, and if I was to have a book illustrated, I’d love him to do it. They are so beautifully done. The pictures don’t really do it justice – especially the electric fish (second on the right below).

The Fish With The Deep Sea Smile

To bring our book to life, I cut the parts of the fish from coloured paper, and put the different parts of the fish together in piles so the girls could ‘build’ their fish from the given parts.

The Fish With The Deep Sea Smile

I must say that I love our finished product. In all honesty I’m  not always ‘yay’ about the crafts we do, and we’ll keep them on display for a while before letting them ‘disappear’. I really do like this ocean diorama though. I have no idea where we’ll keep it, but it’s cute, bright, colourful and the fish are so friendly and fun.

It’s a great reminder of the story, which the girls thoroughly enjoyed.

The Fish With The Deep Sea Smile

*We received this book as part of the Parragon Book Buddies program. You can find Parragon Books on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. You can find this book on Amazon UK here or Amazon US here.

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Skills - Learn to Read Skills - Imagination Skills - CreativitySkills - Fine MotorSkills - Hand Eye Coordination

Disney Frozen Themed Shrinkles, Ice Play And DIY Jewellery

Our ‘Ocean’ Playlearning theme didn’t really go down well this week. The girls just weren’t interested, and I’ve been working long hours on top of it all, so I just let it go (see what I did there?) and decided to follow their lead. That lead took us to Elsa and Anna – the two sisters in the Disney movie “Frozen” that has taken seemingly everyone by storm!

We’ve had some gloriously hot weather, so I decided it was time to turn our new found Frozen frenzy into fun and crafty activities.

1) Make Disney Frozen Shrinkle tokens

2) Create a Frozen ice block for excavation

3) Make jewellery out of the ‘jewels’ from our digging


Shrinklesare a staple craft product in our house. If you use the right kind you can print directly onto it saving yourself loads of time and effort.

I Googled Frozen Edible Toppers and printed off one of the groups of images I found there. The ones with the white backgroundcame out better than those with the blue background.

We cut out the circles and used a hole punch to make a hole in each one.

A couple of minutes in the oven, and our Shrinkles become disks.

The kids had fun playing with them as tiddlywinks/coins/whatever else came to mind for a while, before I took them away for part 2.


In an ice cube tray, pop tokens and beads, and fill with water and freeze.

Once they’re frozen, fill a container with the ice cubes and top with cold but not frozen water to freeze again – this is so that the beads and tokens will appear throughout your whole ice block, not just all lying in a layer at the bottom. I found that if we used a really big block the girls lost interest before it was all chiseled away. A soup bowl size works well for a four and two year old though.


Once solid, removed the ice blocks to the water table outdoors and gave each child a garden shovel to use for ‘excavation’. They had a blast banging and knocking and discovering their treasures.

Frozen5Finally, I took blue and white wool – we were out of string, and the wool was sparkly – and made bracelets, a necklace and a ring.

We took a string of each colour and held a side each. Ameli turned to the right, I turned to the left and we twisted the string together. When you let go, the string snaps together, twisting to make a perfect ‘friendship bracelet’.  For the necklace we did that, and just added two beads on the end threading one through the other to attach it.

For the bracelet we threaded the disks through carefully before letting go of the two ends to snap it all together, then just moved them around so that they were placed properly all the way around.

For the ring we use a much smaller amount of string, and a single bead.

Ameli loved it. I had to get her to take it off for bed time, but with the firm promise that she could ‘be Elsa’ again tomorrow.

Does it tie into any learning goals? Well, no. But the kids had fun.

Skills - Sensory Skills - Imagination Skills - Creativity Skills - Fine Motor

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