Bamboo playhouses, cubby houses, forts and hideaways

kids-playhouse

Recently I’ve been lamenting the state of our garden – when we moved in we had grass and lots of plants and then Made’s stupid ducks ate everything and now we just have a big patch of dirt and whenever anything green tries to grow again, Made’s stupid chickens peck it to death or Kiran hits it with a stick to achieve the same thing.

Ugly as it is, it hasn’t made much difference to the kids and Kiran especially likes digging in the dirt and it’s pretty much the only thing that will keep him occupied for longer than 5 minutes. Also now we’re kind of back to basics I’m coming up with some more ideas for making it more fun for them to play in like I wanted to when we moved in and never quite got around to. Our rental agreement is due for renewal and there was a bit of a wobble for a while over our rent possibly going up and maybe having to move back into the family home in the village but i’m pretty sure we’re going to be here for at least another year so I have renewed enthusiasm for renovations.

I love the kids playing in the garden for 2 main reasons:

1. I think it’s incredibly important for young kids to spend time playing outdoors. My mum was involved in a forest schools pilot in the UK years ago and since then I’ve done a lot of reading and the argument for letting kids just play all day in the dirt instead of trying to teach them anything until they’re at least 6 or 7 is quite compelling.

2. It keeps them busy – they’ll happily entertain themselves out there for much longer than doing anything inside and it gives me chance to get some work done without guilt.

So I’ve been looking into a few ideas for how I can make our outdoor space more fun. At the moment all we basically have is a load of container and plastic cutlery for ‘mud cooking’. I just claimed back the little bamboo roof thing that was here when we moved in as a makeshift playhouse but I’d really like to make something better.

One of Maya’s friends has an amazing bamboo fort in their garden, I haven’t got a photo of it but it’s similar to this one (only bigger and better!):

bamboo-playhouse

We don’t have room for a playhouse like this (well we probably do but it would take up the whole space!) but it would probably be pretty easy and cheap to get a small bamboo playhouse made up here so I’ve been looking for inspiration:

willow-playhouse

Ok not bamboo but these willow playhouses are beautiful, but £2,000 plus delivery? Yikes? They do sell similar things here for nowhere near that price but still too pricey for me to want to leave it open to the elements. It’s my dream to one day own a house big enough for a little rattan reading nook like this.

Playhouse-with-hidden-sandbox

This is a clever idea and I wanted to make a sandpit too, so why not combine them? It would be pretty easy to make in bamboo.

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Again, this one is not actually bamboo (having a hard time finding many examples of bamboo playhouses actually) but would be pretty easy to replicate – look at the roof! What a cool idea.

bamboo-ball

Ok not technically a house, but that giant bamboo ball is pretty cool. Also I think I may have just discovered a new favourite blog – I mean anyone who has this in their back yard must have an amazing blog, right? Check it out.

And of course a good old bamboo teepee is always an option – I love this outdoor play space  – it’s simple but just perfect I think. Teepee, mud kitchen and sand pit with tree stumps – what more could a little kid want?

sharma-springs

And I had to sneak in a picture of Sharma Springs here at the end. Sharma Springs is an amazing designer villa near us that’s built entirely from bamboo and looks like something out of a dream. It was designed and built by the same team behind Green School and it’s in a whole village of impressive bamboo houses at Green Village. If I was rich, I’d get Ibuku to build my kids’ playhouse… (that sounds odd as “ibuku” means my mother in Indonesian)

 

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Maya: a levitating child or an extremely powerful fan? You decide.

Kiran: every now and again I get the buggy out and they have hours of fun pushing each other up and down, pretending to be babies.

Plus a bonus photo of a helicopter just because I like playing with the zoom on my new lens.

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Ok so turns out that I did actually get some pictures this week, they’re just from my phone, not my dslr – that counts right?

Kiran – happy forever as long as he’s in/playing with a car (I know he doesn’t look  it)

Maya – playing with her new magic wand that we made from a stick, glitter and pipe cleaners (they’re very into Harry Potter at the moment although Kiran’s only interested in the scenes that include a flying car)

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Totally failed to get even a single photo of Kiran this week but I did get this really random one of Maya: the doctor will see you now.

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Ok so I’m kind of hopelessly behind with Project 52, but catching up the best I can now. After my computer came back from an unscheduled trip at the service centre in Surabaya and I was told it would cost 3 million to fix, I decided I’d take the opportunity to use a very generous birthday gift to buy a new computer. I spent many days surrounded by computer bits and attempting to reinstall windows on the broken ones. I was eventually successful – in fact I think the service centre didn’t know what they were talking about and I just needed a new hard disk all along (like I said in the first place)

Anyway I finally made my mind up on laptops and made the switch to mac. I’m now on a nice shiny Macbook Air and very pleased with my decision. I also have 2 repaired pc laptops that the kids can use and as backup (and I really need backup).  I’m just starting to get back into catching up with everything after moving files and reinstalling and a friend visiting  and my birthday and made’s birthday and blah blah blah

I also got a very nice new camera lens for my birthday so will have little excuse about getting behind with this again. However it’s now Sunday and I’m pretty sure I don’t have a photo for this week…. starting tomorrow :p

Wanderlust: Cambodia

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Yet again it has been a crazy long time without a post. What can I say? Computer issues – major computer issues, the upshot of which is I am now sitting here with a new and extremely shiny new laptop (I finally made the switch to mac and I’m very happy to have done so). Anyway along with a new computer comes a certain amount of copying and installing and I’ve been going back through all my old photos as I import them and doing some long-overdue organisation.

I did so much travelling in 2008 that the folder is organised by country instead of month. Looking back at my Cambodia photos now, it strikes me how similar it is to Bali – the scenery, the temples, the people, even the script is all very similar to the Balinese versions. I only had a brief stay in Cambodia but even that was enough for me to see that there’s so much more there worth seeing.

I think when most people think of Cambodia, they either think of Angkor Wat and/or the horrific genocide led by Pol Pot – I know I certainly did. And yes, these things are an important part of what Cambodia is today but they’re far from the only part. For example I had no idea that Cambodia had a beach resort – just look at that first photo! Sihanoukville is stunning and much what I think Thailand (or indeed Bali) must have been like before all the tourists discovered it.

Siem Reap is famous for its temples (and yes obviously they are a must-see) but it’s also a gorgeous little town in its own right – I could have quite happily hung out there for a couple of weeks not doing much. It had the same kind of vibe as Luang Prabang in Laos or maybe the Ubud of 20 years ago. Also the best ice cream shop in the world can be found there – no joke, it’s really worth going to Cambodia just for that ice cream (Blue Pumpkin, – I just googled it and found a post about it from the lovely Kaho of all people)!

I’ve head a lot of people didn’t like Phnom Penh but I really did – it has its problems like all big cities but I found it much more pleasant than say, Jakarta. Also the food there is pretty amazing (this is starting to sound like I just went to Cambodia to eat)…

My travels in Cambodia also included a pretty special overnight experience in a small family home where we were kept up all night by the neighbours having a rice threshing party…

Anyway, I would jump at the chance to go back and explore some more of this beautiful country. I was just checking out the flights at momondo – KL to Siem Reap from 52GBP sounds good to me! My dad and Sue were actually thinking of going over to Cambodia the last time they visited but they ended up just doing Thailand and Laos instead. I think I might have to insist they go and tag along myself next time :)

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kiranjpg mayaI was so thrilled to get my lens back! Never thought that was going to happen. Even better, the guy at the lost and found office seemed so happy to give it to me – I guess he doesn’t get to reuinte things with their owners very often when people are just passing through. Made my day! My computer unfortunately is still in for repair – turned out to be a bigger problem than just a dead hard drive and I’ve had to send it to Surabaya to be fixed. Sigh. :(

Maya here is doing an impression of Jean Claude Van Damme. I was amazed when she did this as I only showed her the video once, about 6 months ago. They really are little sponges at this age!

Linking up with Jodi

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