This weekend I picked up my grandchildren for a sleep-over. They excitedly packed their bags and in their eagerness to come with me, almost forgot to say goodbye to their parents.
I live about a fifty minute drive away but the journey is never boring for them. They play and sing happily in the back seat and marvel at the sight of cows, sheep and alpacas we pass along the way. They've even been lucky enough to spot kangaroos sprawled under shady trees.
Playing in the mud!
When they arrive at my house the first thing they do is say hello to the dog, then they let the chickens out of the coop and check for eggs, have a play in the garden and maybe pick some flowers.
One of their favourite activities at Grannies house is to bake some cookies, either choc-chip for us or special ones for Charlie the dog. We usually end up in a huge mess but the fun is well worth it.
The best part is licking the spoon!
As the day slows down so do the grandchildren. They pull out my familiar toy basket and play happily on the lounge room floor while I prepare the dinner.
This is often my favourite time. Watching them turn simple building blocks into houses, boats and castles, using my ottoman and a pile of books to build a ramp to launch their toy cars or making a cubby house out of my dining table, a sheet and a couple of pillows.
Time to snuggle.
The only time the television goes on for the whole weekend is when we snuggle into bed at night to watch a DVD.
This, to me, is how a childís world should be; fresh air, animals, imaginations running wild, simple wooden toys and snuggles at the end of the day.
I love seeing children mastering technology and improving their hand/eye coordination with electronic toys and games, but I also believe that there should be a balance with good old-fashioned fun. They can have their TV, computer and their game consoles at home, but at Grannies itís Ďau naturel.í