Posted by: lialeendertz | May 28, 2012

The trail

I recently threw (with relish) our last vestiges of plastic toys into a skip, and quickly covered them with old carpet before the kids could notice and retrieve them. We have had our fair share of these slowly fading plastic horrors. A red (later pink) ride-on fire engine, a yellow and red car (later primrose/pink): all things for kids to delight in and fight over.

But now we have nothing but a small toddlers’ trampoline, shoved down at the end of the garden. I felt guilty at first but sod it, it’s my garden. Also, guess what? They still play in it. They make potions, to which a few flowers are sacrificed, and very natty snail homes (with gardens and swimming pools) and…actually I don’t really know. They just go off down the end of the garden and I leave them to it.

Yesterday my son was playing computer games indoors leaving my four-year-old daughter out there on her own. She asked me for some chalk, and I gave her two pieces. Then she disappeared. Half an hour later this is what she had done. She calls it the trail:

The start of the trail…

…down the steps…

…across the lawn…

…along the makeshift paths…

…down to the end of the garden, where pots and bits of old benches go to die…

…the end! The payoff was this small pink and blue masterpiece (she’s four, remember…) sketched on a pile of pavers, to be taken with a short bounce on the mini trampoline.



  1. Cute! Almost made me broody, that

  2. So lovely when they go off and make their own adventures and their own stories to tell.

  3. Awww. I especially enjoyed the chalk lines on the grass. She’s a sweetie.

  4. Potions – used to pile fallen rose petals into a small bucket and steep them in water, hoping to make scent. Got a strong smell and a brown mush but not entirely one I’d tap behind my ears when going out to dinner. Liked the artistic touch of a drawing at the end of the trail. I expect she’d like you to make a trail with a cake at the end of it.

  5. That is awesome. 🙂

  6. Brilliant trail. It should be open to the public.

  7. Your very own art installation! I’m impressed and adore how your little one’s mind works.

  8. So lovely… I’m convinced that the more toys kids have the less they get out of playing with anything… Left to their own devices they make the best games of their own making because what’s in their heads is much more delightful and exciting than anything a marketing department could ever come up with. (Insert prolonged tirade against cynical toy manufacturers, commercialisation of childhood etc. here…)

    • Without a doubt. ‘Flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark…’ wasn’t it Dylan sang?

  9. Lovely, and what Sarah said.

  10. So creative….Nana xx

  11. I think there’s a def touch of Nans’s pastel influence here, huh?
    Well done Littlest Artist!

  12. Ah sweet; made me remember how differently we saw the world as kids.

  13. Delighted those plastics were dumped By doing so your little one has shown creativity that you will cherish. Children are better at using their imaginations than we give them credit for. Remembering back to my own childhood on reading this post I remember camping with old blankets strewn over kitchen chairs in the back garden and other occasions collecting flower petals and steeping them for hours on end thinking that I would sell to the perfumery industry a unique scent for all to enjoy! Such fond memories….

  14. You’re right, ditching the accumulation of plastic toys feels really liberating, but at the same time like you’re ditching a part of their childhood!
    But one question – when did I get so old that I started to see dandelion clocks as seed banks for weeds, instead of toys?

  15. Childrens’ art is one of the joys of life, no question. This is beautiful.

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