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Gentle Earth

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Listed below is a collection of articles from the quarterly BirthingMamas Magazine, sent out to subscribers. The magazine is a collection of articles to inform you of birth and parenting issues.

This section of the website is split into the various topics of the Magazine - Gentle Birth, Gentle Parent, Gentle Earth, the Family Friendly Footnotes and the Competitions. So, browse through each section; remember to sign up to receive your copy of the next issue, and please share it with your friends and family.

Magazine #1: Gentle Earth

alphabet hunting game

The Autumn weather brings a beautiful mixture of colours with trees changing colour and the ground painted ochre with fallen leaves. So I thought it might be nice to share with you a small game we play at home with the children. It’s a simple treasure hunt game using natural materials, and it also helps the kids learn the alphabet. They can play individually or in teams, and although the children will learn something through playing this game, the idea for us was to have fun!

My husband gathered stones from beaches around East Cork and drew each letter of the alphabet and each number from 0 to 9 with permanent markers on a stone. Using these 36 stones we created various ways to play a game with the children, depending on their age and ability.

Probably the simplest way to play the game is to hide all the alphabet stones around the house and get the kids to go find as many as possible. Then, using an alphabet sheet David also drew up, we help them match off what they find until all the stones have been recovered. To make it more of a challenge we ask them to find the letters of their name, or spell out other words such as bread or milk. Finally, we sometimes ask them to find random letters and make their own words from what they have found (as our smallest can’t yet read this is always a joint effort with his big sister!). This takes a bit more planning as a few duplicate letter stones are required, but it's a great way to get children to learn to spell their name and other words. The numbered stones can be used to create a maths game. Give them a number and then tell them they have to find the stones that will add up to that number (e.g. Give them the number 7, then they have to find the stones marked with the 3, the +, and the 4.)

You can hide the stones anywhere in the house, beach, forest or garden. Playing the alphabet hunting game outside is as easy as indoors, but remember to mark out a boundary and tell the children that the letters are hidden within this space only. At this time of year, a pile of fallen leaves is a great place for covering the stones and it helps the kids experience and enjoy the outdoors. There's a huge variety of ways to use twenty six letters, ten numbers and an indoor or outdoor space to create an ecological way of having fun with your children.

If you want to see some other examples of our outdoor playing, you can read some here.

Magazine #2: Gentle Earth

Coming soon...