How does my 6yo organize his sister’s birthday party? (Part 6)


So, my youngest daughter’s birthday party is really happening with the help of my 6yo, my eldest boy. All essentials – theme, activities, invitation, menu – are ready.

I grew up doing quite a number of DIY projects with my parents. Personally, I feel this is the reason why if I want something, I get down to get it done instead of wishing I have that something.

So, with my youngest’s birthday party happening, I know it’s the right time to get my kids to pick up the DIY habit, to explore their creative minds, to get the things they wish they have.

So, we planned to build a garden playground/playhouse with the kids. We let the kids did some tasks such as sanding and painting the wooden beams used to build the playhouse.

We explained why sanding wood was important. We taught them how and when to use paint rollers and why painting by following wood grain was necessary. They also helped us to put in bolts, washers and nuts.

Why playground?

It has been a few years since I wanted to have monkey bars in my house. Whenever we brought the kids to public playgrounds, I always encouraged them to go on the monkey bars. However, they were not keen to try them out, probably due to fear of height or shy. So I thought if we have monkey bars at home, maybe they would want to try.

Why monkey bars?

With the increase of screen time – my husband and I have the consensus that screen time isn’t entirely bad – but we need to balance things up.

Generally, children are having difficulties to even do the simplest task – holding up a pencil correctly for example. Fine motor skills are to be blamed, however, without core and upper body strength, they couldn’t develop good fine motor skills.

Just like how newborns could only lift up their heads, then eventually able to sit up, crawl and walk – then only, their hands are free to explore. Remember that age when your little one could pick up the tiniest things from the floor? Yes, that time. That was when fine motor skills have started to develop.

Activities that purposefully support the creation and development of the neural connections are called myelination.

Myelination is described as being like a plastic coating that protects an electrical cord. This coating helps the nervous system to function properly.

Children will only gain full control of their bodies through effort. Through repetition and practice, children’s movement becomes refined.

How did the plan from monkey bars change

Kids of the ages 2, 4 and 6 years old really love role plays. They could either be playing mom or dad, hosting a tea party, being in a war or something as simple as sitting on a bus. All these role playing activities require space. Also, they need their daily dosage of exposure to the sun, so a playhouse is a great space for them to explore.

I’ve also added the slide climbing area. See the photo below. The uneven stairs and ‘rock climbing’ panel will enable their upper body strength to develop.

Planning of the playground design

It started off by just drawing the basic – the foundation. As this would be the most important (or so I thought), I visualize the playhouse with monkey bars and draw the frame. I sent this plan to my friend, Chiew, who’s very good in woodwork. He asked me, how do you make the joints?

Yes, I grew up doing a lot of DIY projects, but I have never attempted such a big project. I didn’t realize there are many considerations to explore – such as where are the forces and how to stabilize them. Think: swinging kids on monkey bars and how to reinforce and stabilize the beams.

Being a typical Malaysian, I was also spoon-fed. I really need to change this mindset. To be honest, I thought I just need to submit the blueprint to Chiew and he would then sort out everything for me including how many pieces of wood to buy, etc.

Thanks Chiew for explaining how to put up the joints, and most importantly, how to secure them to be stable. See photo below about the joints and the number of woods required.

See the list below with the number of wood pieces to buy. The auntie at the hardware shop was so helpful and she planned them for me when I told her about my plan to build a playground for my kids.

Main unit

A – 1″ x 6″ x 6″ – 7 pieces
B – 1″ x 3″ x 6″ – 28 pieces
C – 4″ x 4″ x 6″ – 7 pieces
D – 11″ x 6″ x 10″ – 2 pieces
E – 21″ x 4″ x 10″ – 2 pieces
F – 4″ x 4″ x 71″ – 1 piece
G – 1″ x 5″ x 70″ – 1 piece
H – 2″ x 4″ x 44″ – 2 pieces

Side climbing frame

4″ x 4″ x 7″ – 4 pieces
1″ x 6″ x 3″ – 12 pieces
1.5″ x 1.5″ x 6″ – 12 pieces

Upper floor flooring

1″ x 8″ x 3 feet – 18 pieces

Stay tune for next week’s updates on the building process!

Author: Grace Tan
Grace quit her lecturing job to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) after her student reminded her that she only has six years of her children’s life to be their best friend as thereafter it’s their friends who shape their life. Being a hyperactive person who stays at home by choice, Grace is breaking the epitome of ‘being a good employee equates working in the office’ by leading by example. Grace is an entrepreneur who has started a few businesses and she puts SAHMs in mind in every employment that she creates.
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