Thursday, 19 June 2008

Making a snail house...

With no nursery, no errands to run, no plans to see friends, and Zebra-girl out to tea this evening, Dinosaur-boy and I had a rare uninterrupted nine hours stretching ahead of us today.

In the morning we staged elaborate dinosaur fights and contemplated whether it was acceptable to introduce plastic frogs into the game...then we practised cycling up and down the drive on Dinosaur's new pedal bike....a little later we set up a giant train track that stretched from one bedroom into another. At lunch we ate cherries together and wondered how to spend the afternoon....then literary inspiration struck and the hours suddenly passed very quickly.

My children have both loved an old book from my own childhood, called Acorns and Stew by Ruth Orbach, in which a little girl called Lenore builds houses for the ducks in her local park so that they needn't emigrate for the winter time....the colours are basic and bold and the story told in rhyme... however, with no ducks about and an almost summery feel to our day, it prompted us instead to go for a walk and see if we could find snails to house.

First we made a house from an old Amazon box and Dinosaur-boy decorated it with pictures of swirly shells and their owners, then we found a bucket and went snail hunting in the hedges and walls up and down our road.

We found many, but we both fell for the liveliest one that, once housed, ventured around his new home and waggled its antennae at us, while the others hid in their shells.

Dinosaur-boy carried their house carefully to the bottom of the garden, so that the snails might have a grassy garden around them, should they venture beyond their new front door...

We had our doubts about the safety of the loft room, but have since seen evidence that our design hasn't been the cause of snails hurtling to their death...they are clever things.

26 comments:

  1. What an enchanting post - how clever you are. I can just imagine a little boy being completely absorbed in his snail world.

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  2. My girls have enjoyed reading this post... they love collecting snails too and picking all my dandelions for them to eat...keeps them off my veg beds! How lovely to have a long day together.
    ginny x

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  3. brilliant!! i would happily have joined in the fun. those are lucky snails. x

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  4. Oh, wonderful!! What is it with children and snails? Mark has an elaborate plan for our summer hols to create a 'snailectrix' racing circuit. Must show him this post...

    And D boy is an amazing draw-er.

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  5. That sounds like such a fun day! My little girl loves snails and calls them princesses for some reason. This weekend we have the class pet - a giant African snail coming to stay! I'm sure my children would love to make him a snail house, but I think we'd better keep him in his glass home to avoid any lost-snail embarrassment come Monday morning!

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  6. Brilliant - inspired - amazing! Eva loves snails too, I remember her taking a couple to the park in a little habitat she had put together in the little plastic box on the back of her fireman sam bicyle - she thought they might like a little ride and a change of scene. The box was furnished with tasty grasses for them to lie on and munch if/when they became hungry...made me laugh so much...snails are great!

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  7. thats really sweet, i hope he remembers that day when he's older, and his friends are enticing him to chase wildlife round the garden with a magnifying glass on a sunny day (not that i know anything about doing that kind of evil, errr..., i just saw my brother doing it when we were younger, honest!) ; )

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  8. This post reminds me so much of my childhood. I use to love snails and use to make small houses for them as well.

    Your Son must of had such a fun day.

    Mary

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  9. what a wonderful day you must have had.

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  10. I love when you have time with just one child. Brings both of you closer, and you notice the little things about your child that you might have otherwise overlooked or 'lumped' together when both (all) children are with you. Love the snail house! Have you read the book by Allan Ahlberg with the same title?

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  11. oh what a lovely day and how nice for your snails to have 5 star accommodation - a snail spa retreat in the back garden! :)

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  12. 'snips and snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of'.

    At least that's what I'm told. Sounds like you had a lovely day together!

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  13. I've got tons of snails in my garden - can they move in to your posh des-res?

    April xx

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  14. What was a fab post and my girls loved looking at all the snail house. It's given me the idea to have ago for them as they are snail mad lol
    The book sounds like one to get and have a read of, we're getting through The Princess & the Pea right now. My fav and hope it will become one of theirs.
    Have a fabulous weekend, we must catch up over email soon.
    Hugs.
    Catherine x

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  15. I think the snail house is an inspired idea!

    I love the fact it is on 2 floors a real des res!

    Keely x

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  16. What a wonderful way to spend a day! Everyone should make time to make a house for snails!!

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  17. Oh to be a child again! Thank you for the trip down memory lane. I miss those snails. We have nothing like them over here. Those pictures will bring back many memories in years to come.

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  18. Love the snail house! Sounds like you had a wonderful day together :)

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  19. that is wonderful!! absolutely the way my boys would love to spend an afternoon. walking to school takes a long time as the little one likes to pick up each snail ,have a quiet word to them and give them a name before placing them somewhere 'safe'.thanks for the lovely idea for next week : ))

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  20. what a great post. It was lovely to read, I don't think my son and I would have ever come up with the idea for a snail house. He is much more into making machines, I am pretty sure he will be a mad scientist when he grows up.
    :o)

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  21. I LOVE this post. I'm glad the loft room was not too much a danger to the snails!

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  22. You are creating wonderful memories by being so available to your kids. I am humbled!

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  23. I remember collecting snail shells when I was a little girl, then discovering that there were actually snails still inside and getting a bit freaked out. I love the picture of the snail. What a wonderful way to spend the day.

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  24. This is my first trip to your blog and I am having SUCH fun...this post was so fabulous. I wanted to grab my daughter and come along to play. Beautiful writing and what a wonderful celebration of imagination...I'm officially hooked on your blog!

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  25. Well I loved reading ur post but u c they have to be in a moist place

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Florence x