Being a child of the '70s my most vivid memories are of playing out because being outside was always more fun than being stuck indoors. It's different for kids now with round-the-clock TV, gadgets and internet. But I still believe that once children are shuffled outdoors they have the best times together; the freedom to roam and use their imagination, fresh air and space to run around.
So when both sets of grandparents asked what the boys would like for Christmas, we suggested a contribution towards a den.
I must admit it did mean a busy run up to Christmas for Mr B who worked into the evening when the boys were out one day, head torch on, to finish 'project den'.
I put together a few bits for the boys to use in their new space. Inspired by the Dick Whittington panto that my parents had taken them out to see that day, I made them a Dick Whittington-style survival kit each.
This included some ingenious sandwich wrappers that not only keep sandwiches fresh but serve as a plate too. I got them from a company called The Wrapper (made with the help of inmates from Kilmarnock Prison). I added some mugs with lids, hot chocolate dippers, a radio for my oldest son, and survival gadgets for the younger two plus their initials in chocolate.
On Christmas morning we ushered them out with their kits and the key to the den. We did let them back in for Christmas dinner!
During the Christmas holidays I have packed them off with supplies and they have had lunch in the den even on the most drizzly day.
They took pens and paper up there to write down what they wanted to put in it as it is quite minimalist at the moment with just table and chairs.
The list came back with a wish for a campfire, shelf, carpet (mmmm??), toys and somewhere to sit outside the den. So, it looks like there's a bit more DIY to do and some den soft furnishings on the cards for me....