28 IDEAL HOME LIFE
papered and furnished and electric-lighted. With a large box for a table and small ones for stools, the children may tea-party to their hearts' content.
Pulleys and rope give a singular variety of pleasure. Pen-rod used his as an elevator to gain access to his retreat in the barn. They suggest the germ of all sorts of mechanical contrivances.
A modest seesaw is practicable. Ringtoss is a good porch game. But a broomstick livery stable has untold possibilities.
So much for the active plays. A sandbox, a box of big building blocks, and a tub to sail walnut shell boats in are the three best quiet amusements we can think of. There ought to be a portable screen, for separate "housekeeping" and for occasions when two small children wish to be ceremonious—or to quarrel. Another use for a large flat box is as the stage of a toy theater, with bottle-doll actors, but the window-sill for a platform and the window curtain that may be drawn between the scenes is even more delightful—if somebody is willing to drive the flies out of the kitchen afterward.
No single plaything will give more lasting pleasure than a blackboard. It is the handiest, biggest, and most simple medium for picture writing. A surface of cloth mounted on a roller can be bought for very little.
If we were writing about porch housekeeping we would speak of the baby-basket or baby-pen, varieties in comfortable porch-chairs, and how to connect the washer, the ironing board, the gas-plate and the chafing dish, so that the whole family may live, move, and have their being outside.
If some of these things are done not only may the mother work with greater comfort, but she may, with a few inexpensive and homely devices, keep her group of play-fellows safely and happily around her all summer.