Christmas Snowflake Decoration Creation Station

Nov 23, 2015

Last Christmas (yes, that's how far behind I am), I set up a little Christmas Snowflake Doiley Decoration Creation Station for my kids (try and say that quickly 5 times). The previous year, our favourite Christmas activity was this Christmas Decoration Creation Station where the kids were enticed to decorate baubles for the tree with a range of fun arty materials. They especially loved the open-ended nature of it and how the end results were not predetermined, it was completely up to them. That was the same premise for this activity. I demonstrated how you could fold and cut the doilys to make snowflakes if they wanted, but other than that, the end results were completely up to them.

As it is summer here in Australia over Christmas time, our Christmases are as far from a "white Christmas" as you can get. We certainly don't have any snow, but thanks to television shows, movies and books from other countries, my children are well aware that in many parts of the world, they do! There is something a little magical to us about a Christmas winter wonderland, so we thought we'd make our front room seem a little less summery, with a myriad of beautiful snowflakes all over the window. (Unfortunately it didn't cool us down at all... but it did look pretty) ;)
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No Bake Reindeer Cookies. Fun Christmas Food Idea

Nov 18, 2015

Each Christmas we enjoy making a little Christmas themed gift for the children in my kids' classes. Our favourite idea was our playdough Christmas tree bags. They make a great sugar-free alternative to balance out all the treats that usually get given out around Christmas time. This year however, we needed a different idea so thought that we'd have a go at making some reasonably quick and easy little Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer cookies.

Using bought biscuits definitely cuts out a lot of time and the trickiest bit is melting the chocolate, which makes it a good activity to get the kids involved with too. If they're the ones giving the gifts, they might as well help make them!
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53 Educational Activities and Games using Pompoms

Nov 3, 2015

Pompoms/pom-poms/pompons/pom-pons (whatever you call them!) are a relatively inexpensive, yet very fun and versatile little manipulative. Usually found in the craft section of most shops in a range of different colours and sizes, pompoms can be used in all manner of different ways and for different play and learning activities. Here are 53 fabulous ways that you can use pompoms to help further math, literacy, fine motor, gross motor, sensory, play, imagination, craft and/or scientific skills.
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Santa Snacks. Fun Christmas Food Ideas.

Oct 25, 2015

Ok, so it might only be October, but there's now just 2 months till Christmas and we all know how quickly the holiday season seems to spring upon us. One of our very favourite ways of getting in the Christmas spirit is attending the annual Santa's Magical Kingdom in Melbourne. It's such a magical event and the kids talk about it all year round! This year, the event is also extending to Sydney and we're delighted to be able to offer our readers a chance to win a family pass to both the Melbourne and Sydney event. See the bottom of the post for details on how to enter.

For those of you that aren't in either Melbourne or Sydney, I've included a list of my favourite cute little Santa Themed Snacks that would be perfect to get the kids helping in the kitchen and is sure to add a bit of fun to any Christmas party or event. Enjoy!
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Simple Play Ideas. Inside Potion Making

Oct 12, 2015

Today's simple play idea is one that people often play outside, but is equally as fun inside too. Making potions! My children very much enjoy adding little leaves, flowers and pebbles to water when they are outside. In fact, I remember loving to play like this when I was young too. To play inside, rather than searching the garden for potion supplies, we raid the pantry and craft cupboard instead, looking for small items that can be mixed into water. 

Here is a fun sensory "Invitation to Play" potion making that encourages skills such as pouring, transferring and scooping whilst investigating solubility (which things dissolve or not), capacity, buoyancy (whether they sink or float) and more.

Ages: 2 years +
(N was 3 years old here. See the handy tips at the bottom to Simplify and Extend to suit your child's needs) 
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Finger Exercises for Kids learning Handwriting and How to Hold a Pen Correctly.

Sep 23, 2015

Handwriting is something that takes children a while to master. It is a skill to coordinate a pen/pencil in a controlled manner to produce an exact result and one that develops over time and experience. To develop good handwriting, you require good fine-motor skills, hand/finger muscle strength and a good pen-grip/hold.

Being a trained teacher, since my children started holding and drawing with writing tools (pens, pencils, markers, crayons, paintbrushes), I have been encouraging them to adjust their grip to hold their writing implements with the three correct fingers that allow for good handwriting down the track.
Many children don't practice holding a pen using the correct 3 fingers until they get to school and then it's often a matter of trying to correct the natural hold that they have developed. Whilst children (and adults) are able to write using other various holds, the time-tested method below, once mastered, is the most comfortable way to write, allows for ease of movement and is the least likely to cause muscle strain or discomfort, especially when writing for lengthy periods of time.
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5 fun indoor balloon party games

Sep 21, 2015

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang and Illooms balloons

Balloons are often synonymous with parties for decorating and adding a burst of colour and fun, quickly and easily, but there are so many more things that balloons can be used for! There are a huge number of balloon games, fun activities with balloonsballoon crafts and even science experiments using balloons that you can try.

Playing balloon games is great for encouraging gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, balance, concentration, focus and movement. Balloons don't cost a fortune, they're easy to store and transport (we take some with us in our kids travel kit) and they can be played with by people of all ages, making them an ideal material for all sorts of occasions.

It seems that now the humble balloon has become even more fun with the introduction of the new ILLOOMS balloons. Unlike your average balloons, these contain a fixed LED light in each balloon, which illuminate for up to 15 hours when activated with the easy-pull tab!
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Watercolour Paper and Markers. Process Art for kids

Sep 17, 2015

We love experimenting around with various creative materials and seeing the different results that can be produced using these different materials and processes

In today's arty activity, the steps involved are simple enough for children of all ages, but can vary dramatically in results depending on their design. The results that we obtained ended up looking quite beautiful, but it was the experimenting with different designs, colours and the dramatic change that occurred when water was added, that really made this a stand-out activity.

Ages: 2+
See the bottom for Handy Tips
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Best Educational Toys for Kids. Magna-Tiles

Sep 7, 2015

Magna-Tiles. Are they really worth the money?

This post is sponsored by Finlee and Me

There are so many toys out there available for purchase, that it can be hard to know what is going to be of real value. We have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to review a number of fabulous educational toys over the years. We're often asked to promote or review toys for kids but the reality is that only a select few make it on to the blog and into our hearts as a toy that we absolutely love.

For a toy to make it into our top toys list, it needs to:
  • be fun
  • be educational
  • be appealing
  • be open-ended
  • allow for creativity
  • be able to be used for many years by multi-ages

Magna-Tiles ticks all these boxes and their aesthetic beauty combined with their ease of use and ability to allow for creativity, problem solving and imaginative play have firmly entrenched it as one of our favourite toys of all time.
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