Top 12 Activity posts 2013 from Learn with Play at Home

Dec 27, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?


The year in review:


2013 has been an exciting year for the Learn with Play at Home blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing our activities and ideas with you and have loved seeing our readership and followers grow and grow over the year. Our bustling community on facebook has almost 25,000 followers now, my favourite pinterest has grown to over 26,000 followers and we have been upping our profile on google+, instagram (love instagram, come and follow us!) and twitter. Just this past month, you, dear readers, have pushed us to over 200,000 pageviews per month with more than 100,000 unique viewers p/m. Thank you!

We have formed amazing partnerships with some incredible businesses that we fully believe in and support, this year. A huge thank you to the completely awesome art, craft and stationery experts, Micador and the awe inspiring team at Spielgaben. Your support and belief in this blog and our work has been truly invaluable and greatly appreciated. Not only do you make and sell awesome, high quality products that add great benefit to our children's lives and education, but you are also wonderful people to know and associate with as well.

Thank you also to my management, Bloggerati by Nuffnang who have looked after the commercial side of the blog and who make it possible for me to invest the time into keeping Learn with Play at Home running and full of free ideas. They have been instrumental in providing us with appropriate clients to work with and I have been privileged to attend some fabulous events and work with some major companies thanks to them.

Many readers would also be unaware of the friendships that blogging can help form and I am blessed to have made friends and connections with some of the most incredible and inspiring mothers around the world.

2013 has seen us with a fresh new look, (banner by graphic designer Paul Rasche and matching elements/style by Kate Pickle designs), a writing gig over on Kidspot, a fabulous Playful Maths series and a look at a different teaching philosophy with our Exploring Reggio series. Not to mention a plethora of other activities and ideas spanning all the different learning areas. It has been a truly fabulous year and experience with the blog and I can't wait to see what 2014 brings.

Here I have put together a combination of "readers choice" (the ones you viewed the most) and "my choice" (a couple that I just really loved doing), for our Top 12 Posts for 2013. I hope you enjoy! :)



Continue reading...


5 Simple, Fun Christmas Sensory Play ideas for kids

Dec 17, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?


Welcome to TUESDAY TOTS for this week.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (that's us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at Home is showcasing

5 Simple, Fun Christmas Sensory Play Ideas

These great posts came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup. 
Don't forget to check out the other great features from our co-hosts.




FEATURED

My kids love Sensory play and so do I, as it's generally something that keeps them entertained for ages. Besides the fun they're having, there is so much learning that takes place through these experiences.

It is very worthwhile for children to be exposed to experiences where they can use multiple senses in order to develop these further and to make connections about themselves and the world around them in a way that is natural to them. Just sit back and observe as they hone their fine-motor skills and practice things like tipping and pouring and cutting. See them investigate and explore the varying materials and their properties and listen as they question occurrences or state observations. It really is delightful to watch.

With Christmas fast approaching, it's fun to get in the spirit so here are some lovely but simple to set-up, Christmas sensory play ideas. (Because let's face it, time is tight at the moment!)

Continue reading...


DIY Chistmas Tree Playdough Gift Bags with free printable labels

Dec 14, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?

As a little end of year gift for the children in Maddie's preschool class, we made some lovely little "Make your own Playdough Christmas tree" bags. 

There are so many variations that you could make of these playdough bags. We made some Very Hungry Caterpillar playdough bags for a birthday before and found them to be a fun, different and economical gift for kids.
Continue reading...


Construction Building with Blocks and Tape

Dec 9, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?

See below for your chance to win a complete set of Spielgaben

Today's activity is part of an ongoing series, Exploring Reggio. Our co-creators for the series are, The Imagination TreeAn Everyday StoryOne Perfect DayTwodaloo and Racheous- Lovable Learning.

Continue reading...


Kid-made simple Candy Cane Decorations

Dec 8, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?

If you're ever in need of a super quick and easy way to bring some instant Christmas cheer to a room, try twisting up some of these basic little pipe-cleaner candy cane decorations.

Adults can whip these up in a matter of seconds, but you will find that depending on the age of the child and how advanced their fine-motor skills are, they may take a little longer or need a bit of assistance.

Continue reading...


10 Christmas Activities for Toddlers

Dec 3, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?


Welcome to TUESDAY TOTS for this week.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (that's us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

10 Christmas themed Activities for Toddlers

These great posts came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured 6 Christmas Countdown Ideas




FEATURED

Here are some fabulously simple crafts and wonderful sensory play experiences that I found linked up to Tuesday Tots. These activities are suitable for most toddlers with supervision and will of course be enjoyed by preschoolers and older children as well. (Ok, and adults too) :)

Continue reading...


A Letter for the Postman. Acts of Kindness for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Dec 1, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?

Each year around Christmas time, my children and I love to bake cookies and deliver them to an assisted living centre to bring some Christmas cheer to others. We're looking forward to doing this again this year slightly closer to Christmas.

Whilst it is important to encourage children to be kind and thoughtful towards others all year round, Christmas is certainly a fabulous time of year to put a real emphasis on kindness, giving and thinking about others and a little less emphasis on what we want and what we're going to get.

When Chelsea from Moments a Day organised a group of bloggers to participate in Random Acts of Kindness for Toddlers and Preschoolers I was grateful for the opportunity to think about this more and to reinforce these important messages in my children. Using Chelsea's ebook, 52 Acts of Kindness, for inspiration, I read through some of the different and simple ideas that we could do to bring a little bit of sunshine to someone's life. Together, we decided that we would write a letter and leave a little gift for our postman.
Continue reading...


Simple Bubblewrap Christmas Cards made by kids

Nov 28, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?

We love making our own Christmas cards but it can get tricky coming up with new ideas that are simple enough for young children to be able to manage on their own. Here's a simple card that we made using a few recycled materials from around the house and a little bit of paint.
Continue reading...


6 Christmas Advent ideas for kids

Nov 26, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?



Welcome to TUESDAY TOTS for this week.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (that's us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

6 delightful Christmas Advent ideas

These great posts came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured 26 Christmas Decorations kids can make!




FEATURED

Have fun with the lead up to Christmas with these great ideas for DIY Advent Calendars and fun Advent activity ideas.

Continue reading...


Christmas Decoration Creation Station

Nov 24, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?

After seeing how much, Maddie (4) enjoyed her Valentines Creation Station, I had been looking forward to creating a Christmas Decoration Creation Station all year long. Finally the time has arrived!

I love this sort of open-ended creativity. Provide your child with an invitation to create simply by setting out a range of enticing materials that can be used in a variety of different ways individually and together, and then sit back as they get stuck in. After your child is used to being presented with invitations to play, they will need very little instruction, (if any) before they start. Children experiencing this sort of provocation for the first time may be hesitant to start without instruction. If they ask what they should do, try asking them,  "What do you think you could do?", and go from there.

Continue reading...


Exploring teen numbers. Open-ended, hands-on maths for kids.

Nov 21, 2013

The Benefits of Technology for Pre-schoolers. Plus a VTech InnoTab3S Kids Tablet Review!

Nov 19, 2013


This is a sponsored post

We live in a technological world and our children are growing up in this world. There is no escaping technology these days, and why would you? We are more advanced than ever before and the possibilities that lay ahead for our children and our children's children are endless.

Embracing technology with young children can be a little harder to do as our instincts tell us that childhood needs to be about play and movement, fort building, scraped knees, bug collecting, hide-and seek and ice-cream. So, where does technology fit into all of this and how can we use it best with our young children?


In our schools in Australia, an integral part of the curriculum is the integration of ICT (Information Communication Technology). ICT is the hardware and software that allows us to digitally process, store and communicate data.
The focus of using ICT with our students is for:

  • Communication- using ICT tools to communicate, research and share ideas/knowledge
  • Creativity-  using ICT to solve problems, create products etc.
  • Visualising Thinking- using ICT to visually demonstrate thought processes


The use and integration of ICT in the classroom begins with the Early Years and carries the entire way through their schooling, becoming more and more prominent as they get older.
These days, in Australia, you would find very few children that haven't had some experiences with ICT before starting school. Here's how and why I use it with my children.

Continue reading...


26 Christmas Decorations kids can make

Are you following us on Pinterest?


Welcome to TUESDAY TOTS for this week.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (that's us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

26 Christmas Decorations kids can make!

These great posts came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured 8 Creative Playdough Ideas for kids




FEATURED

Christmas is such an exciting time of year for kids. To get them in the spirit early, here are 26 fabulous Christmas Decorations that you can make with your children. Not only will you create precious memories but your children learn a lot of different skills along the way including fine motor skills, colours, patterns, creativity, language, concepts of Christmas, literacy skills, numeracy skills and more. With a huge range to choose from, there's something to suit every taste and skill level.
Continue reading...


Dinosaur Party

Nov 16, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?
Dinosaur Party Ideas from learnwithplayathome.com

For my son's 2nd birthday we decided to go with a Dinosaur theme. It was a simple choice as not only did he show a great fondness for dinosaurs, but it is such a fun and easy theme to work with. I just had to have a go! :)

As dinosaurs are so popular with children, there is no end to the supplies and merchandise that you can find available to stock up for your dinosaur party. Bonus! Try $2 shops to stock up on cheap plastic dinosaur toys and other such items.

One of the things I loved the most about putting on this Dinosaur Party was decorating the house with as many potted ferns and plants as I could get my hands on. We used a lot from around our own yard and borrowed some from family members for the party. It was a really quick and easy way to transform our house into a bit of a jungle! The Dinosaur Dig activity was also a highlight. It kept the kids busy for a lot longer than anticipated and was incredibly easy to set up. We had the cutest loot bag goodies ever, thanks to our friends at Micador, and I found that dinosaur themed food was really easy to come up with and a lot of fun! All in all, it was a fabulous theme and we were delighted with how it all came together.

Here are some pics from our day.
Continue reading...


8 Creative Playdough ideas for kids

Nov 12, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?


Welcome to TUESDAY TOTS for this week.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (that's us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

8 Creative Playdough Ideas

These great posts came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured 10 Awesome Homemade Ideas for kids




FEATURED

We use playdough at our house on a daily basis. It is such a useful and fun, sensory material that you can make easily and cheaply yourself at home. Here is our no-cook playdough recipe that should set you up for hours upon hours of fun and learning for your kids.
Below are a collection of 8 fun and creative ideas that you could use to add to your playdough play.
Continue reading...


An Invitation to Paint Big!

10 Awesome Homemade Ideas for Kids

Nov 5, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?


Welcome to this week's TUESDAY TOTS.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (that's us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

10 Awesome Homemade Ideas for kids

These great posts all came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured Colour themed activities


Continue reading...


Clean the Rocks. Toddler Sensory Play

Nov 2, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?

My toddler is really into sensory play at the moment. At this stage in his development, I find that this type of play is likely to hold his attention for longer than many of the ways we play.

The other day I was desperate to get a little bit of necessary paperwork completed and wanted something that would keep him independently occupied next to me without needing much input from me, for as long as we could manage. I knew my best chances would be something sensory but I didn't have the time for preparations and I didn't want something that was going to create a large mess.

Here's what we ended up with. An Invitation to Play with shaving foam, rocks and water. Cleaning rocks!


Age: 18 months+
(N has just turned 2. See the bottom for Handy Tips to simplify or extend for your child)

Continue reading...


Create a Box City. Cutting practice and creativity for kids.

Oct 31, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?

With children that enjoy getting creative and doing arts and crafts, you can go through a lot of materials very quickly. This is why we try to use recycled materials as often as possible. 

My preschooler is very keen on cutting activities so I quickly whipped up this little activity to keep her entertained while her little brother napped and to help develop her cutting skills, creativity and imagination.


Ages: 2+
(Maddie was 4y/o here. See the bottom for Handy Tips to simplify or extend to suit your child.) 
Continue reading...


Colour Activities for kids

Oct 29, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?



Welcome to this week's TUESDAY TOTS.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (that's us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

Fun Activities to learn about Colours

These great posts all came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured 8 Toddler Invitations to Play


Continue reading...


Enticing literacy. Making and writing words.

Oct 24, 2013


Today's activity is part of an ongoing series, Exploring Reggio. Our co-creators for the series are, The Imagination TreeAn Everyday StoryOne Perfect Day and Twodaloo




Maddie (almost 5), is starting school next year so we've been filling out a lot of transition paperwork lately. I was asking her about what she's looking forward to learning at school and one of the main things she was interested in was, "writing and reading new words."

She's always shown a great interest in reading and writing and in the past we've done many activities around learning letters, writing your name and basic sight words. Like most children her age, things like letter formation are still yet to be perfected as she continues to develop her fine motor skills and coordination.

As a way to help her in her quest to write and read new words, as well as paying closer attention to how letters are formed, I set up an invitation (or provocation) to entice her to hopefully want to read, write and play around.
Continue reading...


8 Toddler Play Ideas. Invitations to Play.

Oct 22, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?
8 Invitations to Play for Toddlers. Toddler Activities


Welcome to this week's TUESDAY TOTS.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (that's us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

8 Invitations to Play for toddlers
(many suitable for babies too)

These great posts all came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured 10 Quiet Activities for Kids


Continue reading...


How to make a High Tea for Kids

Oct 16, 2013

This is a sponsored post



On the weekend, Mum and I were fortunate to attend the 'High Tea Brewed by Lipton' event at the Masterchef Dining and Bar in Melbourne. From the outset we were very excited about having the opportunity to experience some of the Masterchef goodies and enjoy a good chat together over a cup (or many!) of the new Lipton Pyramids tea range.

Our expectations certainly weren't let down on any front as we sipped and nibbled and chatted to our hearts content.

Continue reading...


10 Quiet Activities for Kids

Oct 15, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?


Welcome to this week's TUESDAY TOTS.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (that's us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

10 Quiet Activities for kids

These great posts all came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured 25 Halloween Activities for kids


Continue reading...


Exploring Paint on a Mirror

Oct 10, 2013


Today's activity is part on an ongoing series, Exploring Reggio with The Imagination Tree, An Everyday StoryOne Perfect Day and Twodaloo


Through observing my children in their play habits and using notes from Maddie's preschool as confirmation, I'm well aware that they both love sensory activities and painting

Using this weeks theme of mirror play, I set up a simple Invitation to Play with very limited materials. This time I wanted to see what they would make of just these materials and whether they would engage with their reflections. I thought perhaps we might work on some oral language development for my toddler, focused around face and body parts, but as it turned out, the kids had different ideas to what this activity would be about. You can see how it panned out (and all the fabulous learning) below.

Continue reading...


25 Halloween Activities for Kids

Oct 8, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?


Welcome to this week's TUESDAY TOTS.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

25 Halloween Activities for Kids

These great posts all came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured 10 Creative Kids Painting Activities

Continue reading...


Sushi Penguin. Fun food for kids.

Oct 3, 2013

{Woolworths has teamed up with Taronga Conservation Society Australia to launch a collection of Aussie Animals collector cards, available exclusively at Woolworths supermarkets. There are 108 trading cards for your children to collect.}


I love making fun food for kids! It's amazing how with a little bit of effort you can make something average into something really fun. It's so good for enticing young children to eat healthy food. Generally, like the rest of the world, I don't have a lot of spare time so I don't always go to as much effort as I did here. This time, however, I wanted to attempt something a little bit "fancier" (which I've now decided is a general code word for trickier or more effort, haha).


Continue reading...


10 Creative Kids Painting Activities

Oct 1, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?


Welcome once again to this week's TUESDAY TOTS.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

10 Creative & Different Painting Activities

These great posts all came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured Animal Activities and Crafts



FEATURED

We just can't do enough painting at our house so I'm always looking for and thinking about new and interesting ways that we can explore and be creative with. Here are a bunch of lovely ways that mums around the world have been painting and experimenting with their kids.
Continue reading...


Exploring Reggio

Sep 28, 2013



Today I am delighted to be sharing with you a new series called  Exploring Reggio, with four of my favourite blogs.

Fortnightly you can join myself, along with Anna from The Imagination Tree, Kate from An Everyday Story, Ness from One Perfect Day and Stephanie from Twodaloo as we take you on a journey of learning and self discovery of the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy and how we are integrating this into our own homes and classrooms.
Continue reading...


Learning about Animals with Aussie Animals Collector Cards

Sep 26, 2013

This is a sponsored post


When we heard that Woolworths were partnering with Taronga Conservation Society to launch an exclusive collection of Aussie Animals collector cards, we were keen to head into store and check them out for ourselves.

My children, like most that I know, absolutely love animals and everything to do with animals! As a mother and a teacher, I believe that learning about and growing empathy, awareness, respect and understanding for the other living creatures that we share our world with is important for all children in order to help ensure the future of these incredible creatures. Forming their own collection of animal pictures and facts, such as the opportunity these cards present,  makes learning about animals fun and exciting and is a perfect way to get children more interested in our wildlife.

Continue reading...


Animal Activities and Crafts

Sep 24, 2013

Are you following us on Pinterest?


Welcome again to this week's TUESDAY TOTS.
Brought to you by Learn with Play at home (us), Rainy Day Mum,
and One Perfect Day


This Week:
Learn with Play at home is showcasing

Animal crafts and activities

These great posts all came from last weeks Tuesday Tots linkup
where we featured Tree Themed Activities


Continue reading...


Enticing Literacy with kid-made Greeting Cards

Sep 19, 2013


.
We love making our own greeting cards because aside from being cheaper and more meaningful, they also provide us with opportunities to develop language, be creative and practice some literacy skills such as writing and reading.



Ages: 3+
(See the Handy Tips at the bottom to simplify or extend to meet your child's needs)
Continue reading...