Top 10 Favourite Kids Activities from 2012

Dec 27, 2012

Here are my top 10 favourite activities that I've shared with you on Learn with Play at home this year.
It was really hard to choose only 10 so I've tried to include a bit of a selection of learning areas and skills required for each activity.

Click on each picture below to take you to the corresponding post where you will find more pictures and information to get the most out of each activity.

1) Water Bottle Fountain 

This fun and engaging Science activity is suitable for kids of all ages. It is really easy to set up, using simple materials found around the house and it is relatively mess free. Click the picture to see all the pictures and  info you'll need to conduct this experiment yourself.

2) Early Literacy Ideas. 5 Fun ways to encourage Writing, Drawing and Creating

In this post I share 5 ways that I encourage my children to Write, Draw and Create. Simple ideas to help motivate them as well as ideas for making things accessible for use by young children.

3) 15 Fun ways to use Contact Paper

Who would have known that you could do so many fun activities for children with such a simple and inexpensive material? Here I share 15 fantastic ways that you could use contact paper (sticky back plastic) with the kids and also includes the link to another post I wrote with 15 more activities! (Generally, contact paper activities are relatively mess free which can sometimes be a bonus too and is great for use with kids of all ages) :)

4) Painting with Seasoning and Spices

This was certainly the most lovely smelling painting we've ever done. This type of sensory creativity should be a hit with the kids and you only need to use materials you already have in the house. Quick and easy to set up, this is an activity that the kids will want to try  more than once.

5) Make a Robot Helmet

This activity uses mainly recycled materials and just bits and pieces you can find around the house. Crafts are great for children as doing them teaches many different skills as well as practicing their creativity and engaging the mind. Crafts with a purpose are my favourite though as you get the benefits of crafting as well as a way of using them for further learning or purpose. Once this craft is over.... the imaginative play begins! 

6) Early Maths with the 3 Bears

This is a fun way to learn and practice counting and grouping in a way that makes sense to children. With ways to simplify and extend this activity for a variety of ages, this hands on, role playing game is sure to be enjoyed.

7) Baby Play Activities

I had to include some ways for our littlest friends to learn with play as well, so here are a selection of a few different, purposeful ways to play with the younger kids.

8) Make a Cardboard Tube Marble Run

You can repeat this activity over and over again. It's fun, involves gross movement, problem solving and more. You don't need any fancy supplies at all, just some recycled goods. Great fun for all ages (yes, I just wanted to jump in and take over so I had to make my own!) :)

9) Learn your Name with Playdough and Pompoms 

We loved this fun and tactile way to help practice letter and name recognition and formation. With just a few basic materials, your child can practice their fine motor skills and early literacy over and over.

10) Invitation to Paint with Recycled Materials

We have just loved our Invitations to Play and Learn this year. It is our favourite way to learn with play and this activity was just fabulous for getting sensory and creative while examining patterns and textures. Using any materials you can find around the house, this invitation is one unlikely to be ignored by the kids.


We hope you enjoy our Top 10 Favourite Kids Activities and if there's anything in particular you're looking for, try using the search bar in the sidebar and trying some key words.

In the right sidebar you will also see a section that says "Activities List"
There you can find every activity we've done by clicking on the months to reveal the titles.

You can also find us hanging out around the web in various locations. Just click the social media icons below to take you to our pages where you can follow the fun there.

A safe and happy New Year, 2013 to you all :)

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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Tinsel Weaving

Dec 22, 2012

Why not get festive and let the kids practice their hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills at the same time?

Let's try Tinsel Weaving!

Ages: 2+
(See Handy Tips at the bottom to see how to simplify or extend to meet your child's needs)

Materials: tinsel wreaths, any colour, sizes, lengths etc and tape

Tape one end of the tinsel down to make it easier for your child to weave with

Talk about the process of weaving. In and out, in and out.

This seems so simple yet can be really tricky whilst still developing hand-eye coordination.
Practice makes perfect

Have your child hunt out areas in the house suitable for large scale weaving. 
The chair backs worked well.

Handy Tips

- Simplify this activity by using shorter lengths of tinsel wreaths. The longer the length, the trickier it could be for your child to manipulate

- Extend this activity by using longer lengths of tinsel. Challenge your child to make patterns. Can they make a woven tinsel design? Spot all the places where you could weave around the house/room etc.

- Talk about textures, colours etc as well as encouraging the language of the technique of weaving. (over, under, in, out, through, interlaced etc) 

- Discuss the method of weaving and see if your child can find any woven materials in the house

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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Look where else you can find us! Come and play.

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20 Seconds

Dec 20, 2012

20 seconds. Such a seemingly insignificant amount of time.

It was a Friday night and like many others at that time, my girlfriends and I were in line to one of the popular pubs. There was nothing different about this night, it was a scene we'd experienced many times before.

As we were nearing the top of the queue I noticed a guy walking towards the line. In the midst of all the hustle going on around us, we somehow locked eyes. He smiled. I smiled. As cheesy as it sounds, we had a moment.

And just like that, the moment was gone and he was continuing walking down past the line. Without giving too much thought, I muttered something to my friends along the lines of "be back in a sec" and started walking down the queue after the guy. 

I stopped. Hang on, was I crazy? What was I even going to say? 

A 20 second moment of indecision 

While turning back to rejoin my friends I didn't see the guy look back and spot me out of the line. I didn't see that he'd been walking past the end of the queue but changed his mind and joined the end after seeing me out of the line.

20 seconds. I was out of the line for 20 seconds and that's all it took for the line to move up, my friends ID's to be checked and for them to be gone. 

With my friend's already inside, I had no choice but to traipse back down the line alone and join the end of queue.

And there is where I met the guy- aka My Husband. We got talking and thankfully we've never stopped.

20 seconds. Such a seemingly insignificant amount of time and yet if it weren't for those 20 seconds then none of the moments above would have happened. 

The past 11 years would have been so different and whilst I don't know what would have happened, I do know that I wouldn't have the amazing husband I have now, our 2 wonderful children and my head full of our memories.

Obviously the most wonderful thing to come from my 20 second moment of indecision is our children.

The most important people in my life.

Did you know that it only takes 20 seconds and 5cms of water for a toddler to drown?

20 Seconds. Such a seemingly insignificant amount of time... but everything can change.

With our youngest son now 13 months old, mobile and very quick, this is an important message that hits home with us. 

Summertime here in Australia means the weather's likely to be hot and swimming becomes a favourite activity. It also means the chances of drowning will increase.

According to Life Saving Victoria's 2011/2012 Drowing Report: "We have also seen an increase in infant and toddler drowning deaths in 2011/12, compared to 2010/11. We are still seeing the most common drowning locations for under 5s around the home and home swimming pools, highlighting the importance of adult supervision wherever there is water present in the home
Nigel Taylor ESM. Chief Executive Officer. Life Saving Victoria

This is devastating information. For some families it's meant the worst.

How can I keep my children safe?

- Constant supervision. There is no time to take your eyes off your children in and around water.
-  Take precautions and preventative methods. Empty baths, wading pools, buckets and any form of accessible bodies of water 5 cms+ deep. All pools/spas must be adequately fenced off with no access available.

- Swim only on patrolled beaches. Always swim between the flags and remember that the lifeguards are there to save lives. They are no substitution for your vigilant supervision.

- Know the environment. Different precautions are needed for different bodies of water.

- Learn to swim. Everyone should know how to swim and to stay afloat, especially school age children.

- Behave safely. Demonstrate safe behaviours around water and ensure your children learn how to as well.

For more information see Water Safety Victoria and Toddler Water Safety

Now, and always, is the time to Play it Safe by the Water

"20 seconds. Such a seemingly insignificant amount of time." 

Stay Safe, 

Please share this post. 
We can never be reminded too often where our children's safety is concerned. You just never know when a life can be saved.

{Disclosure: this is a paid post for the Victorian Government sponsored by Nuffnang}
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Giving for Children. How to be a Christmas Angel

Dec 19, 2012

One of my many goals as a parent
is to raise children who are 
Kind, Compassionate and Giving.

I want my children to be 
contributing members of society
and for them to 
care about their fellow man.

Children learn in many different ways but obviously there is no better learning than through experience. When children experience the feelings and emotions of giving and gratitude, they learn. When they witness others around them helping and giving without selfish intentions, they learn

It's my job to ensure my children are given opportunities to not only witness giving and compassion but for them to experience it for themselves.

Whilst we need to be demonstrating these values all year round, The Holiday Season provides us with the perfect opportunity where children can learn more about giving in a context that they understand.

Idea for a Christmas Tradition with the kids

Bake and hand out cookies at a retirement home/assisted living/nursing care 

Last year we started a new Christmas Tradition in our family and plan to continue it every year. 

Make cookies with your child (We used this Easy Cookie Recipe for kids)

When your cookies are done. Place them in a basket, get dressed up and put on your best smile

Find a nursing home/assisted living/retirement home etc where they are happy for you to come and hand them out to the residents.
(I would recommend calling first to ensure this is fine with the centre)

Hand them out to the residents with a cheery smile and Merry Christmas :)


We handed these out at an Assisted Living Centre. As a number of the residents have mental health issues I was sure to discuss the possible reactions of the residents with my child before we got there. Whilst I knew most people would be extremely receptive (we've visited here before) I was also aware that it was possible some of the reactions may not be. (Which is true regardless of whether people have "mental health issues" or not)

I feel it's important for my children to understand that within our society there are a huge range of people that are all different and will all react differently to situations. Some by their own choices and within their own control and others perhaps not so.

We acknowledge our good fortune at being born into good homes and for being of good physical and mental health. We feel lucky and blessed but need to be aware that not everyone is so lucky.


I hope my children enjoy this time of Giving to others. That they will understand that a small amount of their time and efforts can make all the difference to someone.. and even if we just brightened their day for a moment that it's so worthwhile.

I am sharing this post as part of a 31 Days of Service inspired from the Mom It Forward ebook as Service with a SmileGo and see all the other wonderful ways that you and the kids could help out and get involved in the community.

How do you teach your children about Giving?

Peace and Joy to you all,
Debs :)

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10 Fun Christmas Food Ideas

Dec 18, 2012

Welcome to the FINAL TUESDAY TOTS for 2012. Co-hosted by Learn with Play at home (me),  Rainy Day MumGrowing a Jeweled Rose and In Lieu of Preschool 

We'll be back next year but in the meantime, here are our final featured posts for this year.

Yes, still Christmas themed :) 
Learn with Play at home are featuring

10 Fun Christmas Food Ideas


Click on the pictures below to take you to the post

Xmas Tree Cakes by Magic Belles

Pretzal Hugs by Moms Have Questions Too

"Gingerbread" Houses by Red Ted Art

Snowman Snacks by In Lieu of Preschool

Nutter Butter Snowmen by Life with Moore Babies

Christmas Tree Cones by Reading Confetti

Reindeer Lunch by JDeniel4's Mom

Gingerbread Cookies by Inspired by Family Magazine

Christmas Cookies by Making Boys Men

Snowman Cake Pops by Cakes and Scribbles

Congratulations if you were featured.  Feel free to grab a featured button.

Here's a Simple Cookie Recipe for you to try with the kids from us.

Now that you have some AWESOME recipes to try out with the kids, perhaps you could take them somewhere to give out and spread some cheer.  (#18 Service with a Smile!)
This is what we did:

More Christmas Posts:

Now, it's your turn to link up your posts for children 5 and under. 
This linky will be open through to Jan so be sure to check back on all the great ideas.

(please read the guidelines before linking up)

Happy playing,
Debs :)

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