Learning about Little Penguins. Simple Paper Plate Penguin Craft + Win a Penguin Pal!

May 30, 2014

Follow us on Pinterest for tons of great kids activities and ideas.

Here in Victoria, Australia is a beautiful little island called Phillip Island. It is home to a diverse range of incredible wildlife and is one of our favourite getaway spots as a family. A particular favourite animal of mine and the kids, is the penguin, and Phillip Island is one of the few places that you can see the Little Penguins in their natural habitat.

Fact: Did you know that the Little Penguin is the smallest of the 17 penguin species and is the only penguin that lives permanently in Australia? 

A friend of mine, Lauren, works for The Penguin Foundation on Phillip Island, which is a charity dedicated to supporting the work done by Phillip Island Nature Parks and in particular, the research, conservation and rehabilitation of the Little Penguin. When Lauren invited us down to see and learn even more about the incredible efforts going on to support these gorgeous creatures as well as some of the other great wildlife on Phillip Island, we couldn't wait.

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

10 Activities using rocks/stones

May 27, 2014

Follow us on Pinterest for tons of great kids activities and ideas.

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

This week we are showcasing

"10 Rock Activities"

Rocks are a favourite material at our place and are often used in a variety of sensory activities or imaginative play scenes. We have a large tub full of smooth black river rocks that we purchased for a few dollars from a place that sells garden supplies. Here in Australia places like Bunnings, The Reject Shop, Big W, etc. all stock them and won't set you back much for enough to play with. Here are a bunch of fun activities and ideas we found for playing and learning with rocks.
Continue reading...

Play and Learn with Kinetic Sand

May 22, 2014

Follow us on Pinterest for tons of great kids activities and ideas.
This post is sponsored by Finlee and Me

A while back I started seeing people online playing with something called, "Kinetic Sand". It looked like quite an incredible substance from what I could gather, so when I was contacted to see if I'd like to try some out, I didn't hesitate.
Continue reading...

8 Activities for Preschoolers

May 20, 2014

Follow us on Pinterest for tons of great kids activities and ideas.

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

This week we are showcasing

"Activities for Preschoolers"

Preschoolers are at that amazing stage of being open and receptive to trying new things and new experiences, but have reasonably well developed fine and gross motor skills that allows them to more confidently approach certain tasks, that may have been a little too involved for when they were a toddler. Their attention span is also generally better so they can concentrate on activities that they may not have had the patience for before. Here are a collection of activities that preschoolers would enjoy and learn from.
Continue reading...

Activities and printable resources for preschoolers. "Three to Five. Playful Preschool" e-book.

May 18, 2014

Follow us on Pinterest for tons of great kids activities and ideas.

Today I'm very excited to be sharing with you, a project that I've been working on with a fabulous group of bloggers. Coordinated by Cathy from  the fabulous site, Nurturestore, we have produced an e-book full of hands-on, play based learning activities suitable for 3-5 year olds.

This resource brings together some of the best play based kids activity bloggers on the net, in one handy book that you can print and access whenever you need it. 

What's included in your purchase?

  • 25+ ideas for preschoolers. All with great photos, easy to follow step-by-step guides and advice on how to make the most of the activity. (These activities have not been published elsewhere and are only available in the book)
  • 10 printable resources including a City Scape play scene, My First Journal pages, Recipe cards, Numbers game, Weather Chart printables, Alphabet play mats, unique Hand-drawn Art Pages, Conversation cards, Block building challenge cards and Bookmarks
  •  Additional links to over 50 more activities
  • A large range of activities covering areas of math, language, literacy, science, art, fine and gross motor, play and more.

Continue reading...

Learn to Write. 12+ Activities for early writers.

May 13, 2014

Follow us on Pinterest for tons of great kids activities and ideas.

Activities for teaching children to write

Before children can write, they need to build up the necessary fine-motor skills. Involving them in a range of fine motor activities will allow them to develop the muscle strength and coordination necessary for writing.

Like many things that children must learn, writing is something that comes with time and practice. It also often goes hand in hand with learning letters and learning your name.

Enticing children to write and make marks in a variety of ways and for a variety of purposes will help them develop the skill over time. In the title picture above, we were practicing writing our name. I wrote the name in highlighter and children can write over that with pen or pencil. Little dots with arrows showed where the letter needed to be started and the direction they needed to go.

Below are a good range of activities and ideas to help with teaching children how to write.

Continue reading...

Best useful products for kids. Introducing eBay Collections.

May 6, 2014

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang and eBay Australia

I love online shopping. Since having kids, I love it even more!

The main reasons that I love shopping online are because:

  • I love comparing prices. I never buy the first thing I see until I've at least checked out the prices it's sold for elsewhere. I need to know I'm getting the best deal and it saves a lot of footwork and time when you shop online.
  • Browsing with young kids is near impossible. Sure, I have time to grab items here and there when I shop with my kids, but just wandering around looking at items and comparing prices is not something my kids particularly enjoy and my toddler is not always the most cooperative with it. Shopping with them usually involves me just grabbing whatever I can, as quickly as I can, so that I can get us out of there.
  • A lot of the things I buy are for my kids and it's hard to secretly buy Christmas or Birthday gifts when they are standing right there, hanging off the end of your t-shirt.
  • Unless I want to drive for miles, I'm limited to just what the shops in my general area happen to be stocking. Shopping online opens up a whole world of things to choose from and it's often easier to find something a bit more unique than all the standard items available in your area.

One of my favourite places online to shop, and often my starting point (even if it's just to get an idea on availability or general prices), is eBay.

Today, I've been asked to share with you a really cool new concept that eBay has just launched, called eBay Collections. You're going to love it!

Continue reading...

Word Toss. Gross Motor game for learning Sight Words

May 4, 2014

Even before Maddie (5) started school, we had begun working on some sight words as many commonly used words are unable to be "sounded-out" and knowing them instantly, helps aid in the flow of reading text and therefore, improves comprehension. Now that Maddie is at school, learning sight words is an actual expectation and something that we have to work on.

Reading and practicing words from a list is fine, but there is no way of knowing if your child has actually learnt to read that word automatically or not, unless you test them off the list. Children are fantastic at memorising certain things and whilst you may think that pointing to words out of order on a list, shows they are able to read the words, you may be surprised when they come across the same word in a book later and are unable to read it. This is because they have memorised the exact format of the text on the list as well as it's location. Remembering them like this is good, it's an important step, but there is still a bit more work to be done on them to ensure they are properly learnt.

In order to ensure that your child has actually learnt the word and is able to read it automatically (without hesitation), they need multiple exposures to the words in different contexts. Like with everything else, some children may pick them up very quickly with limited exposure, while some may need to have more exposure and practice.

Here is a fun game that has kids reading their sight words whilst burning off a bit of energy at the same time.

Age: 3+
(See bottom for tips to simplify or extend to meet your child's needs)

Continue reading...