Author Archives: Amanda McKay

Easter Activities for Toddlers – A Fun Way To Learning

Easter Bilby

Looking for some fun Easter activities to do with your kids? The Easter egg hunt has always been a favourite for kids and parents alike but why not try some new activities too? There is a lot of simple toddler Easter activities ideal for getting in the Hippity Hoppity spirit.

Easter activities

Easter is almost here, and the Autumn season is so delightful that it’s truly hard not to appreciate it. It’s so welcoming after being cooped up inside for a really long time.

Whenever I think Easter, I think Easter fun activities: Easter eggs and obviously the Easter bunny!  So, let’s get into the fun part!

Easter Bilby

Easy and Fun Easter Activities Ideas

Toddlers have a unique mix of interest, freshly discovered freedom, thoughtfulness, and chaos. These simple Easter activities will allow your babies to investigate their curiosity and creativity and work on fundamental skills like hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Glow in the dark Easter Egg Hunt

Setting up a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt is so simple and is bound to be be enjoyed by the whole family.

You will require:

Glow stick bracelets

Easter egg fillers

Huge plastic eggs

To Set Up Your Easter Egg Hunt:

glow in the dark

Start by activating and gathering the glow stick bracelets.

Place them into huge plastic eggs alongside a treat or prize.

Seal the eggs, and you are good to go!

Hide the eggs outside just after dark, and afterward, have the children proceed to discover them!

Marshmallow Slime

You can call it both slime and play dough. It’s not quite slimy, but it isn’t quite play dough either. Regardless of the name, it’s a great science and sensory experience for the toddlers (and you!).

Marshmallow Slime Directions:

Place the marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl.

Add one tablespoon of coconut oil to the bowl.

Put the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Remove the bowl from the microwave and mix the ingredients.

Add three to five tablespoons of cornstarch.

The mixture will be quite sticky but will reduce as you add the cornstarch.

Once the cornstarch is mixed in well, form the marshmallow slime into a ball.

Now that your marshmallow playdough is complete, it’s time to play!

Easter Sensory Bin

This giant tangible bin will help keep the grass, and Easter fun contained and let your little one dump, toss, and play the entire day!

You will require:sensory basket

Plastic Tub

Easter Grass

Plastic Eggs (Different Types/Sizes)

Toys

Easter Basket

You can put pretty much anything which will help your child explore their senses into this Easter sensory bin.

Easter Bonnets and Hats

Easter hats are a traditional part of Easter celebrations at primary school. No Easter celebration would be complete without the Easter bonnet. Decorate your hats and bonnets with beautiful colours, sparkles, feathers and other craft products. We’ve listed a few ideas below:

easter bonnet

Popping Rabbit Easter Bonnet

Floral Bunny Ears Headband

Paper Plate Rabbit Ears

Carrot Hat

Spring Chicken Hat

Spring Theme Easter Hat

Easter Party Hat

Egg Shell Hat

The options are endless!

Keep in mind, it’s not about the final product but the process of having fun and enjoying spending quality time with your little one along the way.

Taking your baby out for the first time

Taking a baby out for the first time is sometimes a worrying issue for most new parents, particularly first-time parents. The concern is that a newborns  immune systems has not adequately matured and therefore will struggle to fight off illnesses. Read our guide to taking your baby out. So, When Is It Safe to Take […]

Read more

Self Care in Pregnancy

Just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Getting pregnant is a colossal milestone in life. But, now what do you do? What are the next steps after achieving pregnancy success? Are you ready for the changes that are coming ahead in this beautiful journey? If yes, then lets chat about self care in pregnancy and ways […]

Read more

Baby Gender – Old Wives’ Tales

Baby Gender – Old Wives’ Tales After you share the good news with your loved ones, you will undoubtedly start getting the question: “Do you know what you’re having?” Old wives’ tales are a fun (yet not scientific) approach to find out the sex of your child. These days, a simple blood test can tell […]

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Baby Gender – Old Wives’ Tales

pregnancy announcement

Baby Gender – Old Wives’ Tales

After you share the good news with your loved ones, you will undoubtedly start getting the question: “Do you know what you’re having?” Old wives’ tales are a fun (yet not scientific) approach to find out the sex of your child.

These days, a simple blood test can tell you the sex of your baby as early as ten weeks into your pregnancy. But a few people depend on old wives’ tales as sound strategies for gender prediction.

Sweet Versus Salty Cravings

As the weeks tick on, you want to have certain foods— like, right now! Indeed, those are your pregnancy cravings. Can’t get enough of the sweet stuff? You may be having a little girl. If salty bites are what you’re after, maybe you’re having a baby boy. (And if you’re wanting everything? Well, that just means you’re pregnant.)

Dangling A Ring

Take your wedding ring and append it to a string. Lie down and have somebody hold the hanging ring over your belly. If it swings in a round movement, you’re having a girl. If it moves in to and fro like a pendulum, you’re probably having a boy.

The Heartbeat Theory

baby heart beat

Fetal heart rate ranges somewhere in the range of 110 and 160. If your baby’s heart rate averages in the 110 to low 130s range, the thought is that it’s probably a boy, and if it’s in the 140s to 160 range, it’s likely a girl. Mid-130s to 140s is unpredictable, and where a lot of heart rates fall.

Extreme Nausea

Little girls aren’t always sweet. Extreme nausea indicates you are having a baby girl. Morning sickness impacts most pregnancies somewhat. What’s interesting is that very recent research shows there may be some truth to this tale.

Your Bump Shape

Does your tummy stick out straight like a torpedo?

Bump Shape

Some may say you’re sure to have a baby boy.  If you’re looking thicker around the edges or carrying wide, you may have a baby girl in there.

Pregnancy Glow, Or No Glow

If your complexion is bright and your hair looks like that of a hair commercial, you could be having a boy. If that much discussed ‘pregnancy glow’ is missing in action, instead you’re breaking out, it might simply mean you have a young lady growing inside you. (It’s said girls take Mum’s beauty.)

Moody Versus Mellow

If you’re feeling more irritable than mellow, you may be having a girl. And if you’re more relaxed, legend has it you must prepare for a boy.

If the Daddy Is Gaining Weight or Not

The old wives’ tale says there’s a decent possibility you’re having a boy if your partner has been able to maintain his physique even when the scale tips upward for you as the weeks progress. And if your partner is gaining weight alongside you (also known as “sympathy weight”), that could be a sign that you’re carrying a girl.

The bottom line

While the chances of the prediction being correct are still low, these can be fun strategies.

baby gender

So, feel free to enjoy the guessing game. Even if you wind up going with an innovative strategy to know your baby’s sex, an old wives’ tale, or you find out as our forefathers would have done it in the labour room, you’ll experience passionate feelings for that child in your arms regardless.

Here’s to having  a sound (and adorable) boy and girl!

 

Taking your baby out for the first time

Taking a baby out for the first time is sometimes a worrying issue for most new parents, particularly first-time parents. The concern is that a newborns  immune systems has not adequately matured and therefore will struggle to fight off illnesses. Read our guide to taking your baby out. So, When Is It Safe to Take […]

Read more

Self Care in Pregnancy

Just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Getting pregnant is a colossal milestone in life. But, now what do you do? What are the next steps after achieving pregnancy success? Are you ready for the changes that are coming ahead in this beautiful journey? If yes, then lets chat about self care in pregnancy and ways […]

Read more

Easter Activities for Toddlers – A Fun Way To Learning

Looking for some fun Easter activities to do with your kids? The Easter egg hunt has always been a favourite for kids and parents alike but why not try some new activities too? There is a lot of simple toddler Easter activities ideal for getting in the Hippity Hoppity spirit. Easter is almost here, and […]

Read more

Music benefits babies

music benefits babies

Music and Baby | The Soundtrack to Your Baby’s Healthy Growth

 

making music with baby

Freddy teaching PJ how to use the hand drum at our local free Music in the Park. We took a mat and the boys loved it.

Did you know that music benefits babies? And can make you and your baby more joyful while boosting brain development?

From birth, parents naturally use music to calm and lighten babies, communicate love and satisfaction, and draw in and interact. Furthermore, you can expand on these natural instincts by figuring out how music can benefit your kid’s development, improve social skills, and deliver emotional support. Plus it’s a great way to have fun.

The Music benefits Babies

Besides an early appreciation of music, here are some of the wide range of cognitive, developmental, and emotional benefits of listening to music for babies.

Get an Early Start: Music in The Womb

It is demonstrated that music has a role in mental health even before birth. Tuning in to music during pregnancy has an alleviating and relaxing impact on Mamas. Additionally it also has a positive effect on your unborn baby. Your unborn baby can perceive her mum’s voice, her local language, word patterns, and rhymes.

Music and The Baby Brain 

A study found that musical experiences in childhood can really quicken brain development, especially in language. [1] Neuroscientists who study babies say music has enduring advantages. Music has a significant effect on the baby’s mind. [2] One examination from the Institute of Learning and Brain Sciences identified that babies auditory and prefrontal cortexes appear to be different with exposure to music. These are the areas of the brain responsible for handling both music and speech.

Language Advancement 

fun reversible baby playmat

Not just for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers also benefit from the motor, neural and social benefits of music.

Any exposure to language is beneficial for babies, mainly through an accessible activity like listening and making music. Singing can even provoke children to chime in, in their own little way… Research shows that babbling efforts—even if it’s gibberish—are beneficial for babies’ minds and improving language development.

Music Improves Learning

From the beginning, children can hear the difference between various kinds of sounds. After only a couple of weeks, an infant can recognize their mum’s voice from other people’s. This means exposure to music assists a child’s natural capacity to disentangle sounds and words. Therefore, by singing nursery rhymes to your little one, you can help them distinguish sound patterns and learn through reiteration.

Close Harmony 

Playing with your baby along side music is an easy and effective way to build your relationship. Playing music with your baby triggers the arrival of oxytocin – the “bonding” hormone also delivered during nursing. Finally, babies who move rhythmically to music smile more, are easier to soothe and are more able to study their environment than babies who only listen.

Wrapping Up!

Regardless of how you decide to include music into your baby’s life, it has added neurological benefits but more importantly it is soothing, fun and an incredible way to bond.

References

  1. 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute
  2. https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/113/19/5212.full.pdf

 

Taking your baby out for the first time

Taking a baby out for the first time is sometimes a worrying issue for most new parents, particularly first-time parents. The concern is that a newborns  immune systems has not adequately matured and therefore will struggle to fight off illnesses. Read our guide to taking your baby out. So, When Is It Safe to Take […]

Read more

Self Care in Pregnancy

Just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Getting pregnant is a colossal milestone in life. But, now what do you do? What are the next steps after achieving pregnancy success? Are you ready for the changes that are coming ahead in this beautiful journey? If yes, then lets chat about self care in pregnancy and ways […]

Read more

Easter Activities for Toddlers – A Fun Way To Learning

Looking for some fun Easter activities to do with your kids? The Easter egg hunt has always been a favourite for kids and parents alike but why not try some new activities too? There is a lot of simple toddler Easter activities ideal for getting in the Hippity Hoppity spirit. Easter is almost here, and […]

Read more

Baby playmat: 5 uses for your play mat

floral baby playmat

Baby playmat in action

We have seen so many wonderful stories and pics lately on our Instagram showing all the ways you are using your baby playmat.  Here are a few of ours faves in case you are looking for further inspiration.

Baby play mat tummy time

tummy time baby playmat

Tummy time practice on the Sage Safari playmat

From a only a few weeks old babies can be placed on our baby playmats to start exploring their physical world. Tummy time is essential for neck, back and upper body strength development. It is how they learn to roll and start reaching all their physical milestones.

 

Does your little one cry during tummy time? Here are some things to try which might help make it a more enjoyable experience. 1. Lying on your tummy next to them and reading,talking or singing them a song. 2. Placing a mirror in front of them. This worked a treat with my eldest who loved looking in the mirror.  3. Placing a toy in front of them which makes noise. Focusing their attention onto an object rather than the feeling of being on their tummy often soothes little ones as they get used to the sensation of tummy time.

 

Play time on your baby playmat

play time baby playmat

Tea parties with baby on our Sand Safari baby playmat

By far the most popular. Our children’s designs have all been inspired with play in mind. And everyone is so creative with how their little ones play.

From newborns doing tummy time to toddlers exploring with cars, blocks, books, and just about any toy, this baby playmat provides a safe space for exploring and using their imaginations.

Encouraging open ended imaginative play is excellent for creativity, social skills and problem solving. Finally, your little one will be refining gross and fine motor skills, practicing verbal skills and most importantly be exploring their understanding of spacial awareness.

No nappy time

Little one needing some air time but you don’t want the carpet getting soaked by the inevitable toileting accident? Your Freddy & Co baby playmat is waterproof. Just make sure you are cleaning it up straight away to avoid damaging your mat if it is left there too long (of course – you don’t want your little one lying in it anyway). Clean up the excess with paper towel then wipe your mat with a soft cloth and warm soapy water.

Picnics and baby led weaning

Babies learning to eat make such a mess!! And picnics are such a fun way to get your little one to explore new foods. Here is where our waterproof playmats come in extra handy. Therefore, you can wipe them straight down with a soft cloth and warm soapy water (we use Earth Choice dish liquid in our house). And if you are near a hose you can always take it outside for a sneaky hose off instead.

Exercise and stretching on your baby playmat

Thankfully this ones for you parents. Your Freddy & Co baby playmat is also designed for you. You can flip it over for a neutral pattern once the kids aren’t using it and it makes for a great place to practice some yoga and pilates, or have a stretch. Finally, I’ve even been tagged in some pics of parents having a sneaky nap here too 😊

And keep those tags coming on Instagram. We love checking out all the ways you are loving your Freddy & Co baby playmat.

Taking your baby out for the first time

Taking a baby out for the first time is sometimes a worrying issue for most new parents, particularly first-time parents. The concern is that a newborns  immune systems has not adequately matured and therefore will struggle to fight off illnesses. Read our guide to taking your baby out. So, When Is It Safe to Take […]

Read more

Self Care in Pregnancy

Just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Getting pregnant is a colossal milestone in life. But, now what do you do? What are the next steps after achieving pregnancy success? Are you ready for the changes that are coming ahead in this beautiful journey? If yes, then lets chat about self care in pregnancy and ways […]

Read more

Easter Activities for Toddlers – A Fun Way To Learning

Looking for some fun Easter activities to do with your kids? The Easter egg hunt has always been a favourite for kids and parents alike but why not try some new activities too? There is a lot of simple toddler Easter activities ideal for getting in the Hippity Hoppity spirit. Easter is almost here, and […]

Read more

Easy no bake carrot cake balls

Easy no bake carrot cake balls – a healthy snack for the family.

I don’t know about you guys, but after only one week back in the real world of routine and school not even started yet, I already have lunchbox dread and fatigue. Particularly, when it comes to organising snacks for my little ones even when we are home for the day. It is hard finding easy kid and toddler recipe ideas that don’t take forever to make. It’s even harder to find ones that don’t require a separate trip to the shops. Which lets be honest, most of us don’t have the energy to do. This is why I love the easy no bake carrot cake balls.

kids carrot cake balls

It was only when I was cleaning out my kitchen cupboards (I’m 30 weeks and nesting like crazy) that I remembered an old recipe I found in a Woolworths magazine. With many families getting ready to get back into routine whether it is day care, school, partner back at work or days home with the kids, I wanted to share with you our own adapted version. So here it is, our No Bake – Carrot Cake Balls. If you are looking for a quick and easy snack idea that is also healthy for the whole family, this is it.

 

Ingredients:

2x medium carrot grated

10-12 pitted dates

Cinnamon (can use any spices of your choice – try ginger, nutmeg or all spice for variety)

Coconut (desiccated) ½ cup for mixture – extra for coating

 

Method: Easy no bake carrot cake balls

Kids carrot cake balls1. Make sure your dates are moist – if they aren’t soft and squishy you’ll need to soak them in boiling water for 15 mins prior to starting.

2. Process dates, cinnamon and coconut together in the food processor until dates fully are chopped (I use a ninja bullet because I’m lazy and its always out but it doesn’t work as well).

3.  Add grated carrot and process until all the ingredients are mixed.

4.  Roll mixture into evenly sized balls – I like to make mine extra large.

5.  Coat the balls with desiccated coconut. Store in the fridge.

 

Some extra things to note:

✖     I make our balls extra-large so our two year old can’t fit them in his mouth without biting and chewing to reduce risk of choking. Another option if serving to young children is to chop the balls into small pieces before serving.

✖    Don’t have dates in the cupboard? I’ve also given this a go with prunes (my kids love them) and with apricots. Both work well but you may have to play with consistency and pre-soak the fruit.

✖   If they aren’t rolling into a nice ball, add a spoon of coconut oil if its too dry and crumbly, or coconut/almond flour if it’s too wet…

 

 

Taking your baby out for the first time

Taking a baby out for the first time is sometimes a worrying issue for most new parents, particularly first-time parents. The concern is that a newborns  immune systems has not adequately matured and therefore will struggle to fight off illnesses. Read our guide to taking your baby out. So, When Is It Safe to Take […]

Read more

Self Care in Pregnancy

Just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Getting pregnant is a colossal milestone in life. But, now what do you do? What are the next steps after achieving pregnancy success? Are you ready for the changes that are coming ahead in this beautiful journey? If yes, then lets chat about self care in pregnancy and ways […]

Read more

Easter Activities for Toddlers – A Fun Way To Learning

Looking for some fun Easter activities to do with your kids? The Easter egg hunt has always been a favourite for kids and parents alike but why not try some new activities too? There is a lot of simple toddler Easter activities ideal for getting in the Hippity Hoppity spirit. Easter is almost here, and […]

Read more

Having three children… thoughts, questions, doubts

Blue geo baby play mat

Three children… what are we thinking?

The Freddy & Co family is extending to five.  Yep we are expecting our third.  While it is super exciting, I am cautious as to how the dynamic will change and the chaos that will ensue.  I have been bailing up every Mum at the parks and asking them what life is like with three children.  Most look reasonably tired, well lets be honest, you could be tired having just one kid.  Some say it is great, but is it really….as I look back perplexed, hoping they can see my thoughts piercing their brain.

having three children

 

I’m the self appointed logistics man at Freddy & Co, so I’ve been approaching the third kid

from a different angle.  How are the car seats going to fit in?  Is our car big enough?  How are we going to get them to sport on a weekend when one kid is at Carina, one supposed to be at Capalaba and the other is due to kick off in one hour at Albany Creek? How are we going to juggle the bed situation at our house? Who moves where?

And that’s before the panic sets in about the financial implications of having three children sets in. You don’t want to get me started on that.

The reality of three children…

But does it really matter? Shouldn’t I just be delighted and grateful that MRS Freddy & Co can bring another healthy baby in to this world.  Well I am.  But now the panic sets in.  How am I going to raise this one?  Do I do the same stuff as I did with Freddy & PJ?  Or should I look at a new direction? What works and what should I change?  Wow.  Now lets be honest, after reading this you know I had already thought about this before committing to having a third child.  But it doesn’t make it any more daunting.  But one thing is for sure, if you smile and support each other, we will have one very happy kid who will grow surrounded by love.  A big salute to all you three plus kid parents, you are the true heroes.  Now send me your tips!

baby playmats freddy and co family

Family of 5 coming March 2021… This pic was a year ago now.. (shown with the Large Floral play mat)

Taking your baby out for the first time

Taking a baby out for the first time is sometimes a worrying issue for most new parents, particularly first-time parents. The concern is that a newborns  immune systems has not adequately matured and therefore will struggle to fight off illnesses. Read our guide to taking your baby out. So, When Is It Safe to Take […]

Read more

Self Care in Pregnancy

Just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Getting pregnant is a colossal milestone in life. But, now what do you do? What are the next steps after achieving pregnancy success? Are you ready for the changes that are coming ahead in this beautiful journey? If yes, then lets chat about self care in pregnancy and ways […]

Read more

Easter Activities for Toddlers – A Fun Way To Learning

Looking for some fun Easter activities to do with your kids? The Easter egg hunt has always been a favourite for kids and parents alike but why not try some new activities too? There is a lot of simple toddler Easter activities ideal for getting in the Hippity Hoppity spirit. Easter is almost here, and […]

Read more

Open-ended play – the ultimate children’s activity

open ended play

Open-ended play is amazing. 

What could be more beneficial for your little one? It is the ultimate freedom from rules and boundaries when it comes to setting up activities for your little ones. From babies, through toddler hood to pre-schoolers, open-ended play is your ticket to finally finishing that cup of coffee while it is still hot. How? Because it has no beginning, middle or end, no rules to govern it and no right or wrong.

So what is open-ended play?

open-ended play

Give them the freedom to experiment without interferring

Open-ended play is when there is no limit on your child’s play. Your child has the freedom to move or adapt the activity as their imagination flows. All the decision making and problem solving is up to them. For example when it comes to drawing and craft… if you give your child a pencil and tell them to draw a shape, they are not making the decisions. Once the shape is drawn the activity is over and finished.

They are following directions, and for some children they may fear making a mistake or not doing a good job. But hand them lots of pencils, paper, craft scrap items, glue, sticky tape etc and give them the freedom to make what ever they like and soon their creative instincts take over and they begin to experiment and become immersed in the activity.

Craft is just one example and I’ll introduce a few more shortly…

Why is it important?

open-ended play with blocks

You don’t need to interfere or follow directions on a box

There are huge benefits for your child when you allow them to explore through open ended play. These include:

+Using imagination, creativity, problem-solving and experimenting – tools your child needs to develop resilience.

+Enhances social and emotional intelligence and intellectual growth through decision making.

+It’s about the journey not the outcome and prioritise creativeness, fun and play over a final result, in fact is no end which means it can stretch long periods of time.

+No need for instructions and reassurance that they’re doing it ‘right’ from their caregiver (see this is where you get your coffee) because there is not right or wrong.

Open-ended play ideas:

open ended play mat

Picture by @woodlandgumnuts_Giving your little ones the freedom to let their imaginations run wild, featuring our Roadtrip play mat. 

  • Craft boxes – think fabric scraps, torn up tissue paper, pompoms, paddlepop sticks, yoghurt lids, milk bottle tops, bread bag clips, pencils, markers, washi tape etc.
  • Dress-up boxes – not just the store bought character princess/superhero costumes, but also generic items which leave it up to the imagination. Scarves, shirts, pants, dresses, hats, bags, beads, capes, gloves etc.
  • Blocks – wooden, lego, montessori sets, duplo, mega block… the type here isn’t important. What is important is giving them the freedom not to follow the design on the box but to experiment and come with their own designs.
  • Magnetic tiles – just like blocks – its not about replicating the pictures they’ve seen before which often requires carer intervention. Instead, encourage them to create whatever they can imagine.
  • Dolls, doll houses, shops, kitchens, toy food – these give rise to so many imaginative scenarios.
  • Train sets and cars  – they can create endless scenarios and explore the world around them.
  • Playdough and small world sets – play dough can become anything their little imaginations can think of… having available small world sets like little insects, animals etc can lead to further play.

So here’s some ideas to try out. Tag us in your pics on Instagram as we’d love to see what you are up to.

Taking your baby out for the first time

Taking a baby out for the first time is sometimes a worrying issue for most new parents, particularly first-time parents. The concern is that a newborns  immune systems has not adequately matured and therefore will struggle to fight off illnesses. Read our guide to taking your baby out. So, When Is It Safe to Take […]

Read more

Self Care in Pregnancy

Just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Getting pregnant is a colossal milestone in life. But, now what do you do? What are the next steps after achieving pregnancy success? Are you ready for the changes that are coming ahead in this beautiful journey? If yes, then lets chat about self care in pregnancy and ways […]

Read more

Easter Activities for Toddlers – A Fun Way To Learning

Looking for some fun Easter activities to do with your kids? The Easter egg hunt has always been a favourite for kids and parents alike but why not try some new activities too? There is a lot of simple toddler Easter activities ideal for getting in the Hippity Hoppity spirit. Easter is almost here, and […]

Read more

Here’s how it has been for our family in Covid-19

Grey geometric baby play mat

Our family in Covid

I know, we have been missing in action most of this year. Our blog posts, tips, recipes, and activities have not been seen for a long time – except occasionally on IG stories. 2020 has well and truly been kicking our butts but it’s time we pulled it together and embraced this new normal of post-mid-current – who bloody knows – pandemic kind of life. So here it is our family in Covid.

PJ grey diamond play mat

PJ just hanging at home on a pajama day on his grey diamond play mat

So here’s where we are at. In early March (pre-lock down) I had to have surgery and this required a 4-6 week recovery at home (thanks old birth injuries). While recovering, lock downs were put in place and for the most part since I was at home recovering and couldn’t leave the house anyway, life was fairly normal. Here’s where it got weird. Once I had to start going out again I found myself so socially awkward. Did anyone else find that weird? I found being around people uncomfortable after so long with just my family and I found small talk strained. This was so unlike me!! Even eye contact unsettled me and I’m normally very open to social contact.

What it’s looked like for us:

covid family with chickens

PJ feeding the chickens…

This has taken some getting used to, and six months later, I am finally over the social awkwardness. I have found that six weeks at home has made me actually like being at home – eek I said it. We set up a vegie garden, got some new chooks which are finally laying. Finally, we  have really slowed down in life and are living far more in the moment. I no longer have outings planned for every single morning and its nice not putting time restraints on myself each day and just going with the flow. Am I the only one who sees this as a bright side?

What I did think about though, was when both my boys were babies, I badly craved and needed the support of other mothers in the same boat. I have mentioned before I love my mothers’ group and I have some friends nearby with children the same age. There were literally days when the kids were younger that we would rock up to each other’s houses half dressed in tracksuit pants (before lounge-wear was an acceptable thing). And we’d take turns picking up take away coffees and debrief on the current stages, triumphs and trials of motherhood.

Support a family in Covid

It occurred to me that now there are so many women with young children that do not have the opportunity. They aren’t able to access in person support. Have families on other sides of state borders and cannot see friends and mothers’ groups at health clinics are currently closed. It is these mums we really need to reach out and support. If this is you, I can’t imagine how challenging you have found it. If you know one, I encourage you today to take the time to reach out and send them some love.

We are all in this new crazy version of life together and we need to look out for one another.

Now I promise… you wont have to wait so long in between blogs…

Taking your baby out for the first time

Taking a baby out for the first time is sometimes a worrying issue for most new parents, particularly first-time parents. The concern is that a newborns  immune systems has not adequately matured and therefore will struggle to fight off illnesses. Read our guide to taking your baby out. So, When Is It Safe to Take […]

Read more

Self Care in Pregnancy

Just found out you’re pregnant? Congratulations! Getting pregnant is a colossal milestone in life. But, now what do you do? What are the next steps after achieving pregnancy success? Are you ready for the changes that are coming ahead in this beautiful journey? If yes, then lets chat about self care in pregnancy and ways […]

Read more

Easter Activities for Toddlers – A Fun Way To Learning

Looking for some fun Easter activities to do with your kids? The Easter egg hunt has always been a favourite for kids and parents alike but why not try some new activities too? There is a lot of simple toddler Easter activities ideal for getting in the Hippity Hoppity spirit. Easter is almost here, and […]

Read more

Activity ideas for preschoolers

preschooler activities

Ever been stuck for activity ideas for preschoolers?

Have you attended a community event that has really captured your child’s interests? It may have been a day at the local show, an aquarium visit, a bush-walk or even something so simple as a bus ride. We are constantly exposing our children to different experiences. Why not build upon these experiences using simple activities to encourage deeper learning?

We scored tickets to the NASA exhibition in Brisbane.

Foil space boots

Homemade foil space boots

home made astronaut suit

When your mum is super crafty.. or you could use an ice bucket on your head.

Mr 3 was most excited to attend with his cousin. In the lead up, I presented a range of activities to identify the boys’ prior knowledge, stimulate their curiosity and get them excited for the big outing.  I borrowed a range of fiction and non-fiction books from our local library. We watched the moon landing which the boys recreated using dress-ups I had made (an ice-cream container helmet and foil boots will do the trick). They used play dough to represent what they thought the moon looked like (purchase here – also check out their freebies too). Bath time was fun with planet bath bombs. The night was topped off by star gazing using the SkyView Lite App and some astronaut freeze-dried ice-cream. We use the outing as inspiration for all our activity ideas for preschoolers.

activity ideas preschoolers

Using the play dough boards to create moon landing scenes (with our Australian Alphabet play mat below)

The boys had been exposed to lovely rich language and terminology through each of these activities and therefore, developed questions that were answered during the visit to the exhibition. Furthermore, the NASA exhibition had so much more relevance for them now. They had a blast!

After the NASA visit, the boys created their own spacecrafts for their toys using a range of recyclable materials we had collected. Only minimal adult input was required as interest levels were high. Discussions related to Space continued for weeks.

You can use everyday experiences as rich learning opportunities. The possibilities are limitless. Just keep it simple and let your child run with it. Child-led learning at its best!

Looking for some adventure to get you started?

Check out your local councils events page to stay on top of free events in your area. If you’ve already exhausted your local museums and exhibitions, here are some other ideas for outings in your nearest city: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth

Even the smallest idea can create lots of activities and play inspo for the coming weeks….

box construction space ship

The boys made a space ship but you could make a bus, train or boat depending on your little ones interest.

Farm visit- Create a pig washing station using toothbrushes and soap. Bake using items from a farm, learn about where different produce comes from. Make a farm using blocks and items found in nature.

Bus ride– Design your own bus (why not a flying bus?). Furthermore, you could make up a story about the day in the life of a bus, make a bus from a box for your toys.

Aquarium visit– Make your own aquarium out of boxes. Also try water play, hide sea creatures in the bath (add a little blue food colouring and bubbles), imaginative play under the sea, collage.

Bush-walk– Use items from nature to create a collage. Also hunt for items in nature or create a list of things to spot. Pack a backpack to take on a bush walk, research animals you might see in the area. There may even be some guided walks in your area such as this one from Brisbane City Council.

Beach visit– Sing songs about the ocean. Sand and water play, create a jellyfish using a shower cap and cellophane tentacles. Finally, discuss the importance of sun safety and dress a toy accordingly, discuss beach safety and role play where it is safe to swim.

 

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Box Construction Activities – make it easy

Box construction play

Let’s be honest, kids are obsessed with boxes. Here we share how you can make box construction activities for your little ones easy and enjoyable. And they don’t have to be Pinterest perfect. Friend and Mum extraordinaire Emily shares how she went about it.

 

How it started….

Car wash box construction

It all started with a little inspo from Instagram

Mr 3 is obsessed with garbage trucks and recycling. I’m over the brightly coloured plastic toys that we have been accumulating, so it seemed a perfect idea to breathe new life into a bunch of materials we had sent to the recycling heap. So I started searching Box Construction Activities.  Instagram is flooded with some incredible box construction masterpieces lately so I thought I’d build the “Z & T’s Park n’ Wash Garage” reposted by @life.of.enchantment. It was quite the project taking a whole day to construct. Mr 3 looked on in anticipation and I have to admit, I did enjoy the building process.

Mamas you don’t need to be crafty!!

Whilst the car garage has become a super fun toy for my son, the construction process didn’t involve him. Being an early year’s teacher, I’ve engaged my students in box construction tasks. It is a child directed activity that stimulates imagination and encourages problem solving. Given that Mr 3 had seen me building, I thought I’d encourage him to give it a try too. Not all mamas have the natural inclination to craft, so if this is you, the next activity is totally up your alley. So simple, but so much fun for your child.

Here’s what we did…

box construction activity book

This book provided our inspiration

We collected a bunch of recyclable materials and discussed their shapes and properties. Mr 3 sorted them based on their ability to roll or slide. We then read a fabulous book titled Bruno’s Box by Nicola Pontin (purchase it here for just $5  ). It’s about a boy who makes things from a cardboard box and cardboard roll. It was the perfect stimulus for the activity and no doubt we will read it again to get the creative juices flowing.

box construction planning

Planning his dream park

Afterwards I invited Mr 3 to look at the materials and consider what he would like to build. He suggested a park. Collaboratively we drew up the plans (architects draw plans for builders). First of all, Mr 3 wanted a fireman’s pole. He then added some drums, a climbing wall, a fence, car parks and a bike path (he made connections with his real-world experiences at our local parks). Therefore, we referred to our planning sheet as we began to construct with the boxes (note that the drawing is very much open to your own interpretation but of course my son knew exactly what he was doing).

The process engaged Mr 3 for a lengthy period of time and allowed him to have ownership over the final creation. He has enjoyed playing with his park far more than the garage I made for him. The activity is an example of how the process often has many more rich learning implications than the finished product. This child-centred activity is engaging for children of all ages, is free and requires only limited parent input. Certainly, Box Construction Activities are an activity that children will never tire of.

Box construction activities play

Playing with the final versions (on his Roadtrip play mat)

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