Category Archives: Kids Activities

Christmas in July in Australia

christmas in july

Christmas in July – Ideas to get you started

Well, it’s July. A long way from Christmas and the holidays. And with all the lockdowns we have been having lately we thought it was time to have some fun. So this year we are celebrating Christmas in July. Here are some easy ways you can celebrate too.

Bake Gingerbread

This is the easiest to start with because, firstly it’s cold outside so we are craving all the warm baked goods. And two, gingerbread keeps the kids busy for both baking and for decorating. Here is our favourite recipe. We have been using this one for years and it has always made great tasting gingerbread. But if you think you’ve found a better recipe, send it our way. We’ll happily test it as we love a good excuse to do some baking and eat all of the biscuits.

baking

Dress ups

I don’t know about you, but we have pajamas, T-shirts, Santa hats and reindeer ears that spend 11 months of the year packed away. Here is the chance to get them out. I put the kids Santa hats and reindeer headbands into the dress up box this week and PJ is already wearing them about the house. I am thinking that we might have a dress up fashion parade and I’ll let the boys come up with their best Christmas themed outfits and they can do a parade on Instagram 😊

family dress ups

Movie marathon

Friday nights are pizza and family movie night in this house. So next week as part of our Christmas in July we are going to be watching Polar Express. Freddy loved it over the Christmas break and I’m hoping that six months on PJ might sit still enough to actually watch a little. What’s your favourite Christmas movie for little ones? So far, they have found Home Alone to scary…

Listen to Christmas carols

By far the easiest, Spotify has some amazing Christmas playlists so we have car sing-a-longs. I also put carols on our speaker when the boys were playing yesterday and I could see them bopping along. We also listen when we are doing our gingerbread baking and Christmas decoration making.

jingle bells

Make decorations

Speaking of Christmas decoration making this is one recipe you must try. A friend introduced me to it last Christmas. It is better than salt dough because it doesn’t go moldy and gross so it can last for years. Make up a batch of this dough using the recipe here, you can also add fragrant oils, glitter etc to really go all out. Then go crazy with the cookie cutters (make sure you roll it quite thick), and use household items to make great patterns e.g forks, lace doilies, leaves, play dough tools. Don’t forget to punch a hole so they can be used on the tree or as gift tags. These can be dried in the oven on a very low temp (you don’t want them to go brown) or air dried over a few days. Then you can paint or leave plain. We are making some now which we are going to put aside to add to Birthday presents for the rest of the year 😊. If you have  go at this make sure you tag us. We’d love to see your beautiful designs.

arts and crafts

And that’s it. The best part about celebrating Christmas in July in Australia is getting to do all the cozy winter Christmas activities that it is too hot for in December.

Pelvic Floor

Ah pelvic floor muscles… I wish I’d known more… Here is the thing about having kids, so often it’s only in hindsight that I realise I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. And in this case what I really didn’t understand well was what pelvic floor muscles were and why it is so important to […]

Read more

What are the benefits of a Mother’s Group?

The Benefits of a Mother’s Group I’m the first one to preach the benefits of a Mother’s Group. I’ve been having a bit of a rough couple of weeks and was starting to feel all of the overwhelm, and I realised that I haven’t seen my Mother’s Group girls in a few weeks. Who better […]

Read more

The best baby play mat. 5 things to consider?

What should you look for when choosing the best baby play mat for your family? A baby play mat is an item that will change the way you interact with your baby. After you have sorted cots, prams and car seats it is something to start thinking about. As one of our customers Kristy states […]

Read more

Pretend play

pretend play

Pretend play – What is it? How do I do it? Why is it important?

“Here Mum, I made you a coffee?” PJ announced proudly as he shoved a bucket full of sand in my face. The pretend play is strong at the moment in that one, and clearly I drink waaaay too much coffee. But it got me thinking about what pretend play is and why I should encourage it… as I pretend to sip my coffee while slowly pouring it back into the sandpit.

sand pit coffee

Why Is Pretend Play Important?

For some kids it comes naturally, their make believe skills are intuitive, while for others they need some encouragement. The good news (or bad news, depending on your ability to drink phony tea, or sit at mini table and be taught by your little one) is that pretend play is extremely important for children.

The growth of a child’s mental, emotional, and cognitive skills is focused on their imaginative and creative play. Children learn to socially connect, relate, and align personal feelings with the emotions of others through creative, open-ended play with both friends and family.

When a parent and child participate in safe, creative play together, there are several benefits. Early pretend play increases a child’s attention span and focus as they immerse themselves in the game. Pretend or imaginative play can also improve a child’s emotional intelligence, ability to negotiate social interactions and language development. Finally pretend play gives children an opportunity to explore and replicate interactions they have with others around them in a safe, fictional environment.

What is pretend play? 

Pretend play is known by several different names. These names include imaginative play, artistic play, make-believe play, and fantasy play.

pretend play

Simply put, it’s role-playing. It is acting out different roles and creating story lines. It is the expression of positive and negative emotions, the discovery of options, and the experience of the outcomes of various decisions in a stable, regulated setting.

Examples to get you started

Have you ever seen your kid pick up a stone and imagine it’s a speeding car or jump a Lego around the table pretending it’s a robot or ballerina? Imaginative play can also include things like: dressing up as superheroes and pretending to be mummies and daddies. Or it could be pretending to go shopping, dressing up, pretending to fly to the moon, tea parties, pretending to drive trucks in the sandpit, and pretending to play with dolls etc. Or in the case of my children it is creating a cafe from the sandpit and feeding each other or me coffees, dinners and cakes.

dress up

How to encourage pretend play? 

Children begin to play pretend between the ages of 14 and 18 months. Fortunately, they often do this on their own and don’t need anything to get started. At this stage, parents should promote pretend play by keeping a variety of fun things on hand to facilitate imagination and ingenuity, such as cardboard boxes, blocks, dolls, figurines or sandpits etc. You can prompt this imaginative play by reading books (such as Bruno’s Box), telling stories or having conversations to get them started. Then watch their little imaginations run wild.

cardboard fort

As your little ones get older, allow them to create and lead their own imaginative play. Open ended toys, dress up items and everyday household items hold the key. Items like pots, pans and utensils can provide inspiration for play time. Therefore, there may be some chaos and clutter during the game as your child takes on the role.  At the end of the day that is all part of their fun. And really, they were probably going to make the mess anyway.

Finally, don’t forget children observe what we do and pick up skills from our nonverbal signals. Let’s support their development by drinking that pretend coffee and joining in the fun!

 

Pelvic Floor

Ah pelvic floor muscles… I wish I’d known more… Here is the thing about having kids, so often it’s only in hindsight that I realise I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. And in this case what I really didn’t understand well was what pelvic floor muscles were and why it is so important to […]

Read more

What are the benefits of a Mother’s Group?

The Benefits of a Mother’s Group I’m the first one to preach the benefits of a Mother’s Group. I’ve been having a bit of a rough couple of weeks and was starting to feel all of the overwhelm, and I realised that I haven’t seen my Mother’s Group girls in a few weeks. Who better […]

Read more

Christmas in July in Australia

Well, it’s July. A long way from Christmas and the holidays. And with all the lockdowns we have been having lately we thought it was time to have some fun. So this year we are celebrating Christmas in July. Here are some easy ways you can celebrate too.

Read more

Mother’s Day craft: A gift Mum will cherish

mothers day crafts

Mother’s Day craft ideas

Mother’s day is just around the corner and we believe that most mums would prefer to receive a gift that has been handmade by the kids rather than a costly, generic store-bought gift. That means it’s time for Dads, partners and carers to get into the crafting spirit and assist the children with making a unique, homemade gift for mum using our Mother’s Day craft ideas.

We know that may not come easily for some and so we have compiled a list of ideas to help you on your way. There are simple craft ideas that the little ones can make to more detailed craft ideas for the older kids.

MUMMA BEAR CRAFT CARD

Do your kids love to call Mum ‘Mumma Bear’? If yes, this bear card is simple to make and will fit perfectly with the name.

What you need:

1 x coloured cardboard – to form the base of your card

1 x white piece of paper

Craft supplies, googly eyes, pom poms etc.

Textas, pencils, crayons or paint

Glue and scissors

Directions:

Design and draw a bear or print one like this on your white paper.

Colour your bear in with textas, crayons, pencils or paint.

Cut your bear out and stick it to the front of the coloured cardboard.

Decorate your bear with googly eyes, pom poms or any other craft supplies on hand.

Finally, add your message to the inside of the card.

CANDLE MADE OF CRAYONS

This is a two-in-one  project: it creates an adorable candle for Mum while also using crayon nubs that are too tiny to colour with. Make sure to include Mum’s favourite colours.

What you need:

Wax (candlewax, beeswax or paraffin)

Wicks (make sure the wick is right length for your bottle/jar)

Double sided adhesive sticker (for attaching the wick)

Old Crayons (paper removed)

Glass jar / old jam bottle

Directions:

Using the double sided adhesive, attach a wick to the inside base of your jar.

Separate your crayons into similar colours.

Follow the instructions on your wax to melt it in small batches adding a crayon colour to each batch. E.g. blues to the first batch.

Once the wax/crayon mix has melted, holding on to one end of the wick, gently pour the wax into the jar.

Once you’ve poured a layer, place it in the refrigerator to set.

When the layer is cool and firm, repeat with the next crayon/wax colour and layer.

Continue until there is no more room for layers.

MOTHER’S DAY MASON JAR VASE

Decorate some old mason jars with paint and children’s imprints.

What you need:

Old jars of various sizes

Paint (not water based)

Ribbon/string etc

Small card

Directions:

Add some paint into the inside of the mason jar. Swirl it around until the entire inside of the jar is covered.

Pour out any excess and allow to dry over night.

Once the base coat is dry, allow the kids to paint their hands with another contrasting colour and place their hands on the outside of the jar. Allow the jar to sit while drying.

Create a card with the children, adding their message to mum. Using a nice ribbon or hessian string, tie the card to the neck of the jar.

Add some flowers for a nice finishing touch.

Picture Coasters

These picture coasters are always a winner with mum and grandma.

What you need:

Glazed white tile or pre-made coasters.

Felt furniture adhesive pads (if using tiles)

Children’s pictures printed smaller than tile

clear glue

Clear varnish or clear enamel paint

Process:

Print the children’s photos and trim to size

Glue photo to the center of the tile and sit to dry

Once the photo is in place the glue has dried paint a thin layer of enamel across the top to seal

Whatever craft option you decide to make, we are sure Mum or Grandma will love their Mother’s day craft creation.

Make sure you share your creations with us by tagging us @freddy.and.co on Instagram or Facebook.

Pelvic Floor

Ah pelvic floor muscles… I wish I’d known more… Here is the thing about having kids, so often it’s only in hindsight that I realise I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. And in this case what I really didn’t understand well was what pelvic floor muscles were and why it is so important to […]

Read more

What are the benefits of a Mother’s Group?

The Benefits of a Mother’s Group I’m the first one to preach the benefits of a Mother’s Group. I’ve been having a bit of a rough couple of weeks and was starting to feel all of the overwhelm, and I realised that I haven’t seen my Mother’s Group girls in a few weeks. Who better […]

Read more

Christmas in July in Australia

Well, it’s July. A long way from Christmas and the holidays. And with all the lockdowns we have been having lately we thought it was time to have some fun. So this year we are celebrating Christmas in July. Here are some easy ways you can celebrate too.

Read more

Top 5 Messy Play Activities

Sensory Bin

Top 5 Messy Play Activities

In this blog we talk about our top 5 messy play activities. Messy play is made up of mud, sand, dirt, leaves, goop, foam, paint, water, and grass.  Whipping up a mess is fun. It is also beneficial to your child’s growth. It strengthens their senses, improves their hand-eye coordination, and helps them build fine motor skills. The sensory play focuses on stimulating touch, sight, and hearing as those senses are most accessible. Here are the top 5 messy play ideas to spark your kid’s imagination.

GIANT SENSORY BIN

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

Sensory Bin

Materials List

Plastic Tub

Grass

Leaves, Rocks and Sand

Toys

Basket

You can put pretty much anything into the sensory bin. The sensory bin will help your child explore using their senses.

CHIA SEED SLIME: TASTE TEST SAFE SLIME

This one is a fun slime that is great for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. It is safe for little ones to explore and even taste without having to worry about nasties. And playing with it is addictive for you too!

CHIA SEED SLIME

Chia seed slime directions

Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to 1 cup of water and give it a whisk. Cover in plastic wrap and leave overnight to soak (or for a minimum of 2 hours) *optional to add food dye and flavour / scent extracts.

Move to a larger bowl and slowly add 1 cup of cornstarch until desired consistency is achieved.

Add more or less cornstarch for different textures, ideally you want it slimy but add enough cornstarch so it doesn’t stick to your hands. You can use this slime as a play activity on its own or as a base for small world sensory play.

Now that your slime is done, stretch it, squish it and have lots of fun.

BALLOON PAINTING – Messy play activity

This activity promotes a fantastic sense of spatial awareness. It’s a fresh and exciting take on painting, which is a favourite past time for most kids.

paint play

What you need: 

Balloons

Child-friendly paint

Cardboard or large sheets of paper (easel pads, for example)

Large safety pins

A funnel

How you do it: 

To begin, fill the balloons with paint. You can use a funnel for a cleaner outcome, or you can join in on the sensory fun by filling the balloons without a funnel.

Close the top end of the balloons with a knot and poke holes in the balloon’s bottom with a safety pin. Allow any blunders that may arise while the children apply paint to the cardboard by squeezing it from the balloons.

RETRIEVE ANIMALS

Hide big toy animals in the mud or sandpit and allow your child to discover and dig them out with their fingers and toes. By naming each animal that they recover, they can improve their listening and language abilities. Also, count the number of animals that they find!

hidden toys

PLAYING WITH SPAGHETTI AND PASTA

Number 5 of our top 5 messy play ideas is playing with spaghetti as it is always a big hit, and it’s so easy to do! It’s great for improving fine and gross motor skills as well as pincer grips. Cook until just done, drain, and add some food colouring if you’d like to brighten it up a little. How much fun!

spaghetti play

Finally, Manage the Mess with These Waterproof Play Mats!

If the idea of messy play makes you feel super uncomfortable, you no longer have to go around cleaning. The Freddy and Co Playmat is water resistant and easy to clean. The reversible design means that once your child has grown out of one side you can turn it over to use the other.

To shop the Freddy and Co range of playmats click here.

picnic baby playmat

Pelvic Floor

Ah pelvic floor muscles… I wish I’d known more… Here is the thing about having kids, so often it’s only in hindsight that I realise I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. And in this case what I really didn’t understand well was what pelvic floor muscles were and why it is so important to […]

Read more

What are the benefits of a Mother’s Group?

The Benefits of a Mother’s Group I’m the first one to preach the benefits of a Mother’s Group. I’ve been having a bit of a rough couple of weeks and was starting to feel all of the overwhelm, and I realised that I haven’t seen my Mother’s Group girls in a few weeks. Who better […]

Read more

Christmas in July in Australia

Well, it’s July. A long way from Christmas and the holidays. And with all the lockdowns we have been having lately we thought it was time to have some fun. So this year we are celebrating Christmas in July. Here are some easy ways you can celebrate too.

Read more

Easter Activities for Toddlers – A Fun Way To Learning

Easter Bilby

Easter Activities for Toddlers

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.

Pelvic Floor

Ah pelvic floor muscles… I wish I’d known more… Here is the thing about having kids, so often it’s only in hindsight that I realise I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. And in this case what I really didn’t understand well was what pelvic floor muscles were and why it is so important to […]

Read more

What are the benefits of a Mother’s Group?

The Benefits of a Mother’s Group I’m the first one to preach the benefits of a Mother’s Group. I’ve been having a bit of a rough couple of weeks and was starting to feel all of the overwhelm, and I realised that I haven’t seen my Mother’s Group girls in a few weeks. Who better […]

Read more

Christmas in July in Australia

Well, it’s July. A long way from Christmas and the holidays. And with all the lockdowns we have been having lately we thought it was time to have some fun. So this year we are celebrating Christmas in July. Here are some easy ways you can celebrate too.

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…

 

 

Pelvic Floor

Ah pelvic floor muscles… I wish I’d known more… Here is the thing about having kids, so often it’s only in hindsight that I realise I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. And in this case what I really didn’t understand well was what pelvic floor muscles were and why it is so important to […]

Read more

What are the benefits of a Mother’s Group?

The Benefits of a Mother’s Group I’m the first one to preach the benefits of a Mother’s Group. I’ve been having a bit of a rough couple of weeks and was starting to feel all of the overwhelm, and I realised that I haven’t seen my Mother’s Group girls in a few weeks. Who better […]

Read more

Christmas in July in Australia

Well, it’s July. A long way from Christmas and the holidays. And with all the lockdowns we have been having lately we thought it was time to have some fun. So this year we are celebrating Christmas in July. Here are some easy ways you can celebrate too.

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.

 

Pelvic Floor

Ah pelvic floor muscles… I wish I’d known more… Here is the thing about having kids, so often it’s only in hindsight that I realise I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. And in this case what I really didn’t understand well was what pelvic floor muscles were and why it is so important to […]

Read more

What are the benefits of a Mother’s Group?

The Benefits of a Mother’s Group I’m the first one to preach the benefits of a Mother’s Group. I’ve been having a bit of a rough couple of weeks and was starting to feel all of the overwhelm, and I realised that I haven’t seen my Mother’s Group girls in a few weeks. Who better […]

Read more

Christmas in July in Australia

Well, it’s July. A long way from Christmas and the holidays. And with all the lockdowns we have been having lately we thought it was time to have some fun. So this year we are celebrating Christmas in July. Here are some easy ways you can celebrate too.

Read more

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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Sensory play: How to make a sensory hoop for babies

sensory hoop play

Lets talk sensory play….

Have you ever tried to describe the smell of wet grass as you walk across it, or the taste of a warm freshly baked biscuit? It is not just one sense that we use to describe these things, but a combination of many senses.

sensory play hoop

Ethan playing with his sensory hoop. His mum @thefoolishobsession was our inspiration to give this a go. Featuring our Roadtrip play mat with Blue Geo.

Today we are focusing on baby sensory play and the benefits on their brain development as they have opportunities to explore the world through their senses. Exposure to a range of stimulating environments allows babies to understand themselves in their environment.

So why is this important?  As babies move from the newborn stage into the infant stage, their senses continue to develop. Research suggests the sense of smell, taste, sound and touch all develop while baby is still in the womb; they taste what we eat, smell what we smell, hear our voices and respond to touch when pressed. It’s the sense of sight that undergoes the most significant change after they are born. Maybe this is why we tend to focus on visual stimulation for babies. However, it is important not to neglect the other senses.

What is sensory play? Sensory play is any activity that encourages your baby to explore the world around them using a combination of multiple senses. Finding materials around the house which have unusual textures to touch, make a range of sounds, and are visually appealing are important as their senses develop. Sensory play also encourages movement, balance and confidence to explore. As babies get older you can also introduce sensory foods to further develop these but today, we are focusing on infants so that one’s for another day.

Making a sensory hoop, for your babies sensory play:

What you need:

1 x hoolahoop

Sensory items: Here are some ideas to get you started but you’re only limited by your own imagination:

sensory play hoops

Some of the things we found lying around the house for a sensory hoop.

Fabrics such as tulle, silk, chiffon, corduroy, flannel, toweling – raid Nana’s scraps pile (most fabric stores also have remnants boxes).

Ribbons (of various size, colour and texture), sequin trim, pom poms, felt pieces, velcro strips

Toys, balls, dummies, teething rings, fabric books, fabric rattles.

Scarves, bibs, wool, bath mesh sponge, bath toys, gift wrap bow, cleaning cloth, bubble wrap.

What to do?

I purposely bought the $5 glitter hoop from Kmart as this in itself is a sensory item. I started by laying the hoop on a flat surface and positioned my items (without tying them down). This way I could have a look at the balance of objects and make sure I was happy with the placements before I attached everything.

sensory hoop play

Adorable little Raffy playing with his new hoop.

I then worked my way around the hoop securing all the items. A tip here – if you do loose bows or loops with the plan to reuse materials later – make sure you supervise. Little fingers have a way of undoing loose knots. Instead we recommend securing items tightly to reduce risk. Once all the different textures and items are safely attached your hoop is ready for some play time.

Have you tried it? Make sure you tag us @freddy.and.co on both Instagram or Facebook as we’d love to see your handy work.

Note: As with all play activities, you must always supervise your baby when playing with sensory hoops. As babies may explore with their mouths, make sure all these items are clean without any loose pieces that can be pulled off or swallowed.

 

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Toddler Sorting Activities – 5 Quick and Easy Activities to try

toddler sorting activity lego

5 Quick toddler sorting activities to keep your little one busy

Toddler sorting activities give us so many opportunities. As children grow they start to explore and try to make sense of the world. Part of that is trying to organise and control the things around them. Sorting activities allow children to match and categorise objects to show what they know and understand. Identifying colours, shapes and even textures helps children recognise similarities and differences between objects. These early skills form the basis of organisation and reasoning essential to early Maths, Science and Musical understanding.

So enough about the why, lets dive in with 5 Easy toddler sorting activities that don’t require any special equipment… and only take 30 seconds to set up. We use these when PJ is napping so I’m trying to keep the noise down, or while I’m cooking dinner to keep Freddy busy and once I started looking for sorting activities I realised they are everywhere.

1.Sorting cutlery

Cutlery sorting for toddlers

Freddy’s efforts at sorting the party cutlery…

I have a confession. I have a party draw full of all the leftovers from different parties over the years… plates, napkins, disposable cutlery. It’s not environmentally friendly which is why I’m hanging on to them, so I never need to buy again. What it does mean is I have a big mixed bag of different knives, forks, spoons, in a variety of sizes and colours. So, this one was simple to set up… I emptied the bag on to the dining room table so Freddy could see them all and we talked about what we noticed. He could already identify knives, forks and spoons so we started off with sorting to this. Once we had this sorted, we started to divide the spoons into different types etc… All in all this one took about 30 seconds to set up and kept Freddy busy for a long time as he happily chatted about what he saw.

2. Toddler sorting activities: Lego sort

toddler sorting activity lego

Sorting Lego on coloured plates on his alphabet and blue play mat.

I knew all my Ikea plates would come in handy. All those colours have so much potential. Another 30 second set up with no prep or organisation needed. I handed Freddy his box of lego and surrounded him with the plates. We then looked at what colours the plates came in. I asked him to find one piece of lego to match each plate. Once I saw he could do this I left him to it.  When I came back, I noticed when it came to the people he has a little more challenged. Some he sorted by hair colour and others by shirt colour. It came down to what stood out most with each piece, so consistency is now something we are talking about. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this earlier. It’s the perfect toddler sorting activity to get you started.

 

3. Sorting  mixed vegetables – Carrot, corn and peas.

This one came up when I was late to serve dinner. I could tell Freddy was getting restless and hungry so I gave him his Vegies in a bowl and handed him Orange, Yellow and Green cups – again, thank you Ikea… We talked about the lego sorting we had done a few days earlier and he cottoned on how to sort them very quickly and was very keen to eat his handywork at the end.

 

4. Toddler Sorting Activities: a deck of cards (either by colour or suit)

Toddler sorting activity deck of cards

Freddy was pumped after he sorted out the cards on his round road and grey play mat.

For this one all you need is a set of cards. It doesn’t even have to be a full deck so the old one with cards missing is perfect. I sat with Freddy and looked at the cards and talked about them first as this was the first time he had seen them. Then we talked about what they had in common. Initially we sorted them in to Red and Black. Then we looked closely and noticed there was two shapes for red : Heart and Diamond. Also Club and Spades in black. Freddy then sorted these out. I also removed the K,Q, J cards from the deck as well because the images all had both black and red. Though, next time I’ll probably leave them in to see what he does with them.

5. Food sort…. fruit loops.

I haven’t tried this one yet with the fruit loops but I’m planning to give it a go this weekend after we do the weekly grocery shop. Instead I was inspired by a post  I saw on Pinterest. Not only can you sort by colour but also thread them on to a pipe cleaner. Sorting and motor control skills in one. Winning!! A more simplified version of this could also be done with other foods like mixed dried lentils, coloured dry pasta if you have it, or even just mixed varieties of pasta. Any little leftover dried foods you have sitting in your pantry can be all put into a container to become a sorting activity.

So there you have it, here are 5 easy sorting activities that require no prep or organisation to help you keep your toddler entertained.

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Pelvic Floor

Ah pelvic floor muscles… I wish I’d known more… Here is the thing about having kids, so often it’s only in hindsight that I realise I didn’t know, what I didn’t know. And in this case what I really didn’t understand well was what pelvic floor muscles were and why it is so important to […]

Read more

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The Benefits of a Mother’s Group I’m the first one to preach the benefits of a Mother’s Group. I’ve been having a bit of a rough couple of weeks and was starting to feel all of the overwhelm, and I realised that I haven’t seen my Mother’s Group girls in a few weeks. Who better […]

Read more

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Well, it’s July. A long way from Christmas and the holidays. And with all the lockdowns we have been having lately we thought it was time to have some fun. So this year we are celebrating Christmas in July. Here are some easy ways you can celebrate too.

Read more