April 24, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

16 Ways to Play with Sensory Bins

16 of the Best Sensory Bin Play Ideas

Do your children love playing with sensory bins? Or are you wondering what a sensory bin is!? Let me explain :)

A sensory bin is a large container, large enough for little hands (and sometimes bodies!) to reach in and feel, grasp, move, play. You can put almost anything and everything in a sensory bin, anything that will help young children play, explore and experiment using their senses.

Diamond-Dig-5 IMG_1607 spagetti-sensory-tub-1

Children are sensory seekers and learn through their senses. When swishing coloured shaving cream, or pouring rice, or smelling scented play dough, children are practising maths and science skills, learning and using language and social skills. Sensory bins give children the chance to do all of these things without fear of failure or getting it wrong. There is no wrong!

Whether you’re new to sensory bins or have been using them for years, here are a few fun ideas to try out.

16 of the Best Sensory Bin Play Ideas

Using Sticks as Sensory Bin Fillers (Danya Banya)
Recycled Paper Sensory Bin (Little Bins for Little Hands)
Birds and Nests Sensory Play (Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes)
Shaving Cream Play (Triple T Mum)
Water Beads Sensory Play (Racheous Loveable Learning)
Bedtime Sensory Tub: Lavender Dyed Rice (Nurture Store)
ABC Sensory Bin (3 Dinosaurs)
Baking Sensory Tub (The Imagination Tree)
Farm Sensory Tub (Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dogs Tails)
Construction Sensory Bin (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)
Rainbow Spaghetti Sensory Tub (One Perfect Day)
Christmas Sensory Tub (Octavia and Vicky)
Fresh Mint Sensory Play (Mama Papa Bubba)
I Spy Sensory Bin (Happy Hooligans)
Diamond Mine Sensory Tub (Childhood 101)
Sludge Sensory Play (Picklebums)

Welcome to The Weekly Kids Co-Op

April 21, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
1 Comment

Bubble Prints

Bubble Prints {via Octavia and Vicky}Today was one of those relaxed, gorgeous days that you feel like doing not a lot of anything, but get bored doing nothing at all, so find yourself looking for something fun to fill the time. I had bubble printing on my to-do list for a while and today was the perfect day for it. The sun was shining, perhaps the last of our sunny days for a while as Autumn takes hold, and this creative play is best suited to outside, unless you like worrying about mess!

Bubble Prints

You will need:

  • 1 large jug
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup dish washing liquid
  • 3 bowls
  • 3 different food colourings
  • 3 straws
  • white paper
  • paper towel (optional)

To make bubble prints:

  1. Fill the jug with the water and dishwashing liquid and stir gently with one of the straws to combine.
  2. Pour a good squirt of food colouring into each bowl then top up with the soap mixture. Put a straw in each bowl.
  3. Invite children to blow bubbles into the soap mixture and watch as bubble grow in the bowl.
  4. Before the bubbles disappear gently press the paper on top of the bubbles and hold until the bubbles have popped (a couple of seconds).
  5. Lift the paper to reveal your bubble print! Keep making more prints to create your own art work, or just for the fun of it.

Bubble Prints {via Octavia and Vicky}Bubble Prints {via Octavia and Vicky}Bubble Prints {via Octavia and Vicky} Bubble Prints {via Octavia and Vicky} Bubble Prints {via Octavia and Vicky} Bubble Prints {via Octavia and Vicky}

Tips for successful bubble printing:

  • Gather all your bits and pieces and set up the activity before eager kids join in.
  • Use a safety pin or needle to poke a hole through each straw. This will help avoid children slurping the soap liquid up the straw and into their mouths.
  • Place paper towel under the bowls to help soak up any spills as they happen.
  • The more food colouring you add, the more intense your colours will be.
  • Wear old clothes! Food colouring stains.

Have you ever tried bubble printing? 


art materials no text

April 11, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
1 Comment

Family Holiday Planning: Toys, Games and Gear to Pack for Kids

Sponsored by Energizer

Family Holiday Planning: Toys, Games and Gear to Pack for Kids

It’s almost school holidays! The count down is officially on because WE’RE GOING ON A HOLIDAY! We’re staying at a lovely big beach house with my extended family. There will be plenty of cousins for Pebble and Rocky to play with (and lots of adults to help with all those kids!). There’s a nice deck out the back of the house and a large living area, plenty of space for playing and hanging out.

The weather is quite a bit cooler down south where we’re staying. This means that we’ll need some back up plans for when we’ve had enough of sand blowing in our faces on the beach. Here are some of the essentials that we’ll be packing for the kids, aged from five months to nine years old.

Family Holiday Planning: Toys, Games and Gear to Pack for Kids

Simple Art materials

I can just imagine the kids sprawled out on the deck with paper, watercolours, textas, pencils and stamps, creating memories from their beach house stay. Pebble and her cousins often enjoy creative time with Nana-ette when we visit and I’m sure this beach holiday will be no exception.

Family Holiday Planning: Toys, Games and Gear to Pack for Kids

Night lights

Pebble’s had a portable night light since birth and just won’t go to sleep without it. It’s kind of a pain to have to lug it around with us when we stay away, but at the same time it’s a lovely bit of familiar comfort for her – and easily replaceable if she loses it as they still sell them in the shops!

Can’t-Leave-Home-Without Toys

Pebble’s favourites lately are her dolls of all kinds. She plays with them in the garden, in the bath, at the kitchen sink, in her book nook. Everywhere! Her imagination takes them on lots of adventures. For Rocky we’ll be taking along his big box of cars – his current favourite is this light up, musical number that he got for his birthday (thanks Aunty Cass!). He keeps it close most of the day, carrying it, pulling it or pushing it with him. Cuteness!

Family Holiday Planning: Toys, Games and Gear to Pack for Kids


We’re planning a night time excursion to a penguin colony, which the kids are going to be so excited about. They’ll each need their own torch to light the way. I remember doing this when I was a kid, it was such an awesome experience.

Movies, Leap Pads and iPads

We’ll definitely be bringing along a few favourite DVDs for lazy afternoons spent on the couch. Pebble’s favourites at the moment are Tangled, The Croods and Despicable Me. Rocky is a huge fan of Ben and Holly and Peppa Pig, so those will be in the suitcase for sure. All the families have either Leap Pads or iPads and they’ll be put to good use when the time is right.


Because that light up car won’t run itself! Energizer sent me some Energizer Max batteries to get us through the holidays and way, way, way beyond. Did you know they hold power for up to 10 years. YEARS! And they will protect our toys and devices against leakage. I’ll only use quality batteries in our toys and other gear, it’s not worth it to have that night light breaking down on us or penguin spotting in the dark with a dead torch.

Family Holiday Planning: Toys, Games and Gear to Pack for Kids


We’ll pack balls of all shapes and size. All the kids love throwing, catching, rolling, chasing, bouncing and kicking balls. And second to cars, balls are Rocky’s very favourite thing in the world.

Buckets and Spades

Classic beach toys, you can’t go wrong. It doesn’t need to be summer time to enjoy a good sandcastle making session or some beach combing.

Our imaginations!

There’s nothing quite like seeing kids deeply engrossed in pretend play. This mix of kids will come up with some hilarious and memorable play scenarios, I’m sure.

What are your can’t-leave-home-without toys? 

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

April 7, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
1 Comment

Three ways to play and learn with measurement

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

Children love to measure things in their world. Pebble has often helped us with measuring furniture for a space in our house, or measuring ingredients for cooking. She also naturally measures objects in her play, choosing longer and shorter blocks for building, filling and pouring different sized cups of water in the bath or choosing which piece of furniture to put where in her doll house. 

Giving children the chance to play with measurement helps them learn how to compare objects and use words such as ‘tall’, ‘taller’, ‘heavy’, ‘heavier’, ‘full’, ‘empty’.

1. Block play

You will need:

  • blocks of different sizes

How to play

  • Build with the blocks.
  • Talk about the similarities and differences – colour, size, shape.
  • Hunt for blocks that are short and blocks that are tall.
  • Choose five blocks and put them in order from tallest to shortest.

Before starting this activity it’s important that your child knows what “long” and “short’ mean and how to compare two objects. If five objects is too overwhelming then start with a few less.

Pebble found this activity easy peasy. I asked her how she knew which one was the longest and she showed me how she lined them up along side each other to check. Rocky joined in alongside, playing with the blocks too.

We talked about how the size of the blocks changed depending on which way you turned them and ultimately Pebble chose which way she wanted the blocks to go.

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

2. Lego Towers Race

You will need:

  • duplo/lego
  • stop watch/clock/timer

How to play:

  • Set the timer for 60 seconds.
  • Build a tower as tall as you can in that time.
  • Keep repeating the tower building race until you have three or four towers (or build one each if you are playing with three or four children).
  • Compare the towers to see which is the tallest and which is the shortest. Put them in order.

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

3. Straw collage

You will need:

  • straws
  • scissors
  • paper
  • craft glue

How to play:

  • Cut straws into different lengths using the scissors.
  • Choose some straws of different lengths to stick on to your straw collage.
  • Stick the straws in order from tallest to shortest.

This looks very simple but can be quite tricky, especially with so many objects to compare. Pebble lined up each straw from one end, so that she was getting an accurate comparison. It takes children a little while to get the hang of doing this. Lots and lots of practice will help them get more confident and accurate.

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

More ideas for playing with measurement:

More maths play on Octavia and Vicky:

Invitation to Play bottle top numbres

Learning about numbers - subitising and number recognition | Octavia and Vicky

Baking the Alphabet {via Octavia and Vicky}

April 1, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Baking the Alphabet

Baking the Alphabet {via Octavia and Vicky}

The weather is turning cooler and I’m loving it. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the cold weather, the colder the better! I think perhaps I should have been born in a much cooler climate, Australia is too hot for me!

Cold weather means more comfort foods like casseroles, soups, dumplings, mash and PIES. I was inspired (yet again) by Beth’s yummy recipes and we made her chicken pot pies. They were DELISH and I’ll definitely be making those again.

Pebble was keen to help and loved placing the pastry on top of the pies and brushing them with milk. Each pie was lovingly topped with a pastry in the shape of our family member’s first initial, and Pebble thought that was the best bit ever. We had some pastry left over and made more letters, with me cutting out the shapes and Pebble painting them with milk.

I asked Pebble which letters she wanted to make as we went along and she delighted is seeing the shapes emerge from the pastry. She sprinkled a few with cheese to make them extra tasty. Then it was time to pop them in the oven and start baking the alphabet.

Baking the Alphabet {via Octavia and Vicky} Baking the Alphabet {via Octavia and Vicky} Baking the Alphabet {via Octavia and Vicky}

Where was Rocky while this was going on? He was kept busy with the age old toddler distractor – the plastics cupboard! It never fails :)

Baking the Alphabet {via Octavia and Vicky}

Eight more ideas for learning letters and sounds in the kitchen:

More literacy ideas from Octavia and Vicky:

Multisensory Activities for Learning Letters {via Octavia and Vicky}

Custom Alphabet Play Dough Mats

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...