October 31, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
This morning Pebble woke up and we had our usual morning chat as she lay in bed. She asked the same question she asks every day: “What are we doing today?”. I told her what we had planned (not much!) and mentioned that it’s Halloween today. “HALLOWEEN!?”. She was up in a flash and asking for help to make her Halloween costume. She wanted to be a witch and chose a ‘witchy’ dress from her wardrobe and had some (a lot!) of help to make a hat and a broomstick. The result was one happy kid!
Then we started planning some decorations to let our neighbours know that we are are open for Halloween business. This easy Halloween mason jar lantern only took five minutes to make.
Easy Halloween Mason Jar Lantern
You will need:
- a large jar
- a bandage
- double sided sticky tape (or regular will do)
- a tea light candle
- a lighter or matches
How to make a Halloween lantern
- Remove the lid from your jar.
- Wrap the jar in the bandage and secure with the double sided tape.
- draw and cut out a spooky face from cardboard and slide the shapes underneath the bandage strips. Use tape to secure if needed.
- Blu-tak the tealight candle to the bottom of the jar and light it (always practice fire safety around children).
There you have it! Five minutes later and you have a super cool Halloween decoration. I’m thinking of some more designs to make Christmas lanterns too.
For more Halloween lantern inspiration try these:
Tell me about your favourite Halloween memory.
October 27, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
Brought to you by Nuffnang and Chalk.com.au
You’ve seen our lovely big lawn quite a few times on this blog and my Instagram feed, but the reality is that our lawn is really the best play feature in the backyard. We have a few bikes and scooters and an old play gym, but I really want to add a few more toys and activities to our outdoor collection this Christmas. So I was super excited when one of my favourite online toy stores, Chalk.com.au, contacted me asking if I’d like to try some of their toys and share my experience with you all. Oh, and they wanted to giveaway some vouchers to you guys. Um, yes please!
I’ve used Chalk.com.au before to buy toys through fundraisers with Pebble’s child care centre, but that’s always been catalogue based. I didn’t realise that you can go straight to the website and buy there. I love, love, love searching on websites, using filters and categories and zeroing in on what I want. My brain finds it so much easier to process than a catalogue.
Chalk.com.au allows you to search by category, for example “construction” or “arts & craft”, or by brand. You can also use the search bar to type any word you like and find what your heart desires. My only problem is that they had so many cool products to choose from that I had a hard time making a decision! I can see myself buying all my Christmas presents from the comfort of my own home this year. Aaahhhhh, bliss.
Another cool little perk is that you can choose a child care centre, preschool or school to donate 20% of the total value of your order to. I’ve been using parent company, Modern Teaching Aids, as a teacher for years and have always loved their products in the classroom. The school incentives program gave me a chance to give some $$ back to my school to use to buy more educational resources. Win-win! Here’s my top ten toys for outdoor play with kids this summer.
10 Essentials for Fun in the Sun with Kids
- Space hopper – I always loved these as a kid! I never had one of my own, and loved any chance I got to hop on one.
- Bubbles – you gotta have bubbles! Chalk.com.au has the Extream Bubbles bubble blower, the My Bubble Lawn Mower (cute!) and a Bubble Rocket. They’re all on my wish list.
- Sprinkler – there are lots of cool sprinklers to choose from these days. We got one of these Wigglin’ Waterpillars and it’s hilarious! The first time we used it he kinda sprayed in one spot the whole time, but the second time his arms went crazy and he really was wigglin’! The kids thought it was a hoot.
- Water slide – we already had one of these dual racing slides so I didn’t pick one up but they are definitely a summer play essential, especially when have friends over for a play. I love that the racing slides at Chalk.com.au come with bodyboards, great idea.
- Blow up swimming pool – I very nearly bought this splish splash activity pool, it’s just so cute! We already have a blow up pool but it’s nowhere near as cool as this one. With the little slide and canopy, the palm tree. Adorable! The kids would love it. A kiddie pool is definitely a summer must have.
- Bat and ball set – a favourite from my childhood was totem tennis. I thought about grabbing one of those but I think Pebble and Rocky are still a bit little. This Lil Slugger T-Ball Set was the perfect choice and they can both use it really well. I was suprised at Pebble’s skills! Rocky is a great little fielder, he loves chasing balls, and he can have a hit too (when Pebble let’s him get in there!).
- Stilts - these are great for gross motor development and also just fun to watch kids get around on. Pebble had fun with them, but she kinda forgot to look where she was going and took a dive. She was a good sport and had a laugh about it. These are only $8.90 – bargain!
- Sports practice – There are lots of ways for kids to practice their sports skills and have fun outdoors. Try basketball, soccer or bowling.
- Sand and water table – these tables are worth their weight in gold. We’ve had ours since Pebble was one and it gets so much use, summer and winter. We’ve used it for sand, water, rice and gloop!
- Ride ons – we have a small space for riding wheeled toys around our yard and are also lucky to have a school nearby with paths and asphalt to ride on. Try scooters, tandems, skates or this cute plasmacar.
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Win a Chalk.com.au $50 Voucher
October 26, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
I’m so excited to share the Fizz, Pop, Bang! Playful Science and Math Activities ebook with you! You might remember that I also collaborated on two other fantastic ebooks with NurtureStore. They’ve both had so much support and positive feedback from readers, I just know that you’re all going to love this ebook too.
What will I find in the Fizz, Pop, Bang! ebook?
- Fizz, Pop, Bang! has lots of hands-on, super awesome fun science and math activities for kids.
- All activities are all play based, making them perfect for kids and a great way to have fun while learning.
- You can use these activities for weekend projects, school, homeschool, summer camps, anytime!
- There are so many inspiring ideas that are really practical with everything all in one place.
- The ebook features gorgeous photos and easy to follow step-by-step guides.
- The ebook includes 40 ideas for children aged 3 to 8, with twenty printable resources and additional links to over 80 more activities.
Take a sneak peek at what’s inside with this video:
How do I get my copy? Gimme, gimme, gimme!
- Fizz, Pop, Bang! Playful Science and Math Activities is an ebook. You can buy and download your copy on any device (computer, tablet, phone) from anywhere in the world RIGHT NOW! You can print it on your printer at home, or read it straight from your phone, computer or tablet. I know, cool right?
- get your copy for the awesome launch price of $7.99 (USD). Don’t worry about working out the exchange rate, it’s all done for you when you get your copy. You’re welcome :) Get in quick, this price is only available until November 9th 2014.
Have fun playing :)
October 23, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
Brought to you by Nuffnang and BabyLove
This is Rocky. He is 19 months old now and he HATES having his nappy changed.
Mention the word ‘nappy’ and Rocky is likely to suddenly disappear in puff of (smelly) air. He will run at speed into the nearest room and close the door behind him. This really is a futile effort as all our doors have door-stops on them to protect little fingers. Sucker.
When I do manage to get Rocky in the right place at the right time he puts in his best effort to make it a drama. He uses several quite effective techniques to avoid having a clean butt, including:
- The Donkey – bending both legs in towards his belly he then kicks them both hard at my stomach. This one hurts.
- The Tour Down Under – you might remember this move from your ab routine at the gym. Holding his legs high in the air he pedals an imaginary bicycle in my face.
- The Roly-Poly - kind of like the stop-drop-and-roll technique taught to kids by firefighters, minus the fire.
- The Pretzel – rolling either the upper or lower half of the body separately, so that he twists like a salty New York snack.
- The “Butt You” – getting into a baby downward dog and sticking his butt in my face.
- The Upside Down Worm – the 80s, body-rippling break-dancing move that always comes out at weddings (or was that just my wedding?). THAT – but upside down. Quite entertaining, actually.
Making Nappy Change Time Easy
It’s no surprise, then, that I have a few tricks up my sleeve for
happy bearable nappy change times.
- Reciting a favourite story from memory. Our current favourite is “Moo, Baa, La-la-la” by Sandra Boynton. Lucky for me it doesn’t have too many words and is very easy to remember.
- TV. Especially during theme songs or when music is playing. Move fast, before the song ends! Or try the super cute and mesmerizing Baby Bud Soother song.
- Nursery rhymes. “This little piggy” is a big winner at the moment.
- Distraction – by his favourite person, his sister. Pebble has gotten very good at playing Peek-a-boo.
- BabyLove Nappy Pants for a speedy change. I love nappy pants because I can change Rocky while he’s standing up. It’s the laying down part that he really seems opposed to, so this works a treat. Here’s why you’ll loveBabyLove Nappy Pants:
- They have a super stretchy waist that is easy to pull up, with no fiddly tabs.
- They are as absorbent as regular nappies- holding up to five cups of liquid. That’s a whole lot of wee!
- The stretchy waist fits kiddos just right – no digging in and no leaks.
- Tearable side seams help make nappy change time quick and easy.
- 20 Questions – you know, the kinds of questions that mummies and daddies ask their kiddos repeatedly. ‘What does a cow say?’, ‘What does a duck say?’, ‘Where’s your nose?’, ‘Where’s your belly?’, ‘Where’s Mummy’s cocktail?’.
Win $250 worth of BabyLove Nappy Pants!
One lucky Octavia and Vicky reader will win $250 worth of BabyLove Nappy Pants and wipes!
To enter just answer the question in the widget below. Terms and conditions.
Win $250 worth of Baby Love Nappy Pants and Wipes!
October 20, 2014
by Kylie Gardner
Rocky loves to draw. He will physically climb onto the table to reach Pebble’s drawing materials and then happily wander around the house looking for things to draw on. As long as it’s NOT paper. I’m adding that particular behaviour to the very long list of things that Pebble didn’t do. Or did once then listened when I told her not to. I guess it’s a boy thing? A second child thing? Or just a Rocky thing. It’s who he is and I will embrace that (sometimes through gritted teeth as he throws his toys, climbs on the furniture and smashes …. everything).
I wanted to make the concept of drawing on paper more appealing to my little bruiser and had an idea to do some large scale drawing. Here’s how it went.
Giant Floor Drawing for Toddlers
You will need:
- an extra large piece of paper (we used a roll of paper that I got from Ikea)
- drawing materials, for example chunky pencils, crayons or markers (we’re using Micador Washable Oil Pastels #notsponsored)
- sticky tape
- an eager toddler
- adult supervision!
- Stick the large piece of paper to the floor using sticky tape. I suggest sticking it along the entire perimeter of the paper to make sure it stays in place.
- Get out the drawing materials and have a go with them together.
- Sit nearby, give them lots of time and space to explore, chat about their marks.
These oil pastels are awesome, the colours are bright and they mark the paper really easily. I love how Rocky grasped three in one hand while working with another. The tongue poking out is pretty cute too.
Rocky drew happily for about 10 minutes or so, which is a pretty good chunk of time for a 19 month old to stick at anything. Then he started to experiment with drawing on the wood floors. I redirected him to the paper. He threw a crayon at me. Activity over. #keepingitreal
Rocky is unimpressed that I have taken the oil pastels away. Obviously.
The best thing about these oil pastels is that they wiped up with a baby wipe with no problems at all.
Disclaimer: Micador sent us these oil pastels to try about a couple of years ago now, and they’re still going strong. They did not pay me to mention their products or ask me to endorse them in any way. I’m giving you my honest opinion on them because I love sharing products that I genuinely love and use.
Wondering when to introduce your child to drawing? Try reading these tips for drawing for babies and toddlers.
Do your kids like drawing on the walls?