Parenting is…

Parenting is wondering how you got yourself into this mess then wanting to do it all over again in the same heartbeat

I was taking an important phone call.

Pebble was crying (screaming) because I wasn’t listening to her (and she wasn’t feeling well).

Rocky was crying because (as it turned out) his bottom half was swimming in poo.

I hung up the phone.

I cuddled Pebble with one hand while juggling the smelly baby with the other.

I walked past piles of dishes, baskets of washing, unopened mail and teetering toys.

I stripped the baby. He kicked fast feet in sloppy poo.

Pebble cried. Again.

I cursed it all.

Who’s idea was THIS?

Who in their right mind would make a logical decision to become a parent? 

I cursed some more.

I wiped away the poo.

I called out sweet nothings to Pebble.

I lowered my baby into the bath.

He looked into my eyes.

He beamed at me.

I beamed back.

I wondered if having more babies wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.

This week I’m grateful for my kids. They teach me more about myself in every moment of every day than I could ever have imagined.

What are you grateful for? 

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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Improvisation Game for Kids {Childhood 101 Team Tag}

For something a little different, I’m playing a game of online tag with the Childhood 101 team! It’s lots of fun and a great way to discover new blogs and fun ideas. I’m delighted to welcome Kidspot Voices of 2013 Nominee, Ali from At Home with Ali to share this fun game with you today, while I’m over at Childhood 101 getting creative and teaching you how to make your own soap crayons. 

For those who haven’t met Ali before, she is a blogger and mother of two kids who adore art and crafts. Making things is a part of everyday life. Ali is also a designer and DIY crafter. She lives with her family in Sydney, Australia and shares her creative adventures on her blog At Home with Ali. Check out Ali’s improvisation game for kids below and then follow the link at the bottom of the post to join our game of online tag!

Improvisation Game for Kids

Improvisation Game for Kids

We do a lot of process-based art in our house but just recently the kids and I have begun exploring a new area of creativity – drama and improvisation. I developed a fun and energetic improvisation game based on my memories of my childhood drama classes.

The beauty about this game is that it involves performing and watching others. My 5 year old isn’t great at letting others take the spotlight. This game gives her the perfect opportunity to learn from others by watching their performances.

Improvisation Game for Kids

Game Prep

Before the game you need to write down 10 or more improvisation clues, each on their own piece of paper. My kids love to help me come up with clues. Fold each piece of paper and place it into a basket or bowl. Here are some examples of clues that we have used:

  • Swim like a fish
  • Ride on a unicorn
  • Brush your hair
  • Dance like a ballerina
  • Fly like a bird
  • Be the rain
  • Moo like a cow
  • Be a butterfly
  • Grow like a tree
  • Be a passenger in a bus
  • Flutter like a fairy

Game Set Up

You need a stage and somewhere for the audience to sit. I place a blanket on the ground to act as centre stage and I set up a row of chairs for the audience.

To Play

  • All the kids take a seat.
  • The first kid chooses a clue and takes centre stage to act out their clue (no props are allowed but sound effects are strongly encouraged).
  • After allowing the first kid to improvise on their own for a short time, all the other kids are allowed to join in with the improvisation (I generally announce “all in” to signal the time to participate).
  • Once the improvisation has wound down I announce “back to the chairs”.
  • Once all the kids are seated it is the next kid’s turn and we do it all again.
  • This is a fast paced game, each turn takes only a couple of minutes.
  • This game is easier with a small group of children. I would suggest dividing kids into teams if you want to play with a larger group.

Improvisation Game for Kids

It is wonderful to watch the kids let their imaginations fly during this game. One kid who chose the clue “Be a Butterfly” improvised the full caterpillar to butterfly life cycle. Another who chose “Be the rain” started with sprinkles and then turned herself into a raging storm.

We have played this game many times and it is always a lot of fun for everyone.

Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Ali. You can connect with Ali on her blogPinterestFacebookGoogle+ and Instagram.

I invite you now to head on over to Christie’s blog, Childhood 101, where I’ve been tagged with a post about making your own soap crayons.  Each post in the game will lead you to another in our game of online tag, leading you all the way back here again. Have fun on your blogging travels :) 

Childhood 101 Team Tag

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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DIY Board Game

DIY Board Game

Way back when, before I had TWO kids, Pebble and I spent an afternoon making and playing with this board game, and came back to revisit it again and again. It was a lovely activity to do together and gave lots of opportunities for learning.DIY Board Game

How to make a board game:

We started by drawing a map of places that Pebble knows  – home, Grandma’s, the shops, the park. She told me what she wanted to draw and asked me to help her draw it. It was when she was going through a “you do it” phase, so lots of the drawings are mine. Pebble drew the ‘stop sign’ – she was very interested in road signs at the time. We used a small square of foam and some dot stickers to make a toddler friendly die representing 1, 2 and 3. You could use a regular six sided dice with older children. Once the map was made we took turns rolling the dice and moving our game pieces around the board. You can use anything for a game piece – we used these gorgeous crayons which have been lots of fun during play and art sessions.

Learning opportunities:

  • pre-writing
  • drawing
  • counting
  • turn taking
  • following rules
  • connecting real life experience to play

Try this:

  • make a board game based on a favourite book, movie or song
  • make a snakes and ladders style game
  • create directions along the path of the board game that encourage children to move and pretend, such as “jump like a kangaroo” or “wobble like a jelly”.

What type of board game would your children like to make?

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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I will admit it – I never really plan these portraits. More often than not I quickly look through snapshots from the week and choose the best ones for this post. The last few weeks I’ve really been trying to get some great photos of the children, and build on my (very limited) photography skills. I have a simple point and shoot camera. It has some extra features though. I can adjust the… stuff to make things…. do stuff. But I haven’t really learned how to use that… stuff. I’m kinda glad I haven’t bothered to buy a DSLR because I doubt very much that I’d have figured out how to make the most of it!

This week I was inspired by these tips for styling photography portraits. I still pulled things together in a bit of a hurry, but I think that I’ve managed to create some lovely photos. Better than the phone snaps that I’ve shared in the past! Rocky’s photo was taken earlier in the week – pre-photo styling tips. Pebble’s was taken after I had some guidelines to work with.

A portrait of my children, once a week

Pebble – 3 years, 4 months

The story: we were about to go to Pebble’s very first dance lesson. She was wearing her cousin’s hand me down ballet skirt and jumping on our bed with her fairy wand in hand. She had been jumping and jumping and jumping – this snap was taken just after she landed for a quick rest. I love the pop of colour against the neutral background, the use of the wand as a prop, and that there is no background ‘noise’ to take away from the focus of the shot.

A portrait of my children, once a week

Rocky – 11 weeks

The story: he was just about to be slathered in olive oil to treat his cradle cap and dry skin, poor bubba. It’s so tricky to get a shot of him when he is still, he moves constantly with quick, jerky movements. I love his expression in this photo, he seems to be looking deep into the camera. A rare moment of stillness.

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013

52 A Portrait a Week

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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