Gum Nut Babies Play

When I was a kid my mum used to read us the adventures of ‘gum nut babies’ Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, by May Gibbs. My sister and I loved the stories, but more than that, we loved collecting gum nuts in shoe boxes and making our own little gum nut baby homes.

I couldn’t resist sharing this joy with Pebble, and one late afternoon we ‘read’ some stories (looked at pictures and made up stories) then headed out into the garden and neighbourhood on a gum nut hunt. Pebble loved trying to find the gum nuts (and rocks – that kid loves herself some good rocks). She especially loved some little gum nut tops and declared them to be perfect hats for her babies.

The next morning we looked at the books again and checked out the collection of gum nuts and other bits and pieces. Pebble arranged bark and leaves to make slides and beds… then looked around in dismay. “Mummy, where are the babies?”. I showed her the gum nuts and explained that they were the babies. Well, that went down like a lead balloon. They did not look like babies to Pebble. “We need to make some, Mummy. Here’s the hats!”. Right. So I needed to come up with plan B.

I rummaged around the craft cupboard and came up with some pink felt, rubber bands, sharpies and dried beans. I fiddled around a bit and came up with this:

Cute, huh? I made a little gum nut family, and Pebble was happy to start play gum nut babies again. Pebble played with them for a few weeks, until the blossoms had completely disintegrated. We’ll definitely be making more gum nut babies and homes in the future, I’m sure that Pebble can make a few gum nut babies of her own soon.

Check out more cute gum nut babies at My Little Bookcase.

What’s your favourite childhood story book? Did you every play with gum nut babies?

{Guest Post} Afternoon Tea with Charlie and Lola

I’m away on holidays and have invited some of my blogging buddies to share one of their all time favourite posts from their blogs with Octavia and Vicky readers. Our guest today is Jackie Small from My Little Bookcase. Please make her feel welcome!


The Little Book Adventure projects are designed to engage our children in books in interesting and wonderful ways. Project #4, Dining with a Book Character, most certainly encourages that.

Undertaking this project has honestly been the most wonderful activity my daughter and I have shared together. I won’t lie though; the project required lots of time, effort, planning and patience. I think the following post will prove that the time and effort involved was well worth it.

Getting started and helping a pre-schooler understand the task was probably the most difficult part of the project. As my daughter is already an avid little chef, I asked her if she’d like to create a special meal for someone from a book. I mentioned that we would choose a character at the end of the week from one of the books we’d read.

We didn’t even make it until the end of the week though. We were reading a Charlie and Lola book which Cam had personally chosen from the local library. As soon as we finished reading the book she announced that she’d like to invite Charlie and Lola to our house for afternoon tea.

From that point the project just flowed and so did Cam’s ideas for the afternoon tea. The rich and real-life learning that took place during the activity was absolutely phenomenal. Most importantly though, we had an amazing amount of fun in the process.

Writing and communicating: We wrote a letter to Charlie and Lola inviting them to our house for an afternoon tea. [The use of images (symbols) to replace words was used so that Cam could read the letter back to her dad. After all, that’s what alphabet letters are: symbols. Understanding that we gain information from symbols is one precursor to learning to read.]

Communication and understanding the postal system: We posted the letter in the mailbox. (Cam was quite upset and confused that she had to wait for Charlie and Lola to receive their letter. She wanted the afternoon tea NOW and didn’t want to prepare, shop and bake for the afternoon tea.)

Reading, comprehending and evaluating: We read through the book numerous times trying to find clues that would help us work out what Charlie and Lola would enjoy eating.

Reading and understanding different text types: We looked through our collection of children’s cookbooks for suitable recipes.

Writing and planning: Once we’d decided on the recipes, we wrote a shopping list. I created a shopping list with symbols for my daughter to use when searching for the ingredients in the supermarket. [See notes about symbols above]

Reading and shopping: We went shopping, keeping a record of our purchases.

Art, creativity and fine motor skills: We made personalised placemats for Charlie, Lola and ourselves. Lauren Childs uses collage-style illustrations in her books, which made this activity perfect for our Charlie and Lola afternoon tea.

Art, creativity and construction: We created our own life-size Charlie and Lola paper dolls. So eager was Cam for Charlie and Lola to come to our house, we needed to make them look as real as possible. I was thankful they worked. Cam was smitten with her new friends and couldn’t stop giving them cuddles.

Reading, measuring and cooking: We were busy in the kitchen, making Almond Crescent Biscuits (Little Kitchen –Around the World), Gingerbread Biscuits (Look and Cook) and Strawberry Smoothies (Women’s Weekly Healthy Babies)

Spatial awareness: We set the table

Imagination: We sat down at the table. I thought I had ‘fooled’ Cam with the paper-dolls. But, she quickly declared, “We can’t start yet. We have to wait for the real Charlie and Lola to come. These ones are just pretend. ” We had a long talk about books, characters and pretending. Thankfully, she was satisfied.

Dining etiquette, imagination, conversation and socialising: We thoroughly enjoyed afternoon tea.

Helping others: Cam helped Lola to eat her gingerbread biscuit because, “she can’t lift her own hand.”

For the Love of Books

Book Week Childhood 101


Today I’m guest posting for legendary blogger Christie at Childhood 101. I’ve been a long time fan of Christie’s work, hers was one of the very first blogs I ever read. I had the great pleasure of meeting her at Blogopolis this year and she has kindly welcomed me onto her blog as a part of Book Week.

Please pop on over to read the story of our families journey with books and reading, as well as lots of other fabulous ideas for playing and learning.

Tell me a story

This week is the 67th Annual Children’s Book Week, and all over Australia children are enjoying quality children’s books, with many of them joining in a Book Week Parade at their child care centre, preschool or school. I will be dressing up myself when I go to my school’s Book Week Parade – I haven’t decided on a costume yet though… eek!

To celebrate Book Week I would like to share a video of Pebble’s adaptation of Little Twitching by Phil Cummings. It is one of her favourite bed time stories. Enjoy.

UPDATE: I am very excited to say that within minutes of publishing this post we received an email from author, Phil Cummings, saying that he had seen the video and loved it. Thank you, Phil!

What is your favourite picture book?

Toddler Colour Collage

Toddler Colour Collage

Pebble has been OBSESSED by colour lately. She groups everything by colour – her dolls, teddies, dress ups, crayons, crafty bits, bowls, spoons, food – you name it, it’s been sorted. This weekend I found myself with a stack of junk mail and some big sheets of coloured card board (thanks Aunty Jade!) and knew just what to do with them. Colour collage!

As an invitation to play I set up some cut out pictures from the junk mail, extra catalogues, a glue stick and a sheet of card, then put them out ready for Pebble to start playing. It was a Sunday morning and she was still in her PJs (a common theme around here – I do dress my child occasionally, I promise!). This was the perfect quiet activity as Pebble was feeling a bit flat with a cold.

While I had a goal in mind with this activity – colour collage – who knew where Pebble would want to take it! Sure enough though she was soon putting the colours together into groups. She stuck down a few pictures, spending concentrated moments with glue stick in hand, applying just the right amount, then sticking her pictures in the perfect spot. A bit of a perfectionist, is our kid – she doesn’t get it from me! After about four pictures though, she wandered off, taking a fistful of pictures with her. Pebble started to sing about macaroni, and was stuffing the pictures into her pencil pots… ok! So we had a little mini macaroni play, stopped for a drink of milk, and left the collage for a bit.

Collage supplies

Not long after Pebble came back to visit the collage, ready for another go. This time she was directing the colour placement as I did the sticking. We made a fun and game of Mummy not knowing what colour each picture was, or where to put it – silly mummy! I love hamming it up :P We searched for new pictures in the catalogues and Pebble chose which ones to cut out and stick.

Choosing just the right one - toddler colour collage

Then she started telling me about each picture, so I grabbed a pen and wrote down some of what she was saying. She was very curious to see her words appear on the page (and I caught myself in a very school teacher moment, whoops, just can’t help myself).


Finally she wanted to share her collage with Daddy. Paul sat on the floor with her, but Pebble was much happier to drag a chair over and sit on it, pointing and “teaching” Daddy about all the pictures. “I did lots and lots of teachin’, Mummy!”. Yeah, she did.

show and tell for Daddy - colour collage

But wait, there’s more! Did you know that catalogues make great mini cubbies? Well apparently they do. You just need to hide your head under one and you’ve got a really cosy cubby. Who knew it was that simple?

collage cubby

Have you made a collage lately?

Do you like wearing your PJs on a lazy Sunday morning?