Ball and Tube Play

Ball and Tube Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Ball and Tube Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Pebble and Rocky have been having lots of fun playing with balls and tunnels at our house. This ball and tube play, with nursery rhyme sing-a-long, is awesome fun for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. This is how we did it.

Looking for more baby play ideas?
Get your copy of Zero to Two: the book of play.

Zero to Two - The Book of Play

Ball and Tube Play

You will need:

  • one large cardboard tube (we recycled an old post tube)
  • wrapping paper (optional)
  • sticky tape (optional)
  • <scissors
  • string or ribbon
  • a large cardboard box (we used four smaller boxes stuck together)
  • small balls (tennis balls are great – remember not to use anything too small or baby might eat it!)

To make:

  1. Wrap the cardboard tube in the wrapping paper and stick it down using the sticky tape (optional).
  2. Make four holes in the bottom of the cardboard box, ready to thread your ribbon through to secure the tube. We figured out where to make our holes by holding the tube up against the box first.
  3. Thread your string or ribbon through the holes to create a loop for the cardboard tube to sit in. Put the the cardboard tube into position as you do this, so that it becomes secured in place.
  4. Start playing!

Tip: If you don’t have a cardboard box you could try securing your cardboard tube to a fence or gate outside.

Sing a long

While we were playing we were singing this little song.
(to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Roll, roll, roll the ball
Push it through the tunnel
Roll, roll, roll the ball
Push it through the tunnel

Ball and Tube Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers
Ball and Tube Play for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

There was so much learning going on during this little play scenario.

Pebble (aged 3 years, 9 months) was learning:

  • estimating measurements when wrapping the tube and securing it to the box
  • sharing and turn taking when playing with her baby brother
  • making meaning through music when singing about rolling the ball
  • patience for her little brother’s efforts at getting the ball into the tube.

Rocky (aged 7 months) was learning:

  • to pull himself up while reaching up to put the balls in the tube
  • grasping small objects while grabbing the balls
  • investigation through play – what happens when I put the ball in the tube?
  • sharing and turn taking when playing with his big sister
  • perseverance when trying to get the ball into the tube while balancing

Fisher Price Giveaway

Giveaway - Fisher Price Prize Pack

The awesome people over at Fisher-Price are big advocates of baby and children’s play, and as their Play Ambassador they’ve given me the chance to giveaway two of their most popular toys to Australian Octavia and Vicky readers.

  • Prize 1: Laugh & Learn Apptivity Story Book – This sturdy case (that looks just like baby’s favourite book!) will protect your iPhone (3GS, 4 & 4S or iPod touch 4G) from dribbles, drool, teething and sticky little fingers. Baby will love unlocking never-ending content at the turn of a page – just open and close the case cover to advance app content!
  • Prize 2: Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car – put your little one in the driver’s seat of a fun-filled stationary vehicle with all-around learning and play. The interactive lights and sounds dashboard of the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car keeps your baby busy with a light-up baby “GPS”, horn to honk, gears to shift, and more. With over 75 sung songs, tunes and phrases, and three modes of play, there’s plenty of fuel for learning adventures and fun!

Christmas is coming up, these toys could be a great way to help Santa fill those stockings and sacks this year.

To enter simply leave a comment answering this question:

What is your child’s favourite nursery rhyme?

This giveaway is now closed.

Zero to Two - The Book of Play

Finger Foods for Babies

Baby Finger Food Recipes - Baby Led Weaning Recipes

Sponsored by Fisher-Price

Baby Rocky is LOVING his finger foods. We started introducing solids about a week before he turned six months old and he has not stopped eating since. Anyone would think I had been starving him! He will eat pretty much anything I throw at him which has really encouraged me to offer him lots of new bits and pieces to try.

We are using a baby led weaning approach, which means lots of finger food and some spoon food offerings, like yoghurt, mashed banana and mashed veggies. Rocky is most happy when he’s got two fistfuls of food and a spoon headed for his face :) I thought you might like to try some of Rocky’s favourite finger foods with your baby at home.

Baby Finger Food Recipes - Baby Led Weaning Recipes

Finger Foods for Babies

Pita bread and guacamole

Baby Finger Food Recipes - Baby Led Weaning Recipes - Pita Bread and Guacamole
Pita Bread and Guacamole Dip

Rocky loves flavour. When I offered him plain avocado he ate it, but he really wasn’t that into it. Then I gave him some of my dinner one night (or he snatched it out of my hand, however you like to look at it!). We were having wraps and he munched on my pita bread spread with guacamole. He couldn’t get enough of the stuff! To prepare, just warm the pita bread in the oven, wrapped in foil, until it’s gently warm and nice and soft (check the heat before offering it to baby!). For the guacamole, mash together the flesh from one avocado, half a peeled and grated garlic clove and a squeeze of lemon juice. Spread the guacamole on to triangles of pita bread and watch the demolition commence.

Chickpea patties

Baby Finger Food Recipes - Baby Led Weaning Recipes - Chickpea Patties
Chickpea Patties

This tasty little morsel fits right into a hungry fist. I adapted this recipe from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook using a stick blender, which makes it so easy to throw together. Grab a bowl and chuck in one tin (400g) of drained and rinsed chickpeas, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin, 1 onion (chop it in half or quarters), the juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons of flour and a little bit of black pepper. Blitz with the stick blender until smooth, then shape into fist sized patties and pan fry in a tiny bit of oil. The whole family ate these for dinner, they were so delish (ok, Pebble tasted them – which is called winning around here).
Tip: Pop the mixture into the fridge for an hour or so before shaping into patties. It will come together much more easily.

Parmesan chicken fingers

Baby Finger Food Recipes - Baby Led Weaning Recipes - Parmesan Chicken Fingers
Parmesan Chicken Fingers

What kid doesn’t love nuggets? You can make your own healthy version that any hungry baby, child or adult will devour. Just slice a chicken breast into long, finger sized pieces (about 5cm in length allows bubs to easily grab one end and gnaw on the other). Coat the chicken fingers in natural yoghurt, then roll in a mixture made of equal quantities breadcrumbs and finely grated parmesan cheese. Bake in a hot oven (200 Celsius/400 Fahrenheit) for 15 – 20 minutes, turning once.

Baby Finger Food Recipes - Baby Led Weaning Recipes

Since having kids we’ve tried a few different high chairs, at home, at friends houses and at cafes. I have simple needs – I like a high chair that’s safe, easy to clean and adjustable.

Lucky me, as Fisher Price Play Ambassador I was sent the Grow With Me High Chair to try out. Tough gig, right?

Pebble was pretty excited to see the big box arrive on our doorstep and had fun ‘helping’ me put it together. The Fisher Price Grow With Me High Chair meets ticks all my boxes and has a few extra features that are quite nifty. The grippy tray keeps plates, bowls and snacks from slipping all over the place and the different height options make it easy for children to join the family at the table.

Baby Finger Food Recipes - Baby Led Weaning Recipes Baby Finger Food Recipes - Baby Led Weaning Recipes

Rocky was nice and comfy in the Grow With Me High Chair at dinner time. The tray is in just the right spot to catch all his dropped bits and pieces, and can easily be adjusted to allow more space for his round tummy as he grows. The tray also removes completely, which is perfect for toddlers who want to eat dinner at the table like a big kid, without needing a booster seat or a pile of wobbly cushions. The legs can also be adjusted to allow for different table heights. Pebble gives it a big thumbs up! She’s been using the Grow With Me High Chair to sit comfortably at the table to draw, eat and do puzzles.

Fisher Price Grow With Me High Chair - Perfect for Babies and Toddlers 2 Fisher Price Grow With Me High Chair - Perfect for Babies and Toddlers

The only problem I’m going to have with this high chair is two kids fighting over who gets to sit in it!


Would you like to win a Fisher Price Grow With Me High Chair? Just tell me what is the silliest/funniest/weirdest thing you’ve ever done to try and get your kids to eat their dinner.

This is a game of skill and entries will be judged based on creativity and originality. Open to Australian residents only. Entries close Saturday, 28th September, 2013.

Looking for more family food ideas?

Printable Family Meal Planner Quesadillas - Cooking with Kids - Family Dinners Lentil and Vegetable Lasagne - Cooking with Kids - Family Dinners

Toy Box Essentials Checklist

Toy Box Essentials ChecklistWe have got SO many toys in our house. I come from a huge family and the gift exchange at birthdays and Christmas gets a little cray-cray. I will admit that I get sucked into it all too. I’ve been that person who is staggering around the shops with an overloaded trolley and a crazed look in their eyes.

Sometimes it can all get a little overwhelming when I’m staring at rows and rows of toys and trying to decide what to buy. Especially when one kid is pulling on my leg while another kid is screaming in my ear. So there are a few simple things that I try to keep in mind when looking for the best toys for the littlies in my life:

Super Simple Toy Box Essentials Checklist

» Long lasting

Good toys last the distance. They can take slobbering, banging, riding and lots and lots and lots of play. There is nothing worse that a child happily playing away with their new toy, only for the wheels to fall off on the first go. Cue the tears!

» Challenging

The best toys provide a bit of a challenge. Not too much – just enough to keep children wanting more. Kids like to feel good at stuff, but if it’s too easy then they will just get bored and move on to something else.

» Able to be used in more ways than one

Kids are pretty good at finding inventive ways of using toys, and the best toys give kids lots of options for different play. Pebble used to love her Rock-a-Stack – not just for stacking but for dolls crowns, bracelets, swimming rings, pretend donuts, colour sorting and matching. Great toys kick start the imagination.

» Good value

Good value does not mean cheap. Cheap toys will lead to tears (see my first point!). Good value means that it ticks all the other points on this checklist AND is affordable.

Fisher-Price Giveaway

This is why I’m so excited to be a Play Ambassador for Fisher-Price. Not only do their  toys tick all the boxes but they also offer a mix of classic toys, like the Fisher-Price Chatter Phone, and new technology, like the Fisher-Price Apptivity Storybook Reader. With over 80 years in the toy making business, Fisher-Price toys have been much loved in toy boxes over generations. Do you remember playing with these classics when you were a kid?

Toy Box Essentials - Fisher Price GiveawayToy Box Essentials - Fisher Price Giveaway

Super big thanks to Octavia and Vicky fans and friends for sharing their photos of their children (and husband!). (1) Kelly’s baby boy, Alexander. (2) Fiona’s baby boy. (3) Katey’s husband (now 34 years old!). Check out Katey’s blog -> Playing and Learning Begins at Home. (4) Christie’s daughter, AJ. Visit Christie’s blog -> Childhood 101.

And guess what, you lucky ducks? Thanks to Fisher-Price I’m giving away over $150 worth of toy box essentials to one happy reader. This box of awesome will include  1 x Rock-A-Stack, 1 x Chatter Phone, 1 x Laugh & Learn Apptivity Storybook Reader, 1 x Giggle Gang, 1 x Love to Play Sis and 1 x Laugh and Learn Puppy.

Toy Box Essentials Checklist - Fisher Price Giveaway 2

To enter please leave a comment on this post sharing your child’s most loved toy.

Conditions of entry:

  • Entries will be judged based on creativity and originality.
  • You may enter as many times as you like.
  • Australian entries only (sorry international readers!)
  • The winner will be notified by email. Please leave your email address when entering your comment.
  • The winner must claim their prize within 14 days of notification or forfeit the prize.
  • Competition ends Wednesday, 7 August 2013, midnight AEST.

Hosted by Three Lil Princesses

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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Five Ways to Feel Overjoyed Every Day

A Special Announcement: Octavia and Vicky is a Fisher-Price Play Ambassador!

I’m overjoyed to announce that I am representing Fisher-Price as one of their Play Ambassadors! Over the next few months I’ll be partnering with Fisher-Price to share parenting tips, toy reviews and super awesome giveaways just for Octavia and Vicky readers. I’m also joining a community of parents finding their tribe and sharing their favourite overjoyed, overwhelmed and overtired moments at the Fisher-Price website. I hope that you’ll join me there too! Upload photos, videos or stories of your own moments of being overjoyed, overtired and overwhelmed or click through to see what others have to share. No one will accuse you of oversharenting in this space. All of these features will also be available in the Fisher-Price App very soon, stay tuned for more info!

As a part of my partnership with Fisher-Price, Rocky and I went to Sydney last week to go to the launch of their awesome new range of products. It was a like a huge mothers group – with the added bonus of the most delicious breakfast buffet you can imagine! As we sat nibbling on chocolate croissants we joined in a chat with a panel of three parenting experts about what it’s like to be parents – the challenges, the triumphs and the joys. I walked away from that room of bubbly, chatty parents feeling a little bit lighter (in spite of the chocolate croissants).

Five Ways to Feel Overjoyed Everyday

We all know that parenting is a roller coaster ride of emotion. As parents we feel overtired and overwhelmed, we over-analyse and over-criticise ourselves. We’re overenthusiastic about our little bundles of joy and we over-share on their every pee and poop to our friends (oversharenting, anyone?). The one thing that makes it all worthwhile is that amazing feeling of being overjoyed. Overjoyed at the steps they take, the words they say, their peaceful sleeping faces, the love that they shower us with and the overwhelming love that we feel for them.

Here are five ways that you can feel overjoyed every day:

1. Play

We are always being told about the importance of play for children’s learning and development, but playing with your children is also one of life’s greatest pleasures. Take time out of your day to just be in the moment and play together. Laugh, pretend, build, create, explore and discover through play and you will feel lighter, happier and more connected with your child and yourself.

2. Let It Go

Worrying steals your joy and keeps you busy doing nothing. Try focussing on what you can change, and let go the things that you can’t. I will admit that I find letting it go very difficult to do, but with practice I’m getting better. When I feel anxiety creeping in I find it helpful to stop and think about what I’m grateful for instead or to do a quick mini-meditation.

3. Find Your Tribe

Friends make us laugh and listen to our troubles. Connect with others who are going through the same joys and woes that you are – whether that means meeting up for a coffee or clicking on your favourite social media site. Finding others who understand what we’re going through can lighten the load and help us to feel less alone.

4. Keep it Real

While finding your tribe, remember to keep it real. So many of us feel trapped by pressure, from ourselves or from society, to be ‘perfect’ and to have it all. The truth is that none of us are perfect, none of us have it all. Start changing the culture of perfection and help lift a weight from your shoulders. Let down your guard and you’ll see others let down theirs too.

5. Take a Break

One of the biggest issues for many parents is the need for time to themselves – and finding it almost impossible to get it. Time to yourself doesn’t need to mean going on a spa retreat, or spending the whole day away from your loved ones. I have a friend who finds their time alone in those few minutes in the car before arriving home, cranking up their favourite tunes and singing along. Another friend enjoys that small minute of silence between buckling her children in the car and getting into the driver’s seat. Every minute counts. Acknowledge those moments for what they are, soak them up, and carry on.

Tell me, what makes you feel overjoyed? Why not share your story with the tribe :)

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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