Guess My Picture

Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers

Over the weekend my immediate family gathered to remember my brother, Ryan, who died this time last year. We released some balloons, drank a beer and remembered our happiest and fondest moments with him. We cried, laughed, hugged and cried again. Ryan’s three boys were there, along with their cousins, nine kids in all. Ryan’s ashes are in a beautiful garden with winding pathways, leafy gum trees, a big open lawn and a fountain. It’s just perfect for kids, they love it there. They’re all very young, and don’t really understand the finality of death.  It makes it very hard to stay sad for long when you’re surrounding by laughing, playing children. I hope that Ryan would have loved the way that we paid tribute to him.

After the memorial I went to my mum’s house along with some of the family. It’s such a strange thing, grief and loss. It’s so intense, emotions are so heightened. But the everyday, mundane moments continue. “Do you want a sandwich?”, “Mum, let’s play hide and seek”, “Tell me about your holiday”. It feels surreal to carry on with life, as normal, when someone so important is missing, forever. But you do. Carry on.

Kids are the BEST for distraction from grief, for me anyway. They just want to play. Pebble was tired and cranky that day, we’d let her stay up too late the night before, I guess we were too weighed down our own sadness to worry about bed time. I needed something to distract her, so I suggested we play this game. Her cousins and Uncle soon joined in too, then Nana too. I think I’ll always think of this game as “The Game I Played When I Didn’t Want To Think About My Dead Brother”, but that’s kinda wordy so I’ll call it, “Guess My Picture”.

Guess My Picture

For children age 3 and up.

Minimum 2 players.

You will need

  • paper
  • something to draw with – pens/pencils/crayons/markers

How to play

  • Player 1 draws a picture on the paper. The first person to guess the picture wins that round. Player 1 writes the initial of the winner next to their picture. This is good letter recognition and writing practice, but it’s not essential to the game, so skip that bit if you prefer.
  • Player 2 takes a turn to draw a picture while the other players guess what they’re drawing.
  • Continue on until everyone has had a turn, then start all over again.

It’s very simple, and very addictive. At one point we had three generations and eight people playing! We kept it very casual, with players coming in and out of the game and toddlers scribbling on the page alongside our game. Sometimes, when pictures were very tricky to guess, we asked for clues. I hope you enjoy this game too.

Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers Guess My Picture - A drawing and language game for preschoolers

How to you cope with grief and loss?

Lego Painting

Today I bring you final in the Lego! Cake! Music! series in memory of my brother Ryan. I can’t thank my blogging mates enough for all these super awesome blog posts, and their amazing support over the past few weeks. They are dead set legends.

Today’s legend is Danya from Danya Banya with a post about lego painting. Enjoy :)


I was devastated when I heard the news that Kylie’s brother had passed away.

I am so very close to my own brother, he’s the one that began calling me Danya Banya when I was still knee-high to a grasshopper, and is still one of my closest friends.

I can’t imagine what Kylie and her family are going through right now, and I wanted to do something to help.

I was supervising the kids in the bath when I saw Kylie’s email come through asking if any of her blogging friends would like to submit a guest post for her blog while she is in mourning. She mentioned that her brother had liked Lego, so something to do with Lego would be fitting.

And then I knew what we could do to help. We could paint.

So I towelled down the kids, and brought them downstairs for a rare spot of after bath painting. But we didn’t use brushes, we were going to paint with Lego instead.

Painting with Lego
JJ always jumps at the opportunity to do familiar things with unfamiliar materials, and this was no exception. She picked up one of the Lego pieces, and started stamping straight away.
I encouraged her to try stamping with all the different sides – the bottom, the top, and the side. We noticed that some of the Lego pieces were different shapes, and thus made different patterns.
Stamping with Lego and paint

Before long she asked for one of her Lego people to paint with. Sure!

She tried dipping the Lego man, but then elected to finger paint him first, before attempting to paint with him. He wasn’t as effective at creating an imprint as the other Lego pieces. JJ used a bit of trial and error to see what works best.
Painting with a Lego man
After a while, Bee came over to see what all the fuss was about. She’s started showing an interest in creating art with our textas lately, but I hadn’t given her a chance to play with the paints just yet. It seemed that this was the opportunity!
Baby painting with Lego
Touching, dipping, stamping.”Look you’re painting! You’ve made the colour go onto the paper! You’re painting with the colour green!”
She also liked the look of the Lego man. She held him by his head (which had all the paint on it) and tried to paint with his (clean) feet. Nice try Bee…
Baby painting with Lego
And then, with the wonder that only a brand new toddler can muster, she discovered something amazing. The sensation of squeezing, squelching, oozing finger paint between her fingers.
What fun!
Squeezing, squelching, oozing finger paint between baby fingers

All the while this exploration was happening, I was trying futilely to keep as much paint out of her mouth as possible. We were using non-toxic finger paint, but it still isn’t ideal for her to eat it.

Here’s a photographic timeline of my success (or lack thereof).
Oh no! I *accidentally* ate some paint Mummy!

Oh, and did I mention that she’d only just come out of the bath? Sigh. :)

As this was a process-orientated art experience, the end result wasn’t the goal. But nevertheless, here is our finished work of art hanging on our fence to dry. Perhaps we’ll use it as Christmas wrapping paper?
Lego Art

And to dear Kylie, my heart goes out to you. Words can’t express how sorry I am for your loss.

Danya Banya is a blog about Danya, an Australian Mum doing her best to raise two daughters and learning along the way. It’s a place to share how we play, create, laugh and love.

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.

Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Musical Play and Activities for Kids

In honour of my brother Ryan, I welcome Debs from Learn with Play at Home and her post about music for kids.


“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!” 
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Music really is magical. It has a way of touching us to our core and making us feel certain things. It can ignite a power and strength within us, make our hearts soar or crush our soul in an instant. The power that music holds is something not to be talked about but to be experienced and I feel that a life with music is a richer life indeed.
It is almost an automatic thing in young children that when they hear a tune or an upbeat melody, their body wants to react and move with the music. There are so many fabulous ways that you can involve music in your children’s life that all bring different areas of learning, skills and experiences together. Below are a collection of gorgeous ideas, activities and crafts that you can try to bring a bit more music and magic to your child’s life.
Make a music wall (Paint on the Ceiling)
DIY Palm Pipes (Deceptively Educational)


DIY Rainsticks (Danya Banya)
5 Musical movement games (Learn with Play at Home)
Paper plate tambourine (Craftulate)

DIY Dinosaur Castanet Craft (Triple T Mum on Learn with Play at Home)
5 ideas for outside music play (Let The Children Play)
Song to help learn colours, letters etc (I can teach my child)

DIY Tin drums (Red Ted Art)
Teaching kids how sounds are made (Kids Activities Blog)
Musical water play (Kid’s Play Music)

Happy music making,

Debs :)



Debs is a Primary School Teacher on family leave with her 2 young children. She is passionate about Early Childhood Education and believes firmly in the importance of learning through play. She is the author and creator of which is a resource full of activities and ideas with handy tips on how to further promote learning with play. Above all, she believes that learning should be fun. You can also find Debs on facebookpinteresttwitterinstagram and google+.

Lego Monsters

In honour of my brother Ryan, I welcome Kate from Laughing Kids Learn and her lego monsters.


Hello! My name is Kate and I blog over at ‘Laughing Kids Learn‘. 
It gives me great pleasure to share this idea with everyone at ‘Octavia and Vicky’. 
Making and creating Lego monsters by Laughing Kids Learn

When I was young I owned a big metal tub of Lego. It was my favourite play item and it was always a common sight to have the pieces scattered over my bedroom floor. I’m sure many parents have seen a similar sight. 

Having a little one of my own I have enjoyed introducing her to Lego. We often build together but today I decided we would try something different, decorating Lego to create fun monsters
Making and creating Lego monsters by Laughing Kids Learn
To make these – 
  • Lego
  • Sticky tape or blu tack
  • Googly eyes
  • Scraps of material, paper, tin foil, pipe cleaners etc
Making and creating Lego monsters by Laughing Kids Learn
Before making our Lego monsters my little girl ‘Possum’ (22 months) had to consider how we would construct our monsters so they would be different in shapes but also be able to stand up independently. This would be a great challenge for slightly older children to problem solve. 
Teachable moment
“How many Lego pieces have we used to make the body?”
“Can we make a bigger/smaller monster using more/less pieces?”
Making and creating Lego monsters by Laughing Kids Learn
My little girl, ‘Possum’ (22 months) seems to really take on this activity one the eyes were in place. She added a few more pieces of Lego and laid out a piece of felt for it’s bed. Some of the other materials, such as the pipe cleaners, she found a little challenging to manipulate, however, older children may not have this difficulty. 
Making and creating Lego monsters by Laughing Kids Learn
I experimented with rolling paper around the Lego pieces and holding it in place simply using the pressure in the attachment. I loved that this gave Possum an opportunity to draw on the paper, adding more character to her monster. 

 Making and creating Lego monsters by Laughing Kids Learn

Here we had a go at using tin foil

This was a wonderful material that could easily be shaped however way was desired. The above Lego man had tin foil arms, which would be great fun in pretend play. 
Making and creating Lego monsters by Laughing Kids Learn

Here are some of the great characters we made together. It was lots of fun and an activity that Possum has asked to do a number of times since her first experience. I hope you and your children enjoy this activity as much as we did. 


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Grief, Guilt and Gratitude

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory

This past fortnight (really, only a fortnight? It feels like a year), I  found gratitude hard to swallow. Grief for my brother was all consuming, and any efforts to be grateful were kicked in the guts and left in the gutter. Sure, I felt a hollow gratitude, for family, friends, flowers. But it all felt pretty meaningless. None of it changed the fact that Ryan is gone, that his kids don’t have a Dad any more.

Grief  has been like a dog on a lead, permanently tied to my wrist, following me everywhere. Sometimes it would swallow me whole, from out of nowhere, with one big bite, and I’d be drowning in darkness and tears and feeling nausea and pain. Real pain. I never knew that before. Grief physically hurts.

It still hurts. It still sneaks up on me. But now there are little fragments of light, piercing the dark.

But you know what comes with that? Guilt. Surely I shouldn’t be feeling happy? Surely I shouldn’t laugh? Surely I shouldn’t find enjoyment in anything, not when Ryan is gone.

I tell myself, and my family and our friends, that no, it’s not wrong to laugh. Ryan wouldn’t want us all to be permanently morose. There is no right way to grieve. Cry when you’re sad. Laugh when you’re happy. Punch things (preferably soft cushions and not people) when you need to. And find light in gratitude.

Now, in this moment, I’m deeply grateful for:

♥ my family. We’re all leaning on each other and it warms my heart to see how we are trying to protect and care for each other.

♥ my friends. They have been quick to envelop me in support and love. I’ve been completely blown away by their support.

♥ my children. Pebble and Rocky have been like my little security blanket during the past fortnight. The thought of them, the feel of them, the smell of them. Their laughter and silliness, their cries of need that remind me that I need to keep being  mum.

♥ my husband. Oh, my husband. He’s been simply amazing. Always one step ahead, thinking of what I might need. Being mum and dad for the kids, while I wandered, numb and empty. I simply could not have gotten through any of this without him by my side.

♥ my MIL, SIL and niece, who have all helped to care for our babies while we’ve been here and there, mourning, grieving, supporting.

♥ new babies. My newest little nephew arrived in the world and brought with him real smiles and joy amongst all the sadness.

♥ healthy babes. Our little Rocky has been giving us some trouble, we thought he might need an operation on his testicles and our GP suspected a heart murmur. BUT a visit to the paediatrician gave us the all clear on both. Phew! I’m SO grateful for that.

♥ funeral services. It feels strange to be grateful for this, but it did help me to let it all out and to get a little bit of closure. The funeral home was so caring, understanding and thoughtful. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful and heartfelt farewell to our Ryan.

♥ kind words.

♥ warm hugs.

♥ pretty flowers.

♥ sunshine on my face and grass on  my back.

♥ buttered toast.

♥ sugary tea.

♥ soft tissues.