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?

Three Easy Paper Plate Crafts

Easy Paper Plate Crafts

One day, while still in my extremely tired and sick pregnancy phase, Pebble was in the mood for making. Needless to say, I wasn’t. I rifled through the craft cupboard and pulled out some paper plates, a stapler, foam stickers, ribbon and dot stickers. Super easy craft: sorted.

Paper Plate Craft #1: Handbag

easy paper plate craft

You will need:

2 paper plates

stapler

decorations, eg. dot stickers, foam stickers and markers

Start making:

Cut a semi circle out of one half of each paper plate, leaving the rim intact.

Line them up and staple together around the edge, with each plate facing inwards, to create a small hollow in the centre.

Decorate with stickers and textas. Done!

Paper Plate Craft #2: Puppet

easy paper plate craft

You will need:

2 paper plates
1 piece of ribbon or coloured paper
markers or dot stickers for eyes
sticky tape

Start making:

Fold one paper plate in half.
Cut the other paper plate in half.
Staple one of the cut halves on top of the top half of the folded paper plate and staple.
Repeat with the second cut half on the bottom half of the folded paper plate.
You should end up with an oven mit kind of puppet, with little pockets to slide your hands into.
Whack on a couple of eyes on top of one half, using the dot stickers (or draw on using markers).
Sticky tape a piece of ribbon inside the fold, as a tongue (or cut a tongue out of coloured paper). Done!

Paper Plate Craft #3: Music shaker/Octopus

easy paper plate craft

You will need:

2 paper plates
stapler
dot stickers or foam stickers
markers
ribbon
sticky tape
rice or dried lentils

Start making:

Decorate the back of each paper plate using the markers and stickers.

Sticky tape or staple some lengths of ribbon on the front edge of the bottom of each plate.

Sandwich the paper plates together so that they create a little hollow in the middle, and staple together, leaving about a two inch gap in one section.

Pour the lentils or rice into the hollow and staple closed. Done!

I called this a shaker, but Pebble thought it was an octopus!

Note: we didn’t have any trouble with the staples, but always be careful when using these for craft with very young children. You can use glue or tape instead, or cover the staples with tape after making.

easy paper plate craft

What’s your favourite craft to make with a paper plate?

Play Dough Cup Cake Party

One cold and frosty morning Pebble and I stayed in our PJs (surprise, surprise!) and played play dough. That’s a pretty normal morning, but this time we made our own cup cake birthday party.

It all started with an invitation to play:

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I had no plans for the direction this play would take, I just put out the craft materials and followed Pebble’s lead.

“Let’s make cup cakes!” she said. So we did.

Pebble made a few cup cakes, with different colours and decorations. She chatted away about the rainbow cup cakes that we made together recently, connecting her real life experience with her play.

I joined in, responding to her chatter, and making my own little critter while I was there (who can resist play dough!?).

Of course, if you’ve got cup cakes, you’ve got to sing happy birthday, right?

First we sang to Pebble, then we sang to Mummy, then we sang to the little critter that I had made.

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This was a lovely little play scene that captured Pebble’s imagination and creativity.

I’m no expert on invitations to play, but if you’d like to learn more about how to do it yourself you can check out these super play peeps:

Creating Invitations to Play (The Imagination Tree)

Elements for Creating Play Scenes and Invitation’s to Play (Childhood 101)

Invitations to Play (Teach Preschool)

LOTS of examples of play invitations (Learn with Play at Home)

Have you played today?

Patty Pan Puppets

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Easy to make puppets from the pantry? Here you go!

Patty Pan Puppets

You will need:

patty pans (cup cake wrappers)
bendy straws
textas
scissors
sticky tape

To make a bird:

1. Take a cup cake wrapper and cut it to create wings, a tail and a beak.

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2. Use a texta to draw on eyes and a beak.

3. Stick that sucker to the bendy top of a bendy straw, and BAM, you got yourself a bird puppet.

We also made a turtle, a bee and a ladybird. The options are only limited by your imagination!

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We totes ripped this idea of the fantastical Mister Maker. He is a wizard with the crafty stuff.

The real beauty of this idea is what comes after the making. These puppets have been having a lovely time at our house. They’ve joined in with lots of dramatic play with blocks, shopping, dress ups and even gone on trips to the supermarket with us.

Have you done anything interesting with a bendy straw lately?

Tissue Box Traffic Lights

I was just flicking through some photos from the last few months and I stumbled across these shots of Pebble and our Tissue Box Traffic Lights. These were so easy to make and lots of fun to play with.

Tissue Box Traffic Lights

Please excuse our garden bed, we’re really hoping to get a veggie patch going in there one day, but don’t hold your breath! I don’t have any gardening posts just yet, but I’m sure you’ll have fun making these:

Tissue Box Traffic Lights

You will need:

An empty tissue box
Black cardboard (or black paint)
Green, orange and red paper
A glue stick
Scissors
A pole/length of wood/old broom

To make the traffic lights:

1. Wrap your tissue box in black paper.

2. Cut out four large circles in each of the red, orange and green paper. Glue them onto your traffic light.

3. Cut a small hold in one end of the tissue box, large enough for your pole, and thread the pole through. I used a little blu-tak to make the end stick to the inside of the box.

4. Plant your traffic light into the garden. If you don’t have a garden you could stick your traffic light to a wall, stand it on a ledge or on prop it a chair.

5. Play!

This craft and play was initiated by Pebble’s growing interest in colours, as well as her understanding of traffic lights on the road. She had learned what each colour meant and she practiced that using her own traffic lights in the backyard. She rode up and down the veranda and shouted out to herself “GREEN GO!” and “RED STOP!”.

Tissue Box Traffic Lights

Doesn’t that sun shine look gorgeous? We haven’t had much sun in Adelaide lately. Is the sun shining where you are?