August 18, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Last Minute Book Week Costume Ideas

Last Minute Book Week Costumes

Book Week is here! This year will be Pebble’s first official Book Week parade. She’ll be visiting her local primary school along with her kindergarten and joining in the Book Week fun. I’m very much a last minute person, and I struggle to sew a button on to a shirt, so making an elaborate costume is off the cards. Pebble is quite determined to be a “Super Hero Fairy” at the moment, which means that she’ll likely end up wearing her cape and wings from our dress ups box. Easy peasy! I’m sure there’s a super hero fairy in a book somewhere.

Perhaps, like me, you’re doing a last minute panic over Book Week costumes. I’ve seen some fab ones over the years as I’ve celebrated Book Week with the children in my class. I think on of my favourites (not that teachers have favourites, of course) was Mr Strong. It looked so cool! And it’s not too tricky to make at all. You will need to get organised a little bit, to get find a box large enough and paint it, but otherwise it’s very easy to do.

Last minute book week costume ideas

Here are a few other ideas that you can throw together without staying up for hours the night before the parade:

Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

If you happen to have a red dress in the cupboard then this one is super easy.

Last minute book week costume ideas

Peter Pan and Mr Smee from Peter and Wendy by JM Barrie

 Mr Smee is especially easy, I’d love to see a cubby little tummy sticking out too.

Last minute book week costume ideas

Max and the Wild Thing from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Check out the tutorials for these paper costumes over at Red Ted Art

Last minute book week costume ideas

Sam I Am from Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

If this was my kid I’d take it even simpler (cos I can’t sew!). I’d grab a yellow t-shirt and hat from the cupboard, or cheapies from the shops, and make paper eggs and ham. If you search Google Images for ‘green eggs and ham’ I’m sure you’d find plenty of examples to print.

Last minute book week costume ideas

Thing 1 and Thing 2 from The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

Take a look at the video tutorial for this simple costume over at Kidspot.

Last minute book week costume ideas

The Lorax from The Lorax by Dr Seuss

Gotta love a printable costume!

Last minute book week costume ideas

Fern from Charlotte’s Web by EB White

We have everything in the cupboard or Pebble to wear this costume.
I might even try and convince her that it’s a good idea. Mwahahahaha.

Last minute book week costume ideas

Arthur from the Arthur series by Marc Brown

Super cute, super easy.

Last minute book week costume ideas

Gum Nut Baby from Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs

Kat from The Organised Housewife made this cute gum nut baby outfit for her daughter. Don’t fret! The skirt can be no sew!

Last minute book week costume ideas

Angelina Ballerina from the Angelina series by Katharine Holabird

We already have the ballet gear, all I’d need for this one is some foam and ribbon from the craft shop to make the Angelina face. I’d probably cheat and make some little cardboard ears and stick them on a headband, like the Arthur costume.

Last minute book week costume ideas

Have you got book week costumes sorted yet? What are your kids dressing as?

August 4, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

These Days #2

Winter has us well and truly shivering in our boots at the moment, but we’re enjoying some crisp sunny days that remind me that Spring will soon be here. If there is one thing that keeps the kids happy it’s getting outdoors, which is exactly what we did over the weekend. I chased the kiddos while hubby whipped the garden into shape. Thank goodness for that, if it was left to me we’d be living in a grassy jungle! I suck at gardening.

Pebble is growing up so very fast. She made herself a cubby out of the soccer goals and some blankets, then lay there listening to her favourite tunes…. a charming mix of Katy Perry and Disney movie anthems. To our neighbours I simply say, ‘sorry’. Pebble is fiercely protective of her brother and is always alerting me to possible dangers that he’s heading for (or already in). Pretend play is still her number one favourite thing to do, and she’s always narrating her stories aloud as she plays, with much drama and many a singalong. This week I started reading ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ to her and it’s just so cool to share these treasures with her. I can’t wait to share more favourite stories together.

Rocky is equally smitten with is big sister, and follows her everywhere, wanting to join in her games. Otherwise he’s quite happy chasing balls and birds, finding interesting sticks and generally mooching about. He’s recently found his voice and loves to squawk at top volume or growl deeply to imitate animals. He’s not much of a talker but, at 17 months, is a super awesome non-verbal communicator. He does lots of pointing, holding hands and dragging people to where he wants them, head nodding or shaking and throwing of food on the floor (this means ‘no thanks’, right?). We think he might have said ‘bird’. It’s a start. 

Rocky is finally starting to pay attention to his Daddy, I think this was about the same age that Pebble started to become Daddy’s Number 1 Fan. Their Dad is just the best play mate ever, and Rocky is starting to see what fun he can be. I love watching the three of them and their antics.

These Days August 2014These Days August 2014These Days August 2014These Days August 2014 These Days August 2014These Days August 2014

Read These Days #1.

Do you like gardening?

July 28, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Finding My Style: The Wardrobe Collection

Finding My Style: The Wardrobe Collection

Now for another update on how I’m going with the Make It Look Easy girls, Nat and Tatum. You can catch up on my previous posts here:

So, you know about selfies, right? Maybe you’re so over selfies. But what about taking selfies that are just for you? Taking Nat’s advice, I’m now a daily wardrobe selfie lover. Well, maybe not daily. I don’t take photos on those days when I’m just in my PJs haha! But when I’m making an effort to go anywhere, even if it’s just to the supermarket, I take a snap as I rush out the door. Then I pop it into my ‘Wardrobe Collection’ album. I use Google+ to do all of this on my phone, it’s just takes a sec.

I can’t tell you how useful this little collection of photos has been. You know those mornings when you don’t know what to wear? I just flip through the album on my phone and choose something that makes me smile. It’s also great for weeding out those not so awesome outfits. Sometimes I look back at a pic and think ‘bleuch’ and either never wear that combo again, or decide it’s time to retire something from my wardrobe altogether. It’s really interesting looking back and seeing how my style has changed since I first met Nat and Tatum and had my Make It Look Easy consultation.

Finding My Style: The Wardrobe Collection

Finding My Style: The Wardrobe Collection

The result is effortless dressing every day, in clothes I feel great in! You can’t get much easier than that, right? That’s what Nat and Tatum do. They Make It Look Easy.

I know that some of you might be cringing at the idea of taking a selfie. It can take some getting used to. Ok, I’m not gonna lie – I’m a blogger and a poser from way back, so taking pics of myself comes naturally haha! Trust me, though, with a little practice you’ll get the hang of it, and you don’t have to show anybody.

Me? I like to show my selfies off. Not to the world, but to my new friends in the MILE High Club Facebook Group. It’s a private group, only members can see posts. When I’d like some feedback on a new outfit, or even something I’ve tried on at the shops, I upload a pic. It’s really inspiring seeing the wardrobe combos of other members, too. Find out more about the MILE High Club (and no, it’s not THAT kind of mile high!).

Want more inspiration to Make It Look Easy? Sign up for the Make It Look Easy newsletter for a fortnightly dose of awesomeness. 

July 21, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Fridge Sight Word Practice

Fridge Sight Word Practice

Four and a half year old Pebble (never forget the half!) is so desperate to learn to read. We’ve played and learned with letters for a long time now, but I haven’t pushed anything too formal. I believe that play is way more important than anything else at this age. Now, though, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Pebble is just ready to learn more. There’s no reason why we can’t play with words!

It doesn’t get much simpler than this game and Pebble loves it! Grab a whiteboard marker and an old sock. Write some sight words on the fridge, pop the sock on your child’s hand and ask them to have a go at reading the words. Start with two or three words, and tell them the words the first time you play. If they can read a word, then they can erase it using their sock eraser. Pebble was giggling as she jumped from side to side, swiping words faster and faster. She quickly figured out that it’s easiest to wipe off the repeating words first, then attack a different word. As she learns more words we’ll add those to the routine. That’s your sight word practice done!

Fridge Sight Word Practice

We have a white fridge – I haven’t tried this on stainless steel but the internet tells me that you can. Test out a small area on either a white or stainless steel fridge before you go nuts covering it with words. Some dry erase markers are more stubborn to wipe off than others. I found a basic glass cleaner (like Windex) cleaned the fridge up easily afterwards. You can buy dry erase paint (whiteboard paint), if you’re really keen, and choose somewhere in your house to set up a whiteboard wall. Or use blackboard paint or a small blackboard. We have a mini whiteboard and a mini blackboard, but there’s something about standing up and moving that makes this activity extra fun for kids.

Why learn sight words? Sight words (or high frequency words) are the most commonly used words, and often are words that can not be decoded by sounding out the letters. When children learn to recognise these words instantly, by sight, it makes it much easier for them to read simple books. I use the Magic 100 Word list (not sponsored) and have also used the Dolch and Oxford word lists.

Other ways to use your fridge: You could also use this same activity to practice other things, like letters or numbers.

Fridge Sight Word Practice

Looking for more sight word practice ideas? Try these:


July 14, 2014
by Kylie Gardner

Hidden Towers – A Lego Game


I am absolutely soaking up these school holidays. I love my job very much but these long, lazy days with no where to rush to and no lunches to pack are just delicious. Today I even had an afternoon nap while Rocky slept and Pebble watched a movie. A nap!

This past week we’ve had some catch ups with friends, a mummy-daughter day while Rocky had a day with Grandma, we’ve played at the park and stayed in our PJs all day.

Now reality is starting to seep back in and I’m thinking about the classroom again and what I need to get ready for the new term. Term 3! Where has that time gone? This group of five year olds is coming along in leaps and bounds – that’s one of the awesome things about teaching this age group. They grow and learn right before your eyes!

Last term I taught the class a game using unifix cubes. It’s a very noisy game involving lots of talking! It’s lots of fun and with lots of learning too. I call it “Hidden Towers” and it’s all about spatial awareness, location, position and giving and following directions.

Today Pebble and I had a go at playing it using lego bricks (with a little bit of “help” from Rocky) and she had fun with it. I love that this game can be adapted to be easier or harder depending on the kids that are playing. More about that in a minute, for now this is how to play:

Hidden Towers – A Lego Game


Age: 4 – 6 (refer adaptations below for other age groups)

Players: 2

You will need:

Six lego bricks (or any coloured blocks that easily stack) per player, in exactly the same colours and sizes.
A barrier (eg. a large, hard cover picture book)

How to play:

Player 1 creates a tower or structure using the lego bricks without showing Player 2.
Keeping the tower hidden (we used a picture book as a barrier), Player 1 describes their tower to Player 2.
Player 2 follows the directions until the tower is complete.
Both players reveal their towers – are they the same? The should be! If not, try again.


  • For younger children use less blocks.
  • For older children use more blocks in a greater range of shapes and sizes.
  • To increase the difficulty set a time limit or a limited number of moves to achieve the matching tower (eg. six directions).

We played a simple version today, with just six blocks and a singular column tower. As Pebble gets used to the game we’ll introduce trickier structures and more bricks. And perhaps play at the table instead of on the floor, to avoid the toddler interference!

What games do your kids like to play with lego?

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