Thursday, July 26, 2012

resturants-pretend play

Sickness has AGAIN hit our house... hubbin has a particularly nast case of Chicken Pox. I know, I laughed the first time too... but reality is, its really not funny. Hes really sick and now off work for least a week. So! Im trying to find some things for my cherubs to do so they dont drive him and me crazy ;)

And of course, this afternoon, it rains, AGAIN. So an outdoor, but undercover space was needed.

In our household, pretend play is still the most fun thing to do. Whether it be dress ups, doctors, cats (?) its a game that needs not alot of props but lasts for hours.
The request was for a resturant, so I gave them the play food, a shelf and some simple home corner things ( bowls, plates etc) and left them to it :)

Jumeirah found a foam piece of rubbish in the garage and decided to create an icecream stand. Jared was more content to take orders, Amahli was not content to pretend to take orders so she hunted down some paper and a stapler and I made her a pad to write her orders on which became a HUGE hit with all three of them :)

I pretty much let them take things from the kitchen ( within reason, I did draw the line at the carving knife Amahli tried to nick) to use in play and they had a ball.

Set ups like this dont need to be elaborate. You can simply use items from the pantry to set up a shop, and things from the drawers and cupboards to make a kitchen. As yet, Ive never had any of my kids abuse this freedom, but you will need to set some simple rules ( or dont let them take a packet of flour ;) )

Having this chance to play allows for lots of learning experiences..... turn taking, sharing, working together, and role playing are all experiences that can really encourage kids in their development.

And most of all, even if they are having a ball without you, get involved sometimes! As soon as I sat down I had three people take my orders ( one for drinks, one for dinner and one for dessert and music selection... thanks Jumeirah xx) and all got busy trying to impress me.

Go on, sneak a set up for them to discover in the morning :) Kids from really young to surprisingly older ( about 12 months - 8yrs +)
And if your kids are older, why not wait till the weekend and then set up a REAL resturant for them. They can work out a menu, prepare a simple meal and serve it up!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

small discoveries/gardening

It continues to rain here, on and off, ALL. THE.DAY. LONG. And night too, especially  if you've hung washing out the day ( or week) before....

But for a moment late last week, the rain stopped and we sped outside before it was over. Kids ran straight to the still dripping wet trampoline, I headed to attempt to hang a load of washing out beside the three loads still " drying" from previous week.

I turned around to find some pegs ( often my pegs play games when not in use, particularly " hoist yourself as far as you can from the clothesline" seems to be the favourite) and came the the scary realisation that my veggie/flower boxes that I so lovingly forgot about where now at a point where they were planning backyard takeover... the one we worked on a week or so ago and found such awesome creepy crawlies in was looking ok but very bare compared to the chaos that was going on beside it.
So armed with a trowel  thing and a keen sense of " Seek, rip out and destroy" I got to work pulling out the riduculous amount of weeds.
Jared is still thoroughly enjoying the fine art of grub hunting and squeals at ever new witchety grub he finds...

Aside from the fear of finding a big scary spider, its very relaxing to be so destructive to weeds.
Amahli and Jared came and helped from time to time, offering words of encouragement and squealing at the mess I was making... until I heard a scream from Jared " Stop! MUM! LOOK!".

And there, in the midst of complete ruin and destruction, we found not only a gerbera plant, still going strong two years after being planted, but also a tulip bulb, planted almost 12 months ago, bloomed for a season and then was promptly forgotten. I was amazed that this little plant I was told to take great care of by the garden centre man, has managed to survive and thrive without any help from me.

It got me thinking about all the things Ive "planted" ( ideas, dreams, goals) and then worked so hard to get them to grow.. so do grow and are fruitful, but most others die off, and yet some others, that we think are no good anymore and arent worth putting time and effort into, continue to grow, still surviving when we think they were finished ( oh deep!).
Carefully, oh so carefully, we pulled to junk from around the base of this little blooming bulb, carefully pushed the soil back into place, and marvelled at how its still managed to grow, even though it was buried so deep in the soil, with no care but from the sun and rain, and will hopefully still produce a beautiful flower.

And so we kept working out little patch... only to find 4 more sprouting bulbs!!! So all but one of the original 6 bulbs are still going strong and I was totally surprised and excited to once again tend them lovingly in the hope they will all give me some beautiful creations to photograph ;)

So those little seeds you once planted but never got much out of? They could still bring delight and grow... just around the corner ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

beautiful matching game for Littler people

I have a friends whos little person was about to embark on a fun holiday to Bali ( ... yes I know, little little person!!) I wanted to send this little friend away with something fun she could do on the plane. I had found some matching card games that I thought would keep her amused but also wanted something that wasnt hard to pack and soft enough for littler hands....

I found a version that I loved on Pinterest ( yes again, dont judge ;) )  and got sorted with felt and fabric.
It was fairly easy to make but a bit time consuming.
I made mine a whole stack less time consuming by only making 6 pairs instead of the 20 odd they created ( Im not that stupid!).

Such a cute result!!

We also revisited a craft we've done before, but this time is was REQUESTED by Jared (!!)

I think because we had heaps of container lids in the dishwashed and he didnt want to put them away. But whatever, I dont care :) He asked to craft :)

Simple and easy
to set up, a use strong kids glue that I added food colouring to, plus an odds and ends of beads, buttons, matchsticks I can find around the house.... its that quick.

I like that you can totally see my kids personality in this craft.

Jared: Ill put it wherever and call it awesome! It doesnt have to have any rhyme or reason, I barely even have to look down to do it!

Amahli: Now, if I put that there and this here will that work over that way? Or not? Or should I make sure the colours are aligned so the world doesnt spin off its axis with the uneveness??

Funny funny people :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Board games :)

Technology, yup Im totally hooked. Its one of the first things I reach for when I wake up, and the last thing I do before bed ( and then again once I get into bed). I am connected 24/7 to the world. And last night I lay in bed for hours wondering whether it was a good thing for not only me, but for my kids to be learning this behaviour.... I dont want them to think that everyone else in the world is more important and worthy of my time than they are, and in turn I hope that they can show me that same respect when that time comes. I hate when people check phones and gadgets whilst talking to you, like Im not as important as whatever message or status update is happening.

 I was pondering the amount of Ipad, Iphone, Xbox etc time my kids have been having at night particularly before bed. Its that time I finally get to sit for a moment after a hectic afternoon, post the cooking rush, and they are more than happy to chill out with technology of some sort.

But yesterday, we took the kids to play at Shelley Beach, and half and hour into playing Jumeirah turns and asks, "Can I play with your phone?". I was totally shocked and looked up at the gorgeous view, the water, kids playing, and realised she is far too addicted for my liking and thats probably my fault. Its all too easy to check emails, facebook, pinterest from ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE and our kids see us doing it and it becomes way too normal.

So today I made the conscious effort to NOT be connected through the day ( I was working anyway, so I dont log on whilst Im caring for other kids) especially at breakfast, and the afternoon when its so easy just to log on whilst sitting around with them hanging out.

Tonight I encouraged them into the world of Board Games.

Board games... you either love em or you hate em. I LOVE them :) Always have, always will.
I played alot as a kid, my folks always had alot in the house, and my grandmother taught me to play Othello so its my all time favourite. Its something I wish I could do more of but it can be tricky to find someone who loves as much as me ;)

Tonight I brought out  Monopoly Junior. Now, kids and board games are normally a recipe for frustration, tears and boredom ( mostly from me) but tonight  I was amazed at how much can be gleaned from a game of Monopoly for each kid at each age/stage..... and all three of them ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT :)

This is what you can get out of a Monopoly game:

Amahli ( aged 3): Counting, turn taking, hand eye coordination to roll dice ( and not have them scatter the pieces everywhere), and not sulking when you dont win ( MASSIVE achievement for this little one)

Jared (aged 5): Counting, working out how much money is needed to buy Ticket Booths ( like the property in the adult version) and working out things like $2 note and a $1 note equals $3. Patience for waiting for others to have their turn. ( little people take AGES to move spots, so it can be tricky when you are older and want to hurry them up)

Jumeirah ( aged 7): Counting and adding, game control in a non- commander way ( another tricky lesson when you are the oldest) sorting out basic money, transaction skills, decision making, patience.

Crazy that a half hour game could do so much good stuff!
So, dig out your games, leave your phones/computers/ gadgets in the other room... and focus on those right in front of you :)

What games do you play??

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

another cool craft with Hama beads

The request from yesterday afternoon was something for Jumeirah... something crafty.. something fun ( yet again with the fun thing... seriously, housecleaning can be a ball of fun!)

Ive had some ideas bookmarked, most of them you can find ALL over the net, this one had 5, 770,000 different versions on google ( go see for yourself!) and I have no idea where I first found it... I pinned one version of it on Pinterest...

We have copious amounts of Hama beads in our house, Jumeirah is forever making things for people from them, then putting them "somewhere special" so I can iron them only for me to find them in teh washing machine or somewhere equally as helpful about a week later... so when we found this cool hama bead bowl craft, I knew it would use up heaps of beads thus reducing the ability to make so many creations! Clever, am I not??

To make these gorgoues little bowls, spray cooking oil inside a oven proof dish, and then put a handful of hama beads in it. You need to carefully press the hama beads down, and they begin to creep up the sides of the sprayed bowl. Both girls were able to do this pretty well ( two girls + two bowls= TWICE as many hama beads are used!)

carefully place the beaded bowls into an oven, heated to about 180 degrees. Then you have to stand and watch it. Cos it melts REALLY fast. I kinda walked away only briefly and came back to find some beads had completely melted and were now liquid goo in the bottom, so we quickly got them out and they were rescueable :)

how pretty do they look!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

cardboard towers

So weve hit another wet patch in Port... last day of week 1 of the school holidays, they are already going way too fast for me.

I had 6 little people at my place today, my own three cherubs and three little triplet beauties I care for two days a week. With it being extremely wet here the last few days it made outdoor play a bit soggy so I found us some cardboard, a Pinterest  idea, and we were set :) Can you tell Im in love with Pinterest??

With 4 little 3 yr old helpers, we began to construct a tower for the many princesses that needed to be housed. It didnt need to be fancy, or painted, or even well made, it just had to be made and made FAST. The pattern we used wasnt exactly what we ended up with but I was so impressed at how well it worked! Jumeirah had the idea to use the toilet rolls that mate and create in our house for real towers that the princesses could be trapped in and they were off in their own beautiful little world.

And considering it wasnt as big as I would have liked, 4 little girls happily played here for ages this arvo, with only occasional ideas fed to them from a 7 yr old who loved being the chief entertainer :)

Cardboard needs to be fairly firm, we used an box that daddys new speakers came in, but you could go ask your local fruit shop for a box or even something like Harvey Norman, Ikea , or any other furniture shop, Im sure they would have boxes they needed to get rid of!

This little structure will no doubt last a little while too :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

reusable nappies

Last week I put the editing aside for a little while and found Id been bitten with the "make something!!" bug. Fabric was calling, the machine was yelling from the cupboard, hauled it out and pondered over something cool to make.... when Amahli walked into the craft room, demanding I put a nappy on big Ted.

Now I have a serious problem with this. Amahli decided about 6 months ago to stop wearing nappies at night, just randomly, and that was it. The trouble was, I had JUST bought a new bag of nappies ( I believe she knew but had plans for nappies and so continued to pretend to need them until that day) and had no use for them. So I packed them away, thinking Id give them away at some point.
From that day until now ( well, pretty much) she comes to me, all dimples and sweet smiles, begging for me to put a nappy on big Ted. Trouble is, big Ted has gone through almost half a 40 piece box of nappies.... and Id had enough of finding them all over the house.

So when she came to me last week, I decided to make her some fabric nappies that would not only be reusable, but something she could put on and off herself!

I found some ideas on Pintrest ( this is my wall for those who need yet another thing to follow!) and liked the idea of this one by Happy Together. I didnt really want to use felt though as velcro tends to make it fray too quick, so I did a double layer with fabric and used velcro in the middle and two side edges.
The first one came together really pretty quickly and easily.... shame about the fact that I stitched the velcro on the wrong parts so its an inside out nappy ( if you know me at all this is a pretty normal first attempt), but the second one is right way out and very cute :)

Apparently now Hello Kitty, little dog and pooh bear all need them too so I shall be whizzing some more up shortly!!
As you can see its currently on Pooh Bear. Big Teds butt is too big and needs to go to the toddler size.... so Im told :)
Have you made something cool lately? Something youre proud of or that your kids loved? Why not share it below in the comments so we can all see!