December PP

I have an article in Practical Parenting this month. Actually, I'm pleased to say I have articles coming out in the next 4 issues, so stay tuned.

This month's is a really simple idea for sand play. Most kids love playing in the sand pit and I've written about an idea for imaginative play for all those animal lovers out there. It's on page 82 of December's PP, so have a look if you get a chance.

The Water Boy

When I found my little boy in the bathroom sink the other day, up to his elbows in water, I knew it was time to save myself and the bathroom and set up some water play (again!). I have done this for him so many times now and he really does love it. The weather is perfect at the moment, so I got out my plastic tubs, set up two tables (because his sister was home) and collected up all of the water toys I could get my hands on.

Usually I would set up something with a specific goal in mind, but he has done it so many times now, I decided to get the toys out and let him decide what path the play would take. This helps him use some extra thinking skills as he remembers what he has done before and works out how to achieve what he has planned.

Getting out quite a few different play things also meant that Em could play what she liked at her level and wasn't stuck with what Ed wanted to do.

They both chose different toys and played different types of games. Sometimes they worked together and played different roles in the same story, other times they went solo and did their own things. They both had loads of fun though and played happily for quite a long time on the deck. It was a great way to have them both busy while still allowing them to play at their own developmental level.

A Booklet for Early Learning

I've been working with a friend of mine this term who is a paediatric speech pathologist. We've written a program that we've been running at the local community centre called "Early Learners". It's a play-based language and learning program based around open ended activities that are lots of fun and help children to experiment, explore and learn.

We've put 20 of our favourite activities into a booklet. Each activity uses simple items that you would find around the home or could buy cheaply and is written up in a recipe format that it is easy read and follow. We've also included some tips on things you can say as a parent to promote learning and development. But the best thing about these activities is that, for the most part, you can set up the play and go away, knowing that your child is engaging in play that promotes learning and development. The tips can be used when you check in to see how things are going.

The activities are really simple ideas like different ways to paint and dramatic play scenes to set up for your child to play in. But what makes them so valuable is that it's simple, basic open-ended play experiences that children stay involved in and get the most developmental benefits from.

The booklet costs $15 AU plus $2 p&h within Australia or $5 for overseas postage. If you're interested in purchasing a copy, you could leave a comment or contact me via my email -

*Apologies if you've emailed me about the booklet and I haven't replied, I've been having problems with my email address and haven't received them or any comments. If you'd still like a copy of the booklet, we have a limited number left, please email me at