A Beady Good Time

When Em had her 6th birthday, she had some friends round and I bought a few bags of beads to put into a large bowl so they could all do some threading together. Those beads got put into some containers and put into the cupboard and during the holidays, we re-discovered them again.

I got the box out, which was a great big mess, and left Em to thread on her own. She decided she wanted to sort through the beads instead, so I got out a bunch of plastic containers form the recycling box in the cupboard and we started to sort.

We sorted them into colours and had a great time looking at each one and talking about the shapes, sizes and colours.

After a while Ed joined in too.

When we'd finished the kids made some necklaces for their teddies.

Ed had never done anything like this before and I was actually surprised how much he enjoyed it.

Luckily, we still have lots of beads left to do some more threading soon.

Make Your Own Baby Book on KBR

When Em was little, I loved to take the time to make books and toys for her to play with. By the time Ed came along, I didn't have quite as much time to indulge in my crafty, creative side, but I still took the time to make him a few special things too. Things made at home have that personal touch to them that little, egocentric children find particularly appealing.

Today a favourite idea of mine -making a very simple "Baby Book" is being shared at KBR - "Kids Book Review". If you'd like to pop on over and read about it you can click here.

A "Play" Moment

Don't you just love it when you stumble accross a play scene that your kids have set up?

I know I do and I love it even more when you take a closer look and see a real insight into the way kid's minds work. Just the simplest scene can show such a depth of understanding or empathy or compassion. I always take a moment to stop and say "aaaah".

I want to share some more of these moments this year.

Here's one of my favourites from over the holidays.

It shows a game that a little boy and girl were playing together. A little girl who loves baby dolls and a little boy who love cars. Both children love having something to cuddle ........

I love how neatly the bed is set up. That they've remembered to give the baby a pillow and to set up all the things baby will need around her. I also love that they've tucked a little toy car under her arm to cuddle. It shows beautifully how kids can care, understand and show empathy - and how they can use their combined interests to work together.

We're Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo ......

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo
How about you, you, you
You can come too, too, too
We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

Don't you just love that song? I do. It's a firm favourite.

Well, during the holidays, we went to the zoo, zoo, zoo - two zoos in fact. The good old Melbourne Zoo and our first trip out to Healesville Sanctuary, which was very delightful and well worth checking out.

In the days following, there were many discussions centred around animals and early one morning, Ed decided he'd like to make his own zoo using our plastic animals.

I helped to set up some enclosures.

We used some great wooden fences

Some old gift boxes

Some upside-down Frisbees

Even some rocks and a blue face washer

I went out into the garden to cut some foliage to make the enclosures seem a little more realistic (and so the animals had something to eat).

When it was finished, Ed drove his cars around the zoo and played out some "family" games with the animals.

Then big sister came along and decided she would like a zoo they could actually walk through. So we packed away the smaller animals and raided the soft toys to see what we could find.

We then set up a bigger zoo that spread through out the whole lounge room.

There was room for monkeys to swing

And pandas to roam

And bears in a cave

And a big pool for the penguins and turtles

I included toilets for the teddies

And a cafe (because no trip to the zoo is complete without a yummy snack), where a fresh morning tea was served after a morning of animal watching and holding.

The children made some signs and got out their cash register. They even made a map.

Then it was time to find some cameras and binoculars and take Hamley and Yarji to the zoo.

It was a great fun morning of play with lots of thinking, talking, remembering, drawing, imagining and learning going on.

And the best bit was, they didn't even have to get out of their pyjamas.

I'm playing along at

We Play

Settling In

Isn't it a big adjustment settling back into the new Kinder/School year?

After a couple of months of virtually no routine and very few appointments or obligations, I'm finding it a little hard to get back into the swing of things, I must say.

I'm not the only one. Ed is currently having a much needed nap as I write this and Em has been quite tired and cranky too. You'd think after 6 weeks off they'd be feeling nice and refreshed, but the truth of the matter is, after having a large amount of time of being able to go at their own pace and follow their own rhythms, getting back to the demands of school and Kindergarten routines can take it's toll.

I try to be really mindful of this in the first term and make sure I allow plenty of time for Ed to nap if he needs it and also lots of time for uninterrupted, open-ended play. We don't do much after school either. While this annoys my social butterfly a little (I'm greeted every day with "What are we doing after school?!). I know it's best for her overall well-being if she's not rushing around everywhere and she can just come home, have something good to eat, and play and create as and how and when she wants to.

How are you settling in at your place?