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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Easter BuntingThis Easter Sunday we spent some time in the morning making Easter bunting to decorate the house for lunch.

To make your own Easter bunting you will need:

1) Easter eggs printed on thick card stock – draw or download your own

2) Coloured pencils, crayons and textas

3) Small paper hole punch (or a needle or similar)

4) Scissors

5) Brown twine

Step 1) Colour in the eggs. We coloured in a total of 32 eggs.

Easter BuntingStep 2) Use scissors to cut out the eggs.

Easter BuntingStep 3) Decide the order you would like to have your eggs placed on the twine, using contrasting colours and patterns.Easter BuntingStep 4) Punch two small holes in the top of each egg.Easter BuntingStep 5) Thread each egg with twine.Easter BuntingStep 6) Attach your Easter bunting to the wall with masking tape.Easter BuntingHappy Easter x

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Easter Art

Easter Art This Easter it’s been pouring with rain, so we have kept busy with some indoor activities. This morning we did some Easter art with cut up vegetables. Halved carrots dipped in yellow paint make some rather adorable Easter chicks. When the paint is dry, use some texta markers to add beaks, eyes and legs.Easter ArtHalved potatoes are the perfect shape for Easter eggs. Draw on some decorative effects when the paint has dried.

Easter ArtIt’s much more fun than paint brushes!Easter Art

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We all know kids do weird stuff. I try not to sweat it, just photograph it.

We had one of those blissful rare mornings last week when the kids played happily and unsupervised on a completely made up activity for over an hour. Let’s call it the game where you Use Masking Tape to Stick all your Stuffed Animals by their Tails/Heads to Different Surfaces in a House. There’s got to be a catchy name for that.

We’re big fans of sticky things in our house, but our favourite is masking tape. You can write on it, it’s easy to tear off, easy to apply, easy to remove and doesn’t leave a residue on polyester fur! Surely if there was a tape made for children, this is it.

This falls in the weird archives….but it’s gold.

Buy some masking tape today.

Kids and Masking Tape

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Surviving Road Trips with KidsBack in the day we did a lot of road trips across this beautiful, big continent. Australia is a large place and our Corolla has seen a lot of it. When the babies arrived, we started flying for most of our trips and experienced all the ups and downs associated with that! This past Christmas we agreed that the kids, aged 3 and 5, were the right age to undertake their first big car trip from Sydney to Adelaide and return. That’s approximately 3,000 kms there and back or 28 hours driving in total. We spent some time planning the trip, took our time and had a really enjoyable experience. Road trips are not for everyone, but if you’re considering a big journey with little kids I would love to offer these 10 tips:

1) Pack plenty of snacks

Pack SnacksMy children seem to be perpetually grazing. Pack a variety of healthy (and some not so healthy) snacks in advance. Have the esky accessible and distribute these as the need arises. With a little planning there’s no need to rely on petrol stations and roadhouses for your food fix.

2) Prepare meals in advance

Planning MealsOn the road we usually have lunch at a cafe and prepare the evening meals in advance. Pre-cook your meals at home, freeze them and then let them slowly defrost in the car esky on the way to your destination. This way I know that we’ll have at least one decent healthy meal a day and it also helps to maintain your regular night-time routine. Good meals to freeze are those that are sauce based eg bolognaise, curry etc. You can take the dry rice or pasta with you to cook fresh on the stove top, but most of the grunt work has already been done.

3) Stay in Caravan Parks

Caravan Park FunFor the same price as a motel, you can stay in a fully self-contained two bedroom cabin…usually with a playground and swimming pool at your doorstep. Unlike a motel room, you can put the children to bed early in their own bedroom and still enjoy your own time in the living area. We’ve stayed at many Big 4 Caravan Parks over the past five years (if only they offered loyalty cards!) and they’re renowned for being child-friendly. I can’t recommend them enough.

4) Prepare car activities

Car ActivitiesPrepare activities to be introduced at strategic points on the journey. These days there are so many little art/craft activities you can by at dollar stores which include all the items you need such as stickers/pencils/paper/glitter/glue etc. Buy some little portable clipboards that double as lap desks and make an event of it. Activities include colouring in, drawing, join the dots, mazes, crafts etc.

5) Create your own Spot It game

Spot It GameBefore your trip give some thought to they types of things you are likely to see out the car window such as road signs, animals, wind farms, trucks, roadworks, traffic lights etc. Put these images into an activity sheet that the children can mark off when they see them. My children loved this Spot It activity more than any other activity on the trip. They completed their two sheets on the first half day of driving and next time I will create a series of Spot It activity sheets for each leg of the journey.

6) Keep a travel diary

Travel DiariesGive the children a small scrapbook each so that they can keep a travel diary. Things you include in a travel diary are photographs, thoughts about the trip, drawings of things seen throughout the day, spellings of town names, the craft activities done on the trip etc. At the end of each day, the children can ‘complete’ pages of the diary. Interview them and record their responses.

Here’s what my son saw from his car window on day one:Travel Diary DrawingsThis is what my daughter saw from her car window:

Travel Diary Drawings

7) Travel music and car audio books

MusicPlay music that is fun to listen to, it doesn’t have to be children’s music, it can be Beatles, Abba etc. The sky’s the limit. Sing along and teach the children the lyrics or let the music be a backdrop to watching the world go by. I also discovered that Target stock a whole selection of 10-15 minute children’s audio books. Pop in a CD and the children can follow the storyline in the book and turn the pages when they hear a chime.

8) Create a map for the journey

Sydney to Adelaide MapInvolve your kids with a map of the journey. Maps give children a sense of where they’re going and they can circle or mark off towns that they pass through. Scan a map from your road atlas or download a good online map and put it in a child friendly format. Even if your children can’t read, maps are valuable in helping them appreciate geography and a sense of time and distance covered.

9) Bring an iPad stocked with kids’ programs

Shaun the SheepThis is not necessary but it’s a great tool when everyone needs an hour or two of down time on the road. Load up some good kids movies or programs beforehand. A favourite program in our house is Shaun the Sheep. It’s funny and suitable for all ages.

10) Plan each travel day

Plan It

Let’s face it…spontaneity with small children is overrated. Plan where you will be stopping in advance, research the playgrounds in the towns where you will stop. Prepare some running / stretching games to do on the grass to get them moving in the breaks. The last thing you want the kids to do is sit down during a entire rest stop.

Inside the car we structure the travel day with a mix of activities like this:

  • Looking out the window and watching the world
  • Craft Activities
  • Sleep
  • Snacks
  • Movie on the iPad
  • Music / singalong

In closing…

Happy New Year from Outback NSWI want to say how much fun it was to do this big journey with my children. We live in a great big world with so much to see and do and traversing it by car created some amazing memories and experiences that we would not have had in airports or on an airplane. On the way back home we went off road a little a stayed in a cattle station in the middle of the Hay Plains and saw so many wonderful things such as emus running along next to our car and a sunset to die for. It’s often not practical to travel like this on a regular basis, but it makes something pretty extraordinary out of the ordinary if you do.

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Bath ToysWhale Shark, Tiger Shark, Hammerhead Shark and Mackarel Shark.

Beats a rubber duck.

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May the force be with youAnd Happy Fathers Day to my husband, who spends way too much time deliberating on the perfect age for our son to first watch Star Wars.

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Muddy Puddles

MP1We’ve just emerged from two weeks of torrential downpour in Sydney and the worst cabin fever I’ve ever seen in my children. This week the sun is back and the only evidence of rain is in the form of irresistible muddy puddles.

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I’ve previously blogged about the side effects of being married to an ecologist. It turns out that creepy crawlies are not just a ‘boy’ thing. Our daughter is equally enthusiastic about the 6 and 8 legged members of the animal kingdom. It continues to be a challenge for me as I clearly have some deep-rooted issues with invertebrates. A couple months shy of 2 and 4, my children already have a growing collection of field guides. On the weekend we were having a strangely quiet car journey across town. I looked over my shoulder and this was what my two were up to.

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Ten Things

  1. Why those pelvic floor muscle exercises might have come in handy.
  2. Of all the toys you can tread on barefoot in the night, the small die-cast airplane is the most painful.
  3. The extraordinary capacity of a human being to function without sleep.
  4. Supervising small children is a lot like herding cats.
  5. How to hide carrots in anything.
  6. To read the books, but parent with intuition.
  7. Time-out is not just for kids.
  8. Cuddles are like crack for mummies.
  9. Sometimes your kids do strange things. Don’t sweat it, just photograph it.
  10. Parenting is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but also the most joyful.

Happy Mothers Day xo

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New Year’s Pledge

New Year's Pledge

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