Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cloud dough nursery rhymes and dino dig

I discovered cloud dough via the lovely Tinkerlab and The Imagination Tree and I have been meaning to make it for quite a while but just haven't got around to it until yesterday.

The recipe I used was:
5 cups of flour
1 cup of baby oil 
Mix well and you're ready to play!

James described the dough as just "like having a sandpit inside!" He was right!

After enjoying the sensory delights of the dough we buried some little dinosaurs and unearthed them, just like our very own archaeological dig!

Emily was busy unearthing a horse!

I had laid out a pile of little toys, containers and other bits and pieces and let the kids do the own thing. James started singing Jack and Jill and re-enacting the nursery rhyme using two little people and a bucket.

Here is his cloud dough version of Jack and Jill:

 Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.

Jack fell down and broke his crown ...

and Jill came tumbling after.

I can highly recommend cloud dough, just be prepared for a little bit of mess (especially if a toddler is involved!) The kids had a great time, but can I say, so did I! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm taking part in The Little Book Adventure!


The wonderful My Little Bookcase is hosting The Little Book Adventure as part of the 2012 National Year of Reading.

The Little Book Adventure kicks off on 1 March 2012 and will consist of a book related task each month for a period of 10 months.  The tasks aim to encourage thinking about stories, connecting with books and bringing books to life.  It's not limited to just families. Schools and Libraries are also encouraged to join up.  There will also be some prizes and special offers along the way!

Sounds right up our alley!  We have registered and I am itching to find out what the first challenge is.  If you would like to take part, register here. The more the merrier!

Happy Reading!

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Friday's Favourite Find: Wombat Stew Cookbook

    It has been a little while since I have been op-shopping but this week I managed it (with the kids!) We unearthed some lovely books and my favourite would have to be Wombat Stew Cookbook by Marcia Vaughan and illustrated by Pamela Lofts.

    As a child I loved the Wombat Stew picture book, and even now I still remember the rhyme:
    Wombat stew, wombat stew, gooey, brewy, yummy, chewy, Wombat stew.
    Finding this cookbook, made me realise that I have not yet read Wombat Stew to my children. I will definitely be on the lookout for a copy when we visit the library next week.

    This gorgeous cookbook is full of yummy recipes with some very interesting names, like Potoroo Peppy Pizzas, Dingo Damper, Emu Brew and Mopoke Milkshake.  Pamela Lofts illustrations accompanying the recipes are cute and comical.

    The recipes are easy to follow and are ideal for the kids in the kitchen.  I think we will be attempting the Possum Peanut Butter Balls this weekend!

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday: Library Love!

    My Nephew enjoying a good book at the Greater Taree City Library. 

    Don't you just love that mural?

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Reading outside

    We had our regular trip to the local library today for storytime.  As always, James had a wonderful time listening to the stories and singing songs, and I spent most of it chasing after Emily and putting all the books back on the shelf that she had pulled out.

    With beautiful weather plus a HUGE pile of books from the library, we realised we had no choice but to build an outdoor reading cubby!

    We used the frame from the shade cover of our wading pool, pegged on a couple of sheets and laid out some blankets and pillows. Voila! A very comfy reading cubby.

    Cosy isn't it?

    I thought I would share with you some of the great books that we borrowed from the library today and read in our cubby:

    The Very Itchy Bear  The Very Itchy Bear by Nick Bland.  If you and your children are fans of The Very Cranky Bear, you will love this story. Bear is here ... and here is Flea. Flea bites Bear to say Hello and you can just imagine how Bear reacts. Bear finally manages to flick Flea off his fur and out to sea, but then he realises how alone he is. An unlikely friendship develops.

    E is for Echidna [Board book] E is for Echidna by Bronwyn Bancroft. This is a beautiful alphabet book illustrated using traditional aboriginal dot painting.

    Bustle in the Bushes Bustle in the Bushes by Giles Andreae. Exploring all the creepy-crawly insects in the backyard with Andreae's fabulous rhymes.

    What did you borrow from the library this week?

    We are also linking up with some great blogs this week, so please check them out.

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Creating a Useful Box

    I remember watching Play School as a kid and loving their useful box. It was always filled with amazing crafty things and held endless possibilities. 

    We have two useful boxes in our house. One has craft supplies that have been purchased or been given as gifts and the other box is full of bits and pieces that we find around the house and outside that we consider 'useful'. These two boxes are located in easy reach for the kids and they love exploring what's inside and coming up with new ways to use them.  I love hearing James rummage through the box and then yell out: 'Mum, I have an idea!'

    Our useful boxes were looking a little depleted after the holidays and in desperate need for some organisation, so I thought I would share the contents of these boxes with you.

    If you want to create a useful box, you first need a box (or two boxes if you decide to split up the items like I have). We use the fantastic cardboard boxes that our weekly fruit & vegies are delivered in. They are sturdy and a perfect size. A plastic tub would also be great.

    Here is the cover of one of our boxes, decorated by James using magazine pictures and stickers:

     This is just some of what's in our craft box:
    • sheets of foam
    • foam shapes and letters
    • coloured feathers
    • ice-cream sticks (plain and coloured)
    • coloured match sticks
    • pipe cleaners
    • wooden clothes pegs
    • assorted sizes of pom poms
    • straws
    • balloons
    • cellophane
    • googly eyes (assorted sizes)
    • coloured tooth pick type sticks
    • glue stick
    • PVA glue
    • sticky tape
    • masking tape
    • kids' safety scissors

    You can usually pick up most of these craft materials cheaply from local $2 shops. Fortunately I did not have to purchase many of the materials due to my very generous Sister who gave James a fantastic collection of craft materials as a Christmas present this year.  

    In an attempt to keep these materials organised I have them in zip lock bags:

    I keep all painting materials and paper separate at the moment.

    Here is what we currently have in our Useful box:

    • cotton wool balls
    • pieces of ribbon
    • scrap pieces of fabric
    • a few plastic spoons
    • paper plates
    • plastic bowls
    • Styrofoam cups
    • plastic cups
    • feathers collected from the backyard
    • broken beads
    • Toilet paper rolls
    • Cardboard tubes
    • sticks collected from the garden
    • newspapers and catalogues
    • pictures cut out from magazines
    • old postcards
    • cupcake papers
    • pieces of bubble wrap
    • small plastic containers
    • buttons
    • pebbles collected from our walks
    • acorns, leaves and other bits and pieces we find outside that might be 'useful'
    • whatever we find in the recycling box

    I don't really attempt to organise this box. I just throw it all in and the kids love rummaging around and discovering what's in there.

    There are endless possibilities for what to include in a useful box and this is only what we have in our boxes at the moment. I really love that the contents of these boxes are always changing depending on what we have lying around the house and the creativity it inspires in the kids! 

    Do you have a useful box? What do have in yours?

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Friday's Favourite Find: Animals Like Us

    While op-shopping this week, I found a wonderful hard cover reference book by DK called Animals Like Us.

    It includes an introduction from Sir David Attenborough and explores the world's endangered animals. The book is divided into habitats, and includes interesting facts about the animals and is full of gorgeous photographs.

    The book has been written in association with ARKive and includes links to their website for each of the animals. ARKive is a digital library of films and photographs of the world's animals which aims to provide education and raise awareness for endangered species. 

    This is an amazing website and I had a wonderful time scrolling through the different animals and learning a little more about them. The photographs are spectacular and I can't wait to share this website with my children. I know they will love it as much as I have.

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    A bath book was all it took!

    It has been a pretty rough couple of weeks for us, with my little girl getting sick and then developing a fear of the bath. For the past two weeks she has not wanted to get in the bath at all, with lots of crying and running in the opposite direction when the word 'bath' was mentioned.

    I tried so many things to encourage her into the bath but nothing seemed to work, until tonight! After a toy box tidy up today I discovered an old bath book and decided to give it a try at bath time.

    With the usual tears to kick off proceedings, I told her about a special book that you could put in the bath and she stopped crying. I put the book in the bath and then put her in too. No screaming and no tears! While she refused to sit down at least she was in then bath! We were making progress.

    Now she was in the bath we had to keep her distracted and that's where her big brother stepped in and started blowing bubbles. What little one doesn't love bubbles? We still have a little way to go but we finally made some progress tonight.

    With the success of our little bath book, I thought I would see what else is available to add to our collection (just in case we not out of the woods yet!)

    Here's what I found:

    Splash Me - Baby Boo Bath Books Splash Me by Jeannette Rowe

    Lizzy the Lamb Bath Book Lizzy the Lamb Bath Book by Axel Scheffler

    The Rainbow Fish Bath Book The Rainbow Fish Bath Book by Marcus Pfister

    Jolly Pirate Bath Book (Usborne Bath Books) The Jolly Pirate by Stella Baggot

    Poppy Cat Bath Books: Poppy Cat Loves Rainy Days Poppy Cat Loves Rainy Days by Lara Jones

    Do your children have a favourite bath book or any pearls of wisdom for encouraging a toddler into the bath?

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    The Storytelling Forest

    James loves telling stories and we are always looking for new inspiration. Today he found some inspiration at the park we visited. After feeding the ducks, we went to explore the park's beautiful trees. It was this little stand of trees that sparked his imagination.

    This is James' storytelling forest!

    There is something magical about being able to sit under the canopy of a group of beautiful trees like this, don't you think? 

    As we sat in the storytelling forest (the centre of the circle of trees) I watched as James' imagination began to soar. We told each other a variety of stories that all included a tree in some way, as well as the usual characters, James and his best friend Moosey!

    Our stories included trees so tall they reached the clouds, building tree houses, climbing trees and a group of "little people" who lived in a hole in a tree.  

    A wonderful and completely unexpected outdoor experience!

    How do you and your family tell stories to each other? Do you have a favourite method?

    For some more storytelling inspiration, you might like our storytelling jar or recording stories on a phone app.

    For the local Canberra readers, we visited Bowen Park near Kingston.

    I am linking up with some wonderful blogs this week, so why not check them out!