Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Looking for a Life Chaging Approach to Motherhood?

I have just finished reading You Sexy Mother By Jodie Hedley-Ward.If you only manage to read one book this year it must be this one.Wow it certainly redefines what it means to be a mum today! One who is sexy, vibrant, healthy, happy and engaged in a life that has meaning and value. You Sexy Mother is a book of transformation - It invites you to look at your role as mother in new and empowering ways, and encourages you to gain more from the experience of motherhood. The author documents her own journey through her personal diary entries, but also incorporates inspirational stories of transformation from other women she has met. This is a great read and a book that many of us mother's can certainly relate to. Grab a glass of wine, hit the sofa and you'll be like me, unable to put the book down!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Mad Hatters Tea Party

Being the holidays and a special friend's birthday it was a wonderful chance to have a party! (any excuse really!) The children were very excited and all the girls looked very cute dressed in their fairy dresses. Not to mention the wonderful mad Hatter herself! We spent the morning decorating top hats for the children to wear at the table which they really enjoyed. A combination of stick ons and lettering made for a great fine-motor skill activity while having lots of fun. The children sat down to the table that was decorated as a Tea Party with each of them having their own tea and saucer.(bought at the charity shop) We filled the tea pot with juice and enjoyed a range of pretty butterfly cupcakes, fairy bread in the shape of diamonds and hearts, tea cup biscuits,party pies and sausages rolls and fruit kebabs. The children then spent the rest of the party playing in the cubby which I had set up as a tea party.

Child-friendly movie reviews... Do you know what your children are watching?

I took Master 4 to see Toy Story 3 today and have to say I LOVED it, but he was extremely frightened as a young viewer. Tonight during reading time he asked lots of questions that he had obviously been thinking about since seeing the film. After kissing him goodnight, my curiosity got the better of me and I looked up the Toy Story 3 Movie Review For Parents! I have to say I was shocked(and a little annoyed at myself for not reading this before making the decision to take him). I'm usually very careful in what I let the kids watch but like most mums thought it would be a great holiday treat (especially considering it was his first time at the movies.) I refer to this guide often: This simple guide helps you choose movies for your child, with reviews, easy-to-understand classifications and age recommendations.
I asked Master 4 if it was the darkness of the theatre, or loud sounds that he didn't like, but know he was confidently able to talk to me about particular scenes that up set him. This just brings home to me how important it is for us as parents to know what our children are watching and to review a movie thoroughly before letting young viewers watch it. To read the review (which may shock you) go to

Child-freindly movie reviews that every parent should read.

Child-friendly movie reviews... Do you know what your children are watching? This simple guide helps you choose movies for your child, with reviews, easy-to-understand classifications and age recommendations.

I took Master 4 to the movies today to see Toy Story 3 and although I LOVED it, I have to say he was quite frightened at times. I have been quite careful in what television and movies my children watch and have to admit I was quite shocked to read the Toys Story 3 Movie Review For Parents when I hopped on line tonight:

Violence (Medium)

Sex/Nudity (Low)

Drugs and Alcohol (None)

Language (Low)

Disrespectful/Imitative Behavior (High)

Scary Scenes (High)

Sad/Unsettling Scenes (High)

Today has just highlighted to me how important it is that we as parents are really aware of what our children are watching and the impact it is going to have on their behaviour and emotions.

Kids love making this Creative Cake!

We love making chocolate ripple cake in our house - the kids love creaming the biscuits and of course decorating then end product! This has become a bit of a tradition within our circle of friends now - everyone gets a chocolate ripple cake for their birthday in the letter that their name begins with and they choose what lollies and chocolate goes on top.

500ml thickened cream
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 x 250g packet Arnott’s Choc Ripple Biscuits
grated chocolate/peppermint crisp/smarties (whatever you like really!)

Place cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat using an electric beater until stiff.
Spread one biscuit with cream then sandwich with another biscuit. Repeat until all biscuits have been used and form a log. (or whatever shape/letter/number you like!)
Spread remaining cream over log to cover entirely.
Decorate with your favourite chocolate topping... mmm
Cover loosely with foil, then place in refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours to set.
Cut cake diagonally into slices.

Is your child left handed? Not sure how to teach them?

Master 4 has shown left hand dominance from a very early age, which didn't surprise me as both my husband and I come from families where there are lots of lefties! As he is now showing a keen interest in writing his letters it is important that I teach him how to:
  • Grip the pencil ~ at least 2.5 cm from the point
  • Tilt paper so that arm is at right-angle to bottom edge of paper (and the top right corner of page is toward writer)
  • Write with the hand below the writing line and the wrist straight

If you have a beginning writer who is showing signs of favouring his/her left hand when writing be sure to check this link out

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tap into your kids creativity with number dancing!

I'm a true believer that all children learn differently and it's important that we as parents tap into how our child learns best. Master 4 is very much like myself and shows a love of all things Arts !(dance, drama, music, creative arts) Learning his alphabet was easy for him as the approach I took was to teach it through song, dance and actions that represented each letter character. Thankfully he has a Kinder teacher who is exceptionally talented in teaching the Early Years program through dance, drama, music and creative arts too. Master 4 shows a keen interest in numbers since beginning Kinder this year. Once children secure what numbers look like and can confidently recognise there is so much opportunity to begin to develop maths vocabulary. I came across this Numbers Dance mat in Aldi last week and have to say we have not stopped playing it since. The mat really focuses on Gross Motor Skills, Improves co-ordination and encourages number recognition. We also turn the challenges off and I have introduced the language of... before and after...

e.g stand on the number before 4

stand on the number after 8

Where Going On A Bear Hunt

This is a fun and interactive story that you can truly bring to life for your child. With an upbeat tempo your little one will be chanting away with you in no time....
Fill your toddler pool, baby bath (anything really) up with brown paint and feel that thick oozy mud between your toes!! Lay out some paper and go on your very own Bear Hunt!
We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day! We're not scared.
We can't go over it. We can't go under it.
Squelch squerch! Squelch squerch! Squelch squerch!
Uh-uh! Mud! Thick oozy mud.

Celery Science Fun..

I love the opportunity to do science based activities with Master 4 as I love the way their little minds start thinking and the questions begin! While we were shopping today Master 4 asked if we could get some celery... "What would you like it for?" I asked. "Not sure mummy but I know we will think of something to do with it!" Ah the minds of four year old. As I'm busy trying to unpack the groceries (with a VERY helpful 2 year old sampling all that he can!) Master 4 asks if I'm quiet because I'm busy thinking about what he and I can do with the celery when his little brother has his nap!! Sp this is what we did with the celery!
What you need:
Drinking glass, big enough to hold celery upright
Food coloring
Fresh celery stalks
  1. Fill the glass of water about 1/2 full with water. Add 8 to 10 drops of food coloring to the water. Although you can use any color, the darker colors will show better. Mix carefully with a spoon.
  2. Trim the ends off several stalks of celery at a slight angle. Leave the leafy ends on the celery. Put the trimmed celery into the glass of colored water. Set out of the way in a safe place.
  3. Check the celery hourly. The celery will begin showing colored streaks running up the stalk.
  4. Ask your children what they think have happened. Point out the little red marks on the leaves. Take the celery out of the glass. On a cutting board, use a knife and cut across the celery stalk. Notice that the strings of the celery are colored and the outer edge of the stalk has little colored dots.
  5. Explain that the water is absorbed or sucked up by a plant. It travels up the stalk and then into the leaves.

* Another good example to use is white carnations.

Making A Rainbow from Your Milk...

We made rainbows today. This is a great activity to do with the kids, helping them to see that when colors are mixed, they make something new.

What you need:
Milk or water – If you don’t feel comfortable drinking milk with food coloring, you can use milk that’s past it’s date OR you can use water for this too. I just like how the milk makes the colors show up so bright. Food coloring – red, yellow, blue clear drinking glasses stir stick We lined up our glasses in a row, making it easy to see all the colors in the order of a rainbow. Then we poured our milk into each glass, about half way full. I then started by putting one drop of food coloring into the cups.
  1. We did the red first (which made pink, but I only wanted to use one drop of color, you could use more).
  2. Then we skipped one glass and did the yellow next. We went back to the one in the middle and dropped in one red and one yellow drop of food coloring. Using our stir stick, we mixed them together. We now had Orange!
  3. Then we continued on down the line. Yellow and blue for green...
  4. ... blue and red for purple.
  5. Once you see your rainbow, show the kids what would happen if you mixed all the colors together and Brown milk will appear.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's A Rainbow..

What makes a rainbow? Rainbow activities are a wonderful way to teach colours. I have blogged about some of the activities and books I have been using with Master 2 whilst teaching him his colours.

What fun we had in the ribbon section at Spotlight looking for the colours of the Rainbow inspired by reading our book. As you sing the song below get your child to hold the ring and pull out the colour ribbon that the song suggests - they will love it!

Take a little bit of red (echo),

And a little bit of orange (echo),

Add a stripe of yellow (echo),

And a stripe of green (echo),

A little bit of blue (echo),

A bit of indigo (echo),

Don’t forget the violet (echo),

Then what do you know? (echo),

It’s a rainbow (echo),It’s a rainbow (echo).

A little bit of rain,A little bit of sun,When they come togetherThey make rainbow fun.It’s a rainbow (echo),

A wonderful, wonderful,Magical, magical,Colourful, colourful,Shining rainbow (echo).

This game develops colour and symbol recognition and fine motor skills. I love this game and find I can do so much with it for both my 2 year old and 4 year old.

Coloured Pasta

  • Buy a selection of pasta and put it in zip lock bags

  • Add about a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol to each bag of pasta and several drops of food coloring desired to each bag depending on how much pasta you are looking to dye. Make sure the bag is securely closed and shake so that the coloring and alcohol sufficiently cover all of your macaroni.

  • Then dry them on paper plates or wax paper over night.Food colouring can stain, so be careful. You’ll want it completely dry before you start to work with it again, as you don’t want any colour to drip. I put mine out in the sun to dry faster.

  • When the pasta is dry you will have a beautiful variety of beads to make awesome jewelry. Or you can use the pasta for other arts and crafts. You can even just fill a clear jar with the colorful gems and use as a vase for dry flowers. Coloured pasta shells are great for this!

  • Have your child string on pasta, all sizes and shapes. You can introduce patterns or do counting with your child.

  • The perfect necklace for mum!

  • Use various pasta shapes/colours to create a picture.

  • Put all the coloured pasta into your water/sand tray baby bath and let them enjoy this sensory activitiy.

  • Sort the pasta into colours in the muffin tin!

Spectacular Science for Toddlers...

Kids Science Experiments and Science Projects are full of fun, easy and exciting hands-on experiments that will help you answer a lot of questions asked by your children. These simple, safe and easy to follow science experiments and science projects can be achieved with everyday materials and recycled items found around your house. Help make learning fun and easy by trying some of these science experiments with your kid's. Always have fun with your science experiments and don’t worry if your experiments don’t come out as you would expect – some of the greatest scientific discoveries have been made by mistake. Science is all around us in our daily living and the more you experiment with science and observe; the more fascinated you will become in finding answers.

Rainbow Toast
slice of bread
Food Coloring (2-3 small bowls)
Pastry brush or new paint brush
Fork or Spoon for stirring.

1. Pour milk into each of the bowls.
2. Add 1-2 drops of food colouring to the milk in each of the bowls. Stir the dye into the milk.
3. Put the bread, milk paint and brush in front of your toddler.
4. Let him or her paint on the bread with the “milk paint”. Flip the bread over for more fun.(You can toast if preferred)

Colour Blast
a bowl
food colouring (four different colours)
cotton bud

1. Fill the bowl with milk
2. Add one drop of each food colour to the milk (in towards the centre is best)
3. Let your toddler dip the cotton tip into detergent, then hold the detergent covered tip into the centre of the colours....The colours swirl and zoom around the bowl forming new colours.

Freeze tempera mixed with water in Popsicle moulds and then paint with "paintsicles" on watercolor paper. A dish of salt and a small bowl of water with a dropper helped create beautiful textures. Wetting the paper first with a brush or droppers full of water help the frozen paint slide across the paper. Dipping the end in salt for a minute helped speed up the melting process creating thicker paint, more vibrant colors and a grainy texture. Stamping the ends resulted in rings while sliding on dry paper made scratchy lines.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Who says babies can't paint?

Mmmm..... something very dear to my heart - Chocolate!!

Chocolate Pudding Paint.

Large package instant chocolate pudding

2 cups ice cold water

Whisk instant pudding and water together in a bowl for 2 minutes.

Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

This makes a thin paint. If you want a thicker finger-paint texture, I just mix up chocolate pudding as per the instructions on the box or buy the canned ready-made pudding from the grocery store.

What to do after you read your library book!

Before you visit the library next why not check out this list of books.....Bring the book home and have fun with all these activities.

Scissor Skills for Kids.

These worksheets are designed to help kids develop their scissor skills. Being able to cut basic lines is an important fine motor skill for children and these printable pages will give them some good cutting practice. The worksheets include straight lines, curved lines, zig-zag lines and some random curvy lines. These preschool worksheets are perfect for any parent, teacher or homeschooler looking to help kids develop their fine scissor skills.

Resources for parents interested in the area of early childhood language and literacy development.

Are you looking to develop your child's Early Language Skills? Have you ever thought about what you could do with your library book once you have read it to your child? The Vegemite Little Aussie Reader has been designed to provide resources for parents, child care centres, public libraries and anyone interested in the... area of early childhood language and literacy development.The initiative provides a comprehensive resource and information sheets covering topics such as language development, reading aloud, suggested activities based on books and tips on choosing age appropriate books. On-going additions to the resource file will be available online each month.

Fears that boys arn't ready for Prep. Is five too soon to start school?

PARENTS are delaying boys from starting Prep because of concerns they are not emotionally or socially ready for life outside the family home.

This is a very interesting article as it is a question I have been asked many times throughout my years of teaching Prep. I now find myself in this situation as my son's birthday is June 11th and the cut off date for starting school in Queensland is June 30th. So what decision have I made?

I have decided to delay my son from starting school as he would only be 4 1/2 for the first 6 months of school, and would be in a class where some children would turn 6. After teaching in the UK for 8 years pupils are extremely early starters in the classroom and I did not want this pressure on my boys at such a young age.
There is never a rush for children to start school. I think each child's situation and development differs and parents can always discuss concerns or ask for advise from their kinder teacher before making the decision.

Inspirational ideas of things to do at home with your baby, toddler or young child.

Are you looking for some inspirational ideas of things you can be doing with your baby, toddler or young child at home? Check out these wonderful free brochures that will give you a great resource of hours of fun learning and development at home.

At what age should my child hold a pencil correctly?

Holding a pencil properly can be difficult for a child who does not yet have enough strength in his or her hands and fingers. Use fine motor skill activities to help strenghten your child's hand and fingers on a daily basis.
In order for any child to write meaningfully, he or she must first build up their fine motor skills. Art projects, working with play dough, measuring and pouring sand and water, and practicing writing are excellent ways to improve fine motor skills. Here are great resources for parents on excellent ways to improve fine motor skills.
This is a wonderful article rich with support for your parenting role and clearly explains how parents can support their children's emotional well being and their academic learning.

100 ways to Teach your kids to Love Reading!

Reading is one of the most important ways to enrich your child’s education. It’s easy to fit into everyday life and offers excellent educational benefits that will follow your child for a lifetime. Check out these tips to find out how you can instill a love of reading in your children.

Hitting the Terrible Two's?

10 Tips to Remove Crayon Marks from Walls

1. Toothpaste (regular paste–not gel) - This one’s my first pick always, it also helps clean up permanent marker stains pretty easily.

2. Artgum Eraser –gently rub on marks in a circular motion, can also try a regular pencileraser. Done carefully, this might be an option for wallpaper stains.

3. Baking Soda –make a paste with water and use it to gently scrub the mark. You couldalso just sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and rub.

4. Baby Oil –apply directly to crayon stains then rub off.

5. Mayonnaise –Glob some on the stain and scrub a bit in a circular motion, then wipe off.

6. Shaving Cream –apply to markings, rub in, then wipe off.

7. WD-40 –spray some on the marks and rub off. Wash walls with hot soapy water once thecrayon has been removed.

8. Turpentine –dab some on a damp cloth and scrub into stain to remove crayon.

9. Lighter Fluid –apply as you would turpentine
10. Goo Gone –Same directions as for turpentine

Cute Party Food Ideas...

I love that my boys are both born in the middle of the year (11th June/11th July) as I was a late November baby and my birthday always clashed with Christmas break-up paties, End of year Dance Concerts, School Concerts etc June and July is just one big fun celebration in our house! I like doing themed parties for the boys, which is easy as what little boy of 2 and 4 doesn't want a themed party? I'm always looking for cute ideas for party food, not just for birthdays but special events and celebrations. This year I made the little tea cups for The Biggest Morning Tea ( held by our playgroup which went down a treat with the kids - and mums! Would love to hear from any of you that have some ideas? Be sure to check out

You can also use some of these as cooking activities with your children as a follow up to well known Nursery Rhymes.

  • Tea Pots - I'm a Little Tea Pot, Polly Put The Kettle On

  • Spiders - Incy Wincy Spider, Little Miss Muffet

  • Strawberrys - FIve Little Ladybirds

  • I’m a little seatbelt (Sung to the tune of I’m a little teapot)

  • Flowers - Mary, Mary, quite contrary, Springtime Song (Tune: Did you ever see a Lassie?)

  • Teddies on Sleigh - Jack Frost

I Spy with my Little Eye...

Eye Spy books are a favourite in our house, so it seemed like a great idea for us to make I Spy Bottles! You can make various themed bottles depending on where your child is at.

Colour Bottle

My 2 year old is learning his colours so making an Eye Spy bottle with him was great fun. Just collect anything you have in your craft box that is bright and colourful.Put the colourful things into a plastic 1.25Lt empty drink bottle. (Wash out and let dry first) Spoon in rice through a funnel (great for fine motor skills) Don't worry about naming objects you have used just focus on colour names. Once your child has named a colour get them to roll the bottle before they tell you another.

Alphabet Bottle

My 4 year old is at Kinder and learning to recognise his letters and the sounds they make. So I decided to make a more challenging I Spy bottle for him. As his Kinder is using the Letterland Phonics based Reading Program I copied my magnets, laminated them and cut them up. Roll the I Spy bottle and identify a letter you can see and say the sound it makes....

Other suggestion for I Spy Bottles could be:

  • Shape Bottles

  • Number Bottles

  • You could make a bottle that has laminated pictures from a story you have read, children identify main characters in the story.

Bubble Trouble!

Wow! This book is great! So rich in language, rhyme, alliteration, cadence, and vocabulary! Margaret Mahy's fun, upbeat poetry is accompanied by Polly Dunbar's whimsical watercolor and cut paper art work. Bubble Trouble is a bright star in the world of read-alouds . . . but practice first!

Master 4 had a great time painting on the bubble wrap (after we had popped lots of other sheets!) using lots of vibrant colours. Turn the bubble wrap over and press down hard, lift it off the paper slowly to reveal a great looking pattern. We have recently been to a Bee show so master 4 was quick to point out that the pattern made by the painted bubble wrap resembles honeycomb! Mmm think this could be leading somewhere....

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

We have so many butterflies at our place at the moment that the boys and I caught one in our bug catcher so we could look closely at the patterns on its wings and the colours. While looking at the butterfly it was a great chance to show Master 4 how the patterns on one wing were the same on the other. (Symmetrical) Never one to pass up the opportunity to do come craft we got busy...
Using a butterfly template add dots of coloured paint to one side of the template. (Best to fold it in half first) Then fold the butterfly in half and gently rub in the paint. Unfold the butterfly and wow what a beautiful sight! It's also perfect to use when looking at the Life Cycle of The Butterfly. I purchased this Life Cycle of a Butterfly set that gave Master 4 a good visual understanding when he was placing the cycle in order. (You can always use cut out visual aides) http://http//

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where the Strawberries Are a Smash!

This time of the year I enjoy nothing better than watching the tennis at Wimbledon in London. A past time favourite of mine when I lived there saw me join the thousands of tennis lovers chow down on the event's signature snack: strawberries and cream. Last year the official Wimbledon food vendor, sold 2 million berries, and 1,820 gallons of cream! (Mmm can taste them now!)
Like any young kids my boys love balls and the opportunity to roll (or should I say throw) them at any time - even better when they are covered in paint!

I love this activity of rolling tennis balls in different coloured paint and rolling it to a partner. The children were squealing with delight as they rolled it to their friend and saw the patterns it left behind. Once the children had rolled a few colours it brought about talk of the colours mixing together to make new colours. It was also a great hand-eye activity requiring them to stop the ball before it landed on the floor! (well in most cases!!) The finished products looked amazing and I'm definitely going to display this somewhere for all to see.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rhyme Time is Blogging

It's official... I'm now up and running with my new blog for Rhyme Time. I'm very excited to be able to document and share the wonderful learning experiences that you can create for your child. My blog will hopefully inspire many of you to enjoy the opportunity to bring books to life within your own home!