Tuesday, February 26, 2013

30 Screen free rainy day activities

We've had a lot of rain here lately and apparently more to come. Try out some of our screen free rainy day activities and hopefully your time indoors will be a bit brighter.

- Put some music on and DANCE
- Blow bubbles
- Play chasee
- Build a tower (and knock it down)
- Use furniture to make an obstacle course (chairs to climb under, cushions to climb over, baskets to dodge around, etc)
- Cook together
- Have a tea party with stuffed animals/dolls
- Play peek a boo
- Make a cubby house with bed sheets (and have lunch in there)
- Play toss with a basket/bucket and beanbags or soft toys
- Play the drums using pots and pans and spoons
- Read books together
- Have a picnic in the lounge room
- Sing songs together
- Play limbo with toilet paper
- Use spray bottles and cloths to clean the windows
- Colour in and draw together
- Play bowling with plastic cups
- Act out (or draw) your child's favourite story
- Play dress ups
- Make a balance beam on the ground with masking tape
- Give old wooden blocks a make over by re-painting them with bright colours and patterns
- Put on raincoats and gumboots, get an umbrella and go for a walk in the rain (if it's not too windy and cold!)
- Have a puppet show (use stuffed toys if you don't have puppets)
- Go swimming in the bath tub
- Stickers!
- Play board games (yes, they still exist!)
- Teach your kids how to play card games (I love Skip Bo and Uno)
- Give all the cars a car wash in the bath (or bath the dollies)
- Make up silly rhymes and stories

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Pom pom cannons

Another balloon powered activity to go with the rockets. Pom pom cannons!

All you need is an open ended cylinder (we used a postal tube, you could also try a tin can or a cardboard coffee cup), a balloon and something light to launch - we used pom poms.

Tie the balloon up and cut the tip off the opposite end.

Stretch the balloon over one end of your cylinder, load it up with a pom pom or two and away you go!

It took awhile for Ladybug to actually notice the pom poms being launched out of the top but once she noticed what was happening she was forever "re-loading" with more and more pom poms.

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Balloon rockets

This activity was always a winner with the kids on rainy days spent stuck inside. Little ones love watching a balloon go zooming around the room as all the air gushes out and are fascinated when you show them how to 'capture' the balloon and send it zooming along a string instead!

All you need is a ballon, some string, scissors, sticky tape and some chairs.

Thread the balloon onto the string, tie each end to a chair (or in our case your husbands saw horses)

Blow the balloon up (but do not tie!), sticky tape it underneath the straw and let go!

Cue delightful Ladybug giggles! So easy!

***This could be done as a science experiment for kids old enough to understand (or to ask why the balloon zooms away)***

So why does the balloon zoom away? The balloon is stretched when blown up and deflates when you let go. As the balloon squeezes the air out, it pushes out on the air and, according to Newton's third law of motion (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction) the air pushes forwards on the balloon, which sends it zooming along the string we've secured it to.

Text from: http://www.physics4kids.com/files/motion_laws.html

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The lost art of nursery rhymes...

Homemade tapping sticks
Did you know that research has found that a child's academic success can be predicted by their ability to keep a steady beat? Humans naturally find patterns within the things around them and this is how we learn. Children who do not have rhythmic abilities, pattern acquisition and are unable to keep a steady beat often have difficulties learning, reading and with language development. It has been shown that a sense of timing also helps with counting and mathematics.

These days, as well as an increase in learning disabilities, there also seems to be a decrease in parents singing and reading to their children. Coincidence? ...and it's NOT that parents don't care! I believe it's a combination of time short parents (who are too busy at home or need to return to work when they're kids are still young), the lost art of nursery rhyme singing and too many distractions at home (hello smartphones, laptops, tablets, TV's, e mail, games, apps, etc!)

It's easy to sing and talk to your little ones and really doesn't matter what your voice sounds like (trust me, if Ladybug can endure my voice and enjoy it, then anyone can do it!) It's easy to learn some classic nursery rhymes, there are plenty of resources out there - including books at the library, the Internet, children's CD's and so on. I'll even include some classics here for good measure ;-) ...and as for talking, I know some people find it hard to talk to someone who isn't going to talk back, but it really is very important (and easy!) just talk about what you're doing, how you feel, what the weather is like. Babies aren't going to respond any time soon, but they are most definitely taking things in!

It's important to note here that even though there is plenty of technology available to do this for us (music and nursery rhymes being sung on TV shows, DVD's, etc) it is actually human interaction that has an effective difference. Children need to watch and learn from other humans (just like other mammals learn from their peers) - for this reason I have not included any Youtube links, but you could try looking on there for ideas if you're really stumped. You can read more about human interaction vs television by clicking here and reading about Vincent on page 5.

If you are still unsure, or embarressed, then a great place to start is your local library. Most libraries offer weekly Rhyme time, Story time or Lapsit programs specifically designed for babies and toddlers. We go every week and Ladybug loves it!

Ladybug loved her music table

Here are some of the Ladybug's favourite rhymes, with some links below of where to find more.

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full!
One for the Master, one for the Dame
And one for the little boy who lives down the lane

I'm a little teapot

I'm a little teapot
Short and stout
Here is my handle
Here is my spout

When I get all steamed up
Hear me shout
"Tip me over and pour me out!"

I'm a clever teapot,
Yes, it's true,
Here let me show you what I can do,
I can turn my handle into a spout, (switch arms)
Tip me up and pour me out!


Ladybird, ladybird,
Fly away home.

Your house is on fire,
And your children all gone.

All except one,
And that's little Ann,

She has crept under,
The warming pan.

Ring-a-ring o' roses

Ring-a-ring o' roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down.

The cows are in the meadow,
Eating buttercups.
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all jump up.

Twinkle twinkle little star (we also sign this one, you can read more about that here)

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
When you shower your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

Pussycat, Pussycat

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I've been up to London to visit the Queen.

Pussycat, pussycat, what did you dare?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair!

You can learn the words to more nursery rhymes and nonsense songs here on Kidspot
You can read more about the link between keeping a steady beat and future school success here

Enjoying nursery rhymes Dad-style!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sweet Valentines Day craft for littlies

Need something sweet for Valentines day but your little one is a it too young for 'craft'? Then keep reading cause we have an easy and super sweet (literally) activity...


We made some nice and glossy fingerpaints by mixing food colouring with liquid sweetened condensed milk (I just use the cheap stuff) we don't eat sugar here so I discourage the Ladybug from tasting it, but atleast I know if she did, then it's not so bad!

This is a very messy activity, but pretty easy to clean up with a washer and water.


Hang paintings to dry, cut into preferred shapes - we did hearts - write a message on the back and run through the laminator to preserve your little cherubs creation. You could easily add glitter to the painting before laminating it.

We made one for Dad and each set of grandparents.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

'Weading Wednesday' (on Thursday, oops!) - Moon Cow

This is a beautiful book featuring the night sky and different phases of the moon.

Moon Cow by Kyle Mewburn is about a cow, Milly, befriending the moon despite what her fellow cows think. Milly discovers the mysterious changes of the moon and finds her place in the world around her.

Ladybug loves the pictures in this book and likes to point out Milly and the moon to us while we read it.

 We used this book to talk about how the moon changes and then one day, while playing outside Ladybug pointed up in the sky shouting "Moon! Moon!" And she was right, there it was. We have since shown her the moon at night too. Definitely one of her favourites! 

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Simple posting activity

This activity is quick, easy & cheap!

And all you need is some postal tubes, sticky tape, scissors and something to 'post' - this could be anything (well, anything that fits through the hole!) We used pom poms, plastic reptiles and fake gemstones. Ladybug liked the gems the most as they made the most noise when they landed!

Pop the ends off the postal tube and use the sticky tape to attach it to a door frame. Give your child something to post and away you go!


Many kids love to 'post' and these activities are good for developing fine motor skills and can also be used as counting and grouping activities. It's a great example of cause and effect and gravity ...and also a simple way for you to grab those extra 10 minutes to get things done!

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Homemade gummi vitamins

We did something a little bit different today. The Ladybug and I made some gummi vitamins which turned out really well and were actually pretty easy.

Recently our naturopath has given Ladybug some liquid herbs to take to help her overcome a chesty cough she's had since Christmas. Unfortunately she is NOT a fan. By the second day she would clamp her mouth shut if I so much as came near her with the stuff (I tried some myself and they are a bit of a nasty shock to the taste buds!) there had to be a way I could get some of these into her each day...

Homemade gummi vitamins were the perfect solution! The original idea is not my own, it comes from The Wellness Mama, who has some fantastic DIY recipes on her blog. Her recipe can be found here.

I tweaked the original so it was more suitable for us and the end results were great! (Recipe below)

All you need is some fruit juice, gelatine (grass fed beef gelatin is best if you want the extras of protein, collagen, no added sugar/flavourings/chemicals/etc - I used the Bernard Jenson brand seen here), rice malt syrup (you could use honey), silicone molds and herbs or vitamins of your choice (you could use liquid herb extracts like we did or powdered probiotics or vitamin c or even cod liver oil depending on the flavour)


Ladybug enjoyed helping with the measuring, pouring and mixing (and tasting) until I had to move everything onto the stove top where she watched from a distance.

Stir on a low heat until the gelatin has dissolved then pour into a jug. As it was cooling down I added the liquid herb extracts and mixed them all through. I gave the silicone molds a quick spray with some coconut oil then poured the mixture in then popped them in the freezer for 10-15mins.

Gently push them out and viola, our very own gummi vitamins (and lots of them too! - we put triple the amount of everything)

The real test was seeing if Ladybug would actually eat them - which, as you can see here was no problem at all. She actually ate 3 of them and was still asking for "more, more?"

Such a difficult task of getting Ladybug's herbs into her has suddenly become so much easier! *phew!*

1/2 cup juice (we used cranberry)
2 tbs rice malt syrup (you could use honey)
8 tsp powdered gelatin (preferably grass fed beef gelatin)
Vitamins of your choice (herbal extracts, probiotics, cod liver oil, vitamin c)
  • Mix the juice, rice malt syrup and gelatin together in a saucepan
  • Whisk over a low heat just until the gelatin has dissolved
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the herbs/vitamins while cool (esp important if you're using probiotics!)
  • Carefully pour into silicone molds or silicone ice cube trays 
  • Place in the freezer for 10 - 15 minutes
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