Playing, learning, making mess with my 4 kids
6 🏼 5 🏼 3 🏼 16 months 🏼
Mum Teacher @earlylearning101 co-owner
47,039 followers359 following502 posts
Rainbow Pom Pom Tray
It's a HUGE week for my three year old and 16 month old - they're coming with me to work this whole week as I run some pre-Kindy programs! 🏼🏼
After we had a giant Moana dance off after school (standard practice here at the mo ) this quiet time tray is one of the invitations on our play shelves (see my last pic) they've been enjoying. Kinder Surprise eggs and mini tongs are the gift that keep giving
I'll be a bit MIA this week, I'll get back to you ASAP if I haven't already! Happy Tuesday lovelies!! xxx
#4thingsilove this Sunday: .
How small IG makes the world - awesome to meet you Jen @apompomaday! (Loving your amazing rainbow watercolour print! )
. The Moana soundtrack. I may've had it CRANKING in the car driving around today. And yesterday...and the day before...Yes, I am THAT mum
. Setting up random play invitations for the kids. My 16 month old is loving her little 'anmal' (animal) shelf! Teaching is def my vocation but I'm so grateful for this time at home with my 4 little blondies.
. Studying - I've got a four day course next week (about a research based approach to teaching reading and spelling), I can't WAIT to start my @speechtoprintproject!! It's my jam - pop over and check it out if it's yours too
Every Sunday, @ohcreativeday and @hidden_egg share #4thingsilove! What have you been loving this week? Pop a comment below, would love to hear!
Happy Sunday! xx
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A BEAUTIFUL MESS Coloured water and medicine syringes = this!
Every Friday I run a play session at my local community centre. I plan a weekly theme and a set up a series of self-paced invitations for our 2-4 year kiddos! This little guy LOVED this simple water transfer invitation from this week's DOCTOR theme! (See my stories for the other activities!)
Love open ended explorations - especially when they lead to this level of engagement!
'Boogie Man' #smallworldinasink
Whenever my kids are tired or sick, I always whack some shaving cream in the bathroom sink. Something about looking at themselves in the mirror with their hands busy squishing and slopping automatically takes the grumps away! (Temporarily ) Check out this hashtag 🏼#smallworldinasink for more
This 'boogie man' was waiting for my three year old today...she's a bit congested at the moment so we had a good giggle at this!!! Hooray for contained mess chasing the grumps away
Happy Thursday, hope it was boogie free!
BABY DOLL PAPER HAIR CUTS
I posted about this a little while ago and my 3 year old requested it again today! Baby doll + sticky tape + paper strips = heaven for my little lady (not-so-much the doll)!
Scissors are a bit tricky, so I like providing many little playful opportunities to develop the skills needed. I pop washi tape on the handles as a visual prompt to help little people with the grip - two bits of tape means two fingers 🏼, one bit of tape for one thumb 🏼!
This week at my other account @earlylearning101, our theme is PAPER! Tag your paper pics with #earlylearning101 to share with our awesome community (if it tickles your fancy of course )
And before you ask the inevitable ... no, she hasn't given herself a haircut (yet..?)! The rule is we only cut paper, which is why we used PAPER hair!🏼
🏼#ourplayroomtour 🏼 Life with four young kiddos is INSANELY messy. As I've got a high mess tolerance (read: I'm a naturally messy person ), I find it easiest to manage life when the kids stuff is organised...so at the very best it's organised chaos!! Please do not think it's always like this - IT'S DEFINITELY NOT - it lasts like this for as long it takes me to type these words, but as everything has a home it's easy (ish!) to put everything away!
I've reshuffled everything around (again) but our room always consists of this in some way or another. Baskets filled with different toys (rotated from our clear tubs, depending on interest) and a writing area (an @ikea_australia stuva toy chest with the drawer removed - see #playfullittlelearners_areas for more). I've popped a pic of this in our last play space too- swipe across for more pics.
I've turned our @kmartaus peg board on the side and put washi tape and masking tape on a couple of the pegs for easy access, as well as stuff that I've been using with our @speechtoprintproject - pop on over to have a look if you're interested in playful ways of encouraging children on their reading and spelling journey, from speech (talking) to print (reading and spelling). I'll start sharing this project from July
We also have a @kmartaus $15(ish?) trolley aka an 'art cart' (swipe across for more pics) with whiteboards, paintbrushes, coloured pencils, (some of) our art stuff, feathers, collage, match sticks etc. I have put little white tubs on the side with scissors, whiteboard markers, glue and crayons so the older kids can access but my 16 month old can not
Every week I'll share some more insights into our playroom via the hashtag #ourplayroomtour! Feel free to share yours too, or pop a comment or question below - I'd love to hear the ways you organise your kids' stuff at home (or school)! Happy Monday!! xx
New week, new hashtag! Hands down, the topic I get asked about the most here at @playfullittlelearners is our playroom storage / organisation. So, starting later next week, I'll be sharing #ourplayroomtour: a weekly series outlining what works for us - what's in our tubs, our homework corner, our after school 'control' station, Lego organisation and much, much more! .
While I am by no means an expert in storage (or housekeeping - my husband/friends will have a good chuckle at this ), I do have four young children and a space we are lucky enough to dedicate to their constantly evolving needs and interests, and this weekly series will share insights into how it works for us. If you have any friends that would be interested in this, feel free to tag them below, or tag your own spaces with #ourplayroomtour too if you'd like to share yours (With the changes made to Instagram lately, my pics aren't coming up in people's feeds so I truly appreciate you sharing the love! )
I'll also be starting our @speechtoprintproject soon - something that I am INSANELY passionate about, that lights the fire in my teacher-belly (and is something I'll be dedicating my career to when my kids are a little older). Check it out if it tickles your fancy!
Every few months (generally just before a birthday), I get in THAT mood. A rampaging-we've-got-WAAAAY-too-much-stuff kinda mood, where good Sammy's / friends get lots of donations of toys and items my kiddos haven't been playing with as much. I've reached that point again today and the kids and I are doing a clean out... 🏼 Here are some of the trains we have accumulated over the years (there are well over 100, not all could fit into our @thecreativetoyshop tray), and a little Thomas lover will be receiving over 3/4 of them plus over 20 Thomas books!! It's insane how much 'stuff' you accumulate!
I do love a good clean out. What are you up to in this fine Sunday? Happy weekend!
I've been stalking the #getcreativewith hashtag and absolutely loved these playdough ideas (tap for links): @anideaontuesday (incorporating learning into anything makes my heart siiiiiing, Niccola's feed is amazing!) @happykidsart (CHANGING COLOUR dough, with household ingredients! ) @blastasticday (rainbow dough rings!) @cara.raisingkinley (ice cream dough I wanted to eat!) @lineslovehomeschool (those dough 'sprinkles' ) Thanks again for having me ladies, there are so.many. AWESOME creative ideas on #getcreativewith - make sure you check it out!
Happy Hump day xx
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Making letters and words out of playdough is a favourite and hands on way of spelling at our place, and I incorporated it into my Literacy dedicated block daily when I was teaching. .
An awesome tip (inspired by the wonderful Colleen @theottoolbox) is to pop the letters in the freezer to make them easier to move around without breaking! The kids are fascinated by the fact that it doesn't completely freeze (due to the salt content) and it also adds an extra #finemotor workout when rolling and manipulating the dough.
Whenever my house is an epic need of a scrub, I always feel the need to add to the chaos (it needs cleaning anyway, right?!) 🙄 I popped a peek of this 'dough' in my stories a couple of weeks ago: snow powder + shaving cream!
My Frozen obsessed 3 year old and our 16 month old* LOVED this! Making 'snow' using powder is fascinating in itself (swipe for the vid!) and adding shaving cream was a fantastic bonus as we could mould the dough to make 'snowballs!' This week I'm over at @get.creative.with, asking people to get creative with PLAYDOUGH! Hop on over to @ohcreativeday and @littlebuttondiaries for more info, and tag any playdough pics with #getcreativewith to share yours! Happy Monday! xx
PS - common sense prevails when using these types of items for Sensory play - I'm always supervising as there's always going to be the inevitable attempt at tasting 🏼
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Sharing #4thingsilove on this awesome Sunday:
Camping adventures with special friends (and how it influences my kiddos play when we get home - this is my almost 5 year old playing with our camp lamp ) see our stories! . @earlylearning101's FIRST birthday!! We've arranged a big giveaway with some awesome educational brands - pop over and check it out!
Playdough! I'm over @get.creative.with this week checking out some awesome ideas
Phonemic Awareness - I'm starting a new little project with my 3 year old, recording her journey from speech to print! Hop on over to @speechtoprintproject if you're interested!
Every Sunday, @ohcreativeday and @hidden_egg share #4thingsilove - feel free to share yours too, if it tickles your fancy!
Happy Sunday! xx
One of my guys sees a specialist for a couple of things - form constancy is one of them. Here's one (of the many!) ways he's used playdough to help him in therapy sessions (with a focus on his letter formation)! The lowercase letters a, c, d, g and q are all formed starting the same way (by making a c, the starting letter of his name) so I've stamped out these focus letters into rolled out playdough, and popped a small ball / marble at the starting point. The idea is that he uses his fingertips to roll the ball using the correct formation 🏼 Great for #finemotorskills and good multi-sensory reinforcement of correct formation. Check out the vid of my 3 year old doing it (swipe!). We've also done this with kinetic sand, loose parts etc, have a squiz here for more 🏼#playfullittlelearners_playdough :) Tag your playdough pics with #getcreativewith if you'd like to join in!! Happy Thursday! xx #playfullittlelearners_literacy
So...I'm challenging you to #getcreativewith my family's absolute favourite play item: PLAYDOUGH!
Tag your playdough pics with #getcreativewith, and I'll be stalking the hashtag over the next week, sharing some creative ways to use PLAYDOUGH! I'll also share some of the ways we get creative with playdough. You can check out this hashtag 🏼#playfullittlelearners_playdough or pop over to the @babyhintsandtips website where I shared my first ever guest post about - you guessed it... PLAYDOUGH!
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Another simple sound sort, for our @earlylearning101 prompt this week! A simple, hands on and engaging way to develop phonemic awareness (ability to notice, think about and work with individual speech sounds). Animals: say the word (/t/iger)
Mirror: watch mouth movements - what does my mouth look like when I make the /t/ sound? Is it a voiced sound or breath sound?
'Phonics phone': hear the sounds (t eye g uh)
Starting Letters: what does the /t/ sound in tiger look like when written on paper? Can you match the animal with the letter it starts with?
Life is made of small happiness. Chubby fingers, endless questions, inquisitive minds and active bodies. The challenges also bring the greatest joys Hope you've had a fabulous Monday, with a tantrum or two less than ours xx
It's a scary prospect wanting the world for your kids, but knowing that above all else, the best way to give it to them is by helping them develop the confidence, resilience and skills to reach for the stars on their own.
I love books that help build this knowledge, offering innovative solutions to every day situations children may encounter. This amazing book, Nicholas and the Wild Ones by Niki Daly, does just this and is one of the awesome books on our rainbow shelves.
If you're after a book that encourages children to discuss problems (namely bullying) that arise when you're not around, and how thinking outside the box can solve problems and lead to new friendships - I highly recommend this one!
What books have you been enjoying recently? (I'm after some newbies for our colourful collection )
'Don't drive yourself nuts striving for perfection: perfect home, brilliant kids, on and on...Just enjoy the everyday and messiness of it. Laugh a lot, travel a lot, have F U N and make memories because childhood is so fleeting.' Michelle Kohanzo
I love everything about this quote! Perfection does not exist for us - it's just not practical or possible with so many little people navigating so many big emotions. Most of the day I walk around with my 1 year's lunch smeared on my shoulder, blue food colouring on my cheek plus I always look like I haven't slept in days... but to be perfectly and utterly honest, I'm happier for it!
So often we strive for 'perfect', but there's SO MUCH joy in the ordinary, in the mess and every day stuff, that sometimes I wonder how much we may miss if we are always reaching for the unattainable.
Happy, happy Thursday! Hope you found the magic in the ordinary!! #playfullittlelearners_playroom (Please note - this is NOT a picture of a messy room... this is as close to tidy as it gets around here xx)
This is one I used in my classroom over 10 years ago and is one of the ways my school-aged boys 'do' homework at our place.
(Check out the current FAVOURITE in our stories for my AFL obsessed little guys! )
This week our theme over at @earlylearning101 is TOYS! The lovely Molly @thekids_place is joining Nichole @youclevermonkey and I as co-host. Tag your pics with #earlylearning101 to share! Happy Tuesday!! PS @the.kindie.mumma has also made a similar game to this (another reason why I love her feed, great minds think alike! ), go check her out !! PPS - flying solo tonight..bedtime routine tonight was HARD...I'm now sitting back with a
TODDLER FRIENDLY 'NAIL POLISH'
With Mother's Day just around the corner, lots of 'pampering' sessions have been happening at my boys' school. My toenails (and parts of my toes!! ) are currently bright blue, thanks to my almost 5 year old giving me a manicure / pedicure as part of their Mother's Day afternoon 🏼 I facilitate some play sessions at my local community centre for 2-4 year olds and wanted to do something similar, but did not want to use nail polish. Here is my alternative the kids used earlier today - coloured moisturising cream / body lotion! :) Applied with cotton tips, the kids loved pampering their Mums/ carers, giving them a manicure (without the need to buy nail polish remover at the end )! Silky smooth hands for the win! I have used and shared a similar recipe for body paint (read about it here 🏼#playfullittlelearners_bodypaint). Happy Friday! I hope all mums are gearing up for a fabulous Mother's Day this weekend #mothersday2017
Playroom reshuffle 4,382...(I've got washing that needs to be folded so of course I've gone into 'hmm what can I do to the playroom?' mode 🤦🏼♀️). One day I'll be on top of the laundry. But today is NOT that day Happy Thursday! #playfullittlelearners_playroom
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Ssssnipping (playdough) sssstripes!
I LOVE playdough. It's so cheap, easy to make and versatile, and it's pretty much guaranteed to keep little hands and minds busy (and develop those little finger muscles too ). This is the first 1.2 seconds of the hour before school pick up time this arvo. My kids have been loving our animal table set up (see a couple of pics back), so I left out two little playdough invitations (black/white with zebras and orange/black with tigers) laid out in our large tray for my 3 year old to find.
Check out our stories for some action shots and deliciously mixed playdough colours! Animals from @oh.ivy & 'mess manager' (aka my FAVOURITE white tray) from @thecreativetoyshop.
A really simple 'sound sort' - exploring items that start with the /p/ sound (and ones that don't)! I find the development of early literacy skills absolutely fascinating, especially as the way my oldest learns and retains information has encouraged me to get creative with the ways I support the acquisition/reinforcement of certain skills at home.
I was up really late (early?!) last Saturday night after a friend's wedding, chatting with one of my best friends (a Speech Therapist and Audiologist) about phonemes/speech sounds and the impact having good phonemic awareness has on reading acquisition. While it sent a few of our other mates to bed, having the opportunity to discuss it (uninterrupted!!!) with someone who shares my enthusiasm for it was awesome! Not your typical conversation... but tell me I'm not the only one who talks shop?! Hope your Monday was awesome! PS does anyone else remember Pokey?? 🏼 #playfullittlelearners_literacy #playfullittlelearners_homework
Aaaages ago I said I was making a blog, sharing our story and the different ways we've supported learning at our place. Thanks so much to everyone who has asked about this!
The good news is, it's finished (this is a small miracle as I've built it myself from scratch ) I've put off making it public yet as I've got a couple of other pretty exciting projects in the works that I will launch with my website in the coming months!
FriYAY!!! This little Mother / Baby small world has been set up for the past week and a bit (#playfullittlelearners_playroom) and the kids have been loving their @oh.ivy animals
Slowly getting back into the swing of things after my getaway, it was so nice catching up with my girls - I've been friends with most of them for over 20 years!! Feeling all shades of grateful this week (although next level tired after a few too many late nights 🙄). Happy Friday! xx #thehappynow
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PAPER PLATE SHAKER
I am partial to a dance... especially when the beats are provided by my 3 year old daughter's favourite music maker Paper plate folded in half, filled with dried beans, stapled and then decorated or 'gloopy glued' with her favourite craft items. So simple. So. Much. Dancing. 🏻🏻🏼🏼 I've missed the sound of her sweet tunes (I'm flying solo for the first time since having kids ) but I had 14 hours sleep last night so I'll be ready and raring to dance up a storm with her (and her favourite music makers) tomorrow afternoon!! Happy Monday! #thehappynow
JUST THE WAY WE ARE
I love celebrating diversity! Can't WAIT to add this book to our rainbow shelves. It's about children whose families come in all shapes and sizes, whether they have 1 child, 2 children, 5 children, Mum and Dad, two Dads, two Mums or live between Mum's house and Dad's house. Someone else's family may not look like yours and that's ok - all families are perfect in their own way! 🏿🏼🏽🏻🏽 Missing my lovely family...two more sleeps until I get to see their lovely faces :) Happy Sunday! #playfullittlelearners_books
It's a big day for me today. I'm travelling SOLO for the first time since having kids - my husband booked me flights for a close friend's wedding (as he knew I wouldn't do it for myself ). Five whole days without my family.
Looking forward to catching up with all my besties (and having LOTS OF SLEEP ) but missing these two book worms and their big brothers already and I haven't even taken off yet Wish me luck Happy Friday! xx #playfullittlelearners_playroom
I have this thing with teaching resources... This is my office, where I keep all my teaching bits and pieces and trays/containers for Play. We've NEVER had this much space before (all of this plus so.much.more has always been squished in sheds, cupboards or wherever we could find space) and I'm so grateful I can access them now! All tubs / boxes are labelled with blackboard contact so I can change the labels if I need. And yes, that is a 52L storage tub of Pom poms top left Swipe for more pics! Are you a sucker for labels/tubs/resources too?!
CHEEKY CHIMPS IN CHOCOLATE OOBLECK
I'm a sucker for developing literacy skills through messy, creative play
Yesterday I lured my 6 year old away from footy with the help of these @oh.ivy CHeeky CHimps and gooey, CHocolatey oobleck!
Chocolate oobleck made with one cup cornflour (cornstarch), half cup water and a spoonful of cocoa powder.
This was awesome for #finemotorskills as well as developing phonemic awareness (ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words). He even had a go mapping this sound to the way it looks when it is written (aka phonics), #sensorywritingtray style.
My other three joined in...and my baby was even sitting in it by the end 🤦🏼♀️ A crazily messy but insanely engaging session!
Happy hump day! Hope it was not filled with as much washing as mine xxx #playfullittlelearners_literacy #playfullittlelearners_sensory
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