Mum of 4 🏼🏼🏼🏼
Playfully supporting learning at home
TeacherWest Aussie@earlylearning101 co-host
42,213 followers317 following472 posts
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
I'm a Mum to four young kids.
I've got bags under my eyes.
I've got baskets (and baskets) of washing to fold.
But over and above this, I get to live the joy and innocence of childhood again through the bright eyes of my four little people.
Holidays have been T I R I N G but they've also been filled with calm moments like this! Awesome DIY 'rock people' (we got from @storkscorner, kind of like Kinetic Sand but it hardens like stone when when it dries)! Happy Monday! Hope it was filled with all things lovely xx
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Last official day of the school hols for us We've been homebound the last few days (sick kids 🤢) and it was SO NICE to take the boat out this morning! Taking it pretty easy for the rest of the day.
Hoping to ask a quick favour if you can see this pic - can you pop an emoji below to let me know? Thanks a bundle and have a happy (and vomit free ) Sunday! xx #playfullittlelearners_playroom
SENSORY PLAY MATERIALS My name is Amy and I have this thing with hoarding... The emptied contents of our 'Sensory Play' clear tub on our Rainbow Shelves (🏼#playfullittlelearners_playroom):
Yellow split peas, dried whole peas, white beans, purple coloured beans, seed tapioca, green split peas, coloured salt, coloured sand, sparkly 'snow', fake snow, waterbeads, red lentils, lentils, dried black beans, shells and finally 'Pilbara sand' (really small/fine shells collected from the beach). Our Kinetic Sand and Rice have a tub all to themselves as I have over 10kg of each Having all these things on hand has been especially helpful over the past two days as we've been homebound due to sickness! 🤢
What are your little ones' favourite items for Sensory play?
For ways we've used these check out here 🏼#playfullittlelearners_sensory
Happy Friday!! xx
BABIES & MIRRORS 🏼
We've always had some sort of mirror for our babies to play in front of...they've all loved looking at themselves! (Something they get from me maybe?! 🏼Just kidding 🤦🏼♀️) My 14 month old had a ball building with our rainbow blocks on our mirror! Of course it was smudged and licked by the end (see second pic by scrolling across) but easy engagement nonetheless, and reinventing a toy we've had forever! The big kids (6, 4.5, 3) also got in on the action too = win! We even had a golden moment of all four kids within a 1m area playing together without arguing (AMAZING!!!!!)
Has anybody else got a little one that can't get enough of their own reflection?! Happy FriYAY!! #playfullittlelearners_blocks
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KINETIC SAND 'SOUND CASTLES' BASH
We've just returned from a 10 day beach holiday and I'm trying to prolong the beach holiday feels...!!
My almost 5 year old is obsesssed with the 'rude' sound (the 'th' sound) as it's the only time you're allowed to poke your tongue out to your mum / teacher - ie to make the sound, you need to stick your tongue out . A few of his sight words have it and he's been noticing the /th/digraph EVERYWHERE! So (of course ) I popped a few letter stampers, foam letters and a cup into a Kmart $10 naughts and crosses tray/container with some Kinetic Sand, encouraging him to build and bash some /th/ words. This is one of the ways we like to 'do' homework at our place. As always, one speech sound per square (=elkonin box for all teachery types)! I'll pop a video in my stories to see it in action
Back in 2014/2015 I used to sell packs of educational bits and bobs to playfully develop literacy skills in hands on ways - and one of these was called 'Kinetic Sand and Stamp' and this was one of the explorations in the pack
More invitations like this here: 🏼 #playfullittlelearners_literacy #playfullittlelearners_homework #playfullittlelearners_kineticsand
We are homebound today as our 3 year old was up all. night. long. with a funny tummy (best way to ease post holiday blues...NOT!! 🤢) so we're taking it pretty easy. My hubby is out fishing and this is one of the things on the go: 'Penguin World' #smallworldinasink: blue coloured shaving cream, penguins and our bathroom sink!
Contained mess 🏼 Mirror to look at herself
Water on hand to clean up
Close proximity to the toilet 🤢
Is there anything more exciting than tackling post holiday Mt Washmore and four stir crazy kids... ? Actually don't answer that... wish me luck!! Happy Thursday xx
H O L I D A Y S
I love setting up playful little invitations for my kids.
But what I love more than anything else in the entire world, is spending T I M E with my family.
Being fully present.
Laughing about stupid stuff.
Building sand castles.
No rushing. No commitments. No toys.
Only the 6 of us.
10 days. Big beautiful beaches, our four wheel drive, the hotel pool and a whole bunch of relaxed and positive vibes.
My love tank is full you guys. I'm feeling super inspired and ready to charge into this next term.
Happy, happy hump day lovelies! Hope your day was all shades of awesome xx #playfullittlelearners_family
PS all these pics have #nofilter and were taken on my iPhone!! Such a MAGICAL part of the world :)
Our rainbow bookshelves are packed with amazing books like this - BEAUTIFUL by Stacey McAnulty (@stacymcanulty ).
This book shares a message that I try to convey to my four children each and every day: EMBRACE YOU. Do not try to be anyone else. Be yourself, exactly as you are.
Whilst there are absolute differences in the way that boys and girls develop and learn (and I have first hand experience with this having two of each); I do not think one gender is destined for a certain path over another. Stereotypes can be very limiting!!!
Girls get dirty.
Girls are scientists and explorers, mathematicians and hairdressers.
Girls come in all shapes and sizes, each and everyone is beautiful EXACTLY as they are. This book explores all this and more and is one I read to my girls (and boys!!!!) regularly.
Love books that have messages of empowerment! What's a favourite book on your shelves at the moment? HAPPY THURSDAY!!! xx #playfullittlelearners_books
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SNAPSHOTS OF LIFE
Kids everywhere. 'Pilbara uniform' (aka shorts and a top). Hair needing washing. Messy bun. Washing baskets being used for anything BUT actually doing the laundry (blerh I hate laundry!!). Empty coffee cup on table.
Our imperfect - yet heart filling - reality.
I'm normally behind the camera but thought it was about time to step in front (pic taken without my knowledge by my lovely dad who visited us recently ). Not a glamorous shot (at ALL) but totally and utterly normal.
I hope as the years go by they remember these early days.
All the books we read.
All the games we played.
All the mess we made.
How much I absolutely adore them, through all the happy, all the hard, all the tired and all the chaos.
A little bit heavy on this hump day..! Hope your Wednesday was filled with squishy cuddles, much-loved books and P L A Y with those who matter to you xx #playfullittlelearners_playroom
Toilet Paper Roll Sight Words Can you spot them? Another way we 'do' Sight Words (high frequency words) at our place! Swipe for close ups :)
Both my 4.5 and 6 year old boys have lists of words from school to learn at home. Rather than learning them from the list, I write each word on a TP roll (one colour per speech sound) and 'hide' them on the shelves / benches in the playroom and around the house. I've sliced the back of the tube so they slip onto shelves and benches, similar to the way I have made their pool noodle sight words. They read them when they find them!🏼
Quite often kids are asked to remember 'sight words' as a whole, but since visual memory is an area one of my sons sees a specialist for, this strategy is HIGHLY ineffective for him and does NOT suit him or his learning style. Doing it this way encourages him to recognise more complex phonics patterns - words 'makes sense' (ie no letters are useless or silly - each letter / letter combination represents a different sound depending on the word). Blending the speech sounds becomes more automatic as he recognises the tricky parts (eg the /o/ sound in 'what') PLUS it's much more playful than 'sit down, learn this list' - which always sits better with me, especially as they're always so tired after school!
RRRRRAINBOW RICE + RRRRRAINBOW BLOCKS INVITATION Swipe left for more pics :) Playfully developing phonemic awareness (awareness of the individual sounds in spoken words) through creative, sensory play this morning!
We've had these rainbow blocks for 5 years now and I've lost track of the ways my kids have played with them. I just love how open-ended toys can be continually reinvented! My 3 and 4 year olds have been using them for tipping and pouring this morning, as well as using the rectangle ones for 'beds' for their little people (and transformers ). See here for a couple of different ways they've used these 🏼#playfullittlelearners_blocks
I'm putting away the rice today as it's made a HUGE mess (managed by our @thecreativetoyshop tray and a large sheet, see last few pics and our stories for more)... they've loved having it out these past few days!
SNAPSHOTS OF PLAY
Life with kids is not Pinterest worthy. It's definitely not always tidy spaces - at our place it's quite the opposite. The internet can be a place of unrealistic standards... What I love the most about this picture is the fact that it is OUR real. Mess, noise, (organised) chaos. While some people will freak out seeing this, for us it's all part of the normal. We'll clean it up together later; but until then, four busy little people will continue their games! See our stories to make you feel like the world's best housekeeper
PS - see my previous post to see that Sensory tray on the floor in action!!
Absolutely loving our deliciously open ended Grimms Rainbow from @thecreativetoyshop! I set up this RAINBOW Sensory invitation for my 3 year old at rest time today and it was such a wonderful way to spend time with my biggest little girl :)
We used some rice we coloured earlier (see last post), plus red lentils, yellow lentils and purple beans for different textures. Of course, it lasted like this for as long as it took me to say 'look what I've set up for you, love!' (swipe for more pics!!) and she loved slowly mixing the colours and textures, totally engaged. She ended up using the rainbow pieces for 'rooms' for her people (@youclevermonkey this reminded me totally of the way your girls play with yours!!). Swipe for more pics, or check out our stories! :)
Hope you've had a colourful Thursday! xx #playfullittlelearners_sensory
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Making a new batch of rainbow rice with my lovely 3 year old!
Rice in snaplock bags, dash of food colouring, squish to coat (hello #finemotorskills!) lay out to dry and play
Will be sharing a few of our rainbow-ific adventures with our latest batch later on tonight
Happy Thursday!! Hope it's COLOURFUL xx
Last year to help my boys (now 6 and 4.5) settle into their new school, I wrote little notes on post-its and stuck them on their lunch boxes for them to discover at lunch time.
This has now become such a lovely part of our daily routine, and my 3 year old always requests one whenever we pack her lunch box too! I've started saving each of the notes and put them in a special book for each of the kids as a little keepsake :)
I write each speech sound in a different colour, to help train their brains to recognise the different letters that represent each sound. (Note- this process is being patented by SSP Australia, check them out if you're interested in a research-based approach to teaching reading and spelling ).
Anyone else a sucker for post-it 'love' notes for their kids? Happy Wednesday!!! xx #playfullittlelearners_literacy
FREEZING COLOURED CREATURES IN WATER
After running a million errands, a huuuge tea party and a trip to the beach today, my 3 year old and I went on a creature colour hunt! She plopped the animals in the matching coloured water I'd put into an ice cube tray and into the freezer they went. These will need to be 'rescued' tomorrow (read: broken out with a toy hammer ) when her special friend is coming over for a play! Happy Tuesday! xx #playfullittlelearners_frozen
Love getting happy mail, especially when it's from the lovely Mel @storkscorner! These awesome textas (/markers) were one of the many goodies that were entertaining my crazily overtired 6, 4.5 and 3 year olds this arvo - see my stories for more.
Hope your Monday has been bright, colourful and twenty shades of tantrums lighter than ours xx
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It's almost time to go out and explore this beautiful red land , but first, P L A Y. Ahhhh good Ol' Kinetic Sand, how they love you Check out our stories for more :) Happy Sunday!!
Here's the extreeeeeemely simple little invitation my crazily overtired 13 month old was enjoying this arvo - popping GIANT Pom Poms into one of our many DIY toys: an empty milk bottle with a hole cut into it.
Fancy? Ummmmmm no.
Simple and engaging? Absolutely.
But the absolute best thing of all for her? I was sitting right next to her sticky little smoothie covered body, being silly and playing WITH her.
And that, at the end of the day, matters more to my little sunshine than anything else. (Plus, the deliciously perfect baby giggles that resulted filled up a rather empty Mummy tank, too )
It's Toddler week over at @earlylearning101! The amazing Susie @busytoddler is on board, so get involved by tagging your pics with #earlylearning101 if it tickles your fancy! Happy Tuesday! xx
More pics of mine like these here 🏼 #playfullittlelearners_baby #playfullittlelearners_pompoms #playfullittlelearners_diy
Only three years separates these three little monkeys. 🏼🏼🏼 Looking back to 2014, we had a newborn, an 18 month old and a just turned 3 year old (plus I was still teaching and just launched my small business ). It was SUPER tiring, but having them close in age was something that was really important to my husband and I. Now they're 6, 4.5 and 3 (and their littlest sister is 13 months) and our life is busy, soooo messy and super LOUD... but it's so perfect for us. The sleepless nights, long days and constant demands from little hands are worth it tenfold.
Of course, tears and tantrums are part of 'the fun' of growing up - and believe me when I say we have MORE than our fair share of this - but moments of calm like this amidst the crazy are certainly treasured! Happy, happy Monday!! #playfullittlelearners_playroom #family#playroom
You know it's going to be a loooong day when all four kids have had their first showers by 9:30am!! 🌦⛈ It's STORMY here - flash floods and all - and after some serious muddy puddle jumping and 'footy training' in our mud pit / aka backyard (we've got a young Fyffey in the making here) we are taking the rest of the morning reaaally easy with little inside invitations like this Frog Small World - see our stories for more! Happy Sunday, hope it's filled with P L A Y!! ⛈
PS - check out more of our small worlds here 🏼#playfullittlelearners_smallworldplay (#hiremeplayschool !!)
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Dear weekend, you make me HAPPY! Anyone else?!
Pic by the uber talented @amytangerine xx
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BABY DOLL 'HAIR' CUTS
It's all about scissors and babies here at the moment for my three year old.
Here's today's rest time invitation: colourful 'hair' (aka paper strips sticky taped onto a baby), salon chair (aka highchair from @thecreativetoyshop) and scissors.
My 3 year old is in heaven - not so sure about the baby though Happy Thursday!! #playfullittlelearners_finemotor
Please note: common sense prevails around here, I always supervise her when using scissors 🏼
I left out a little invitation for my almost three year old recently: cut pool noodle, some giant buttons and pipe cleaners.
Just goes to show (once again!) that children are so capable - this is what my 4.5 year old fella decided to do with this invitation! No buttons were used, and my little girl only played with it for a little ...but my son was engaged for ages, building heaps of words he knows! Happy Sunday lovelies xx #playfullittlelearners_literacy #playfullittlelearners_homework #playfullittlelearners_finemotor
At our place, most of the time the homemade toys end up being the most loved! Here's a close up of the empty box my almost 3 year old and I turned into a washing machine using $3 adhesive vinyl from Kmart (see original post two pics back). Definitely not perfect, but she LOVES it Happy Thursday! #playfullittlelearners_diy #playfullittlelearners_cardboardbox
If you've got any #playfulandinspiring accounts please tag them below - love finding new inspiring people to follow! Happy hump day! xx
#Repost@the.kindie.mumma with @repostapp
SPRINKLE LETTER TRAY • Could there be a more irresistible way to practice forming letters? All you need is a tray, a packet of sprinkles, some letters (from an old puzzle or even fridge magnet letters), and a dry paintbrush. We use a combination of our fingers and the brush to form our letters. Perfect for children aged 3.5 and older.
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I hate washing. (#whyistherealwaysmooooooore)
So this morning, rather than tackling Mt Washmore, my almost 3 year old and I made a washing machine out of an old cardboard box
Empty cardboard box, Kmart $3 adhesive vinyl, a couple of bottle tops, gloopy glue and 25 minutes later (would've been less if my 1 year old wasn't crawling all over it!) this little set up resulted.
Needless to say my almost 3 year old managed to get her laundry done quicker than I did...🙄
Happy Monday! xxx