Friday, 8 August 2014

Child-made Construction Small World Backdrop


 
A few weeks before Dimples had his 5th Birthday Party, a construction themed party, I had an idea to make a back drop type play station for the party so the kids could play with all sorts of construction themed toys in a small world diorama.  Some kids are sensory challenged and don tlike dirt, mud and getting their hands all gross so this was an easy outdoor option on a smaller scale.
 
We started with an open cardboard box and some paint, it developed from there with some roads and cotton wool dirt piles and a rubbish pile glue in one corner. On the day of his party I put some cocoa pops and rice bubbles out for the kids to "dig into".  I had seen the idea of using rice bubbles a couple years ago on Paint on the ceiling and always kept it in the back of my head hoping that one year Dimples would want a digging themed party.
This was it and it worked a treat.
 
 
During the weeks before, Dimples practised his scissor skills cutting out some buildings or 'skyscrapers' to stick on the back drop, he helped paint, glue and decorate the back drop. So the cardboard box which was just opened up on an angle and then stapled together so that it kept steady yet open enough for play slowly turned into a mini world full of construction.  It was turning into a cool looking pretend play zone and Dimples had a blast making it come to life bit by bit leading up to his party.
 
 
Dimples loves craft, it was his idea to glue in some cotton wool balls and paint them brown to resemble a pile of rocks, and then in another corner he glued in "rubbish" which was ripped pieces of paper.  I added some drawings, like a demolition ball on a crane and the windows in the buildings.  It was looking more like a 3D small world by now. We added some road work signs and little traffic toys that he had along with a collection of construction vehicles and there he had his own construction area for pretend play.  Dimples loves imaginative pretend play and small world areas, they give play time a realistic element.  

 
It was a small construction zone for a couple of weeks before and he continues to love it for weeks after his birthday party, it proved to be a realistic little 3D small world on the day of his party and looked realistic with piles of pretend rubble. The coco pops and rice bubbles were a great sensory add on to the 3D world, they bought it to life and worked well getting dumped around and bulldozed over. The fit inside dump trucks and were able to get pushed around and cleared.  The boys were happy to taste some and it is a safe alternative for younger kids as well.

 
I imagined that on the day they would get spread out everywhere but it was a risk worth taking, the boys were quite happy to play with them at the 3D small world construction station and used them in their imaginative play the way they were intended. They were able to spread them out all over the table and a majority of them did exactly that, carting, hauling, dumping and loading trucks tractors and construction vehicles all over the scene. It was definitely a fun alternative to digging in the dirt.
 
 
What other alternatives to dirt and mud would your kids love to dig in to?

Small World Play Ideas from around the Web

 
A Rainbow Stacker small world By You clever Monkey 
Sand Dough Small world Beach  By Adventures at Home with Mum
Farm Small World Play  By Two Daloo
Free Small World Printable  By Picklebums 
Outdoor Small World Magical Gnome Garden  By Adventures at Home with Mum
Styrofoam Ice Capsules and Penguins in water beads  By Adventures at Home with Mum
 



Happy Adventures 

You can keep updated with all our Adventures by following Adventures at Home with Mum on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest, or check us out on Instagram.

Friday, 25 July 2014

A B C Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure Challenge


Dimples has been playing and learning with ABC reading eggs lately, its an educational site for kids ages 3-13 that helps and promotes a love of reading in children. Its really fun and easy to use, You just go to The Reading Eggs Webpage, create a log in and "add a child" then they can go online (or on an ipad if you have a wireless connection) and start completing books and learn to read activities. Sounds too easy right?
 

 Well it is that easy, and from the 4th August to 1st September 2014 ABC reading eggs is offering a 5 weeks free trial.  This is the second year they've paired up with the Children's Cancer Institution and parents to raise important life changing funds for the Children's Cancer Institution.


The Read-To-Cure Challenge will be open on 4 August and children who sign up will be encouraged to complete as many books and online reading lessons as possible, they can have their friends and family sponsor their efforts to raise money.  Not only does the Read-To-Cure Challenge support an important cause, it also inspires young children nationwide to read books and improve their literacy skills with this 5 weeks obligation free trial. Click here to read more & sign up to take part in the challenge

 
By joining in on the fun and signing up to be part of the ABC Reading Eggs Read-To-Cure Challenge, we aim to raise over $100,000 for the Children’s Cancer Institute. But not only this, there is another awesome benefit to all the children who join in; they will have the chance to win lots of cool prizes, too. There will also be prizes to children who complete the most books plus lessons, as well as to those children who raise the most funds. Its all for a good cause so why not give it a go? We will be.
       

ABC Reading Eggs will provide 5 WEEKS FREE ACCESS to their online reading program (ages 3-13).  Not only this but your child can WIN fantastic prizes and Family/ friends can sponsor their reading efforts with all funds raised going directly to the Children’s Cancer Institute.
         

Helping to find a cure for childhood cancer, one book at a time. 
Children’s Cancer Institute conducts vital medical research into finding a cure for childhood cancer. All donations raised go directly to supporting their lifesaving initiatives for the 625 Australian children diagnosed with cancer each year. Check out the picture below for some examples of how funds can help.
Learn to read in 5 weeks free abc reading eggs, an award winning program with many educational benefits.   Will you join in? 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mud Paint Torture - Radiant Review and Give away

"Radiant Return proves that Radiant keeps your colours looking newer for longer".

Have you heard this and wondered if it were true?

Well I was given a Radiant No Sort liquid to try for myself and put this theory to the test.  As you already know if you follow this blog, we love mess! Messy Sensory Play, Playing in the dirt and in the Mud Kitchen, extreme Painting and slime making, all of which messes up the kids clothes good and well.  CHILDREN CAN NOT HAVE TRUE FUN WITHOUT GETTING A BIT MESSY!  Its a fact of nature and as parents of these some times chaotic, crazy and messy little people, we must accept this and learn to live with it, or do we?

So lets have a little fun kids, here goes...

Before

Crafting with ink dabblers and markers 


Finger Painting with a 15 month old


Mud printing and stamping, our usual play outside in the dirt.


After


No sorting and one wash


I was certain that the ink would still be slightly stained on the shirt and that the yoghurt paint around the neck wouldn't wash out first go, but it did. I was very surprised! In fact I think I had more trouble cleaning the children than I did cleaning the clothes.

Watch the video below for a real life torture test done by two best mates and one of their girlfriends on the actual brand new clothes they bought from a shop, they washed them in their own home and returned it (like new) to unsuspecting retail assistants... Did Radiant No Sort pass the torture test?




Impressive, really impressive.

If you're not convinced watch the other hilarious (and real life) Radiant Tests at www.radiantreturn.com.au  or visit https://www.facebook.com/RadiantAustralia to see what others think.  It worked for us and is suitable for both front & top loader washing machines!
Radiant is available in 3 great variants, Brilliant Whites Sharper Colours, No-Sort and Sensitive. Each variant contains Colour Guard technology which is how Radiant keeps your colours newer for long.
For more information visit the website. www.radiantreturn.com.au 
This is a sponsored post, I received a bottle of the product to try, all opinions are my own.

 Closed!

Now, one lucky Adventures at home with Mum Reader has the chance to win 1 x $50 Big W voucher that I have to give away. To enter, simply leave a comment in response to this question...

 

'Which variety of Radiant do you most need in your house and why?'

 
Now closed ; Winner, Rachel McGuire

 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Outdoor Music Wall



Outdoor play is a must at our place, my kids go crazy if they're locked inside for the day so I'm always looking for ways to make our outdoor play space exciting, fun and full of adventures. I'm always trying to expand and improve our yard so Dimples & Miss Cherub have plenty to learn from, play with and enjoy. This is another gadget I have designed and rigged up outside for them to get creative with.


The outdoor music wall stands above the sand pit and next to the water-wall, it makes a variety of chimes, clings and clangs as the kids bang on it with wooden spoons or drum sticks.
It's quite simple, an old wood pallet (painted and stood up) with a line of tin cans that have been painted in the colours of the rainbow and screwed on to the pallet bottom facing up from smallest to largest.
 

Dimples helped paint and order these, they make a great mini drum set.  There's a DIY chime, it's made from a bunch of old keys strung to a metal tin box with wire and another DIY chime made from a milo can with metal can lids threaded below with wire so they hang close together and some more keys for some extra rattling sounds. The keys sound the most musical as they can be rattled, shaken, hit or chimed from left to right and have lovely quite tones. 

 
At first we started with the rainbow cans like a big xylophone and we have slowly built on to it from there. I am sure we will continue to improve it over time and add more as we collect some suitable musical items to screw on. Down lower there are now 3 large metal mixing bowls and some old metal camping bowls that are screwed on loosely so they're able to spin around (see below). They are like super large symbols or can be used like drums. 


Dimples sits in the sand and uses them like steering wheels in his imaginative play and miss Cherub bangs them with a wooden spoon and giggles because they have the best effect, sounding like large symbols and very loud compared to the cans. I have attached a string to the wooden spoons so they get hung up and are always near by.

 
 
Cans and tins, milo can lids and strung up bottle tops, hanging keys and metal bowls all make different sounds. Both the kids and their friends have enjoyed making music, singing and dancing around in the sand with huge smiles on their faces. They love experimenting with sounds and instruments, they love using the wall as different instruments from a xylophone, a chime & a drum set. It's been a great creative outlet for their play space.


If you haven't already you can check out some of our outdoor play spaces here
 
 
Happy Adventures 

You can keep updated with all our Adventures by following Adventures at Home with Mum on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest, or check us out on Instagram.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Demolition Ball Construction Party Game


While getting some Construction themed Party inspiration off Pinterest for Dimples 5th Birthday Party I came across many Demolition party games, or "wrecking ball" type games where the children construct a tower out of blocks, pretend bricks or wrapped boxes and knock them down. With 8 little boys I knew this would be a hit!

 
 In the weeks prior to the party I held on to any boxes we had and asked family to keep them, then Dimples helped me wrap them up as bricks. We had a large collection from shoe boxes, electrical appliance boxes and cereal-food packaging boxes all wrap in red, orange and yellow ready for the Construction theme 5th Birthday Party for Dimples. 



In the week leading up to it Dimples had his trial of the game and we were happy with how that turned out and just knew that it would be much more fun on the day. The demolition or wrecking ball, was simply a beach ball covered in contact with a pipe cleaner stuck in as a hook to tie some string to.
We were right! Every one had a ball, there were kids laughing and giggling, yelling with excitement at who can knock the all the blocks over.


It was a huge hit, all the boys got a turn, some enjoyed it so much they stayed at it helping one another stack up towers and taking turns with the wrecking ball. There were towers and multiple towers being built and large piles of boxes flying all over the place. It was a good outlet for the sugar boosted energy they all had and for the party excitement they came with on the day and it was an ongoing play area that they all kept returning to.  If you missed it you can see what other construction party games we had here.



Happy Adventures 
You can keep updated with all our Adventures by following Adventures at Home with Mum on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest, or check us out on Instagram.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Closer to Nature Soothers Give Away closed


The new range of soothers from closer to Nature® are so cute.  Don't you think?
They're more like a fashion trend for Baby, so many cute options and there is one to suit every occasion. 
 
closer to nature® have developed a new range of soothers, designed to  ease the in-store shopping experience for parents and optimize baby acceptance, meaning less time and effort spent in the shops picking and choosing different soothers for baby to try! The new soothers come in 4 new styles - Fun, Anytime, Night Time and Air.    The new large, long, flat teat is easy to hold in baby’s mouth (just like a bottle teat), and in tests, the new soother design was accepted first time by more babies*

The closer to nature® soothers are suitable to use from birth and are designed with an orthodontic silicone teat to support healthy oral development.
 

closer to nature®  have been watching mums shopping for soothers and listening quietly to what they have to say for some time, with two main findings...
1.   Mums struggle to find what they are looking for when buying soothers, with 1 in 3 mums buying on impulse in store 
2.   Baby acceptance of soothers is down to trial and error, often with several purchases before

Closer to nature® Global Marketing Manager, Katy Pigg comments, “We have been listening to the issues mums have when buying soothers and have addressed them with our new soother range.  The new packaging makes it much easier for mum to find what she needs when she is in-store, and the new baby approved long, flat teat means baby is happier too!”

(*68% of babies accepted this new style soother first time, compared to just 43% for the old style closer to nature design – in an independent product trial conducted in the UK by Swift research, February 2013)
 
 
The closer to nature® new soother range   is available at stockists nationwide from April 2014.  There are 4 ranges – Air, Anytime, Night time and Fun to choose from.  For more information on the entire ranges, please visit: closertonaturebaby.com I facebook.com/closertonaturebaby I @closertonature1



 
How can you get your hands on the closer to nature® new soother range?
 
Turn your roaring tiger into a purring kitten with the closer to nature® new soother range.  Be the first to trial the new baby approved soothers – Register your interest for samples HERE There are 4 new styles – Air, Anytime, Night time and Fun to choose from.  The soothers are suitable to use from birth and are designed with an orthodontic silicone teat to support healthy oral development $11rrp for a twin pack.  For stockist or for more information, please visit: closertonaturebaby.com I facebook.com/closertonaturebaby I @closertonature1. 
 

 Now Closed

For your chance to win all 4 styles, tell us in 25 words or less which is your favourite style in the range and why (ie. Fun Style, Anytime, Night Time or Air Style)?

 

 
 remember to register your interest for a free Sample HERE.



(Disclosure: I was not paid for this post, however I did receive a closer to nature product for the purpose of writing this article. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.)
 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Construction Theme Party Games

Piñata: A construction Themed Piñata stuffed with lollies, Dimples was five so he went first with 5 hits and each child got 5 swings at the piñata.


Dance Freeze: This was the game that Dimples insisted we played, I put some music on and the boys danced away showing us there best dance moves. It was such a happy sight seeing a bunch of kids enjoying them self, they looked so cute wearing construction vests, hats and boots grooving away.
Then Using a Stop Sign, I paused the music & held up the sign, they had to freeze and who ever moved was out, and so the game went until there were 2 left.  They had a few goes and everyone ended up being a winner.



Wrecking Ball Game:  With a beach ball wrapped in contact and hanging above a grassy mat the boys stacked up towers of boxes we had wrapped as bricks and took turns demolishing them.



Pass the Parcel: Most people know this classic Party game. A parcel of news paper with hidden prizes inside each layer. The children pass the parcel until the music stops and if it stops on them they get to open a layer. The prizes were construction themed stickers, balloons, bouncing balls, removable tattoos, notebooks, chocolates and crayons.



Construction Theme Play Station:  In the week leading up to the party Dimples create a diorama kind of backdrop for the play station, it was a construction site with a bowl of construction toy cars, diggers and trucks, then using a bag of coco-pops and rice bubbles it was set up for some pretend play and digging.



Free Play: Of course until all the initial excitement wore off a little the boys explored the garden and found some smurfs, then looked at the Dinosaur hide out , they played in the sand pit together getting to know each other & tinkered around in the Mud Kitchen.  They played together in the tree house and went over the balance stumps and ran around all dressed up in their construction gear.



Jelly Bean Bounce & Pop Game: We blew up a heap of balloons and in some we put jelly beans, then we put them all in the trampoline. The boys enjoyed this game the most, they had to jump and pop the balloons by sitting on them or jumping on them. There were plenty of giggles and they continued until there were no balloons left in the trampoline, a couple of boys asked for more and wanted to do it again.


Digging Work Zone: Of course no Construction Party is complete without digging in the dirt. After a couple of weeks of rain we were lucky to get a sunny day and the have the mud dry out a bit. Dimples had spent the days before digging and burying little skeleton dinosaurs, little treasures and wishing stones for the kids to find. We decorated the area like a real construction site and had a bunch of diggers, dump trucks, excavators and shovels ready. It was a huge hit and the boys kept returning to find more hidden treasures.


Happy 5th Birthday Dimples.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Natural ingredients with Coloured Water in the Mud Kitchen



Our Mud Kitchen is honestly the best and most used kids play thing in our house, no toy compares. If you're considering making a mud kitchen for your children or a preschool, don't feel as if it will be limited to Mud only and messy play, there are so many ways to play in an "Outdoor Kitchen".
Sometimes Dimples asks to go play in the Mud Kitchen but I don't feel like cleaning up muddy clothes so instead of allowing him to get really messy I give him some containers filled with coloured water (tap water and a drop of food colouring) & we go on a hunt for natural cooking ingredients.


This is just as fun as making mud pies but without the mess. Miss Cherub enjoys tinkering in the coloured water just as much as Dimples enjoys making rose tea and Sweet gum nut soup.
In the past we have done some pretty messy Mud play in this Outdoor Kitchen; A Mud Rally Box full of cars and diggers,   Process Painting with Mud & Making a Mud Brick House. If you missed it I have also done a Post on Eight Benefits of Playing in the Mud, however the coloured water was a nice change.


Before making some colourful concoctions, Dimples and I fill up his orange buckets from the Renovated Mud Kitchen with Natural ingredients. Gumnuts, flowers, seeds, twigs, flower buds, and little bits and pieces found in the yard in preparation for his cooking session. Then he creates some beautiful concoctions, mixing together the colours and 'cooking' them, or boiling the water first then adding natural ingredients to stir through.


This type of play is so fresh and calming, Dimples and Miss Cherub could do this for hours. Actually, come to think of it they play happily together for a long time which doesn't occur to this extent in any other play space.  There is something very tranquil about enjoying the sunlight coming through the trees on to the outdoor mud kitchen while the two kiddies play silently together with beautiful flowers and colourful water. They  look so at peace in the world; nothing else matters. 


Dimples & Miss Cherub explore the outdoor environment, search for natural ingredients, experiment with mixing colours, use great imaginations to create and cook up a serve, they role play as they cook and serve me fabulous looking dishes, they are also getting the social advantages of turn taking, sharing, cooperating and playing together. They are also getting hands on experience as they stir, pour, sift, transfer, mix, lift, empty and measure out the water and ingredients.

 

Learning concepts:
Benefits of being outdoors
Exploring Nature
Mixing Colours
Gross Motor - They're always moving as they lift, pour, mix, transfer, measure, stir etc.
Role Playing real life
Imaginative Play
Social Skills - cooperation, sharing, turn taking, collaborating, working together & helping one another.



Happy Adventures 

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