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 

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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 
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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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Monday, 17 March 2014

Egg Sounds : A Listening & Critical thinking Game


Listening doesn't come naturally to Dimples. It really is something we need to work on. 
I guess there is so much going on and so many things to do that stopping to listen to boring ol' mum just isn't a priority of his and with a stubborn streak, parenting this strong willed little man can sometimes feel like a challenge. 

By being proactive in the way we speak to Dimples, getting on his level, touching his arm to get his attention and eye contact first and by praising the times he does listen we are aiming to improve this. Another way we have been trying to address it is through listening games.  Childhood 101 has 5 listening games that we have been playing lately and this new one I came up with, Eggy Sounds. 



All you need is a plastic egg, we used an old pavlova shell and some small objects made from different materials, different shapes and sizes and weights. Depending on your childs skill level you can add more or less varying the complexity of the objects used.  

First I laid them all out on a tray so Dimples could see what was there. I then put the tray up high and asked him what sounds he thought they would make. Starting with the obvious, what sound would the bells make?
This part of the game gives a heads up as to what sounds they should be listening for and acts as a memory match, meaning they have to recall what objects were on the tray that could match the sound and rule out the objects they've already guessed correctly.  



I placed an object or group of objects into the egg and asked Dimples what sound is it? He shook it and moved it about listening carefully, some things such as the bell and the pebbles he guessed straight away, then others were a little bit trickier. This is where the critical thinking came into play, I asked him questions to encourage him to think outside the egg!

What type of material does it sound like? does it sound as if there are one or more things inside? is it heavy? 
Then if he couldnt guess it I asked him to listen carefully, shake it slow, then fast, then rotate it, after he did that he was allowed to ask me questions. Is it one thing? Is it plastic? I would then ask him to think about what else was on the tray that might make the same sound as ____ or what else was the same material. 
This encourages problem solving by elimination and critical thinking as well as drawing on scientific concepts to solve the problem, all the while listening carefully. 

Learning concepts:
Listening skills
Memory - visual recall
Critical thinking & problem solving
Questioning & elimination
Scientific concepts - materials, gravity, how things move, weight and sound
Vocabulary 
Linking auditory and visuals to enhance focus 

Happy Adventures 

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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Grassy Farm Barn - Enhancing imagination and learning


Are your children fascinated with Animals? Mine are.
Its a great idea to follow a child's lead and provide them with enriching play areas based on their interests. If they're interested in something they pay more attention, enjoy themselves more and this means that they learn more.
Both Dimples & Miss Cherub love animals so I set up this little Pretend play barn yard.
If you missed it, I have this post that goes through WHY Pretend Play is so important in early childhood and the benefits of it.


I still strongly advocate the benefits of pretend play  so following the interests of both Dimples and Miss Cherub I set up this Farm barn play area on a low lying coffee table that they both could access freely and explore easily. I aimed to use materials that resembles a real life farm yard in order to capture their imagination and attention for longer more enjoyable pretend play. I think it worked! They love it.
I added some artificial grass covering the play table to give it a realistic look and feel. This enhances the imaginary play experience and makes the play area more inviting. I then added a pebble patterned mat (it was a small shower mat), a blue foam cut out in the shape of a pond and a fake silk plant to really give the Grassy Farm area a realistic feel.


The farm area is complete with a little plastic barn and of course a variety of plastic farm animals. Both Dimples and Miss Cherub have enjoyed the area and engaged in pretend play together and alone at different levels of play. Dimples, nearly 5 has a vivid imagination and pretends it a real working farm, the dog does the herding, the sheep need to be sheared and the cows eat grass, the rooster crows at the crack of dawn, the tractor maintains the pastor, the pig rolls on the edge of the pond and so on. He labels the animals and is learning the different names based on the animals gender eg. a sow, a boar & a piglet.  In the book shelf next to it I have some farm yard board books for him to expand on.


Where as Miss Cherub (nearly 1) explores the texture of the grass with her finger tips (and sometimes her mouth) and the feel of the foam pond, she is following Dimples through imitation and makes Moo sounds, "roff roff" barking sounds and she gets the horses to trott up and down clicking her tongue and jiggling around as if she is riding a horse. Its so cute to watch her learning through observing the way big brother plays. This also gives me an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary to her by labeling the animals for her.


Learning Concepts:
Pretend Play & Developing imaginary play scenes
Early vocabulary
Turn taking and sharing,
Learning animal names, sounds, diet and place in the farm.
Exploring real life concepts

Other ways to create a play space to enhance imaginative play
A fun Science Lab conducting real experiments
Magical Gnome Garden
Banking & Sorting: using real money & a trip to the bank
Sensory Play: Ice cream dough

Have you used any materials in a play area to immitate real life?


Happy Adventures 

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I love reading your comments 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Mud Kitchen Outdoor Play Renovation




Summer time in Australia means outside play for us, we are lucky to have a large double yard with some big shady trees to play under. 
Over a year ago we made this Magnificent Mud Kitchen which has been well and truly used, enjoyed and utilized in many ways which adds to the outdoor adventures but it was time to update and add some more elements. There are some new storage pots, a few jugs, his own toaster (our old one with cord cut off) and a spice rack with jars among other things. 

Here it is.....

 

I love to encourage Dimples to play outside, although he is such a movie/TV lover, i think if I put the TV or a movie on he would sit in front of the screen all day!  So most days the television stays OFF all day, and to avoid the question of  "can i watch a cartoon?" and encourage some active, imaginative and outdoor play we have been renovating (so to speak) Dimples outdoor Play space; We have been working on a music wall, a large sandpit, A PVC Pipe Water Wall   and   a Dino themed play garden in a tyre. 
its a work in progress and it is coming along nicely. 


We have updated and renewed the Mud Kitchen in many ways....
First I laid down some rubber mats under the mud kitchen, then i dug a dry creek bed that goes under a sweet little bridge (just to add the element of imagination into the play setting) I bordered the entire area off and laid down some plastic, then got a heap of bark chip in so now Dimples Outdoor Balance Stumps are embedded in the bark chip. He still has his Pirate tree house there, hop-scotch and many climbing apparatuses.

 

I added some pots and utensils to the Mud Station and screwed in these cute Orange metal buckets across the front so that Dimples could store his cooking ingredients in them. They make the area more practical and more appealing as everything Dimples needs is within arms length.
He can now tie in some Nature Play by collecting his own seeds, rosemary from the garden, seashells when we are out, gum nuts, dandelions, pebbles and flowers to store in the orange pots and use in his cooking creations.



A favorite meal is still Wombat Stew.
He often cooks meals, chatting away to himself, narrating his own pretend play  "just a table spoon of this, a sprinkle of that, mix it, cook it for 15 minutes, add a handful of this" I love his role playing and listening to his vocabulary develop.
He enjoys pretending to be a Master Chef at the "Dog Club Cafe" and serves up dishes full of things from the garden, add some mud, water and sand to season then he gives it to our 3 dogs.
Get this.... they actually sit and eat it (or sit there and lick the water out but Dimples is convinced he cooks gourmet style).



Another coat on the chalk board renewed its life. Its been a great addition to the mud kitchen, it aids in early literacy by providing a writing surface to practice/pretend writing a menu. I usually write a menu up to read to Dimples of he will ask me to write certain things, like Wombat Stew and watch me.
The soft outdoor rubber Mats underneath mean we don't have grass popping up everywhere any more and if Dimples drops some ingredients they can be scooped right up and reused. They also give it an indoor feel, like its a real kitchen.
I think out of all our outdoor play and DIY projects this has been consistently the most used and enjoyed.




Do you have an Outdoor Kitchen?


What is the most loved ingredient to create with?



Happy Adventures 

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I love reading your comments 
 

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