Space is often a theme that is quite fascinating to children. Stars, planets, the moon, it’s all so interesting and really seems to inspire a great curiosity. It can also be a great theme to inspire the most reluctant learners.
Space themed skip counting puzzles
Skip counting is a great strategies for teaching children about multiplication.
Possum actually loves skip counting (and doing puzzles) and so it inspired me to create these oh-so-adorable Space themed puzzles for our children to play with. What do you think?
ANZAC Day is always a day of great respect and reflection for those from Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately there seems to be quite a lack of quality resources available to parents and teachers, so I decided to put together an ANZAC Day activities and craft pack.
This ANZAC Day Activity, poster and craft pack has everything you need to engage and educate your child at home or grade 1 – 4 students about ANZAC Day. It’s available for purchase on my TpT store and is great value.
Full of fun activities, thought provoking worksheets, posters and simple crafts, your children will develop a sense of understanding and compassion for those who fought at Gallipoli in 1915.
Using this resource will see your children –
learn key words, verses and phrases that relate to the ANZACs
have a better understanding the hardship of those who were involved
develop a sense of compassion for those involved and who have fallen
recognise that both men and women were involved
make comparisons between life now and then
think deeply about the impact a soldiers involvement had on families
Of course I love to give lots of value, so inside this pack you can expect –
3 x word finds
3 x hands on ANZAC activities
3 x letter writing pages
3 x acrostic poem worksheets
2 x ANZAC posters to display
1 x matching the facts worksheet
1 x design activity page
1 x alphabet literacy ordering page worksheet
1 x comprehension and understanding worksheet
2 x cut and paste sentences
3 x colouring in pages
1 x word scramble
1 x compare and contrast worksheet
1 x interview a veteran worksheet
1 x using your senses worksheet
So if you’re from Australia or New Zealand and looking for good quality ANZAC Day resources, be sure to check out this pack.
I’ve spotted this idea floating around Pinterest and pinned it many times as something to try with Boo (aged 4 years). Finally got to it and this cutting paper hair on cardboard dolls activity didn’t disappoint.
When I was young I used to love playing hair salons with my neighbours. This reminded me of that.
This activity is brilliant because the dolls are fun to make, look adorable and they have hair that’s just asking to be cut.
Recommended age: 3 years + (Strict and active supervision required at all times)
Cutting paper hair on cardboard dolls
To create these adorable little friends, you’ll need :
Goggly eyes and glue (optional)
Simply begin by cutting strips almost through each piece of paper. It will create a fringe because it isn’t cut all the way through.
Double back some sticky tape and use it to hold the coloured paper to the cardboard roll.
Soon you’ll have a collection of gorgeous cardboard rolls that look to have hair. Now for the faces. You and your child can be as create as you like!
We added bouncy goggly eyes to add to each of the characters and drew a simple nose and mouth.
Let the air cutting begin!
Teaching your child to use scissors
You’ve no doubt seen the wide variety of fine motor and scissor activities shared on Laughing Kids Learn.
It’s important children strengthen their fine motor skills prior to even attempting to cut with scissors. They’ll have a lot more control and ability.
My basic approach to teaching my girls to use scissors, when they finally are ready, is slow and steady.
What I love about this scissor cutting activity is that the paper is relatively easy to cut and it has a purpose (of cutting the characters air) behind it.
It’s also wonderful as an extra fine motor exercise for children.
With the weather starting to change, we decided to have a go at some wet paper towel art. Oh my gosh, it was so much fun and addictive.
Both my girls, Possum (aged 7 years) and Boo (aged 4 years) could draw and colour in for days. If ever I want to engage them in something quickly, I just have to get out the pencils and textas and they are away.
To extend their love of drawing, I had them create some gorgeous paper towel art.
Paper towel art is wonderful because it transforms a child’s original drawing in ways they could not replicate themselves.
Recommended age : 4 years + (Strict and active supervision is required at all times)
To create paper towel art, you’ll need : – Paper towel – Textas – Water – Q-Tip
Simply have your child draw a picture on the paper towel.
Just add water
Next you’ll instruct your child to use the q-tip, dip it into the water and add drops to their picture. The picture will quickly start to change as the water touches the ink from the texta.
Expect the unexpected
You might like to prepare your child for what to expect of the transformation as their picture if going to change quite considerably. You don’t want them upset because their picture feels it’s being ‘ruined’ by the water.
Explain that very soon their drawing is going to change and look completely different to what it did originally.
You might like to show them an example using your own art picture.
Soon you’ll find your child becomes quite fascinated with adding water to their various drawings and watching the water drag out the ink from the texts.
The paper towel is an important part of why this happens.
Suddenly a child’s gorgeous picture takes on a whole new look!
It really is quite stunning how they turn out and it’s never really quite what you expect. All I know is, that you can’t stop at one picture.
They also dry beautifully too.
Is this something your child would have fun doing?
If you’ve been following me recently, you’d know that my daughter Possum was involved in an awful accident that caused her femur to break. Yes, the strongest bone in the body – broken. It has been just awful and our little family have been thrown into an experience like nothing we could ever have expected or imagined.
With Possum’s 7th birthday, Christmas and Summer holiday break approaching, it was clear she was going to be spending it in a wheelchair. It was completely overwhelming to think how we were going to manage, but we did and I’m amazed and proud to share what we did.
Fun activities for children in a wheelchair
Children are so resilient and they can be happy enough to face reality and just go with it. That was our experience with Possum. She was able to make the most of her reduced mobility.
Here are some of the fun ways Possum was able to still be entertained and happy while in a wheelchair.
Sausage rolls are always a crowd favourite, especially when it comes to feeding kids. Today I’m sharing a secret recipe with you. I’ll teach you how to make quick and easy sausage rolls with your kids!
I have probably made this sausage roll recipe with my kids over two dozen times, they could probably make it themselves if I really let them. It’s great because it allows them to get involved, includes only a few key ingredients, requires basic skills and the sausage rolls turn out delicious! They are also egg free, which suits Possum who is anaphylactic to eggs.
Recommended age: 3 years +
(Strict and constant supervision is required at all times)
When making these sausage rolls, begin by preparing the ingredients.
Begin with the carrots.
Grating carrots with kids
Getting your child to grate a carrot can be hair-raising, however, if you feel confident enough that your child can do it safely and successfully with lots of step by step support from you, then give it a go.
Once I talked to Boo (aged 4 years) about how to use the grater, where to hold it and which side to use, then we talked about the carrot and the angle it was to be held on and the motion to drag the carrot. If you’re wanting more suggestions on teaching your child how to use a grater, check out this post from Nicole at Planning with Kids.
Add meat, carrot and onions to the bowl
Mixing ingredients in a bowl is one of those tasks that children just love to partake in. They really get a sense of being involved when they have to move the ingredients around and mix them together.
It’s also a great gross motor activity for them to do as it requires lots of upper body strength to do it.
You might like to take over cutting the onions yourself, but talk about why onions make you cry. They might find that interesting.
Painting on the milk wash
Just like painting, have your child brush the milk wash over the pasty. It’s simple and fun for them.
With so many requests for it, I’ve decided to release the new 2019 #12monthsofplay challenge early! Can you believe it, the #12monthsofplay challenge for 2019 is here! Releasing it early will give you a chance to gather your friends who are around children and play along! Don’t forget to request to join my closed Facebook group, ‘Activities for Kids’ as it’s always more fun to play in a group.
Sometimes you want to be involved in a photography challenge, but don’t want the pressure. If that’s you, then this simple play inspired challenge is for you!
What is the #12monthsofplay challenge?
It’s so simple, every month we will use a theme that will inspire our child’s play. You can then choose to share a picture (or many) with the community in my closed Facebook group (which you can join here) or over on Instagram. How you interpret the monthly theme and connect it with play is completely up to you!
Suitable for all ages!
Surprising, but true! This challenge is suitable for all children of all ages.
Here is an example of just some of the pictures that were shared to our community in July of 2018. The theme for that month was ‘cooking’ and so many got into the kitchen (or out in the garden) and make all sorts of wonderful things.
This might just combine three things you and your child love, chocolate, strawberries and Halloween. These Halloween chocolate strawberry ghosts are simple to make and taste spook-tastically delicious. Perfect for your Halloween play date or party.
Halloween isn’t very popular in Australia, but I can’t help but get excited around October when I find myself thinking up fun Halloween activities or recipes. My kids love this time of the year too.
They especially loved to make and eat these Halloween chocolate strawberry ghosts. They are oh so simple.
Recommended ages: 2.5 years +
(Strict and active supervision required at all times)
To make these Halloween chocolate strawberry ghosts you need –
Fresh and washed strawberries (hull kept on)
White chocolate buds
Carefully melt the white chocolate buds over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring at short intervals.
Before the chocolate hardens, drip your strawberry end in the white chocolate and add the candy eyes.
Place your dipped strawberry on a baking tray with baking paper to dry.
You might like to refrigerate the chocolates to ensure they are set hard.
Then you can just enjoy your Halloween chocolate strawberry ghosts as a delicious sweet treat.
My girls absolutely loved them. The sweetness of the strawberry and the crunch of the cracking chocolate really made this special.
Of course you can make different alternatives to this.
You can add one eye to each strawberry, change the chocolate to milk or dark chocolate, use a candy edible pen to create different designs.
Kate from Picklebums recently put together an awesome collection of great Halloween recipes kids can make. Be sure to check it out here. There are a few I’ve go my eye on to try too.
Do you have any yummy Halloween treats you like to make at this time of year?
It’s surprisingly very simple to learn how to build a catapult using craft sticks and a few other bits and pieces. Once you’ve made one you’ll find your child testing it out and discovering all sorts of answers to their questions.
Making a catapult has certainly been on my ‘to do list’ for a very long time. I’ve had all the pieces that I need in my back cupboard, but working out how to put it together I thought would be a greater challenge that it turned out to be. Turns out they are super simple to make and a great STEM activity to try.
Recommended age: 4 years +
(Strict and active supervision is required on all my activities at all times)
How to build a catapult using craft sticks
To help your child make their very own catapult using craft sticks, you’ll need –
7 x large size craft sticks
About 4 elastic bands
Pompom or cotton balls
If it’s unfamiliar to you, S.T.E.M stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
There has been a great push to include more of this in a child’s daily play and educational curriculum as it’s recognised as important in cognitive thinking and problem solving. They can also be integrated together in the one activity, such as building and using a catapult using crafts sticks. These S.T.E.M activities don’t have to be taught as separate subjects.
Fine motor skills
Building and playing with a catapult like this one is great for other reasons too. Including the elastic bands in play creates resistance for little fingers and helps build fine motor skills. It’s like taking your child’s fingers to the gym for a workout. Heheh
Building your catapult
Divide your craft sticks into two groups, one with two sticks and the other with five sticks.
Add an elastic band to each end of the group of five and one elastic band to the end of the group of two, as shown.
Split apart the two craft sticks that have been joined by an elastic band at one end.
Place the thicker group of craft sticks between those two to hold it open.
This will create the leverage needed for your catapult.
Rest a spoon along the length of your top craft stick, holding it into place with the elastic band already in place.
Secure the end of the spoon onto the craft stick using another elastic band.
This will stop it from falling off the craft stick when in action.
Of course there are many ways that you can keep all the craft sticks in place.
Some children prefer to use an elastic band in the middle, in a cross, that can keep the two groups of sticks from sliding.
Ready to launch!
Once you’ve followed those steps you’re ready to launch!
Your child can use pompoms or cotton balls to launch off their catapult.
How to use your craft stick catapult
It might seem obvious, but for my 3.5 year old, it took a little coordinating in order to affectively launch something off the catapult. It’s a good idea to have your child use two hands.
Make sure your child is supporting the catapult structure with once hand first, before attempting to press down on the spoon to propel anything off it.
Testing out our predictions
We had a lot of fun testing out our predictions and verbalising what we found. This wasn’t just great for developing a wider vocabulary, but it built the excitement and encouraged more ‘out of the box’ thinking.
Some questions we were testing out –
How far do you think the pompom will fly?
Do you think the pompom will go further than the cotton ball?
Will we get the same result if we do the experiment again?
What will happen if we use smaller pompoms?
Will they travel further or not as far?
What other questions can you think of to ask your child using the play stage?
We had an absolute ball not just making this catapult but also testing out results from when we were using it.
I highly recommend giving this wonderful STEM activity a go. It was worth the time it took to make and it really wasn’t hard to put together.
Is this something your child would love to make and play with?
Strawberries are a fruit that most children love and these strawberry leather snaps using 2 ingredients will be requested for again and again. They are easy to make and deeeeelicious.
Strawberries have been in the news quite a bit lately in Australia and I was inspired to try a few alternatives to serving the delicious fruit. On my list of things to try was strawberry leather. Despite my oven playing tricks, I created some strawberry leather snaps using 2 ingredients. That’s it!
Recommended age: 3 years +
(Strict and active supervision is required at all times)
Strawberries not only taste delicious, but here are some interesting a fun facts about them
Each strawberry has around 200 seeds
They are the only fruit to have it’s seeds on the outside
Despite their name, strawberries are not actually a berry!
In ancient times they were thought to treat depression and fevers
Strawberries are pretty interesting.
A recipe to make with your child
This is a great recipe to make with your child. Give it a go today.
To make these delicious strawberry leather snaps using 2 ingredients, you need –
2 x punnets of strawberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
Simply combine and blitz up the two ingredients so they are well combined and smooth. You can strain the seeds through a fine strainer, but I didn’t bother to do that.
Spread the smooth strawberry liquid thinly over a lined baking tray.
Everyones oven behaves differently, but add your tray to a fan forced oven and leave for 2 – 3 hours.
Keep your eye on it and remove when it doesn’t look sticky.
Once cool, snap or use some scissors to cut into pieces. Delicious!
This really is a great strawberry recipe that the whole family will love. It’s simple to make, just a little time consuming when you take into account the cooking time. Still, it’s a great alternative to serving strawberries naturally and can be great when added to your child’s lunchbox.
Would your child love to eat strawberry leather snaps?