The simple things

Yesterday was an absolute cracker of a day. We woke up to fog, and it was freezing, but once the day warmed up it was glorious.

The kids and I headed out for babycinos and a wander along our Main Street, walking past one of the big box stores which lured me in with its bare rooted trees in the front window. Two kids in tow I went in to look at the trees and realised that it was day 1 of their giant toy sale. I had a 3 and 4 year old with me. Big mistake.

So we wandered around aimlessly while the kids ‘I want’-ed at everything, past people with multiple trolleys full of toys, cranky kids, and long long lines at the lay-by counter, and then much to my children’s disgust, we walked out without buying a thing.

Without all the shiny coloured plastic in front of their faces, the moment we were home all the new toys they desperately wanted were forgotten, and they amused themselves in the backyard with some PVC pipe and an old tennis ball for over an hour.

The lesson was mostly lost on them, but I’m glad I paid attention.

The shiny, glitzy, magic stuff is all well and good, but it comes at a cost, and quickly becomes old. Happiness is made in the simple everyday things. Those shiny expensive dopamine hits sure are fun for a while there, but they don’t last.

And so, after a week of making myself miserable, looking at Facebook memories of our trip to New Zealand at this time last year, and Disneyworld the year before, I had to adjust my lens a little. Yes, those shiny exciting holidays were amazing, but it’s not realistic to lead that kind of life every day of the year. It may not be the ‘making your dreams come true’ kind of magic, but there’s little patches of magic in even the most ordinary of weeks.

Everyday magic moments this week:

1. I went to Bookclub on Sunday, feeling guilty because I had not made any attempt to read this months book. As everyone slowly rolled in we quickly discovered that in fact, none of us had read the book this month! So we ate cake, drank coffee and talked about what we had been reading instead. It was one of my favourite bookclub catch up’s to date.

2. After talking about dyeing yarn last week, I had another attempt over the weekend and managed to create one I love. Now I need to find a project I love just as much to work it in to!

3. I found our first little broccoli emerging in the veggie garden, and then after pretty much giving up on my cauliflowers, I spotted my first purple cauliflower popping out.

4. Penny left the Cinderella shoes on just long enough for us to get a photo.

5. The master baker of the house (read: not me) baked tiny loaves of bread, so we could have tiny pieces of toast, that made my avocado look giant and my breakfast taste delicious.

6. and miraculously, I got a mid week post in this week! If you missed it, check out my crocheted scarf pattern post here.

So whilst it wasn’t ‘Milford Sound’ or ‘taking the kids to Disneyworld for the first time’ levels of magic, there were sparks of magic in the everyday. I just needed a 3 and 4 year old to point it out for me.

Wishing you all magic everyday moments this weekend.

Abby x

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Alexander’s Outing: A book activity

 

alexanders outing play1

I’ve got a little bookworm on my hands. Which suits me just fine!

She loves Where is the Green Sheep? (see here) and brings it to me constantly during the day to read to her. With a huge selection of Children’s books in this house, I decided it was time we explored some new titles.

So we started with Alexander’s Outing by Pamela Allen

alexanders outing cover

Alexander’s Outing is the story of a duckling called Alexander who did not pay attention when walking with his mother and the other ducklings. When crossing the road, Alexander falls down a hole in the road, and the story then follows how people try to help get Alexander out. Eventually they discover that by filling the hole with water, Alexander can float to the top and out of the hole again.

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Miss E enjoyed this story, particularly because we have quite a collection of rubber ducks and she knows what a ‘ducky’ is, and that it says ‘quack quack’.

Using our collection of rubber ducks, I came up with a little water play activity to play with after reading the book.

alexanders outing setup

I gathered my supplies:

  • Baby bath with a little water in the bottom (you could use a large container, kitchen sink, bath)
  • Rubber ducks
  • Plastic cup
  • Container to fill (I used a medium sized mixing bowl)
  • Towel for catching all the spills

and stripped Miss E down to a nappy and T-shirt, because she was always going to end up soaking wet.

IMG_8230We put a duck in the bowl and slowly filled the bowl with water, making the duck rise to the top.

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We repeated this a few times with different ducks, and different levels of success at tipping the water into the bowl and not onto ourselves (Miss E, not me!).

Then we had some free play, which was mostly just a lot of splashing and tipping water everywhere, but a lot of fun on a hot day!

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I’ll repeat this activity when Miss E’s a little older, with rubber ducks, balls, leaves, rocks, toy cars etc, so that we can explore the idea of what sinks and what floats.

and now we go back to the book collection to find some more activities we can link to books!

Abby xx

 

Mess free painting with baby

Miss E painted her first masterpiece!

baby painting finalWithout a big mess to clean up! Hurrah!

Here’s how we did it:

Materials

Washable kidsafe paint (I used Crayola)

Cardstock for painting on (I used paper and it fell apart once soggy)

A large resealable plastic bag (e.g. glad bag)

Sticky tape to tape to the floor (optional)

 

Before I let Miss E at the paint, I dolloped a few different colours on the page, and then carefully slid it inside the bag and sealed it up.

baby painting 1

baby painting 2Once all the paint was safely sealed inside, I put the page on the ground so Miss E could ‘smoosh’ all the paint around.

baby painting 3

baby painting 4

baby painting 5She had a lot of fun with this, but it was a challenge to keep it out of her mouth. Next time I’ll be taping it to the floor.

baby painting 6When all the paint has been sufficiently ‘smooshed’, carefully remove the page from inside the bag.

baby painting 7Between Miss E’s scrunching and the sogginess of the paper, I found it very difficult to take the painting out without tearing the paper. Next time we’ll use some heavier card stock.

Leave the masterpiece out to dry, and label once dried.

baby painting finalThen proudly display it on your fridge!

baby painting fridgeLots of fun and no mess!

Abby xx

 

7 Baby Play Ideas Using Everyday Objects

baby play collage

Sometimes the best toys are the everyday items that already live in your home. With a little imagination, the simplest of items can provide hours of entertainment.

Here are some of my favourite play ideas, best suited for 6 months and up.

1. Mirror Play

Sing ‘Heads & Shoulders, Knees & Toes’ with accompanying actions, first on you, and then on your baby.

Play peek-a-boo, popping your face in and out of the mirror frame.

Allow baby to explore their own reflection.

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2. Mixing Bowl Drums

This one’s fairly self explanatory. Pull out all the pots and pans for a full drum kit, and/or give baby a mixture of drum sticks to use, i.e. wooden spoon, metal spoon, plastic spatula.

It gets pretty noisy, so I wouldn’t be trying this one out when you need a quiet moment.

We now have a mixing bowl permanently in the toy box. Miss E has discovered she can put things in it and tip them out, and that if she drags it around on the ground or kicks it, it makes cool noises too.

mixing bowl drum

3. Balloon

This one’s an absolute hit! Until it pops, then it might be scary. Unless you’re Miss E, who’s not fussed by a popping balloon at all!

Balloons are great for tapping back and forth. They move slowly, allowing baby more time to get their hands in place to catch it, and if they miss and it plonks them in the face, no tears!

Also, lots of fun for Mum and Dad making hair staticky 🙂

Just be prepared to get in there quick and grab the popped balloon before it’s shoved in the mouth. We learned that lesson with our dog…

balloon

4. Ice

Playing with ice is an interesting sensory experience for baby.

We tried this out in the middle of winter, so I covered Miss E’s lap with a burp cloth to keep her dry and then let her go for it.

Add some food colouring to your water before you freeze it for added interest.

ice

5. Gel Bag

Grab a sealable sandwich bag, tip in some cheap hair gel and a few interesting objects (I used foam shapes and beads). Then seal it up. If you’re paranoid about hair gel going everywhere like I am, double bag it.

To stop it sliding around on your highchair tray you could either tape the sides down, or as I did, put a few drops of water on the tray to make the bag stick. As soon as Miss E starts picking the bag up and trying to put it in her mouth, it’s game over for us.

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6. Muffin Tray

Put a collection of balls, blocks, cars, toy animals or whatever you’ve got at hand in a muffin tray, and let them at it.

Baby will have fun tipping everything out, putting it back in and in Miss E’s case, kicking it repeatedly to make rattling sounds.

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7. Laundry Basket Ball Pit

Again, pretty self explanatory.

I find that Miss E often gets frustrated with her balls because they always roll away out of her reach. By containing all the balls (and the baby) in the laundry basket, all the balls are close at hand and fun to explore.

Be mindful of the sturdiness of your basket. Mine is pretty rigid, but I was concerned that if Miss E leaned back into it, she’d tip the basket, herself and all the balls over onto the floor in a spectacular fashion. So I pushed the end she was sitting at, up against the side of my couch.

Also be wary of any small holes in your basket, that little fingers, arms or legs might get stuck in.

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Who needs real toys?!?!

What other everyday items does your baby like to play with?

Abby xx