introduction to origami (the easy way)

Despite my love for all things creative, some days I am not so inspired. Yesterday was one of those days.  I didn’t feel too well but my little ones were still running at 100% and needed to be entertained!

Amongst other things, my eldest wanted me to make ‘chatterboxes’ with him.

It’s times like this I LOVE pre-prepared kits, like this ‘Introduction to Origami’ kit by our fave French brand Djeco.

The pack includes loads of gorgeous papers (enough to make 24 chatterboxes) and easy instructions (thankfully, because my foggy brain couldn’t even remember where to start).

After all the folding, the last step is to add stickers (more than 150 included in the pack) featuring various funny challenges like ‘touch your nose with your foot’ (um, I couldn’t do it!), ‘imitate the invisible man’ (very tricky), ‘talk to a door’ (we chatted for ages, much to the boys’ delight!) and lots more.

Once the chatterbox is completed, ask your friend (or Mum*) to give you a number.  For example if they say number 4, you open the chatterbox 4 times.  Then ask them to choose one of the triangles in the centre of the chatterbox to see which challenge is under it.  Your friend must then carry out the challenge.

The age recommendation is 5-10 years and my 7 year old just needed a kick start with the visual instructions then managed quite easily.   Definitely a winner as a ready-to-go option that will keep them occupied for hours.  Our little store has loads of great Djeco kits starting at just $9.95.

* You may need to do some stretches to help your toes reach your nose, and come up with some good conversation starters for all the doors at your place.

 

 

 

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colouring in fun

Few things make my heart sing more than colouring in with my kids.  It truly is one of my favourite past times.  Much to my delight, my 2 year old has just started showing lots of interest in colouring, so he and my middle sized have spent the day tucked in out of the rain and adding colour to the quirky illustrations from the fabulous scrufnuts colouring books.

It’s looking like an unusually cold and wet weekend ahead for many of us so I thought I’d share a few of our favourite colouring pages.  If you’d like to download them, simply click on the image and then print from the page.

courtesy of dover publications

Other stuff you might love …

french colouring book – polka dots

french colouring book – cuties

honeysticks beeswax crayons

 

 

 

 

 

family bucket list

Here is a fab way to curb those “I’m bored” complaints from the kids and also to keep your own wishlist fresh in your mind.

Have everyone in your family list their wishes and dreams of places they’d like to go, things they’d like to do.

Pop each card into a jar or box and then randomly select.

You might want two jars – one with big picture dreams like “Visit Disneyland” and one with more readily achievable day to day goals like “Go to the Zoo” or “Eat Yum Cha”.

Another option is to have a jar for each family member and kids can select one of their cards as a reward for good behaviour.

image courtesy of tatertotsandjello.com

rock (and roll)

Whether your little one has their very own collection of special rocks accrued over time or through adventures, they grab a handful from the backyard or buy a pack of shiny river rocks from your local nursery, we have some fab ideas of rock creations and games.

Help kids develop their imagination and storytelling with these ‘story rocks’.  Paint a range of pictures onto your rocks then varnish for protection.  Kids then randomly pick a rock out of the box or bucket and have to tell their part of the story based on the picture they select.  Suits one on one or group play. Courtesy of modernparentsmessykids.com

For these bright sparks you’ll need to grab your brightest paints and a black markers.
The new pet rock – Monsters.  To create these crazy monster rocks there are absolutely no rules!  (courtesy of minimatisse.blogspot.com)

Hide N Seek – paint rocks however you like and hide them in the garden.  Numbers and letters work really well if you are playing with just one child (eg find me numbers 1-10, or find me all the letters in the alphabet) or colours and patterns are great for group play where the goal is to simply find the most number of rocks. Courtesy of http://www.athomewithali.net/

Rock creatures – some tips! Be sure to glue rocks together before painting them, attaching small stone features such as eyes, feet, or beaks to body parts before joining larger parts.  Attach whiskers and tails after painting. Cement glue makes the strongest bond but should be used only by parents working in a well-ventilated area. Kid-friendly glues are less durable and are best for rock crafts that will sit on shelves. Image courtesy of marthastewart.com

Footprints – this is a cute way to show who lives in your home!  Pop them in your garden or at the front door.  Image source unknown

Tic-tac-toe game – use a slate tile with chalk lines as the board.  You’ll need a selection of noughts rocks and crosses rocks.  These can be painted or also written in chalk however this is, of course, more temporary.  Image courtesy of realsimple.com

We included these just because we love them and they are soooo terribly sweet!
Birds – courtesy of http://www.inspirebohemia.com
Sweet little birdy – courtesy of jenniferpaine.tumblr.com
Little owls – courtesy of thecarolinejohansson.com

 

 

are we there yet?

After taking a little road trip solo with my three boys this week, I felt it was high time to share our favourite activities that keep everyone in our car happy (enough) and keep that burning question “are we there yet?” at bay.

Eye Spy With My Little Eye
This one has been a good ole favourite for decades!  When catering for younger kids who can’t yet spell, we adapt the game to spot something of a particular colour and introduce letters in due course.

50 Things To Do On A Journey
We don’t leave home without this little pack of cards full of fun games and activities.  Our favourites are;
– Who Lives There? (this one is great if you are stuck in slow moving traffic!)
Someone spots a house and then everyone adds their thoughts about who lives there including the owner, their pets, what they like to do etc

– In My Backpack
Start with “In my backpack I have …” followed by an object, then the next person repeats the first sentence and adds another item.  Eg, “In my backpack, I have a soggy sandwich, then “In my backpack, I have a soggy sandwich and a teddy bear”.  The sillier the better.  We usually have something slimy, something smelly and something dirty in our stories – one of the joys of an all boy family.

CD Books
I have a friend who swears by Paul Jennings CD books for her boys.  She says it keeps them quiet from Point A to Point B and we are LOVING that!  There is a huge range of CD books available for kids of all ages.  You can even get them personalised.

On our way home yesterday, with three tired little fellas in the back seat I put on our Sleep Stories CD and they were sound asleep within minutes.

I have also learned the hard way on solo parent trips that everyone must take a “wee stop” before departure and that everyone has their water bottle and some snacks handy.

Oh, and don’t forget your sunnies!

colour me happy (not bored)

This is (was) a piece of black and white wrapping paper I had bought for $4.95 and tucked away in “THE cupboard” because I just loved the design.

Little did I know it would come in so handy during our first school holidays.  It started with the first “I’m bored” from Dodo.  We sat down together with the paper and our favourite pencils and started colouring.  We left it out on the table and every time he said “I’m bored” he was to sit down and colour more.  We both love colouring in so it really just became a little game.

It’s still a work in progress but when it’s done I am going to scan it and print it on a canvas.  I reckon it will be a beautiful and terribly original reminder of our first school holidays together and our mutual love of colour and creating.

If you are bracing yourself for a long couple of weeks of “I’m bored” you might like  some of these favourite boredom buster colouring ideas all from our little store …

clockwise from top left:
seedling (new zealand) – my little book of BIG ideas $9.95
seedling (new zealand) – jumbo pastel pencils $19.95
djeco (france) – velvet colouring cards (you cant go outside the lines! great for learners) $9.95
french “colour your own” doll range – available in fox, robot or princess from $24.95

 

 

saving for a rainy day

A rainy Sunday afternoon (as it is here) calls for a sanity saver for mamas and kids.  Making this game is an activity in itself, so that’s today sorted!  And the next time rain or cabin fever hits you’ll be terribly pleased with yourself that you have this fab little idea on hand.

Image

Write play ideas on paddle pop sticks and get your little one to choose one randomly.  Whatever they choose is what they play!