Finding Myself Young participates in affiliate marketing and other forms of advertising. We only recommend products and services we believe in and think they will be of use to you. Blog posts my contain affiliate links.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Best Picture Books to Read with Dad this Fathers Day.

Looking for the perfect Father's Day gift idea for dad? Something personal, with sentimental meaning, but that can be used over and over... I've found the perfect picture books to celebrate Father's Day 2020 with dad. Picture books are a great way to convey feelings and they can be read together with dad for years to come. Whether you're after heartfelt, hilarious or heroic stories, there's something on this list for every type of dad young or old.

dad reading a picture book with child for fathers day


*This post contains some affiliate links*


When our first daughter was born I started the tradition of giving picture books to her dad for Fathers Day. I go with her to pick a new one each year. We usually try to pick books with characters that match her dad's personality or storylines that correlate with something that's happening in our lives at the time. We also include a little handwritten note to dad inside the cover. When she was really young I would write it for her, then as she got older she told me what to write and this year will be particularly exciting because she can write it herself. 

I love that it's a tradition she looks forward to each year and it also means we're building our own little library of dad related books. I can just imagine their dad in the future looking through the books after the girls have moved out, remembering reading together when they were little. If you want to start your own Fathers Day book tradition, or you just love books, these are our current top picks.
Friday, August 7, 2020

Turtle Life Cycle Small World Play Tray

This sea turtle small world is a great hands on way to teach turtle life cycles to young children and is also a fun sensory experience exploring the texture and feel of sand and water. It's a fun way to explore science either in the classroom, or at home.
turtle life cycle small world invitation to play in a tray


Some children learn best by reading information, however my children definitely learn best hands on through play, so I introduced the life cycle of a turtle using a small world play tray with animal figurines. I find my children definitely learn and absorb so much information by being able to touch and manipulate figurines while playing. They're also big sensory seekers so anything with a sensory element is a big win, which is why we love small world play so much!
Sunday, August 2, 2020

DIY Playdough Stamps

Making DIY resources is a great way to get creative and the perfect use for that recycling stash we all have put away for a rainy day.  In this post I'll give you step by step instructions to create cheap and easy to make DIY playdough stampers your kids will love. An added bonus is they only take a few minutes to make.

diy wooden playdough stamps
*This post contains some affiliate links*


I must confess I probably spend far too much time browsing toy shops on Instagram and online, so I spend quite a few hours window shopping and admiring lots of gorgeous toys and resources. I love all the fancy wooden playdough stampers that are available like these ones from The Creative Toy Shop, Let Them Play and the amazing designs available at Etsy. While I'm a huge fan of wooden toys, sometimes we just don't have the extra cash to splash around on new purchases, so when I work out a way to make essentially the same thing for much cheaper, I'm totally going to give it a go. The great thing is the kids didn't even know the difference and were just as happy with the DIY version.
Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Slow Down: Bring Calm to a Busy World with 50 Nature Stories

One of the biggest lessons 2020 has taught us, if not forced us to learn, is to slow down. Take note of the world around us and pay more attention to nature. Realise the little moments are the big moments and the seemingly insignificant moments are the most important. If ever there was a children's book that perfectly encapsulates this message, it's this one, Slow Down by Rachel Williams.


Slow down: Bring calm to a busy world with 50 nature stories by Rachel Williams {book cover}

Slow Down: Bring Calm To A Busy World With 50 Nature Stories

BUY HERE: Book Depository | Amazon | Dymocks


Slow down is not your typical children's picture book. Filled to the brim with many, many beautiful stories and gorgeous illustrations, Slow Down is more like a nature encyclopedia for both children and adults alike. Instead of one single story, it includes 50 different nature stories, explaining how at any given moment there are many different significant events happening in nature all around us. The stories include a duck teaching her ducklings to swim, an ocean wave forms, crests and breaks, a tadpole becomes a frog, a snake sheds it's skin, water lilies open on a pond, plus 45 other tales about how the weather, animals and plants survive and interact on a daily basis.

All around us, nature is turning, growing…and working. Every day, hour by hour, magical transformations happen right in front of you. But it's not always easy to see them… Slow Down implores us all to take stock of life and how we spend our time, in order to slow down and really appreciate everything that is going on all around us every single day. To pay more attention to nature and realise the seemingly insignificant moments are the most important and what may appear to be small to us, is actually a really big deal.
Monday, July 20, 2020

Pom Pom Heuristic Play Tray for Toddlers

Are you looking for a quick, low prep activity to keep your toddler entertained? In this post I'll show you how to put together a quick heuristic play tray using pom poms, utensils and recyclables that's sure to keep your toddler intrigued and entertained.

Toddlers are notoriously fickle with their attention spans and can move from being super excited about a toy or activity to completely over it in a matter of minutes. This is completely normal age appropriate behaviour, so don't be discouraged and let it put you off creating play experiences for them. As a general rule of thumb toddlers will be able to concentrate on a task for 3-5 minutes per year of age. It's important to keep this in mind when setting up play invitations for toddlers, don't set up overly complicated activities as they probably won't play with them for a long period of time.

My mantra for toddler play is keep it simple! Try not to spend too much time setting up activities as it's entirely possible they'll play for less time than it took you to set up. One of the best activities to set up for toddlers is a heuristic play tray {similar concept to treasure baskets} as they're quick to set up and will often hold a toddler's attention for longer as they're directing their own play.
toddler playing with pom poms and cups in a tray
*This post contains some affiliate links*


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Magic Milk Science Experiment

If you want to introduce your kids to science concepts in a simple and interactive way then this magic milk science experiment is perfect! Toddlers, preschoolers and even school children will be amazed watching the colours magically move across the milk. Best of all you can create this experiment with just four common household items you probably already have in your kitchen right now.

Magic milk experiment
*This post contains some affiliate links*

My daughter has been interested in science since she was quite little so we love to do simple science experiments at home. You don't need complicated equipment like microscopes, test tubes, Bunsen burners or dangerous chemicals to create science experiments at home. There are so many simple science experiments that can be made with common household items that are both fascinating and fun. Magic milk is one of our favourite experiments to do at home because it seemingly turns science into magic right before your kids eyes.
Thursday, July 9, 2020

Colourful Witches Potion Experiment

Kids will watch on in awe as these bright witches potions bubble and brew to life. This colourful witches potion experiment is a fun activity to do at Halloween or for a Harry Potter or spooky themed birthday party. With a twist on the traditional bicarb and vinegar science experiment, these witches potions combine science and creepy crawlies into one spooky, fun activity kids will love.

witches potions erupting with creepy crawlies
*This post contains some affiliate links*


Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.  - Macbeth

With this magic witches potion recipe all children can experience what it's like to create potent potions in seconds. The question is will they be wicked witches or white witches? Only joking, there's no malevolence here, we're all good witches of the north.
Monday, July 6, 2020

How to Create a Fairy Village Small World

Over the past few weeks, as children have spent more time at home than usual, fairy gardens have experienced a huge resurgence in popularity. It seems everyone's setting up a fairy garden or fairy house. What if you want your children to experience the magic of fairies, but don't have a backyard or garden to create a permanent fairy garden in? A fairy village small world is a great indoor alternative to bring fairy magic to life in your home. In this post I'll show you exactly how to create an enchanting fairy village small world invitation to play for your children.


Fairy village and animal small world invitation to play.
*This post contains some affiliate links*

Small world play is my daughter's favourite type of play. She's always had an active imagination and small world play gives her miniature life like environments in which her imagination can run wild. As her play has evolved over the years our small world play set ups have gone from simple trays to more detailed layouts that cover an entire shelf.
Monday, June 22, 2020

50+ Connetix Magnetic Tile Play Ideas

Are you looking for the perfect open ended toy for children of all different ages? Maybe you already have magnetic tiles and want to know just how many ways you can play with them. In this post I'll show you why Connetix magnetic tiles are an amazing open ended resource you need in your house or classroom. With over 50 different play ideas, that work on numerous cognitive and physical developmental skills, you'll find play activities for children of all ages and abilities.


50 connetix magnetic tile play ideas
*This post contains some affiliate links*



Although we have a deep seeded love for wooden toys in this household, there are a few plastic toys that I would never part with because they're just so valuable to play. Magnetic tiles are well loved in this house and will be here to stay for many years because they're a toy that continues to grow with your child. As their imagination, physical and cognitive skills develop the way children play with toys will change, however magnetic tiles are one of those rare unicorn toys that are fantastic for children of all different ages. 

If you have a big age gap between your kids like I do, they're one of the best investments ever, because both kids can play with the one toy in many different ways. There's no need to have different toys for each age group as they can both play with them at the same time. They also wont get bored with them because the play possibilities are endless, continue reading for over 50 different ways to play with magnetic tiles.

Zoo Cutlery Tray Small World

Do your kids love imaginary play? Looking for new small world play ideas? The great news is you don't need expensive toys to create the perfect small world, I'll show you how to create an epic zoo small world with a cutlery tray, some animal figurines and sensory bases. Keep reading for step by step instructions to recreate this zoo for your kids at home or in the classroom.
zoo small world invitation to play in a cutlery tray


WHAT IS CUTLERY TRAY PLAY?


I have this odd habit where I'm always looking at household objects and thinking about how I could repurpose them for play. I can find play items in all different places like kitchen shops, op shops, hardware stores like Bunnings, dollar stores and garden, stationary or homeware sections of department stores. Play items are everywhere, you just have to think outside of the box, which is how cutlery trays became my second favourite type of play tray {besides my beloved kmart play tray}.

Cutlery trays are perfect for small worlds because each compartment is a ready made predefined space for different animal enclosures or areas within the play scene. Cutlery trays are quite inexpensive and come in various colours, sizes and materials like plastic and bamboo. We've used them for zoos, aquariums, farms and construction sites. They're also great for loose parts play. I even started a hashtag on Instagram #cutlerytrayplay which you can search for inspiration.