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Monday, September 28, 2020

28 Halloween Sensory Play Ideas: Spooky Sensory Bins, Slime, Spaghetti & More

If your little ones love sensory play and love Halloween then they'll love these squishy, squelchy and slightly spooky Halloween sensory play ideas. You can make them as cute or creepy as you like depending on their age. There's 28 different Halloween play activities so there's something to take your fancy no matter what age your kids are. Toddlers, preschoolers and school kids will have loads of fun celebrating Halloween this year with some spooktacular sensory play.

girl making witches potions in a field

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Best High Quality Wooden Toy Brands for Open Ended Play

Are you looking to invest in wooden toys for your playroom or daycare but want to make sure you get the best bang for your buck? The key is to invest in high quality open ended toys that will last for years and won't get boring as your children get older. Toys of heirloom quality that grow with your child as their skills and imagination develop. I've put together a list of the best high quality hand made wooden toy brands available here in Australia and worldwide.

little boy playing with wooden loose parts tray

WHAT ARE OPEN ENDED TOYS?


Open ended toys are toys that can be played with in multiple ways that also have no "correct" way to play with them. They're usually very neutral in design so children can use their imagination to bring them to life any way they want. Open ended toys aren't always wooden {think play silks, dolls, magnetic tiles} however, the majority of wooden toys are open ended. For example a simple wooden block can be just a block, or it can be a car, house, tree, person, rocket etc. The possibilities are endless and as your child's imagination and skills develop, the way they play with their toys will too.
Saturday, September 12, 2020

Looking to buy a musical toy? Here’s how to pick the right one.

As parents, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to the selection of baby and toddler musical toys. If we shop in the big department stores, we can become overwhelmed by the selection of flashing lights and battery-operated toys that promise to make musical maestros of our children. 

But what if these plastic fantastic toys aren’t the best when it comes to cognitive development and cause and effect skills? There’s science behind what we select for our children, and you may be surprised by what the data tells us. 

janod kids wooden musical instruments
Thursday, September 10, 2020

Where To Buy Official Bluey™ Merchandise: Clothes, Books, Toys and more

Do your kids love Bluey too? Bluey & Bingo have been firm favourites at our house since the show first launched. In fact I'll let you in on a secret.... I often watch it even when the kids aren't around!

bluey, bingo, bandit and chilli
Source: ABC TV


WHO IS BLUEY?


If you haven't been indoctrinated into the inner sanctum of all things Bluey, let me fill you in. Bluey lives in Brisbane Australia with her little sister Bingo, dad Bandit and mum Chilli. Bluey is a 6yr old blue heeler pup who loves to play, she turns everyday family moments into extraordinary adventures alongside her 4yr old sister Bingo {who's a red heeler pup like her mum}. The Heeler family love imaginary play and are experts at turning ordinary moments like bed time, grocery shopping and dinner time into fun games. Whether they're playing keepy-uppy, shadowlands or being flossing grannies, Bingo and Bluey are always having fun.
Friday, September 4, 2020

Spooky Sensory Spaghetti Invitation To Play

If your kids love Halloween and you want to involve them in some spooky fun, but don't want things to get too scary, try this fun spooky sensory spaghetti invitation to play. They'll have loads of squishy, squelchy, slimy fun exploring this bright {and a little bit freaky} spaghetti. They can search for creepy Halloween favours, squish it, roll it, cut it and even eat it!

spooky spaghetti halloween invitation to play for kids

In this post I'll show you how to create colourful Halloween sensory spaghetti in just a few minutes using basic items you should already have in your pantry. You can add as many or as few creepy props as you like. Keep in mind your child's interests, age and just how spooky you want your spooky spaghetti to actually be.
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Creepy Crawly Halloween Sensory Play Tray

We love sensory play here and make sensory trays for pretty much any theme, including Halloween. This creepy crawly Halloween sensory play tray is a great way for toddlers and preschoolers to join in the Halloween fun without getting too scary. They can scoop, pour, touch, feel and investigate minibeasts and creepy crawlies until their heart's content.

child investigating bugs, bats and rats in halloween sensory rice

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Best Waldorf & Montessori Inspired Toy Shops on Etsy

Most parents searching for Waldorf or Montessori educational toys for their children naturally turn to popular and well known brands like Grimms and Grapat. What a lot of people forget is that there are plenty of talented artisans from all over the world creating high quality toys and resources on Etsy. I've spent hours researching on Etsy and have uncovered many hidden gems that I'm going to share with you in this post. If you want to skip the anxiety attack of restock nights, but still support family run small businesses, then Etsy is the place to go. 


the best etsy toy stores


THE BEST WALDORF AND MONTESSORI TOY STORES ON ETSY


I've compiled this list with what I consider to be some of the best Waldorf or Montessori inspired toy makers on Etsy. I've spent hours researching each store and finding products that are perfect for imaginary play and to use as educational resources. Whether you're after small world items, wooden toys, play silks, play mats or a pikler triangle, there's a store on this list that has what you want, or can take a custom order to create it for you.

Monday, August 24, 2020

DIY Tradie Hi Vis Fathers Day Card

Is your dad or granddad a tradie? I've got the perfect Father's Day card for them! You can make this hi vis tradie shirt card in any colour to match dad's work shirt! I'll show you how to make these hi vis tradie cards in just a few minutes using a few basic craft materials.

hi vis diy fathers day cards

Father's Day, like most holidays, has a habit of sneaking up on me each year. Does it creep up on you too? Instead of rushing around the shops trying to find the perfect Father's Day card at the last minute, the kids can have fun making their own unique hi vis shirt card for dad at home. It's a great craft activity for kids at daycare or school too. Whether dad {or granddad} wears an orange, yellow or even lime green shirt, you can change the cardstock to make this card exactly like dad's work shirt.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Learn & Grow vs Connetix: Which Magnetic Tile Brand is Best?

Are you wanting to add some awesome open ended magnetic tiles to your playroom or classroom, but you don't know which brand is best? Don't worry I've done the hard work for you and compared some of the leading magnetic tile brands so you can make an informed choice about which set is perfect for you. In this post I'll compare the size, strength, quality and value for money of Connetix and Learn & Grow magnetic tiles

connetix and learn and grow tiles side by side

Magnetic tiles are what I call a unicorn toy, because quite frankly they tick all of the boxes. They're a completely open ended resource, they can become anything your child imagines and there's no wrong way to play with them. You can stack them, create with them, count them, colour sort them and use them on multiple surfaces, along with many other play ideas

They're also a stem toy, so they help teach children science, technology, engineering and mathematical concepts through play. While playing children will be using their fine and gross motor skills, improving hand/eye co-ordination, hypothesising and problem solving as well as exploring many other developmental skills. And perhaps the best benefit of all, for those who have multiple children, is that they're great for children of all ages, toddlers, preschoolers and school kids all love getting creative with magnetic tiles.
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

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.