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Christmas Gift Bags

Decorated-Library-Bags

Choosing gifts for teachers can be tricky at this time of the year.  I’m always trying to think of something meaningful to give but sometimes I get stuck and all I can think of is a coffee mug but there’s only so many mugs a teacher can have, even if they do love coffee!  I’ve certainly had my fair share of blunders such as giving a teacher a box of Lindt chocolates only to find out she can’t eat sugar.  I wonder what she did with the Easter eggs we gave her that year as well, no doubt the staff room had an influx of chocolates to share.

Anyway this year I’m getting the kids involved and we’re painting on a calico library bag so that the teacher will always have something to remember my kids.  We might put a little something in the bag, we’re yet to decide on that but one thing’s for sure the kids had a ball making these and I’m pretty proud of their efforts.

What you need;

How to create:

  1. Wash and iron the calico bags to help the paint stick to the fabric.
  2. You can use a pencil to outline a design or the kids can freehand a design.
  3. If you are using a stencil, lightly spray the back of the stencil with spray adhesive and position onto the bag, then smooth over with your hands.
  4. Set out all of your equipment and get the kids busy with the painting.
  5. Allow for the paint to dry and then iron over the design with a hot iron, no steam.
  6. You have one Christmas gift bag ready to give away or add a special treat to.

Note:  If you have acrylic paint on hand then you can purchase a fabric fixative which you add to the acrylic paint so it becomes fabric paint.

Enjoy making some Christmas gifts and craft with the kids.

Natalie

GAMES: Knucklebones

Knucklebones

Apart from being freaked out by the adult’s stories of sheep’s bones being used for this game it was actually one of my favourite playground games.  Miss 9 enjoys taking a game or activity to school to share with her friends so we have been doing the rounds of elastics, trading card games, chatterboxes and now we’re moving onto knuckles.

It’s quite a fun game and great for fine motor, hand-eye coordination and social skills such taking turns, playing fair and helping each other out.  The best part apart this activity is that I could easily have them in my dress pocket all day and ready to play at any minute.

I bought Miss 9 a set of knuckles but they seem a little larger for her hands so it might take a while to perfect this game.  I’m on the lookout for jacks as they were another fun games except for when the spikes dug into you through your dress pocket!

If you want to know how to play knuckles the instructions are here.  If you’re after a video on how to play jacks then this one if really helpful.

What games did you enjoy playing at lunch time?

Natalie

Family Conversation Starters

 

conversation prompts for families

Family Conversation Starters

Sitting around the dinner table with my family at the end of a busy day is one of my joys. In fact it’s an even bigger delight if the slow cooker has been working all day so I can have an easy night.

Sometimes when we’ve all had busy days balancing the conversation and managing who has the floor can make it all a little too much. Miss 9 loves chatting and will end up telling me the tiny details of every conversation whilst her dinner goes stone cold. Master 7 on the other hand is usually fighting to get a word in. It’s all fun until you cut someone off.

One strategy we are playing with is family conversation starters. It’s a great way to learn the fine art of conversation and communication skills. We take turns to choose a starter card and then go around the table asking and answering the question. It’s working well to ensure everyone has a say and we are learning some interesting facts about each other.

It’s easy to do. Grab a box or vase and download and print these free printable or make up your own. Pop them in the vase and you’re ready to go. They are also a great way to make everyone feel welcome at the table when you have friends over.

Try it with the family and see what you can discover about each other.
Natalie

Chatterboxes

Chatterboxes

Chatterboxes

Spending more time indoors with the winter weather means spending more time reliving my childhood favourite games with the kids. Miss 9 is still pretty taken with elastics but chatterboxes have become a hit with friends as well.

I fondly remember lunch times with chatter boxes, and not just my friends! These pieces of paper carefully coloured in and folded told our future, provided us with dares and lots and lots of laughs.

I came across this site recently where you can print out templates for these paper delights. We’ve been using them for a number of things, from math sentences to dares including poke out your tongue and stand on one foot. We’ve enjoyed hours of amusement together.

If you’re after a fun activity to enjoy inside with the kids then grab the paper and your imagination and let fly! You never know you may even predict the future!

Have some fun with the kids,
Natalie

Elastics!

School games elastics

Elastics

Playground trends have been circling for generations.  One week it’s swap cards, the next it’s  yo-yo’s.  One thing is for sure though elastics remain a very loved game.

I don’t know what ‘s happening in your school but our kids are bound up in that much red tape that everything child like seems to be banned!  Cartwheels are too dangerous and trading cards can spark police action as kids make the wrong trade, the kids playground is becoming a concrete jungle and we wonder why there’s so many behaviour problems at lunchtime.  When Miss 9 was in kindy she was desperate to have something to share with her friends so I introduced her to elastics.  We watched this YouTube video and then made up her own elastics to take to school.  I was pleased to learn that although they can’t go above their waist they area able to enjoy this fun activity with their friends.  The best things about it is they can stash the elastics in their pocket at lunchtime before heading out to play.

If your children at board at lunch and want a fun activity to enjoy then give this a go.  It’s a great family game too so grab 3 metres of elastic tie a knot and learn these rhymes.  You’ll be jumping your way to happy times in no time.

Natalie.

 

 

Activity: Paper Planes

Paper Planes

Paper Planes

Autumn brings many opportunities for family activities outside.  From going on nature walks and collecting a variety of coloured and fallen leaves to the opportunity the wind brings to fly a kite.  Recently we had a party at home and we needed a few activities for the kids to enjoy.  This one was a great success no doubt thanks to the movie released in January, Paper Planes.  If you’re after a fun activity to enjoy together to when you’ve got a group of kids around then give this a go.

What you need:

  • A4 paper
  • Table

We used this site to watch instructions and fold as we go and found this one has free printable designs graded from beginner, to advanced, you can find them here.  There’s heaps of images on the web that you could print out and hang up if you’re having the kids do this on their own.

Once you’ve folded some planes why not enjoy some healthy competition and see which plane and whose plane goes the furtherest.  Have a maker to outline where the launch space is then measure the distance for each plane and launcher.  No doubt you’ll have an hour or so of great family time.

Try it this weekend or at your next party.

Natalie

Science Fun with Lego

 

Science Fun with Lego

Science Fun with Lego

Lego is a classic child’s toy that’s stood the test of time.  I love seeing the kids getting creative and learning about shapes and structure whilst they build with their imaginations.  I must admit that I do hate stepping on it in the middle of the night but there’s plenty of jokes about that around.

I came across this post from Emma Vanstone on Science Sparks and I can’t wait to test some of them out with the kids.  Check out some amazingly cool things you can do at home with the kids and Lego whilst exploring science together.  I think we’re going to try the balloon one first as that is sure to get Master 6 excited.

Let me know what you try and what the kids thought of it.

Natalie

Children’s Books about Anzac Day

Children's Books for Anzac Day

Children’s Books about Anzac Day

Anzac Day this year marks the centenary of the ANZACs landing at Gallipoli.  This campaign saw 20,000 Australian troops land on the shores of Gallipoli, 747 of these men were killed in the first 24 hours.  These brave men fought for our freedom and their stories have helped formed the Australian way of life.  We shall never forget these men, what they fought for and the benefits we are still living by today.

With Anzac Day celebrated each year it is an important time for our young children to understand the importance of this day and the relevance of it in their lives.  Books and stories are a great avenue to open discussion and share concepts with our children and luckily for us parents there are some great books around for us to enjoy with our children.  I’ve seen quite a few books around in our local bookstore and have enjoyed a quick browse but if you’re after some great reads to share with the kids before Anzac day then have a read of some reviews here.

I’m on the hunt for a copy of Anzac Ted and Simpson’s Donkey, how about you?

Natalie

National Ride2School Day

National Ride2School Day

National Ride2School Day

Friday 13th shouldn’t make you shake in your boots but rather don your backpack and helmet and enjoy a ride to school with the kids.  National Ride2School Day is a day that my kids love because starting the day with a bit of exercise and the wind through your helmet is just totally wicked!  Whilst we try to ride to school as much as possible I am the first to admit that we need to do it more often.  It’s a great way to exert some energy and get those muscles all set up for a day of school.

National Ride2School Day aims to show that riding to school is an easy and fun way to kick start your day.  Not only does it add to your fitness it also helps with kids getting their recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

So pump up those tyres and enjoy National Ride2School Day with the kids.

Natalie

 

Halloween Goodies

Halloween is a celebrated on the 31st October and whilst it is a holiday which many Australian families do not celebrate some including us do.  There is much debate amongst friends over the Americanising of Australia and how we should avoid all American celebrations.  I respect everyone’s opinion however our family does enjoy a celebration so we celebrate Halloween.  Halloween originated in the United Kingdom centuries ago.  The word Halloween is shortened from All Hallow’s Evening and is known as Hallow’een or All Hallow’s Eve.  Irish and Scottish Immigrants brought some traditions to North America in the 19th Century and today it is celebrated all over the world.

Where we live there are heaps of families who enjoy this celebration.  We love seeing the effort the kids have gone to and enjoy sharing in the community spirit on the night.  Our kids get dressed up and we walk them around the neighbourhood for trick or treating.  As not all families in our community join in we ask each other which houses to go to.  There’s always house who put out kind notices saying they aren’t involved and that’s a great way to alleviate any frustration and disappointment. In the past I have had bowls filled with chocolates and they disappear.  This year I’m getting a little more creative and will be making some ghost poop for those who make the effort and get dressed up.  For the teens who turn up with a green grocery bag we will have lollipops for them to suck on.  If you would like to make some Ghost Poop then download the free printable labels for your ghost poop here.  The idea is from Can’t Stop Making Things  website.

Ghost Poop!

Ghost Poop!

What you’ll need;

  • White marshmallows – large or mini
  • Clear lolly bags
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • White Paper
  • Printer

How to make them:

  1. Print out the labels on the orange card stock and cut each piece of card stock in half , down the middle, so you’ve got two labels.
  2. Put some marshmallows in a bag.
  3. Fold the cardstock in half and place over the opening of the bag and staple in place.
  4. Repeat until you’ve got enough bags, or your supplies have run out.

Enjoy!

Natalie