Thursday 21 June 2012

Christmas shopping style for kids? Lay by time friday finds

Ok so here we have just been delivered the lay by for Christmas sale catalogues, they very cleverly co-inside with school holidays. I have done a lay by almost every year for my children, it works great because you don't have to store the presents! it works great because it makes you budget yur Christmas. It is difficult though to gauge what your children are going to be interested in by Christmas when its only June. I do think too that some of the toys in these catalogues are very gimmicky and so very branded that whilst i love pouring over the catalogues and deciding what would suite my kids i cringe at how blatant brands are shoved down our children's throats. I also think there is a danger when making up your lay by to get carried away and buy more than you need, i have been guilty of this in the past i think.

I can understand the parents that leave it till the last minuet, they would perhaps not overbuy as who wants to spend much time shopping near Christmas its manic. They would have a much clearer idea of their child's desires and what been written down on their Christmas list. But for me its not thinkable because i really really hate crowds, i tend to be an over thinker and like to take ages thinking and planning presents and did i mention i hate crowds.

The slow squirrelling away of gifts, i do this as well as lay by. I not only do this for my kids but for all the family, i am one of those really mad people who start buying for Christmas now. Why ? because i like buying presents and i like finding the right gift for the right person. But mostly i do it because its the only way i can budget for all the people i want to buy for. So because i squirrel away i have a Christmas birthday list on my phone of possible presents for all the family. This keeps me focused so i don't go mental and buy everything i see that they would all like otherwise my Nice's would end up with truck loads of stuff ( i get my girly shopping fix via them).

So this year whats on my list for my 2 ? i am trying to make sustainable play choices - not in the green eco sense of sustainable (that's always a bonus when toys are eco) but sustainable as in the play has somewhere to go, toys that are open ended. I have sometimes  fallen into the trap in previous year in buying things that perhaps don't leave enough room for their imaginations to take over. Instead the play has been short and mimicking tv and the toy is abandoned not long after Christmas. I more often got it right than wrong but this year i am actively searching out the pro-imagination toys.

big stores with lay by for Christmas here are target, big w, kmart, myer and you can compare their catalogues online to make the choice of which mega store to choose.

I made my lay by yesterday, they are getting
sandpit excavators (one each)
robotic fish? i have no idea what they will be like but Christmas time is hot here so water play is a given.
some board games operation and connect 4 because i thought they were good for development

it was a very small lay by compared to previous years but i will be supplementing it with some of these
toy castle + knights and fantasy characters by papo ( mini zoo shop )


toy catapult on etsy

Wooden Catapult Toy - Kids Wood Toys - Natural Handmade Toys for Kids, Boy and Girls.
Some felt food like this (i may make some of this sort of thing if i find time) or shop on etsy
Felt Play Food - Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs

to go with the above i will hunt around the op shops for pots and pans and fun kitcheny stuff, we were given a great little kitchen by a friend and i might give it a bit of a boost with some paint.

I'm also going to get some hula hoops and caution caps.

i love these kind of toys, beautiful stacking so many possibilities for staging play invitations ;)
again on etsy
Wooden Toy Rainbow Stacker- Imagination Kids- Waldorf

stocking filler ideas...
I will make a stack of little bean bags for each boy
some animal figurines
little wind up toys
and last year i found some nice stocking fillers and puzzles here, my wooden toys
Balloon Powered Wooden Putt Putt Boat
Well i hope whatever style of Christmas shopping you do for your kids, that this post helped you to think a bit about what your going to do this year. Whatever you feel about Christmas its lovely to spoil our kids with wonderful toys
love sassy

Wednesday 20 June 2012

hair styling toilet roll people - Thinking Cap Thursday

I drew a few faces onto some toilet rolls, dressed them in very fashionable paper outfits secured at the back with a bit of tape. Then put some shredded tissue paper i had in for hair, but wool, cotton wool or normal shredded paper would work great too.

 Flynn laughed at their hair and proceeded to play hair stylist for ages with them, was very dramatic people cried when the lost their hair and happy danced when they got new hair. He laughed and laughed at their silly crazy hair i don't think i will let him at my hair any time soon, but i was really impressed with how much he enjoyed this simple and cheap activity.

It was nice to see him playing out a social situation where people would complement each others hair, and try to help others when they had lost their hair. To extend this play you could add some scissors so they could cut and style, maybe some hair clips and elastic bands. I love finding uses for toilet rolls and i also like that this feels very much like something they would do on the tv show playschool.

love sassy

The invitation to play -Only human on humpday

My blogger friend, Pauline,  from The lessons learnt journal wrote in one of her guest posts on quirky momma that she had issued an  " the invitation to play" and the phrase rang so true with me and I'm sure with all the parents reading.

That's all we can hope to do when setting an activity is invite them to play, you can not force them and you can not get cross at them when they don't attend your play event.
Like issuing a party invite, you set some things up, hold your breath and hope that at least one person will accept your invitation and the more join in the more of a party it is. Sometimes it takes seconds for them to accept your play invitation, sometimes minuets, hours even and sometimes they just don't feel like parting with those things they are far too busy with their own agendas.

 I love it when they discover your invitations and its met with "wow" and "is this for me?" and an excited little wiggly bouncy jig at the delightful play possibilities ticking over in their minds.

It is frustrating and disparaging when they are met with "nah" and "can i watch TV instead" but i am slowly learning that this isn't personal and its not necessarily the end of the idea, perhaps if they have some food and a drink and a think about your invitation to play they will gravitate to it later when they are in the right frame of mind.

Sometimes the time of day is critical to the play invitation being accepted or not, mornings are always best for new play concepts where as i find late afternoon they prefer the tried and tested play invitations of play dough and water play. I also think my mood dictates weather some things work or not, if I'm tired its not a brilliant idea to encourage play that needs a bit of grown up help, however if I'm bright and sleep nourished its fine.

Its wonderful to read blogs and talk to other parents to get ideas for play invitations, you sometimes discover just the right thing to encourage your children and that is magical for you and the kids. Happy busy kids = happy busy parents, and when it all goes right and they are completely involved in their game i know those are the moments i will treasure all my days.
So some of the play invitations i have issued lately....

DH moved the quad bike to he could do some tinkering in his shed, It was an unintentional invitation to Eli but a great one he spent a good 20 0r 30 mins sitting pretending he was going somewhere.

I arranged the duplo into coloured groups, major reaction from 4 yr old! "wow mum, i really like what you have done here." he requested this set up again today.
few shaped drawn on the black board, Eli loves to attack the board with chalk and dust out.
Perfect weather here for an outside fort

a lego city for Flynn's ninja's, who like to go for brekkie at cafes before they take on the evil guys :)
trains for Eli
play dough shapes for both, with glitter shakers and googly eyes. Flynn found me in the kitchen cutting out the shapes and jumped up on a chair to help. So busted organising a play surprise

Coloured rice, a new activity for my boys, they both really liked much so it is now spread all over my yard. That is fine with me they had a wonderful time transporting it all over the place and scooping, stirring.

I bet you offer lots of invitations to play at your place, may you be blessed with accepted invitations.
love sassy

Monday 11 June 2012

block revamp - treasure

This is so incredibly fun and easy and bring new interest to a forgotten toy.

 I gratified our wooden building blocks.

I bought a couple of permanent pens, an opaque white one, a black, a fine gold and silver. The metallic and opaque pens are expensive however i new that i would use them on other projects so that's ok. 2 pens would be more than enough to alter the look of your blocks and inject some style or even make them educational.

You can write letters, or sound combinations on them and use them as a learning tool. You can draw animals, people, aliens, cars whatever characters you want so your kids can role play a story. And you can just do patterns to make building towers more fun.
Older kids may want to join in too. Have fun go wild and graffiti your blocks too.
Sorry about the picture quality these were taken on my phone.

love sassy

Saturday 9 June 2012

The Tube - thinking cap

I wish I could take the credit for the extremely simple but oh so effective play idea, but i saw it at a friends house ages and ages ago and today i did it for Eli (this is right up his ally at almost 2).

You take 1 tub of little cars and a tube add a slope, like a little step and you have tunnel speeding.

 I have no idea what the tube was used for but the boys grandad gave it to us and its fantastic nice and heavy so they don't have the urge to move it around a lot. You could look for one at the local newspaper, often they sell the end of the ream of paper for a couple of buck that would have a nice tube in it, a postal tube would probable work just fine, in fact you could have a couple gaffa taped together so the kids could race their cars. Failing that a bit of pvc pipe would work great too.

so much fun

dog getting in on action

plane too big (interesting to watch him work that out)

big brother getting in on fun
have fun love sassy

Thursday 7 June 2012

only human on humpday - screen free

Ok i mad a crazy split decision this week when my mr 4 was begging me for more tv, after having a very generous amount already that had only finish 15 mins earlier. No more screens for a week! madness i thought to myself, i felt sure i would crumble on this. I explained to Flynn the deal no computer and no tv for a week and i told him why. My hope is that he will play better, settle into a game, any kind of play and stick with it for more than a few minuets. Normally he drifts back in my direction with the hope that my resolve will have weekend and i will put computer in his hands.  I hope he stops the begging and pestering for tv all the time. I hope he realises that his mind is more interesting than any screen. I hope i can stay strong and entertain them both enough. I hope that they don't fight constantly.

So I'm 2 days into this and i am sticking to my guns. I have to say so far so good! I'm impressed with the amount of playing mr 4 is doing, and mr almost 2 hasn't noticed anything different yet. to my great surprise making dinner has actually been easier ? i hate making dinner because my old house is configured so you have no idea whats going on in the rest of the house. So last to evenings i have had one kid in the sink playing with water and the other at the table colouring in, when they get over it they swap, brilliant. So the key to screen free seems to be keeping them busy, an added bonus one very tired little Eli makes nap and bedtime a bit easier. I have been filling the coffee table with toys at night so at daybreak they are happy to play.

Eli is a major rev head

I love my garden

Spiderman swims with patty pans

So what did we get up to today? bob the builders crew were working some blocks at breakfast. Swimming classes, sidewalk painting after that, lego, more lego, Eli and i popped to the shops to get some pots for my garden, meanwhile Flynn was still in lego mode with grandma. Lunch and some cars driving at the same time, more little car driving down the ramps on the parking station. Eli snoozing and Flynn migrated back to lego (poor grandma is legoed out). Some bike riding, some play quad bike riding, jumping on the tramp, gardening, lego for something different, story books, get the idea, busy!

this is how parking stations look after Eli 000 emergency

makeshift secret pathway out of bessa bricks and 1/2 bricks.
 boys are loving this path, cats too. Also sidewalk paint in bowls.

Eli likes drawing and tattooing himself (wonder if that will manifest in permanent ink in later years?)

there have been moments where Flynn has asked for tv, only one tantrum so far and that was on the first night. I have started telling him when he asks for it or telling me its boring without it, that he should think about what he'd like to play with next and we will see if we can make it happen. That seems to make him happy, so I'm happy two.

Will let you know how it all pans out love sassy.

treasures - crumble-dough

I love play dough and i make it for my kids a lot. I am not always the best at remembering to pack it up so it gets left on the back patio and it goes yuck, hard and like little gritty stones with one large blobby stone in the middle usually. Today was one such day and when i went to get rid of it i stopped and thought hang on, its like gravel.

I broke it up even more into tiny gritty bits, it was a bit like when your rubbing butter into flour when making scones. I put it all onto an old backing tray with a bit of an edge, any kind of shallow container tub would be great.  I had made the perfect environment for little digger machinery! boys very pleased with result sat in back yard happily constructing and demolition-ing.

he sctually has jocks on in this shot!
This child is always misplacing his shorts.

Never again will i discard the old tired hard play dough i shall instead celebrate the beginning of crumble-dough.
love sassy


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