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So yesterday I shared an idea to get everyone kick-started with their spring/summer activities. It was a wonderful little trick I started last year with my pair when we found ourselves lost for what to do in what we considered a new & foreign town as we had not long moved to Melbourne & had spent all winter in hibernation because us Queenslanders just weren't used to the cold weather AT ALL! Anyway - this became the birth of the "You're not bored!" Jar, a plastic jar filled with originally 101 rainbow paddle pop sticks with one activity on each stick that were free for kidlets to do (or at least try), over the past year we have slowly added to our collection & I think we are sitting at about 130 ideas now BUT here is the first 101 that we started with :) 

Our list of 101 activities - feel free to add your own!


 
 
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Eating habits are something that is learnt not something someone is born with. So when your kidlets grow up, what they eat, will be based on the habits they picked up as a child..

Every day less & less people cook their meals from scratch because it’s faster & simpler to grab some take away on the way home from work or nuke up a frozen meal.

When you think about it, all it takes is a few simple tools & tricks as well as an idea on how to better balance yours & your little ones diets is all that is needed to fight against the 'fun' image that the fast food industry portrays.

1. Be a good role model.

Practice what you preach. Kidlets are very monkey-see-monkey-do, if you want to encourage healthy eating you need to lead by example.


2. Make mealtime special.

There is a never ending list of things you can do to make mealtimes fun, from making the appearance of the meal appealing to kidlets, to having mealtimes in a special place, but your number one priority in attempting to make it a special time is to set a routine. Teach your kidlet to sit at the table & enjoy the meal with the family, cherish the time & make it enjoyable for everyone.


3. Make sure your child eats breakfast.

Yes, we have all heard it before, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.". But it isn't said for the sake of saying it, after a long nights sleep & all those hours without food or drink it is important to refuel the engines with a healthy, wholesome breakfast. Some kids don't take to eating breakfast too well & if you find that is the case then start small & work your way to bigger meals. Try to avoid a sugary breakfast, while it gives a fast boost of energy from the sugar content, it wears of a lot quicker than a healthy, balanced breakfast would.


4. Take your kids shopping with you.

It may be easier to go alone when it comes to food shopping but taking your little ones with you & allowing them to question & explore the raw foods around them is a good start to introducing them to healthier eating habits. Take them with you when you aren't in a rush & take your time walking down the aisles that contain the natural, organic & unprocessed foods - produce & deli/meat departments. If your kidlet seems interested in a certain food, encourage them to explore the item & answer any questions they may have. Take it home & allow your kidlet to try it so that they can make their own choice as to whether they like it - never assume your child will not like the taste of something, kidlets like feeling like they are making the choice when it comes to what they eat.


5. Be flexible!

Anything in moderation is okay. Remember to give a treat every now & then. Obviously take away or candy every day for a week is not 'in moderation' and is unhealthy but a cookie or an ice cream in amongst a balanced diet of healthy meals & snacks is fine, even healthy, for anyone. 


6. Don’t be a short-order cook.

Don't cook different meals for each kidlet as well as a meal for yourselves. Make one whole meal as a family & adapt it slightly to suit the kidlets. Be patient, if they don't take to it straight away then try again the next week. There are hundreds of studies out there that state that it can take up to 12 attempts to get a child to try something new, so if they don't take to it straight away then try again.


7. Let kids help in the kitchen.

Even a 2 year old can peel a potato & wash a carrot. Get your little ones more active in the kitchen & encourage them to help prepare & cook their snacks. Kidlets love eating food they create & it will make them more likely to try new foods. 


8. Don’t buy into marketing for kids.

Kidlets don't need chocolate bars, frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets or any of the other snacks that the media like to make the kids feel is a priority. Encourage your little ones to eat healthier rather than suckering into their wants which are based on the advertisements they see everywhere that are aimed at kidlets.

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Bubbles, everyone loves them regardless of age, gender or religion. They are a magical thing that can keep kids occupied for hours, but have you ever tried mixing it up a little bit? Adding a bit of colour, doing a little DIY bubble making, maybe even some art & craft with bubbles? I like to get the kids hands on & covered in soap when playing with bubbles, it's one of the joys of being a kid! So here is one of my way of putting a twist on traditional bubbles.

For this you will need:
1 long piece of wool
2 straws
Scissors
Bubble mix

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If you have bendy straws you will need to cut the bendy part of the straw off first.

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Thread your string straight through both straws then tie a knot at the end of the strings to hold them together.

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Put the string so that the knot slips into one of the straws & you're all set!

Now you can go play with your big bubble makers! :) 



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There are hundreds of ways to make scented playdough, but I would like to share some of my favourites with you all. Playdough is fun enough as it is but it's even better when you can make playdough cupcakes and playdough bikkies that actually smell like the real deal! Traditional playdough has a pretty funky smell that some people find hard to mask - well here is a list of other ways to make scrumptious smelling playdough that have all been tried and tested by yours truly! :)
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Fruity Scented Playdough (Non-Edible)

You will need:
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons oil
200ml water
50ml fruity fragrant shampoo
½ cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
Food colouring to match your scent (green for apple, red for strawberry, orange/yellow for orange/mango)

How to make it?
  • Pour all dry ingredients, flour, salt and cream of tartar together in a saucepan.
  • Add oil, shampoo, colouring and water to dry ingredients.
  • I use a whisk before heating as I find this helps remove lumps and blends the ingredients well.
  • Cook over medium heat constantly stirring until it becomes a thick blob.
  • Then turn out onto a clean surface and knead into a smooth ball. Be careful the play dough will be very hot!
  • Store in a plastic zip lock bag or air tight container. 


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Peppermint Scented Playdough (Edible)

You will need:
1 cup all-purpose flour (sift if lumpy)
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 cup brewed peppermint tea
1 1/2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola)
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
Food coloring, as desired

How to make it?
  • In a sauce pan, whisk together the flour, salt and cream of tarter. Add the water and oil and whisk until smooth. 
  • Place pan over low heat and cook and stir until it thickens and forms a ball (about 5 minutes for a single recipe). When it's impossible to stir and looks like a big sticky lump, it's done! :)
  • Turn out onto the counter or a mat, scraping pan clean with a spatula. Knead the warm dough a couple times, and place in a loosely-covered container to cool. (Or, let the kids play with it right away!) Store in a sealed container or ziplock bag when not in use.

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Chocolate Scented Playdough (Edible)


You will need:
1 cup all-purpose flour (sift if lumpy)
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How to make it?
  • In a sauce pan, whisk together the flour, salt and cream of tarter. Add the water and oil and whisk until smooth. 
  • Place pan over low heat and cook and stir until it thickens and forms a ball (about 5 minutes for a single recipe). When it's impossible to stir and looks like a big sticky lump, it's done! :)
  • Turn out onto the counter or a mat, scraping pan clean with a spatula. Knead the warm dough a couple times, and place in a loosely-covered container to cool. (Or, let the kids play with it right away!) Store in a sealed container or ziplock bag when not in use.


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Strawberry Scented Playdough (Edible)


You will need:
1 cup plain flour
1 Tablespoon oil
200ml Water
50ml Strawberry Essence
½ cup salt
¼ cup chocolate sprinkles
2 Teaspoons cream of tartar
1 Teaspoon of rose pink food colouring

How to make it?
  • Pour all dry ingredients, flour, salt and cream of tartar together in a saucepan. 
  • Add oil, food colouring, strawberry essence and water to dry ingredients.
  • I use a whisk before heating as I find this helps remove lumps and blends the ingredients.
  • Cook over medium heat constantly stirring until it becomes a thick blob. 
  • Then turn out onto a clean surface and knead into a smooth blob.
  • Allow the play dough to cool before kneading in the chocolate sprinkles.
  • Store in a plastic zip lock bag or air tight container.

Those are the basic ones to get you started, feel free to change it up and experiment - maybe add some glitter, or some pony beads, or even some hundreds and thousands! The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination allows. ;)
 
 
"You are never too young to play with your food, all you need is a little imagination." - Emilie Moore (2011)
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Education doesn't always have to be within the confines of worksheets and flashcards. There are millions upon millions of ways to teach children different things in a creative, exciting way. I mean, let's face it - would you rather have fun, or do worksheets all day? I don't know about you, but paperwork isn't exactly on my list of favourite things to do.


We all know kidlets love Fruit Loops, they are colourful, and sweet and outright tasty in the mind of a child. But have you ever considered using Fruit Loops to teach your special little person things like counting, sorting, colours, fine motor skills or patterns? If not, then welcome to the colourful world of creative learning in the eyes of yours truly! As Miss Arianna nears the age of schooling, I will be sharing more and more blogs on creative ways to teach your child basic life skills. This will include a huge range of ideas collected by myself to make learning feel, well, not like learning at all.

To create a 'workplace' for this activity get a piece of Styrofoam & 5 bamboo skewers. Colour (with crayons, felt pens, dye or paint - I used crayons) each skewer one colour each - red, orange,  yellow, green, blue & purple. Then place them in that order spike down into  the Styrofoam. I first asked them to sort the fruit loops into the colours and  place them on the corresponding skewers, then I asked them to name the colours  in a row. To make things a little trickier for them I asked them to count the  fruit loops on each skewer for me. So all in all, this nifty trick taught them  motor skills (getting the fruit loops onto the skewers), colours, sorting AND  counting all in one activity!

Pictured - Miss A and Mr J enjoying their first creative learning lesson :)