Sunday, 24 May 2015

Our Sunday Storybook - Moving House

We are moving to a new house soon, so I got Ethan this Moving House book to help prepare him.



We got the sticker book version as it has been keeping him busy while we're packing and preparing to move.  It also has the story, which goes through the stages of moving, including meeting the people that will live in the old house, packing, the moving day and then unpacking and setting up the new house.  


It has really helped Ethan to understand the whole process and has given him the opportunity to ask questions about what we are doing.  I feel more confident now that he really understands, and combined with the other ways that we're preparing him he will feel happy to leave our current home and settle in smoothly to our new one.



What have you been reading this week?

Friday, 22 May 2015

A Few Little Travel Extras

It's almost the school holidays and that means time to go away with the family!  We are lucky enough to have preschool children so we're going on holiday in a few weeks, but we're starting to prepare with all the essentials, and a few little extras that are sure to make our trip a little bit easier.  Long car rides are never easy, so a few more things to pack are definitely worth it if they help the journey.


We've got a new Starry Night window shade for the car from Diono as well as their Buggy Tech Tote.  The sunshade is really great for keeping the sun out of the kids eyes, but it can also be rolled up for less sunny days which I know that Ethan will love as he always wants to look out the window.  It's also got glow in the dark stars on it, which the kids are going to love at night!

The buggy station is also great, it's similar to their buggy buddy that attaches to the handles of the pram or stroller, but with an extra feature of space for your phone and tablet.  I love that it easily attaches to either my big pram or my folding stroller that we take on holiday with us.  I put drinks for the kids and other essentials in it, and my phone fits in it so I can easily see it whenever I need to.  Then there's the space for your tablet, which a child can actually watch in a parent facing pram.  It also comes out, which is how we'll use it for the most part to protect the tablet as the kids use it in the back of the car.


You've always got to have a first aid kit, but I am definitely loving this Ouch Pouch from Spilly Spoon. It comes with essentials like plasters, wipes, forehead thermometer, hand sanitizer, medicine bottle and of course the Spilly Spoon.  It's that spoon that makes this kit really special though, for kids that are resistant to take medicine having a spoon that won't spill sticky syrup everywhere whilst you're on holiday and don't have endless changes of clothes really is helpful!


Car trips are all about car games, and we've got 2 new ones from Paul Lamond called Are we there yet? and 50 Fun Games for On the Go.  Are we there yet? has lots of little cards with different items that you need to spot outside of the car for points.  Ethan is going to love this as he's always looking at everything we pass on the roads.  It is aimed for children aged 6 and above, but it can easily be played by younger children if you slightly alter the rules for them.  50 Fun Game for On the Go is a set of 50 cards each with a different game on it. This is aimed at children aged 5 and above, although there are plenty of games in there that can be played by younger children.  I'm going to have a sort through them before the trip to find some that Ethan would enjoy to put at the top of the pile.  This will definitely make the long car journey go by faster!


* This is a review post, we were sent the sunshade, buggy pouch, ouch pouch and travel games to use and to write our honest opinion about them.*

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Summer Crafts

It may be summer, but we're still having a lot of rainy days that we need to find things to keep us busy indoors, so we were very happy to have these craft kits that Baker Ross sent us to entertain the little ones for the past few weeks.



Ethan had a friend over one day and the craft that they chose to do first was these cute little ceramic coin bank boats.  They can be decorated in a variety of ways, and would look great painted, but what I love is that they can also look fantastic by just using these porcelain pens.  There was hardly anything to set up or clean up and the boys were able to be creative and make the boats look great!


Next the boys made these super cool star hero biff bats!  They were each very excited to choose the super hero that they liked, to colour them in with markers and then to play with them!  I love this one because they can spend a rainy day making them and a sunny day playing outside with them!


On another rainy play date we were able to colour in some animal glasses with Ethan and Ivy's friends.  These glasses are great because all they need is to be coloured in, so they're great for any age of children.  Ivy and the younger ones were just as happy to scribble on their animals as the older ones were.  Then they got to wear the glasses for some adorable photos!


Then when we are lucky enough to have sunny days we have these cute little turtle water squirters to play with in the water!  Both Ethan and Ivy love these and spent a whole sunny afternoon squirting each other and making up little games with the turtles.

* This is a review post, we were sent these craft kits and toys from Baker Ross so that we could play with them and write our honest opinions about them.*

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Sensory Writing Tray

Ethan is at such a fun age, he's like a little sponge learning new things every day!  We still have to keep things fun, that is really important, especially with things like reading and writing as it's so easy to push to hard and put children off something that they could really learn to love.  So we have been teaching Ethan to write his name with a pencil and paper, but we're also doing fun things like playing with this sensory writing tray.



This tray can be prepared so simply that anyone can set it up in minutes for some writing and mark making at home.  I used a simple serving tray (though if you have one with higher sides that would be preferable for less spillage) and then add a sensory material of your choice.  Salt is a very popular choice, but today we used lentils as we happened to have a bag of them that needed to be used.  Any other fine material would also work, you could try couscous, rice, sand, oats or so many other options.  Each material would give a slightly different feel and experience for the child.


I made some little cards with different types of lines on them for Ethan to copy.  One was a zig zag line and one was a wavy line.  I was so impressed by how well Ethan was able to look at the card and duplicate the pattern on the tray.  I also wrote out his name on a card, which as you can see from the first photo he was able to write so well, I was completely blown away!


I also asked him to draw shapes for me, this photo is of him drawing circles.  He then had some fun drawing different pictures and designs of his choosing.  He really was taken by the sensory tray and sat for ages just moving the lentils around with his fingers, we will definitely be doing a lot more of this with different materials to get him more excited about learning to write!


For more language and literacy play ideas, have a look at our Pinterest page:

Follow Play & Learn Everyday's board Language and Literacy Play on Pinterest.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

My Day at Pinterest HQ and Tips Direct from the Experts

I was lucky enough to go to Pinterest HQ in London for a Blogger Masterclass last week.  I have been completely obsessed with Pinterest for ages, I signed up a few years ago and have been pinning recipes, ideas for play and ways to decorate the house ever since!  As a blogger I use Pinterest to pin all of my posts and to find great ideas for play from other bloggers that I can share with my readers.



Stepping into Pinterest HQ was like stepping into Pinterest itself, they definitely didn't disappoint with their perfectly set up table including mason jar glasses with their logo and notebooks tied with baker's twine.  



It was so nice to hear from the people at Pinterest themselves about the best ways to use it as a blogger, as there are a lot of speculations that go around about what the best ways to use it are (many of which just aren't true!)



Top tips for using Pinterest as a blogger:
  • set up your account as a business account and apply for Rich Pins
  • install the Pin it button on your blog
  • Pin what inspires you
  • Pin everyday (there is not specific time of day that's any better)
  • Pin topical and season posts from 2 months before the event
  • put your seasonal / topical boards near the top of your profile so that they are found easily (by your readers and Google) then move them to the bottom after the event
  • write descriptive and specific board titles
  • there is no such thing as too many pins or too many boards!
  • when your join a group board ensure that the other pins are relevant to your followers
  • on Pinterest it's not about how many followers you have, it's all about engagement
  • #hashtags don't work on Pinterest

And the last tip, is to use every opportunity that you can to promote your Pinterest presence, so...here's my Pinterest page :)

Monday, 18 May 2015

10 Fun Ways to Play with Muslin Blankets

We love to play with anything and everything around the house, so when Babymoov challenged us to find 10 different ways to use one of their cute muslin blankets, of course we could have found loads of practical ways to use them, but we decided to find as many ways as we could to play with them.  And it wasn't very hard at all!


1. First we used them to cover our box fort (we've got plenty of boxes around at the moment, but they would work well for a pillow fort too!)



2. Then we used one as a pillow and another as a blanket for Ivy's dolly.



3. Next Ivy used it to play peekaboo!




4. Then we decided that we could wear the muslins like capes and run around the garden pretending to be superheroes!




5. Then we put on the music and did some dancing, swinging the muslins around and throwing them in the air like movement scarves.



6. Of course the big muslin made a perfect parachute for us each to grab a corner of and swish up and down, sometimes popping little toys on top to watch them bounce around.



7. They also make a great towel after water play when you've left the big towels inside and don't want those wet toes running through the house!



8. We had a tea party with the dolls and toys using one of the muslins as a tablecloth!




9. We tried to use the muslin as a parachute for one of the toys to slowly float to the ground (although poor Sven landed with quite a bump!)



10. And after all that active play, it was time to cuddle with a muslin that I twisted around to look like a little bunny.




* This is a collaborative post, Babymoov sent us a set of their 4 Seasons Muslin Blankets to play with and find 10 ways to use in order to write this post.*

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Pom Pom Frame

We had a very special birthday in our family last week, and Ethan wanted to make Daddy something special.  I asked him what he could make, and he said that he wanted to make a caterpillar...well we could make a simple pom pom caterpillar, but we talked about what else we could add to it, and the pom pom frame idea was born!


Materials: 
  • paper (we used card, but you could use a photo instead)
  • coloured pencils or crayons
  • lolly / popsicle sticks
  • pom poms
  • glue
  • magnet


We started by cutting out the card into a square (the length of the lolly stick on each side) then Ethan drew a lovely picture for Daddy.  He drew himself, Daddy and Ivy (he ran out of space when it came time to draw me!) And it was nice because he really took the time to draw everyone carefully.  Next he put glue on the back of each stick and stuck them along the sides of the paper.


Before sticking the pom poms on we stuck a magnet to the back of the picture so that we could hang it up on the fridge when it was done.  Then he chose which pom poms he wanted to use, he was very specific about which colours he wanted and in which order.  Then he put glue along the sticks that he wanted pom poms on (just the top and the bottom) and stuck them all on.


Daddy absolutely loved it, and Ethan was so excited to give it to him on his birthday!  It would make a great Father's Day gift as well!