Monday, 29 September 2014

Third Birthday Gift List

This week my baby boy turns three, I can hardly believe it!  It has been a really hectic year and I am not nearly as prepared as I have been for previous birthdays, but hopefully I will have everything done on time!  As well as Ethan's birthday, we have a lot of friends with third birthdays around the same time, so we've got lots of presents to buy!  So I thought that I would share with you some of our gift ideas for Ethan and for his friends' third birthdays.

Balance Bike

This is going to be Ethan's main present, we've gone for Kiddimoto which is hopefully a good one, we will let you know!


There are quite a few games that are recommended for ages three and up, and we particulary like the Orchard Toys games and Galt games.  I think that there's a definite change in children's ability to understand the rules of a game at this age.  And it is a great way to help teach them about taking turns and playing together.

Science Lab Set

We have been given this Learning Resources Lab Set to review, and are looking forward to giving it a try and doing our own experiments.  It's so fun that Ethan is old enough to be doing his own little science experiments, I know that he's going to love it!


Well, books are a great gift at any age really, so of course Ethan will be getting quite a few for his birthday!

Toy clock or calendar

We have been talking more and more about the days of the week, months, and seasons so I think that Ethan would enjoy having a calendar to keep track of things each day.  He also loves clocks and telling me what time he thinks it is, he's not quite ready to learn how to tell the time, but I think that having a clock to play with will be fun and help prepare him to learn the time in the future.


We have been given a Worlds Apart Zebra Trampoline to review, so look for that post coming up.  In general a trampoline is a great gift for a three year old, who should now be able to jump confidently and would have fun with the extra bounce that a trampoline provides.  Also a great way to get in some physical activity if you're stuck in the house on a rainy day.

Arts and Crafts

We love to get crafty and want all of our friends to have fun with arts and crafts as well, so we love to give a crafty gift set.  Hopefully Ethan's friends' parents won't mind the glitter everywhere!

* This post contains affiliate links to buy these gifts from Amazon *

And what better excuse for a little something special for yourself, after all you have successfully raised a child to three years old, and I know that's not easy!  The lovely people at Victorious Bee are offering one lucky winner a Birthstone Necklace with up to 4 different stones of your choice.

This simple and elegant sterling silver necklace featuring 4 semi precious stones holds a secret....each semi precious stone celebrates a month of the year. Our Say Something Birthstones collection offers you a beautiful way of marking a special birthday, or the arrival of a new baby. Or maybe you just want to treat yourself to a piece based on your own birthstone, or the birthstones of your loved ones.

Featured here in Opal, Smokey Quartz, Aqua marine and Agate
Which birthstones would you choose if you won?

* Open to residents of the UK only. *

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 26 September 2014

Play With Your Food - Halloween Snacks

We were challenged by Primula to come up with some fun recipes using their new Primula Kids Cheese, and as Halloween is fast approaching, I decided to give some fun Halloween snacks a try!  We always end up with so many sweet treats at Halloween that this is a great opportunity to make something fun and healthy to fill the kiddies up before they go trick or treating, or for a Halloween party.

First we made some Halloween pumpkin faces on crackers.  I got some nice round cheddar cheese crackers that are a nice orange colour, and we used the Primula to make their faces.  Ethan loved that he could squeeze the cheese all by himself to make a face, telling me that his pumpkin needed a mouth, eyes and a nose.  

Next we made Halloween ghosts using celery sticks, Primula cheese and raisins (for the eyes).  I washed and sliced the celery into small pieces, rounding off the top as much as possible to make the head of the ghost.  I also use a vegetable peeler along the back of the celery to take the stringy bits off, so they then don't get stuck in Ethan's teeth and he's more likely to eat them!  Ethan squeezed the Primula along the length of the celery and added the raisins for the eyes.  Boo!

Then we made a Halloween skeleton, with bones made out of bread sticks.  We used both the mini bread sticks (head, arms and legs) and the long bread sticks (body).  I laid them out for Ethan and we squeezed the cheese onto them together.  This one was a bit trickier for Ethan to do as the bread sticks kept rolling away, but he kept at it and made a cute little skeleton!

And finally, we made a Halloween spider!  I couldn't think of anything black that Ethan would like to eat, so we went for an orange spider instead!  I used a small orange bowl as the body and we filled it with Primula Kids Cheese as a dip, then sliced up an orange pepper to be the spiders legs.  Ethan counted them out for me as I put the spiders legs into the bowl, then happily dipped away to eat his yummy snack.

It really is amazing how many ways you can use Primula Kids Cheese to make yummy, healthy snacks.  

* This post is for the Primula Kids Blogger Challenge, we were given a few tubes of Primula Kids Cheese in order to come up with some fun recipes and share them with everyone. *

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Octonauts Pom Poms

Party planning for Ethan's third birthday Octonauts extravaganza has made me completely Octonauts obsessed!  So after last weeks experiment with making pom poms with a cardboard ring, I now have a fantastic little pom pom maker and just want to make everything a pom pom!  So here is our first attempt at character pom poms, we made Barnacles, Kwazii and Peso and Ethan loves playing with them already.

Pom pom maker
White wool
Black wool
Orange wool
Felt pieces - blue, black, white, orange and yellow

Barnacles and Kwazii were easy as they are just one colour, and for Peso I wrapped the pom pom maker with about 3/4 black wool and 1/4 white wool for his face.  Ethan helped to wrap the pom pom maker for Barnacles (his favourite) it was much easier than the cardboard circle method for him to do, and he loved playing with the pom pom maker!

Next I got out the felt and cut out some of the features of the Octonauts.  I did this quickly, so ours are a bit rough, but with a bit of time and attention to detail I think that these little guys could look fantastic.  Another option would be to find pictures of their hats online and print them out on card to stick on, so that you have the Octonauts symbol on there as well.

For Barnacles I made his hat, ears, eyes and nose, all of which Ethan carefully stuck on in the right place to make the Captain look just right!

Then for Kwazii I cut out his hat, ears, nose, one eye and one eye patch for Ethan to stick on (and then of course to say 'Shiver me whiskers!')

And finally for Peso, my personal favourite, I cut out a cute little hat, eyes and a beak for Ethan to stick on.  Then we left them all to dry for a little while before Ethan started to play with them and take them on undersea adventures!

* This post contains affiliate links, if you are interested in buying a pom pom maker from Amazon please do click through the link, we get a small percentage of the sales made through this link, which then goes towards the running of Play & Learn Everyday, and keeping us in craft supplies. *

Friday, 19 September 2014

Play With Your Food - Felt Food!

This week we're not playing with real food, instead we made some food with felt to play with. It was just a really quick activity to fill the time while Ethan's dinner was in the oven and he was hungry and grumpy about it.  

I got out a packet of felt sheets and some scissors, and asked Ethan if he wanted to make a pizza with me!  Of course he said yes, and so I cut out a yellow circle to be the crust.  Then we talked about what could go on our pizza, so I cut out a smaller red circle to be the sauce, then little strips of orange for the cheese, small pink circles for pepperoni, little white strips were butter (I don't know why, but it was his choice!), then some little black strips were the vegetables.

Then we decided to make a felt sandwich to go with it!  White bread shaped pieces to start, then some pink ham, white chicken, yellow cheese slices, a red slice of tomato and slices of cucumber.  Ethan really liked thinking of all of the different ingredients for our food, choosing which colour of felt to use and then telling me what shape to cut out.  Then when we were done he took them all apart and put them back together again.  When he's done playing with them we may glue them all together to keep them, but for now we're having fun putting them together over and over again!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Planning Ethan's Third Birthday Party

I can not even believe that Ethan is going to be 3 years old in just over 2 weeks.  He's still my baby, how did this happen?  We absolutely love birthdays in our house, and I really want to make this one extra special because Ethan's old enough to really 'get it' this year.  On Ethan's actual birthday we're planning on spending a nice family day together, doing something fun, opening presents, eating cake and going out for pizza to his favourite restaurant.

Then for his party we're inviting all of Ethan's friends to a bit soft play place for fun and games, climbing and sliding together before coming together for lunch in the fabulous Octonauts themed party room!  The venue supplies the food and entertainment, but we still have to plan for all of the other little details.

Ethan is really enjoying being a part of this process, helping to plan his super fun Octonauts party for him and his friends.  We got out a big piece of paper and brainstormed together to think of as many different ideas that we could to make a great party.  He watched as I made his invitations on the computer, then helped to address the envelopes, add some fish stickers and even put them in the post box himself today to send them to his friends.  Now to make all of his ideas become a reality and organise this party!

Have a look at our previous parties (and other fabulous children's birthday parties) on our Pinterest board:

Follow Play & Learn Everyday's board Children's Birthdays on Pinterest.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Pom Pom Making

I am very excited to be going to the Handmade Fair this weekend in London.  I love all things crafty but have been finding it difficult to be creative lately (too exhausted!) so I'm looking for some fabulous inspiration to get me motivated again!  I'm a big fan of Kirstie Allsop and love her shows, I think it was her Christmas show last year that she discovered the fabulous pom pom makers that make it much easier to create perfect pom poms.  I've been wanting to get one, but haven't actually seen one in the shops, so today we were making pom poms the old fashioned way to contribute to the shows 'World Pomination' mission to break the world record for pom poms and to raise money for charity.

I had to look for the directions to make a pom pom maker on a cardboard circle, as I'd actually forgotten exactly how it worked, but luckily Pinterest was very helpful and a simple search showed me all I needed to know.  So I cut out some donut shapes out of a cardboard box, got some wool and started Ethan on winding the wool round and round the cardboard.  It was a great exercise for for his fine motor control as he threaded the wool through over and over again.  He did get a bit tired of it though, so his pom pom is not very fluffy, but he's still very proud of it!  He ran around the house with it for ages afterwards, pretending it was a lasso and saying 'yee haw!' (I have no idea why!)  Ivy also loved playing with the pom poms, a fun little sensory experience.

I'm definitely going to pick up a fancy pom pom maker at the Handmade Fair this weekend!  This isn't a review post, as we made those scraggly pom poms all by ourselves, but I have been given a ticket to the Handmade Fair, which will hopefully mean lots of inspiration for future crafty posts!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Swimming with a Baby and a Toddler

Ethan and Ivy both absolutely love to swim, they are such little water babies, I couldn't keep them away from the water if I tried!  We've taken both swimming since they were tiny babies, and we've always used Huggies Little Swimmers for them in the pool.  So when we were asked to attend a Little Swimmers event, I jumped at the chance!  But of course on the day things just weren't on my side, and we weren't able to make it in the end.  But we did get sent a goody bag to enjoy on our other swimming outings!  

We were so happy to receive lots of lovely things for swimming with Ethan and Ivy, of course there were some Little Swimmers nappies, but also the Little Swimmers Mat, which I hadn't ever seen now, but don't know how we lived without it!  It's non slip and great for changing Ivy at the pool and keeping her dry (I even get Ethan to stand on it when I'm getting him dressed).  They also sent us adorable new swimsuits for Ethan and Ivy from Platypus, an inflatable fish toy, adorable flowery swim caps and lots of other goodies!

We've enjoyed using all of our new swim goodies over the summer, and look forward to lots more fun swimming throughout the autumn and winter before our big holiday next year, when I expect that Ethan will spend the whole time in the pool!  Seeing the two of them in the pool together is so much fun, my favourite moment of our last trip to the swimming pool had to be having them both sitting side by side at the edge of the pool, giggling with anticipation as we counted to 3 before 'jumping' into the water.  I love that this is something that they both enjoy doing so much, and can continue to do as they grow older.  Huggies Little Swimmers have got a campaign about 'Starting a habit that will last a lifetime' which is exactly what we're doing with our two!

* Thanks so much to Huggies for sending us some of their swimming products to try out and to write an honest opinions about. *