'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

'cause Christmas is different (and the same) everywhere

ages 3 to grownup
I’ve been a John Williamson fan since childhood and a few months ago we were lucky enough to go to one of his concerts as a family. Amazing. There's really nothing quite like a live performance.

During intermission, I came across Christmas in Australia. I had no idea John Williamson had written a children’s book and just had to buy it—my only regret was that the kids were so exhausted by the end of the show we couldn't wait in the line to get it

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bouncing balloons, fizzing sidewalk paint, milk explosions—3 down, 98 to go. We LOVE this activities book!

bouncing balloons, fizzing sidewalk paint, milk explosions—3 down, 98 to go. We LOVE this activities book!

As you can probably tell from some of my other posts, we LOVE making/creating/experimenting at home. Besides being great fun, our crafty times educate, strengthen relationships and encourage communication and vocabulary—plus they're great for fine motor skills.

I’m always on the lookout for new inspiration and, although there are millions of activities on offer on the internet, I prefer to use books.  ..... this one is chock full of boredom busters, crafts, games and simple science—there's no end of inspiration

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reading with grandchildren who live far away – Imogene’s Antlers

reading with grandchildren who live far away – Imogene’s Antlers

ages toddler to 5-years
Ridiculously, 4 of our grandchildren (including newborn Ezra) live in Cairns and 2 are in Tasmania. That’s pretty much opposite ends of the country and at least a two hour flight each way.  So weekly or even monthly visits just aren’t an option. But Samantha suggested this great app—Marco Polo. It’s probably not the original intention, but it works really well for reading stories.

I record a story (dodgy lighting and shuffling pages are no big deal), it uploads, and the grandkids look at it whenever their parents are ready to give up their phones for a few minutes.

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a simple and colourful yarn web + 4 magical books to keep the mood going

a simple and colourful yarn web + 4 magical books to keep the mood going

ages 3 to 12 years
We have a wonderful old lemon tree in the back yard. It needed some pruning and love when we first moved in but it was worth it—not because of the lemons but because Ivy loves playing in and with it so much. It's just the right size for a 4-year-old to test her limits, and has been a castle, a boat, a unicorn, a great friend and unlimited food for the imagination.

Ivy decided that her friend the tree needed decorating, so we made a colourful spider web for it

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a craft-y morning making music + 4 books we love: the beauty of music translated to words

a craft-y morning making music + 4 books we love: the beauty of music translated to words

ages 2 to 6 years, up to pre-teen for the books
Ivy and Angus love making music and even though it can get loud—overwhelmingly loud—I love it too, because I know it makes them happy. They do have some simple percussion toys, but they prefer to pull out all the pots and pans or make random objects into drums.

On a recent rainy day, we decided to use some of our unlimited collection of cardboard tubes to make music shakers. If you're looking for an activity that's interesting, fun and 

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honouring the simple, unconditional (sometimes intense!) childhood love of fabric-friends

honouring the simple, unconditional (sometimes intense!) childhood love of fabric-friends

ages 2 to 6 years
When Ivy was a newborn, some ladies from Church gave her a cuddly pink bunny blanket with her name on it. She was never the best sleeper, so ‘bunny’ became a wonderful tool for comforting/settling—we couldn't (wouldn’t) go anywhere without her.

Ivy is now 4-years-old, but bunny still means the world to her. She doesn’t need her for comfort now, but the friend who helped her through so many difficult times still holds immense value. I think that’s why she loves Guff

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a stereotype-smashing story + Ivy & Angus in their Book Week costumes

a stereotype-smashing story + Ivy & Angus in their Book Week costumes

ages 2 to 7 years
We recently went through all our books trying to find the perfect costume for our playgroup's Book Week parade. There were many contenders, but in the end Ivy chose A Proper Little Lady.

She saw it and proclaimed "This will be the perfect book, I’m so excited!". I was pretty excited too and not just because it was a costume that required no sewing! This was one of my favourite books when I was Ivy's age and I feel a special kind of closeness in sharing and enjoying 

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an edible (ish) mud farm + a few fave books make for a perfect spring day

an edible (ish) mud farm + a few fave books make for a perfect spring day

ages 0 - 6 years
Spring is finally here and while it's still quite cold in Tasmania, the sun is out and we're loving being outside. I'm always on the lookout for new ways to make mess and have fun with the kids, especially outdoors, and found a bit of inspiration while spring cleaning the shed—a shallow plastic container that looked like the perfect size for a mud farm.

I'd had my eye on a muddy farm sensory play activity from The Imagination Tree for a while, so thought I'd give it a try, with minor adjustments to this original recipe: 

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mistakes (oops!) = opportunities to make something beautiful

mistakes (oops!) = opportunities to make something beautiful

ages 3 to 10 years
Do your kids ever get frustrated or angry when they make a mistake? Mine do all the time. It’s the end of the world when they're trying and trying to do something but just can’t manage it. And, if I’m going to be completely honest, it’s the same for me more often than not. The need to get things ‘right’ all the time can be difficult and stressful, leading to a multitude of negative feelings.

Beautiful Oops! has been a wonderful comfort

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5 books to tickle a toddler's senses

5 books to tickle a toddler's senses

ages newborn to 3 years
Angus is a sensory toddler. He loves to get his hands (or mouth, or any body part) into anything with an interesting texture—the sheer delight on his face as he plays with his mashed potatoes and the joy he emanates from trying to eat bubbles in the bath is wonderful to see.

It's also wonderful to see his love of all things sensory extending into his love for books—thanks to these five beauties: 

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