Road Trip with a Toddler | The Before

Now I must confess - we are only off on a 5-6 hour drive this weekend with our little miss...I'm sure many more families go on much longer drives and have great ideas of how to keep their little ones amused! I just thought I would share the things I'm packing to take with us in the car. Our plan is to keep her entertained as long as we can for the first stretch of driving, stop somewhere for food and a play/run around, and then hopefully she'll sleep on the next stretch. I predict the time between when she wakes up and when we arrive will be horrendous so fingers are crossed for a nice looooong sleep! I'll have to write a follow up post when we get home and let you all know how it went (and what I would do differently next time LOL).

So first things first - toys! As well as a few of my busy bags (see previous posts) - I packed a 'surprise' bag full of miscellaneous things. Some of her favourites, some new things - things I can easily pass to her from the front seat. I've also thought of packing things that I can play with her if I need to retreat to the back.

She loves the TV show 'Mister Maker' and I saw this sticker/activity book in Big W and was thinking of popping it in her stocking for Christmas - but no, decided it would be perfect for the road trip. The little mini 'magnadoodle' will also hopefully keep her happily drawing (mess free) for a while.

I also brought along one of her favourite books "Big Book of My World" - it's quite long and has so many detailed pages so when we read it in detail cover to cover it takes ages! I would never leave her unsupervised with the money box and coins - but it will keep her amused for quite a while if I sit with her in the back.

Hanging toys and books that you can clip to the headrests are great (and you probably already have these in your car). Plus the little 'linky clips' are a must have so that little hands can reach the toys.

My lovely facebook mother's group also had some helpful suggestions to offer - music to play, a good repertoire of songs to sing, stickers, plenty of books to read... and this clever little 'Aquadoodle' travel mat from Toys R Us.

Now - food! The plan is to keep it easy and relatively mess free. Jatz bikkies, Cruskits, 'Rafterty's Garden' fruit bars are winners at the moment (don't you just love how toddlers taste buds are constantly changing! One day they love sultanas the next day not at all?) We packed her bottle too in the esky and are hoping that we can get it heated up when we stop. Dummies are a must have as well to increase our chances of getting her to sleep at the usual time.

We have episodes of Peppa Pig, Mister Maker and The Wiggles on our iPhones to play for her if we get desperate. Honestly - if it means she is happy and quiet and we can drive safely that's what's most important. We just pop it in the headrest and she's good to go! Just like a built in DVD player. I love that with the latest iOS update the episodes play continually.

Also did you know about the setting called 'guided access'? If you've got specific apps for your little tikes, you just triple click the home button (once activated in settings) and it locks them in to whichever app they are in - so you don't need to worry about them making calls, deleting precious photos or getting into mischief ;) I recognise that 'screen time' and use handheld devices are one of those parenting choices that not everyone will agree on - so please be respectful of our parenting choice :)

Wish us luck!
Lauren + James + Miss M

Zip Lock Bag Painting | 7 Ways

I'm not here today! Well I'm here but not here.

I'm guest blogging over at my very dear friend Sarah Tamblyn Designs. If you've followed my blog for a while, you would recognise some of her 'fun prints for little people' that I have featured here, here and here.

We decided to team up and guest blog for each other! Her blog is all about arty/crafty ideas (I love the posts she does showing how her prints are made)... So I came up with 7 ways for little ones to enjoy zip lock bag painting.

Please click on the link below to be taken to the full article over on Sarah's blog.

And while you're there browse some of her gorgeous prints!

Lauren :)

20 Busy Bags Ideas for Busy Little People | Part 4

Thanks again to Alison who is here with five more busy bag ideas. I'm so looking forward to compiling them all into one great photo collage ready for Pinterest (see below)!

Here we are again with another busy bag post! The weeks sure seem to be going quick! I had fun putting together these busy bags over the last week and am looking forward to sharing them with you.

These bags are perfectly suited to my 12 month old boy. They focus on developing his fine motor skills and for introducing and practicing new words for his language development. I also believe that they will grow with him and that he will continue to enjoy them as he becomes an older toddler and even a preschooler. The farm set will be used for increasingly complex dramatic play, the Mr Potato Head can have more accessories added to it, the magnets could be used for picture making and puzzles and the wallet may turn into a much loved possession, I know a lot of kids who would love a purse like Mum!

So let's have a look at the busy bags for this week!

1. Farm Mat Busy Bag

A variety of farm animals to play with on a square of material with a farm theme. You could use all sorts of animals depending on what themed pieces of material you can find!

2. Felt Mr Potato Head

Develop both fine motor and language skills as Mr Potato head is built. The great thing about this is that it can be done in any language, perfect for bilingual babies like my boy!

3. Magnets

The lid to a metal container makes a great base for magnet play, think gourmet biscuits and chocolates next time you are at the shops!

4. Wallet with Family Photos

Do you have a child who loves to play with your wallet and pull everything out? Now they can have one of there own! I found an old wallet and filled it with family photos for something sweet. He can recognise names and faces and even partially familiarise himself with new family members he will meet at Christmas!

5. Montessori Cylinder Blocks

I found that the tubes from the middle of garbage bag rolls are the perfect size for fitting our wooden cylinder blocks from our typical set of blocks. I put some (fancy) tape on the bottom to stop the blocks slipping right through and used a rubber band double wrapped to hold them tight together. This is a particular favourite for my 12 month old!

So there you go, 20 busy bag ideas for the busy little people in your life from Lauren at Teacher Types and myself!

Make sure to go back and read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of our series and then be sure to pin your favourites for later so you don't lose the ideas! Or even better pin our collage to come back to them all and help it circulate around the pinterest world.


Here's a reminder of where you can find Alison in the wonderful world wide web!


20 Busy Bag Ideas for Busy Little People | Part 3

Welcome to 'Busy Bag Tuesday' and it's my turn again. Here are five more ideas to add to your collection. I must admit having a blogging schedule to keep up with this month adds a bit of pressure to my weekend! I wasn't as organised with my busy bags this time. But I made it and we are once again linking up for IBOT (and recently discovered 'Turn it up Tuesday').

Finger Puppets with Animal Flash Cards (great for imaginative play and matching)

I couldn't help include the extra photo showing both front and back sides of these gorgeous Eric Carle Animal flash cards (shop here). Older children can be challenged by matching the puppet to the letter it starts with (finger puppets were from Ikea).

Threading Straws and Pipe Cleaners (great for fine motor control)

Gem/Pebble Sorting and Counting with 'Montessori inspired' Number Templates (this one is aimed at older children)

Here's the blog where I found the number templates 1+1+1=1. They go right up to 10 - all you need to do is print, cut and laminate. I've also included an example of sorting and patterns that little people can be kept busy with! I'd suggest 3-5 year olds would enjoy this one.

Mini Sticker Books (simple yet effective if you don't want to carry around a large sticker book with you)

Fuzzy Felts (another 'quiet' one to encourage little imaginations)

Now I can't claim any creativity for this one because I just bought it from cheap as chips. But if you were feeling creative, you could buy some pieces of felt and cut out shapes yourself. And you'll notice my zip lock bag wasn't big enough to fit the felt board - oh well!

One little tip if you're planning to use busy bags for a long car drive, try using a medium sized oven tray as a 'desk' for your little person to put their busy bag items on.

If you've enjoyed the busy bag posts so far, make sure you check out our last one next week. I've got a couple more busy bag ideas that didn't quite make the cut - maybe Alison and I will do a 'Part 5' to this series ;)

Until next time

*** Please take note: as with any baby and toddler play activities, please be mindful of objects smaller than a 50c piece that may present as a choking hazard. Always supervise your little one, and of course, you know your child best.

Learning about 3D Shapes | More Magical Maths

Recently I posted some ideas for how to teach 2D Shapes, and today the focus is 3D Shapes (I did intend to publish this post much soon but...other things happen!)

It's important for children to know that 2D Shapes are flat like a piece of paper, but 3D Shapes can be held in your hand. 3D shapes can be fun to experiment with and discover which ones can roll and which ones can slide. Discuss with the children how many faces, edges and corners they have. Are the faces flat or curved? Are the edges straight or curved? How does the shape feel? This is where a feely bag can be a great way to introduce this concept as well as the individual shapes.

So which 3D shapes should you teach? This is what I would recommend for 5-6 year olds in their first year of school...

- Rectangular Prism
- Pyramid
- Cylinder
- Cone
- Cube
- Sphere

As I mentioned in my 2D Shape post another fun way to begin this unit is a shape hunt. The outcome here is for children to realise that shapes make up everything in our world and helps them establish connections between the classroom and everyday life.

There are infinite uses of dice in a classroom - why not learn about cubes while you are playing dice games?

This anchor chart from Kindercraze is a nifty follow up activity to your shape hunt. Click here to download this resource for free!

In my lessons I would call the 'sides' faces - but each to their own!

One of my favourite blogs (and link ups) Living Montessori Now. I love the hands on approach to teaching 3D shapes, and there are always free printables for you to download.

Here's a post just about Spheres
Here's their post about Spheres, Cubes and Cylinders.
Here's one about Geometric Solid Gift Wrapping (love this idea - definitely one to try)
Here's one about cubes

Polydrons would have to be my favourite classroom resource to teach this unit. It's all about play based learning! Children can connect the flat 2D shapes to create many different 3D shapes. This is a great opportunity to have discussions about how many faces the shapes have - as you simply count the number of polydrons you used to create that shape.

Older children can begin creating their own nets and 3D shapes! I found this useful resource of templates on TpT for only $1! Or this one is free :)

Happy shape play!

20 Busy Bag Ideas for Busy Little People | Part 2

Last Tuesday's busy bag post was a huge success. I'm pleased to welcome Alison here today to share her next instalment of busy bag ideas.

Alison's blog - The Way He Plays is a lovely place with a focus on Nature and Sensory Play. Her little boy has just celebrated his first birthday, so if you have a little bub under one you'll find lots of fantastic play ideas (of course many of her ideas can be used for older children as well). My favourite post of her's is Spring Flower Playdough. I came across The Way He Plays via a comment Alison left on another blog, and realised that she was also from Adelaide. After chatting and connecting we discovered that we went to uni together. Small world! If you're from Adelaide too - you'll know what I mean about that kind of thing happening all the time ;)


Welcome to Part 2 of our 20 busy bag ideas for busy little people! You can see the fabulous bags that Lauren made last week here in Part 1 if you didn't see the quiet blocks then you really must go and check it out, they were my favourite!

When choosing which busy bag to make it is important to think specifically about your child. You want the activity to be something that keeps them busy which means it has to be engaging to them as well as being developmentally appropriate. Choose something too tricky and it is going to frustrate them and cause the same behaviour you are trying to avoid. Choose something too easy and it is going to bore them, not keeping them very busy at all. Finding that happy medium will mean that they can play independently and let you get on with the things you want or need to do. Try paying attention to the toys and activities that your child is already drawn to and make smaller, on-the-go versions of these.

Mini Ring Stacker using a cylinder block, a sturdy lid and wooden curtain rings (great for hand-eye coordination)

Spice containers and pom poms or ear buds (great for the pincer grip)

Cars and a play mat (great for language development and pretend play)
This fantastic double-sided car mat is a free printable from The DIY Mommy which you can find here!

Surprise sensory boxes using match boxes and various materials (great for sensory exploration, guessing games and stacking)

Homemade Toy Puzzle, I simply took a photo of the toys sitting on A4 white paper and adjusted the colours a little on the computer to make the white a pure white for printing (great for visual matching)

These busy bags are designed to keep my 12 month old entertained on a long haul flight so I filled them with lots of exploration, manipulation and cars as these are the things he loves at the moment. I also needed to ensure they would get through security which is why I used paper mache craft versions of match boxes instead of just using and covering the real things!

Don't forget to join us again next Tuesday for 5 more busy bag ideas!

Alison :) 

*** Please take note: as with any baby and toddler play activities, please be mindful of objects smaller than a 50c piece that may present as a choking hazard. Always supervise your little one, and of course, you know your child best.

Thanks so much for sharing your fantastic ideas Alison!
To follow with The Way He Plays you can find Alison here...

A Lesson in South Australian Early Childhood History

You may not know this about me - but my maiden name is Mellor. My Dad's Great Aunt Kathleen Mellor was quite an influential Early Childhood Educator back in the 1940s - 70s in South Australia, and it feels kind of special that I have become an Early Childhood Educator myself. During my years at uni, I learnt a little about her, but recently I became more curious and did some investigating. I thought it would be something nice to write on the blog this month.

My Family Tree

This is roughly how the family tree works out, from Mellor's who arrived in Adelaide from England on the ship "Fairlee" in 1840 up until now. This is more for my sake than my readers to get my head around it!

  • Thomas Mellor, aged 49 came to Adelaide from England on the ship "Fairlee", 07-07-1840
  • He had seven children (second eldest was Joseph Mellor)
  • Who had five children (eldest was Thomas Fox Mellor)
  • Who had six children (fourth eldest was James Taylor Mellor)
  • Who had six children (two of which were my great grandfather Thomas Reginald Mellor and Kathleen Marion Mellor D.O.B 12-02-1906)
  • My Grandfather ('Papa') was David Edison Mellor (the youngest of four)
  • He and my Grandma, Yvonne had four children. Doug (who's daughter Haylie is also a school teacher), Sue Mellor (who is also a kindy teacher), My Dad - Richard Donald Mellor, and Alan Mellor.
  • Then came my brother and I
  • And of course my little Miss M
And there you go! I found this family tree information from this website. It was so fascinating! Have you ever looked into your family tree?

The Early Childhood Pioneer

The information from the following bio was found here.

Fifth of six children of James Taylor Mellor and his wife Emma, Kathleen was eight years old when her father died and she was brought up by her mother. Her ambition was to nurse in a children's hospital. When she left school she was still too young to begin training as a nurse, so she went to Kindergarten Training College, and it was here that her interests remained. She became the first Director of the Lady Gowrie Child Centre, Adelaide (1940-1944) and it was during this time that her first book was written for her children's library corner and later published. This was a success and was followed by the publication of some other hand-made books (see images below). Kathleen became the first Pre-School Advisor to the Kindergarten Union of South Australia from 1945-1970 as was a leader in the development of pre-school education. She also wrote a history of the North Adelaide Baptist Church, and a history of Kindergartens in SA. 

"Kindy gives a child a place of his own where he can grow in his own time away form stress and strain of the fast moving world." - Kathleen Mellor, Pre-School Adviser's Report 1952

Kathleen Mellor was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1970 at Buckingham Palace, for significant achievement and outstanding service to the community.

She passed away on the 16-08-1978, aged 72.

The Children's Book Author

Kathleen wrote a total of thirteen books for young children, four of which were printed as an International Year of the Child project in 1979. These are the four that I still own to this day, and have fond memories of reading them (and being read to) when I was little. I thought it would be nice to photograph the books as a way to preserve them for years to come. When I was googling - I even came across her book on this site.

A photograph taken of the inside back cover of one of Kathleen's books.

Her Legacy

Nestled in the suburb of Tea Tree Gully, in the north-eastern foothills of Adelaide, is the Kathleen Mellor Kindergarten. Opened in 1966, Kathleen was an integral contributor to the establishment of this lovely kindergarten.

I contacted the director and explained my relation to Kathleen, and asked if I would be able to visit the kindergarten. It is evident that the kindergarten's history is important to the director and staff. Kathleen's photograph is proudly displayed along with some quotes.

The kindergarten has a lovely homely, relaxed and comfortable feel. One parent told me that as soon as she walked in, she knew it was the kindy for her family. The natural beauty surrounding the kindy is a part of what makes it so special. Bird and wild life are a key part of the children's learning.

Fortunately I attended a playgroup session on a Monday and took my little miss with me. We had such a lovely time, playing in the cubby house outside, painting and play dough inside.


Kathleen didn't have children of her own, her children were all the pre-school children of South Australia. So it's comforting to know that her name will live on through the kindergarten. The year 2016 will be the kindergarten's 50th celebration. I am hoping to return and be involved! There's even a time capsule which was prepared at the 25th celebration in 1991. A commemorative calendar was also produced to celebrate this milestone and I appreciate the director lending it to me for my research.

So today's post was a little different to normal. But I really enjoyed researching and writing it as well as meeting some people along the way.

Thanks for reading Kathleen's story.

20 Busy Bag Ideas for Busy Little People | Part 1

Welcome to November at Teacher Types. I'm excited to be teaming up with fellow Early Childhood Educator and mum Alison from The Way He Plays to bring you 20 busy bag ideas over this month. Every Tuesday we'll post different 5 busy bags on both blogs for you to try. And we're linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT :)

The idea of busy bags is to be able to take them anywhere - doctors waiting room, long drives, flights, etc. We recently trialled a couple pictured below on a weekend away to the river. Busy bags are designed to be simple, inexpensive, little mess or fuss, easy to carry or throw in your nappy bag or back pack. I don't know about your little one - but the key with my little miss, is to always keep things different, new, ever changing and interesting.

- "Quiet blocks" - just your ordinary kitchen sponges (great for constructing and creating)

- Pom poms & a cardboard tube (great for fine motor and posting)

- Sticky post it notes with crayons (great for drawing and sticking)

- Pegs and paint chips (great for colour matching)

- Pop sticks with velcro corners (great for shape creating)

If busy bags are your thing - please come back again next Tuesday, when Alison and I will be featuring 5 more busy bag ideas.

Lauren :)

*** Please take note: as with any baby and toddler play activities, please be mindful of objects smaller than a 50c piece that may present as a choking hazard. Always supervise your little one, and of course, you know your child best :)

Things to do with Toddlers in the City | Adelaide

Dear Blog...I missed you!
I've had a month off, and now I'm ready to be back.
Love Lauren xox

Every second Monday, hubby has the day off, so we usually try and do something nice together as a family. This afternoon we hopped on a train and headed into town. I love those days when you feel like tourists in our own city. Here's a brief little list of the things my (almost) 20 month old enjoyed about her day...

- The train ride (with snacks to get us through it)
- Lunch at Jamie's Italian (yes they are child friendly - colouring in, high chairs & change facilities provided)
- Riding the escalators up and down in the Myer Centre (over and over again - this was the highlight of her day)
- Handing various items to the man at the door at JB-HIFI
- Listening to a busker playing guitar ("la la la" M says), and giving him some $$
- Smelling flowers in the mall (M is starting to learn 'look but don't touch')
- Riding more escalators in Rundle Place
- A little treat at Cocolat
- Looking into her reflection in the Mall's Balls
- Saying hello to the piggy statues
- Making our way back to the train station and yes riding the escalators many more times while daddy got the tickets
- Looking at each of the big silver numbers 1-9 on each of the train platforms

The train ride home was not as successful as the one in to the city, and little Miss M preferred to walk or be carried most of her day and protested going in the pram. But all in all, quite a nice family day.

There's obviously so much more we could have done, the museum, the botanic gardens, lots of playgrounds and parks, but they will have to wait for another day.

Finally, here are three handy little sites that I follow on Facebook. They have lots of good ideas for things to do all around our lovely little city of Adelaide;
Play and Go Adelaide
Little Lattes
What's on for Adelaide Families

No photos today sorry, but there'll be an exciting post coming up tomorrow!

It's good to be back...
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