5 Ways to Use Letter Bricks

It's no secret that LEGO and DUPLO are more popular with young children than ever. Little Man spends ages building towers with DUPLO and Miss M creates some amazing, creative constructions out of her LEGO. It's always a popular choice of activity in my classroom and is so open ended with infinite possibilities!

So naturally, if you can find a way to tap into this interest to incorporate some more Literacy and Numeracy with your own children or children in your care - why wouldn't you take that opportunity? Recently I connected with the small business Lime Tree Kids, and they were kind enough to send us some Coko lower case letter bricks to feature on the blog. Both of my kids loved playing with them and it didn't take me long to come up with a list of 5 different ways to play with them!

The great thing with these bricks is that they still connect to regular DUPLO bricks as well as the base, so you can easily add them to your existing collection.

So when I first presented these to Little Man - this is what he did...

...followed by his rendition of the alphabet song, pointing at any random letter he wanted to. But this is great! This is where it all starts people!!

BOOK WEEK 2018: Find Your Treasure

BOOK WEEK is here!! I just love this year's theme Find Your Treasure, don't you? Taking place across the country from the 18th - 24th August, teachers are preparing their engaging activities and parents have (most likely) organised their child's costume.

To me, books themselves are treasured items. Your child's favourite book is a treasure. The one you've read to them over and over again, so often that they can recite it by heart. But of course there are some more literal ways to interpret this year's theme... here are some of my favourite activities!

This is a sponsored post as part of my Brand Ambassadorship with Teach Starter. 

Image Credit - CBCA


How I Started My Grimm's Wooden Toy Collection

So many people within the Facebook groups I'm in, or on Instagram are often asking "What Grimm's product would you suggest to get started?".

Well, mine began way back in 2015 and I've been gradually adding items piece by piece. As you probably know, there's a lot to choose from! So let me share with you where our collection started and what my latest purchase was, and most importantly, where you can get them from here in Australia!

Disclaimer: Some of these items have been gifted to me by various brands over the years, and some I've purchased myself. Grimm's really is my most favourite wooden toy brand. The quality is beyond belief. This is not a sponsored post. 

My first item was the medium rainbow for Miss M's transformation to a big girl rainbow themed bedroom. If you're considering getting a rainbow (Grimm's signature toy) have a think about whether you want small (11cm), medium (17cm) or large (38cm) and which colour combination you want. If you want to use for small world play, then the small would be ideal. But if you want it for large scale block construction - go large.



Game changers and change makers...

Doesn't that theme just get you excited for Science Week? To me it's all about STEM, innovation, inquiry, investigations and experiments. We want to encourage our students to think outside the box, use their creativity and push the boundaries of what they already know and take for granted.

Science Week 2018 takes place of the week between 11th and 19th of August right around Australia. Some schools might choose to do lunch time activities in the Science labs, buddy class activities, rotations around the school or simply make extra time in their timetables for some super fun Science activities within their own classrooms.

This is a sponsored post as part of my Brand Ambassadorship with Teach Starter. 

Displaying Special Family Memories

I'm sure I'm not the only mum that has absolutely stunning photos of my kids saved in folders on my computer - just waiting (begging!) to be put on display.

Photos of your kids are just so precious, and I must admit I have a few more around the house of Miss M than of Little Man - so that's why I chose this gorgeous photo of him (taken about a year ago mind you), to have printed on a canvas by CanvasChamp.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Brand Meets Blog. 


Learning the Alphabet before starting school

Children’s minds are like little sponges, soaking up anything and everything they are exposed to in the early years. There are so many ways to introduce them to the letters of the alphabet in their leading up to formal schooling. They will, of course do a lot of this in their first term of school, but being familiar with the alphabet will give them that little head start.

Now I’m not suggesting to bombard them with worksheets and make them write their letters ten times over – if you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’m all about play based learning and I have done so many alphabet posts before (just search “alphabet”). I also want to advise you not to put pressure on your child or yourself that they “must know every letter before they start school”. Some children take longer than others, and some will be ready before others. These days there is also a huge age variation among Reception/Prep classes. Some children might be four and a half, some children might be approaching six years of age. Today’s post is more about proving a print rich environment using some of the fantastic products from Bright Star Kids.

This is a sponsored post as part of my Brand Ambassadorship with Bright Star Kids.


Fun and Fabulous Four Seasons Activities

I'm really interested to know, how do you go about teaching the four seasons? Does it come under your Maths curriculum when you are learning about days, weeks, months and time? Or does it come under Science when you're examining the weather, Earth and space? Or maybe it's a little bit of both. Do you do it all in one unit? Or spread it out over the year so your Summer lesson plans take place in the Summer time? I don't think there is a right or wrong approach, I am just genuinely interested! Please let me know via the comments below or over on Instagram.

Anyway, regardless of when and how you teach it, here are some fantastic resources for Junior Primary level you might want to try!

When setting up your classroom at the start of the year, months of the year visuals and birthday charts are always a must have! I love how the seasons are reflected within the months of the year labels, each of which is subtly different to the last, adding a point of interest and discussion. Children can also use these as a stand alone activity where they need to place them in order or group the seasons. The poster below would make a great addition to a class calendar display as well!


Why Pretend Play is so Important

We have had our little play kitchen for three years now and it's still played with regularly by both of the kids. Little Man loves to chop the fruit and make coffees, while Miss M feeds her dolls. Pretend play is such an important part of early childhood development for so many reasons (which I'll get into later in the post).

After a while though, it's always good to change things around and provide different play opportunities. We were lucky enough to be gifted this Large Retro Grocery Store thanks to Tiny Tiny Shop Shop. So we've relocated the play kitchen to another part of the family room to make room for the shop and to provide some new play opportunities. The kids are absolutely loving it and they are surprisingly playing really well together!

Gifted for the purpose of this review. 


Outstanding Oceans: Ideas for Junior Primary

At school this term we are bridging the gap from "Living Things" in the garden, to "Living things under the sea". It's another one of my favourite topics with so much scope across several learning areas - and it's just so pretty! All that blue looks amazing in the classroom (just like my discovery table pictured here).

Here are just a few fun resources from Teach Starter to get the ball rolling if you're keen to try an Ocean unit of work with your Junior Primary class.

This is a sponsored post as part of my Brand Ambassadorship with Teach Starter. 


Learn and Grow with the New Officeworks Range

Don't you just love wandering the aisles of Officeworks? All that pretty colour coded and matching stationery makes me feel like I could be the most organised teacher ever. Miss M shares my love of pretty stationery and is always so excited to simply just buy a new pen or notepad, but Officeworks recently launched their new Learn and Grow range, opening up a whole new world of kid's products and I'm sure it will fast become one of their favourite shops too!

Please note, this is not a sponsored post, although we were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of this new product range which included a very generous goodie bag! I couldn't help but show you some of the products in more detail here on the blog. 


Teacher Carry All Review + GIVEAWAY!

One thing that most teachers have in common is that we seem to cart everything except the kitchen sink to and from school. Folders, planners, student books and papers to mark, picture books, toys, resources, laminating, art supplies, ingredients, materials, storage, not to mention our lunch and drink (because, you know, we need to remember to eat and can't survive on coffee all day!)

I was in desperate need of a new teacher bag, so I was thrilled to recently discover the Teacher Carry All! Keep reading for all the info AND a sneaky giveaway that's happening over on my Instagram RIGHT NOW!

Kindly gifted for the purpose of this review. 


10 Grimm's Products for Under $40

You probably know by now how much I love Grimm's wooden toys and I'm always adding to our collection. Some people assume that these gorgeous products are out of their price range - (first of all let me assure you that they are totally worth it due to their uniqueness, quality and open ended play opportunities). But if you're looking for something a little less expensive than the trademark large rainbow (which is usually around the $130 mark) and you still want to start your Grimm's collection, then I've found some gorgeous ideas for you! All from my favourite Grimm's stockist The Creative Toy Shop who I'm proud to say I've been working with since they opened!

This post contains affiliate links. 

Click to shop

Mother's Day Art, Craft & Gift Ideas

Well we are half way through the school holidays here in SA which only leaves a few weeks to get the Mother's Day gifts sorted! How quickly is this year going???

I've found some super cute ideas during my Pinterest scrolling that I really wanted to share with my teacher and early childhood educator followers. You might recall that last year my Year 2 students and I combined science with our Mother's Day gifts and created home made bath bombs. I also wanted to remind you of this post from the previous year - these ideas are super simple, perfect for dads to do with the kids at home.

Anyway, now for some new ideas! This first one is of course from Teach Starter which is always my first stop when looking for resources. This flower paper craft is so simple but so effective.


Top Tips for Teaching Shape

Today we're talking about SHAPES!

It's probably the second biggest Mathematics unit in your term after Number. Children are usually exposed to the basic 2D shapes well before they start school (quite often thanks to the Play School windows), but it's so important that we as Junior Primary teachers give them a good foundation of both 2D and 3D shapes. As I was planning this post, and how to incorporate some Teach Starter resources, I came up with four key points to keep in mind when planning learning experiences for young children.

  • Make it hands on
  • Make it real life
  • Make it purposeful
  • and make it fun.

This is a sponsored post as part of my Brand Ambassadorship with Teach Starter


A Wrap Up of our Term 1 Living Things Unit

I don't know about you - but we had THE BEST time in the Early Years in Term 1. So much learning happened. So many new things, new friends and new experiences.

For a few years now, our key theme for Term 1 is "Living Things" alongside our author study of Eric Carle. Of course we are always evolving, adding, changing and updating our programme, but the overarching theme has remained the same. It's just such a good starting place for the first term of school.

Eric Carle Animal Alphabet flash cards + alphabet pebbles + alphablocks

Way back when I first started blogging in 2014, I did a post about our Eric Carle Author Study (read it here - my how much my blog has changed and evolved since then!). In this post I go through 5 of the key texts which are all about insects/living things in the garden. Today's post is a bit more general and to show you some other things we've been doing (incase you missed them on Instagram).


A Little Penguin's Guide to Life {Book Review}

When the title of this book first popped up in my Facebook feed, it immediately caught my eye. I was intrigued! I fell in love with the book even more when I received it, turned to the first page and began reading it to my children.

*cue heart melting

A Little Penguin's Guide to Life is a children's book about life's most important lessons (ten to be precise). In the words of the creator herself, it's more than a picture book. It's an emotional developmental tool. Think of it like a handbook.

The book has been written and developed by Chantelle and Ali Terai, and 'Little Penguin' is based on their son Marcel. He was at the forefront of their minds when writing the book. Chantelle, like me is a school teacher and Ali who has previously worked in education and now runs his own business. They are just your ordinary couple who dreamed of creating something special - and they have! So that's why I'm helping them to spread the word.

Kindly gifted for the purpose of this review. Not sponsored. 


Excellent Easter Activities for All Ages!

Easter is so much earlier than usual this year. It's certainly crept up on us and will be here before we know it! So it's time for me to start planning and thinking about the activities we are going to do in the classroom and at home.

Part of my role at school this year is preparing our morning "provocations" activities for all four Early Years classes. This means 5 activities per class, with enough materials in each activity for a small group of four children to use. So that's a total of 20 activities for more than 80 children! After a week, we rotate the set of activities around to another class to always keep them fresh and interesting.

I've decided to put together some Easter provocations for us all to use for the week leading up to Easter. There's going to be a mixture of fine motor, sensory, loose parts, alphabet and number. Plus there are so many more amazing ideas I've come across, although I might not be able to get all of them done! Still worth sharing though :)

So the first suggestion I have in the lead up to Easter this year is to keep your egg cartons! I've discovered so many cool ways to use them in your Easter activities. One of which is the pom pom colour sort using plastic eggs and these funky fine motor tools from The Creative Toy Shop.


10+ Ways to Learn Numbers with a Hundreds Board

The hundreds board is one of the most fundamental mathematics resources for Junior Primary. It perfectly demonstrates the base 10 number system to young children, encourages counting and makes number patterns easy to find and identify. There are so many ways to use them so I've rounded up my favourites to share with you today!

Sponsored by Teach Starter as part of my Brand Ambassadorship. 


LATEST Book Release from Zanni Louise!

*1st March launch

You may have heard of the Australian author Zanni Louise as I've reviewed two of her books before; Archie and the Bear and Too Busy Sleeping (which is still a favourite of Miss M's - she's actually bringing it in to school for show and tell as her favourite book). Well, today on her launch day, I'd like to introduce you to a new super fun and quirky character who has just started school.

Everyone, meet Tiggy.

"Tiggy's special magic paintbrush can help her solve any problem... except sometimes her magic paintbrush creates brand new problems for Tiggy and her imagination to fix!"

Kindly gifted for the purpose of this review. 

It's never just a cardboard box

I am constantly amazed at the creativity of young children to see the possibilities in ordinary things. Various recyclable materials and other bits of "junk" can be magically transformed into imaginative worlds and crazy new characters.

A while ago, Miss M's school books arrived in a cardboard box, measuring about 60cm x 40 cm x 5 cm high (plus an identical lid), and I thought to myself, I can't just put it in the recycling bin, surely we can make something out of them! They were the perfect size for creating a small world, so that's exactly what we did.


What Type of Learner is Your Child?

We know that all children learn differently, but did you know that there are four (possibly even more) distinct different learning styles? In today's guest post we discuss the four main types of learners to help you identify which category your child falls into. Once you figure that part out, then you can aim to specifically teach them or guide them with their learning in the way they learn best, thereby giving them the best possibly outcome. 


Our latest craft contributions for Inspire Book Box

Did you know that I'm one of the regular contributors to Inspire Book Box? Every second month I'll come up with an art and craft activity that ties in with the theme and key text from that month's book box. I really love how children's reading and literacy is being extended into the arts (and cooking too!) through these comprehensive packs. Here's my previous post with my very first activity contribution + review.

Inspire Book Box is so much more than a book delivery. It's almost like a mini unit of work carefully curated and themed to match the picture book perfectly, and that's why I'm so proud to be part of the team. It really warms my heart to see other children all over the country enjoying my activities after their Inspire Book Boxes have arrived in the post!


"I Want to be an Artist" {My Creative Child Review}

You might remember when I took Miss M to an art class at Little Picassos last year. These beautiful art experiences for young children are held at Glenelg and Hyde Park studios (both of which are not near me!). So I was thrilled when I found out they are offering subscription art kits from their new side business called My Creative Child, because it means Miss M and I can create beautiful art together at home.

The February Art Pack was kindly gifted for the purpose of this review. 

Everything you need to create the art is included, already cut to size or pre-prepared, and the materials are of a beautiful quality (Miss M got her first set of oil pastels which she's so excited about, now that she's a school girl).

There are 5 activities included in the pack, all carefully planned out and tied in with a particular theme for that month. I noticed a similarity between the activities and the art classes themselves; let me explain more..


"Nothing Without Joy" - Reggio Emilia Explained

If you've been following me on Instagram (first of all - thank you!), you would have heard me talking about the Reggio Emilia approach and how we are incorporating this teaching philosophy into our Early Years classrooms this year. I am so excited about this path we are heading down, and I really want to share more about it with you all!

Back in 2016, I had three lovely guests join me here on the blog, to explain the Montessori, Reggio Emilia and Waldorf educational practices, and it turned out to be my second most viewed post EVER! (Here it is again incase you hadn't seen it - but after you'd read it please come back!).


All the love heart eyes for these Valentine's Day ideas

Apart from going out to dinner with my husband, I've never really done much for Valentine's Day in the classroom or with my own kids at home. But lately I have seen some of the cutest, sweetest ideas on Instagram that I just had to share them and try some myself (or share with my teaching partner because she'll be the one in our room on the actual day). Valentine's Day has evolved to being more of a celebration of the special people in your life and recognising the things that you love. So with that in mind, I thought I'd share these oh so gorgeous activity ideas!

First up are these 2 ingredient clay dough glitter hearts which I could totally see being hung as ornaments on a twig tree in your classroom. They sound really simple to make - but plan to make them ahead of time if you want the children to take them home to give as gifts. They could also be repurposed as Christmas or Easter tree decorations! Making simple play dough hearts would also be a great idea. 


How to Customise and Create Your Own Teaching Resources

Do you ever find that when you're scouring the Interwebs for teaching resources, you just can't find what you're looking for? I mean, every class is different and is likely to have different needs. Not to mention that within each class are students who also have individual needs. Rarely would there be a "one size fits all" approach to your worksheets or lesson plans.

So your first stop could be the Teach Starter "request a resource" option if you are looking for something in particular. The community then gets to vote on the resources they would also like to see created and each week the Teach Starter team creates the top 10!

But today's post is more about the custom worksheets you can make yourself using the Teach Starter widgets. I've had a play around with handwriting, sentence starter writing prompts, maths worksheets, and word searches to give you a bit of a sample of what you can create.

This is a sponsored post as part of my ongoing Brand Ambassadorship with Teach Starter. 


Diary of our Summer

I have really treasured these summer school holidays for a number of reasons. Number one being that Miss M is off to school very soon! So I've been wanting to make the most of this time with her (especially the days that Little Man is at Child Care and it's just the two of us).

As always, I love to share these little snippets of our daily life and beautiful city here on the blog. We did so much and has a great variety of things to see and do over the five weeks (as well as Christmas and Little Man's birthday of course!).

I seriously cannot believe we are nearly at the beginning of her school journey. She really is so excited and I'll be sure to share how it all goes over the next few weeks. School also means that on the days I'm not working, I'll get some special time with the Little Man to take him to Kindergym, Play group, swimming and the Library.

So here's just some of the summer holiday activities that we got up to!

Kid and Hub

Helping your child learn to read with Reading Eggs

Learning to read is one of the most important skills your child will learn. Naturally as a parent you want to know how you can help them learn to read at home. The first thing I always recommend is reading aloud to your children every night, but as they begin to show an interest in letters, words, and 'having a go' at reading themselves - I'd suggest you grab your device and give Reading Eggs a try (Right now, they are offering a limited time 4 week free trial when you sign up at www.readingeggs.com.au/teachertypes before 20 Feb!) 

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own :)


How to be SUPER organised for back to school

Well, Christmas is well and truly over and we have all celebrated the start of a new year. Teacher types around the country and probably relaxing and enjoying their breaks, while some of us are starting to think about getting organised to head back to school (we are a bit like that, us teacher types).

This is a sponsored post as part of my brand ambassadorship with Teach Starter. 

My friends at Teach Starter have so many amazing resources to make it easier for you to be super dooper organised for 2018. If you haven't already got a teacher planner, consider printing your own! There are some gorgeous designs and options that Teach Starter has created, and I wanted to show you the "chalkboard" series. It's all completely customisable as a word document if there's anything about it you wish to change. We all work differently, so it's great to be able to craft your planner - just the way you like it. Here's just a few sample pages...

Your year at a glance, for special events, birthdays etc...
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