Category Archives: Motherhood

Fun (And FREE) Activities With Kids At Home

Mummy Confession: I’m not rich. So sometimes, I use things around the house to keep my kids entertained.

For this post, I have collaborated with fellow Mummy-Blogger Nicola from MummytoDex.com . Feel free to check out her Blog and the great things she has going there from Baby Food Recipes to Everyday Life Posts.

Here are 10 activities to keep babies and toddlers entertained with things you can find around the house! Free and fun! You can get as creative or simple as you wish with these – the sky is the limit!
Some of these activities require close monitoring, so please keep an eye on the little ones at all times when using any of these following suggestions! Some materials pose a suffocation or drowning hazard if left unattended.
(Water safety: even shallow water poses a drowning risk, so NEVER leave babies or children alone around water, no matter how little it may be!)

1. Drum circle
What you need: Some wooden or plastic spatulas, Pots and pans

What to do: Set up a circle using your pots, pans and bowls and place baby in the middle with a spatula. He will love banging on the different shaped objects and hearing the different noises that they make. Encourage him by holding your own spatula and tapping the different dishes.

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Photo Credit: http://mummytodex.com

2. Messy play
What you need: A plastic tablecloth (to protect your floor), A variety of cooked food, A bath ready and waiting for the aftermath

What to do: Cook a few bits of spaghetti and some kala chana and pour it all over the floor to let baby have at it.
I have to admit, most of it was consumed, hence why I used food as opposed to anything else. There are so many recipes on Pinterest for baby safe gloop and paint. The world is your oyster when it comes to messy play. Have the bath ready and waiting and then let babe enjoy a long soak afterwards.

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Photo Credit: http://mummytodex.com

3. Tummy Time Water Play
What you need: An oven dish, Plastic ducks, Some water

What to do: Pour a small amount of water into the oven dish and place some ducks in it. Place baby on his tummy and let him splash the water and move the ducks. Endless hours of entertainment for a baby who hasn’t yet learned to crawl.

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Photo Credit: http://mummytodex.com

4. Treasure baskets
What you need: An old washing up bowl, Any bits and pieces from around the house that baby loves

What to do: I bought a washing up bowl for 50p and started collecting stuff in it that Baby took a shine to such as a large yellow sponge, a whisk, measuring spoons and a plastic spatula. Whenever I need to keep him preoccupied for a few minutes, I bring the treasure basket out and let him have a play with the bits and bobs while I get my jobs done. This helps me massively when I’m trying to stop him crawling into the kitchen!

5. Wallet Play
What you need: Wallet & business cards or used iTunes cards, anything not too important in card form. (You can also do some pictures of the people they know or of objects they love. Laminate those if you want them to last.)

What to do: Give them the cards and the wallet. Let them practise motor skills by putting cards in and out.
I take a wallet everywhere with me, and this always offers some distraction at least for a little while. If you don’t want to use an old wallet, they’re cheap enough to buy, or you can order blank plastic cards online or cut up cardstock if you don’t wish to use old cards.

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Just an old wallet and a couple cards. The more cards though, the better!

6. Tea Party/Picnic
What you need: Cups of any sort, pretend or real beverages, pretend or real food, pretend or real (or toy) guests, blanket/towel/sheet

What to do: On top of material (blanket/towel/sheet), arrange cups in either a hap-hazard order or even practise etiquette and manners. This can be educational or just downright fun! Use silly voices and give yourselves outrageous names. Pretend play is fun! Everyone loves a good High Tea! Host your own with or without costumes, real treats, guests, and superb conversations. For added bonus, send out an invite or create your own invitations for guests.

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Some TimTams for an Aussie tea time!

7. Fort Building
What you need: Sheets, Blankets, Towels and pillows. Support such as a cot, air dryer, or table. Couches or cushions also work well for this activity.

What to do: Using support, cover with materials you have. Create fort. For added bonus, host a tea party, watch a movie, tell stories, or read a book together inside. Forts are always fun!

**Just watch here for toppling things and you’ll be alright. My kids like to pretend my laundry is their fort every time I hang it up.**
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8. Object Sorting
What you need: Any objects, big or small. I went with pegs (clothespins), and two or more containers.

What to do: Honestly, this one is just for the fact that kids love to move things from one place to another. Without fail, I find them digging through my clothespegs and sorting them, so I just gave them two different containers to sort. They are usually in a basket, and I provided them with an empty wipes container that they love to stick the pegs through the hole. This helps to develop hand-eye coordination I’m sure, and the kids just love moving things (as I’m sure you find with their toys, too). For more complexity, find coloured containers and have them sort according to colour, shape, or size!
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9. Scavenger Hunt
What you need: Coloured containers, or colours on a piece of paper, and your house.

What to do: Colour on a piece of paper if you don’t have coloured containers, and have the children look around the house for anything of that colour. If you have containers, have them put them inside. You can specify to various categories, like “your toys that are this colour,” “objects in this room with these colours,” or just have fun with it. Alternatively, go outside and find things of various colours, too. Pinterest has hundreds of ideas for various scavenger hunts, so check these ones out!

10. Colouring-in-a-Box
What you need: Box big enough for child to fit in, crayons/markers/colouring utensils, stickers and other craft items are optional

What to do: Place child in box with colouring utensils. Let them go crazy! Obviously, you need to watch and ensure the box doesn’t topple, or that your munchkin doesn’t eat the crayons, but this can be a decently calming activity.
This is such a great idea I read a long time ago, and my kids absolutely love it! Mum loves that it keeps the colouring tools contained and off the walls. (Side not: make sure the box isn’t near the walls…) I instituted a “crayons stay in the big box” rule when we had a really big box they used. No complaints from my child, just lots of creativity and fun! Afterwards, you can just recycle the box, or even better, use it as a fort or cut it up and make a cool house! So many uses, and kids love boxes!

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What did I tell you? Kids love boxes!

I hope these ideas can lend some help to you mamas out there whether you are looking for something to distract for that moment, or something fun and educational. Add your twist of creativity! Have fun with your children and remember, sometimes the best toys are right under our noses.

Amanda is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Small fees may be earned if you use the affiliate links provided on this Blog to purchase products from affiliated sites. This is a way I can earn a little extra back, so I thankfully encourage you to use the links provided 🙂

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Why I Love Daniel Tiger

Mummy Confession: I love Daniel Tiger.

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Daniel Tiger and Trolley. Photo Credit: Amazon.com

As I discussed in a previous post, my kids get screen time. We’ve been cutting back on it a lot lately, but one show I love them watching is Daniel Tiger. If you don’t know what this is and you have toddlers or preschoolers- look into it!

Daniel Tiger was created honouring Fred Roger from  Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, an American television show loved by many for the years it aired. Many of the characters are similar to the show they are based on, or related to the characters who played a part in the children’s program. Each episode is based on some everyday life events and songs to compliment them.

Many of this loveable Tiger’s musical pieces are sung around our house in relation to everyday tasks. I am a big fan of, “You gotta try new food ‘cuz it might taste good” In addition to, “When you have to go potty, stop and go right away…” The latter is integral to toilet training for us. Daniel Tiger has so many not only educational points, but also every day encouragements in the mode of song. For some reason, it is easier to remember things if they are to a catchy tune. It also helps for the kids to see some character they love modelling good behaviour.

From songs about waiting to lessons on dealing with anger and sharing, he covers it all. My children love to watch the show, and singing along with the songs. They love the characters and stories, and I love that they are learning life lessons by watching.


Currently, I believe this series is available on Netflix or Free to watch with Amazon Prime Membership. There is an Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial available as well as a free month of Netflix if you  are keen to try before purchasing anything.

What are your go-to shows, or favourite escapes that are also educating your children and helping them to learn while having fun?

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas!

Mummy Confession: I’m all for sappy, cliche, lovey-dovey things!

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So, I figured I would compile a list of suggestions for Valentines Day. Take note, these can be used Year-round anyways, but I know that many people buy gifts for Valentines as well. And, just in case you leave it until the last minute, check out this compiled list of last minute gifts.

Even if you don’t do “the Valentines thing” then keep these in mind for birthdays, Christmases, and other gift giving occasions!

This post was not sponsored by or paid for by any of the following companies, but it does contain affiliate links (see disclosure policy). If you prefer not to click the links, please be sure to use a Cashback website to purchase online for a little back in your pocket!

Subscription Boxes
Some of the gifts I’ve been checking out a lot lately have been the monthly subscription boxes, and it seems as good a time as any to consider purchasing a once-off subscription or ongoing subscription!

The Loot Crate is possibly the top box I am interested in- solely for the fact that my husband is a self-professed geek. He loves all Marvel, DC Comics and associated topics, so this seemed like a great pick for him! I just got the original Loot Crate, BUT there are a ton of choices for this box! From Anime to Gaming, Marvel to J.K. Rowling, and even Pets. Search all of their boxes to find the one you love for the one you love! You will not be lacking choices with this gift. Use the link provided for $5 off your first box!
Ships Worldwide

jkrowlingcrate
J.K. Rowling Crate photo credit: LootCrate.com

The Dollar Shave Club is another subscription box, and as it may appear solely for men, I assure you women could use this, too! (But maybe not a great Valentine’s Gift for her unless she has hinted for something of the type.) Subscriptions range from $4-$10 per month for 4-5 razors and you are free to stop at any time! What a bargain for razors!
This club is available to Australia, USA and Canada.

BellaBox is a woman’s beauty sample box with 5 or more beauty samples. (Right now, subscriptions are open for $12.95, and they are nearly sold out!)  For the men, there is Bellobox. This is a men’s quarterly box filled with men’s personal care products. And, if you know someone expecting, they even have a BellaBaby with varying baby products. These all contain surprises that vary box to box delivered straight to your door! Right now, they have a deal going for $5 off your first box!
These subscriptions are available to Australia only. (Search Google and I’m sure you can find something close.)

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BelloBox Photo Credit: Bellabox.com.au

 

Wrappable Gifts
Ok, so if you prefer to have something to wrap up that’s a little more than just the typical card, flowers, and chocolates, here are some alternatives. I, however, love flowers and cards, too!

Yellow Octopus is a place to find unique gifts for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life. They have ideas in all price ranges. How neat is this scrabble magnets set?
Yellow Octopus does ship internationally, but the shipping rate is quite high (flat rate, $69)

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Photo Credit: YellowOcotpus.com.au

Frank Body for all your body pampering needs! I recently stumbled upon this site and thought it a great idea for coffee lovers! Why? Their body scrub is coffee based! How cool! Definitely something different! They also have lovely kits with a variety of products if you aren’t quite sure what to choose. This has to be my top pick personally (hint hint hubs)!
This one is available worldwide, so get shopping!

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The “Mix and Match Kit” Photo Credit: Frank Body

For a fitness-inspired gift, how about the Jawbone Up-Move or Up24 for under $50, or the Garmin Vivofit for under $100! I know fitness trackers can be pricey, but these ones are generally affordable! Shipping for these varies from country to cohntry

Need a little something for the kiddies as well? The Amazon list is lacking for the tiny ones, but my little loves picked some of their favourites! Obviously, use toys according to their age recommendations.


Do you want to have something simple or more personalised than the suggestions mentioned so far? Check out my Pinterest Board for more Ideas (oh, and there’s some cute craft ideas for the kids to do as well)!

Whether your budget is big or small, or even if you don’t do anything at all, I hope these suggestions help with your gift giving (even if it’s a non-Valentine’s deal)!

What are your traditions for Valentine’s Day? Do you give gifts, cards, or something else? What do you like to receive?

Teething: Where Sleep Goes To Die.

Mummy Confession: I despise teething.

With every ounce of my being, I abhor the teething stage. My poor, helpless child, who has no idea about what is going on, is in pain. He can’t tell me about it. All he does is cry. No apparent reason for this, but as I open his mouth, I peer in and see them. It looks different than yesterday, and two spots are starting to resemble parking spots for his first pearly whites. Surely he is too young for this treachery?

Teething is the bane of existence for any infant or toddler and their mother. It turns our sweet cherubs into psychotic beings. Some are lucky to have a child barely effected by the milestone, but I have never been in that position. Below, I have compiled a bit of my tool belt for teething essentials for the soothing of baby and the sanity of mum (and anyone in baby’s life).

The following contains affiliate links. (See disclosure policy.)

1. Washcloth, damp and frozen.
Give baby this to chew on and help soothe those sore gums. Everyone has to have something like this around the house, so no need to buy. (Obviously just make sure it is clean and monitor use.)

2. Kids Munch Mitt
Now, I haven’t personally used this one, but I have heard from mums first hand that this is an excellent product. Especially for the littles who can’t quite grasp toys as easily, this if perfect. It’s available on Amazon and even ships to other countries!

photo source: Amazon.com

3. Teething Toys
These are a no-brainers, and the range for these toys is endless! From the Nuby Teething Keys to the Banana Teether to the infamous Sophie the Giraffe (just keep this one out of water to reduce risk of mould), you can find these fairly decently priced in many stores. Heaps of mothers I know have used these specific toys, and if you look for others, just be sure they are made by a reputable brand, and preferably have a high recommendation from others. (I check Amazon for reviews on everything!)

4. Munchkin Fresh Feeder
Not just for weaning and solids! This is an excellent tool for a teething baby! If your baby is eating solids, pop in a cold or frozen fruit or frozen yoghurt. How to freeze? Use an ice tray. Simple! For the babies not on solids yet, freeze a cube of breast milk or formula And put a bib on baby and let them have at it! Just be sure to monitor any consumption of food, especially the frozen things, using them only for short periods of time.

5. Bibs . Lots of bibs.
The dribble is real for a lot of babies! None of mine have had it quite as bad as my current tiniest! Thicker or plastic-backed bibs are your best bet for avoiding soaked clothing! The Nuby teething bib is also an excellent product, as it has an attached teether at the end of the bib, so it’s easy to reach and use for baby!


6. A sense of humour
Poor little bubs, and poor mama! A little laugh has a lot of power in dealing with the stress of teething, and will help take your baby’s mind off of the pain! Look into some funny YouTube videos, memes, or Pinterest boards. Put a hilarious movie on after a long day.

7. Teething gel/tablets
There are so many options for various gels, tablets and elixirs for teething! Many are natural. So much more than just a smudge of whiskey on the gums for relief!

8. Baby Paracetamol or Ibuprofen
Desperate times call for medicine! If bubs is truly inconsolable, use a pain reliever in accordance with the instructions. If you would take it for the pain, these little ones need it more!

9. Nappies and Nappy Rash Cream
Teething can see nasty rashes and explosions of epic proportions. Be sure your nappies (diapers to you Americans) are stocked, and find a good rash cream and barrier cream. I highly recommend Sudocream for Aussies, as its thick and stays on! From Americans, I have heard good things about Boudreaux’s Butt Paste

10. A nice bath
If your child enjoys baths, they can be an excellent way to calm down and distract from teething. They are also a helpful way to wind baby down for the night and help them sleep.

11. A good wind-down for mum and any associated party
A good book, a glass of wine or hot cocoa, or whatever you go to is for relaxation- do it! Take a nice bath, or just get out into the fresh air to take a minute to breathe! Make sure anyone else who is under the same roof has something for them, too. Teething is rough on everybody in baby’s proximity! Chocolates for the kids to help out and give peace for a minute is well received (like there’s any doubt).

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Honourable Mentions include a Amber teething necklaces and essential oils. It’s best to consult a professional first and use only as directed. Refrain from using necklace while baby is unattended or sleeping.

I really hope this helps someone out there, as these products have had their place in helping me or people I know. What products, tips and tricks do you have for teething babies and toddlers?

7 Magic Sleep Tools

Mummy Confession: I do not cope well with broken sleep. I am probably a grumpier person since having children for this reason.

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(This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure policy for details.)

My kids have all been horrendous sleepers. My first finally slept through the night at two years old. Yes, you read correctly, two years. Until that point, I was waking somewhere between 2-8 times a night (obviously more often when she was a newbie) and running on a total of around 4 or 5 hours of very broken sleep. By the time she was sleeping through, though, there was another baby, which meant more hours of lost sleep.

With each child, there was always some helpful tool that made it a little easier to get them to sleep. With my first, it was zip up swaddles. The Love to Dream Swaddle and Ergo Cocoon were lifesavers well into the double digit months. It helped to calm her when she was overtired and nothing else was working. My second was a little easier to calm, and usually just needed a pacifier (but the right one took ages to find). My littlest at the moment seems calmed by a series of lullaby like tunes, but very specific ones. He also needs to be held in a very specific way before he will succumb to the land of nod (rocked in my right arm while I hold his hand and elbow still.) Below I list some of the ways I have known to calm babies. They may not work for you or your baby, but anything is worth a shot, right?

Before getting into it though, just a notable thing that these are not a guarantee, but suggestions rather. It is also best if you try these when baby (or toddlers even I’m sure) are showing first signs of tiredness, and not overly tired. It was always harder to calm my baby if he has reached the screaming phase (and it escalates pretty quickly here). I have also listed other resources below for help in settling and sleep which you can also find in the “Pregnancy, Baby and Beyond Resources” Page.

Always use a safe sleeping space for baby which adheres to SIDS safe sleeping guidelines for your baby’s health.

1. Routines
Start them early and you may see beautiful habits developing. I know this helps my toddlers, and we even have a routine chart for bedtime on their wall. Establishing a routine helps bubs know when it is time for bed, and they learn fairly early. I found this on Pinterest!

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2. A calming bath
This probably goes in hand with a routine. Now, if you baby gets worked up and excited like mine, this may not work. But, typically it seems to soothe babes to have a nice bath and settle down for the night. (And no running around like a headless chook afterwards also helps!)

3. Sleep Swaddles, Sacks, and Sleeping Bags
It can be a simple muslin wrap, or a one step Velcro or zip up swaddle assistant, but some babies respond better to different ways with these. In the very early days it was the best way to calm that pesky startle reflex that jolted Baby awake at every noise. Some babies prefer to swaddle arms up, and others with arms to their sides. There is even a product called Sleepy Wings that just hold the arms, and you are able to insert pacifiers on either side (how handy)!
In the same category are sleeping bags/sacks/wearable blankets/sleep suits. These either have no sleeve or long sleeves and come in a variety of thicknesses. I have found these can run pricey, so if you aren’t keen to spend a ton, check out your local Buy/Sell Facebook Pages! For my overview of swaddles, check out this post.

4. White Noise or Music…and “shushing”
Believe it or not, there’s an app for that! I am currently utilising my Apple Music free trial to find my babe’s favourite hits. Soft lullaby songs and nature noises seem to be his favourites so far. It even puts my husband to sleep! You can easily find music on Apple Music or YouTube, and once you pinpoint favourites, download a playlist for your convenience. My other less technological ways for accomplishing this include a hairdryer or the oven fan. Apparently the noise is soothing to my baby. And Apple Music has albums with some of these noises, too!

5. Rocking, Patting, Walking, Bouncing
Any movement seems to help. In addition to these, low light and noise may help, or the white noise/music suggestion above. I usually “shush” while doing this one, because it is when baby is most unsettled that we get to this point.

6. Swings, Bouncers, Rock n’ Plays, Car seats, Strollers
When using any of these, please follow the safety instructions and don’t leave the little one alone. I understand these may be the only way babies will sleep at some point, and I was one of them apparently. My parents’ only hope was a swing for my sleep. At the worst points for us, a car trip at 3AM was our last shot. Thank goodness for modern technology!

7. Babywearing

Now, before you completely dismiss this, note that there are several methods of Baby wearing. While ring slings and wraps tend to be a bit more complex, they seem to do a great deal for helping comfort a needy baby. If those are just too much for you, try out a soft  structured carrier. There are several options for any carrier, and many mothers groups have mums who are near experts at babywearing. This is a great way to get things done while baby sleeps, or to simply have your hands free. The Baby Bjorn Carrier One Outdoors works a treat   (and you can check out my thorough overview of it here).

Also

One other idea I read about when first becoming a mum was about the 5 S’s . Check out this school of thought when you may even need some other methods for soothing a sleepy baby!

Noteable mentions would also be essential oils and other natural methods, but I cannot give testament to these, because I have never tried them before. Definitely worth looking into!

I hope these suggestions help out in some way! How does your baby prefer to be put to sleep? Do they have a unique way for you to help them sleep?

Need help putting baby down after he has fallen asleep? Check out here for other tips and tricks when it comes to helping baby stay asleep

…and after you get them to sleep, decide what you do with that Window! Here are some suggestions!

For more help on sleep and setting your baby (for Aussie mums), contact the following or visit them online:

1300 227 434 : Karitane Sleep and Settling Help – Hours vary for phone line. Help on sleep settling for babies.

1300 272 736 : Tresillian Sleep and Settling Help – 7am-11pm Phone line for help on sleep and Settling for babies.