Garden exploration

Two of my uni subjects crossed over quite nicely last semester, Primary Science and Health and Wellbeing. Both involved getting out and about outside to enhance student’s connection with the world around them. For my assignments, I did a number of teaching activities that involved my kiddies and their friends, incorporating literature with outdoor activities for Prep-aged children.

Amazingly, a lot of the things we did have stuck – which is really satisfying for me! Bug collection has become a big one in our family, and probably the highlight has been finding praying mantises. I really feel that it’s helping my two with their fear of creepy crawlies. Making collections is another, and we now have a permanent “nest” by the front door where all our goodies are deposited.

There’s nothing like being outdoors, and the kiddies just seemed to get so absorbed in whatever they do, whether that be sweeping leaves, digging to China, extracting toys from blocks of ice or looking for birds through their toilet roll binoculars.

Recently we made bird feeders from old cartons. I cut out the windows, and my two decorated them with stickers. We hunted around the garden for appropriate sticks, filled them with seed and hung them in the trees. Applying the stickers, cutting the string, and spooning the seed were all fantastic fine motor skill activities. We also discussed recycling and repurposing, as well as what birds like to eat.

img_0446img_0450img_0452img_0453There’s something lovely about having an addition to our garden routine. As well as checking on the worm farm, looking for vegies, inspecting the fairy garden, and watering, we can now also check bird seed levels!


Hama time

Remember Hama beads? Bit retro, hey?

We’ve become a bit addicted. Adella has been churning out drink coasters for friends and family in epic proportions. After ironing, I glue a piece of felt onto the back to strengthen them, and they’ve been holding up really well. I think she should start a market stall!


Then, we were in Lincraft two days ago, and we found kits. You should’ve seen her jaw drop. So, it was mermaids and princesses, of course.


In terms of an activity, it reminds me of Lego. You have to follow the instructions carefully, plus it is SO good for fine motor skills. She pretty much did these on her own, and just needed help with the shape of the tail, and the placement of the eyes.

Arlo and I are working on a parasaurolophus!

I’m thinking that we could make some cool Christmas decorations too.

What have you made with Hama beads? Please share!



Sewing tutorial: Car organiser

Grandma collected a GREAT set of mini books from an Advertiser promotion earlier in the year. There are a lot of favourites in there, like Hairy Maclary, and they are a perfect size to hold for little hands. We quickly adopted them as entertainment for long car journeys, as we did a few trips between Melbourne and Adelaide in quick succession. They came in a little bag which we hung over the passenger headrest, so she could help herself. Which was great, in theory. The books often got caught on the internal hem of the bag, so one of us had to stretch our arm around and pull out each one. And, of course, the bag itself soon fell apart, despite being reinforced by my sewing machine a couple of times!

So, since I well and truly had my sewing machine and sewing supplies unpacked from our China shipment (including gorgeous Chinese fabric), I decided it was time to fix this problem myself! I’ve set this up as a kind of tutorial, in case anyone is inspired and would like to follow suit. I, of course, started by scrounging on pinterest, and was particularly inspired by this Grab and Go Traveler. I followed some basic ideas from these, but designed it to suit the things that we play with in the car.


I measured our passenger seat and headrest and these were the measurements that I came up with. I have included a 1.5cm seam allowance for each side, so 3cm has been added to my original measurements.

  • Main piece (cut 2) – 36cm x 53cm
  • Strap (cut 2) – 36cm x 6cmIMG_3262

Then, I measured the items that I wanted to put in specific pockets. I wanted a pocket for the books, her sunnies, her toy phone and then a general pocket for snacks, clothing and extras. In the end, there was also space for an extra one, so I added another little pocket. I wanted all the pockets to be “seamless”, as in, I didn’t want any seams that could catch things as she pulled things out. So, every piece is doubled, so it can be folded over. W = width, H = height.

  • Book pocket (cut 1) – 36cmW x 51cmH
  • Phone pocket (cut 1) – 17cmW x 25cmH
  • Sunnies pocket (cut 1) – 26cmH x 7cmW
  • Large pocket (cut 1) – 41cmW x 45cmH
  • Extra pocket (cut 1) – 19cmW x 25cmHIMG_3275

For each pocket I followed the same directions. I “crimped” the pockets to give them depth. For example, for the book pocket, I crimped it until it was only 17cm across, to allow 8cm depth for the pile of books.

For each pocket:

  • fold in half, right sides together, and iron
  • stitch the sides together (with about a 1cm seam)
  • turn inside out (now the right way) and iron
  • sew a top seam to look neatIMG_3265
  • fold the bottom seam up and iron
  • (I also folded in the corners like triangles and tacked them in place to make the sewing easier)IMG_3266
  • pin to the right side of your main piece, and crimp to give each pocket depthIMG_3267 IMG_3268
  • sew in place (with about a 0.5cm seam)
  • (I also did a double seam for strength)IMG_3270

Once you have attached all of your pockets, attach the strap at the top using a 1cm seam allowance. Then, sew your second main piece to your first using a 1.5 cm seam allowance, leaving a 10cm gap at the bottom for turning.IMG_3286 IMG_3289

Turn it the right way out, hand sew up that gap and it’s done! Yay!IMG_3292 IMG_3294

I had some other ideas that could definitely be incorporated:

  • a specific pocket for a drink bottle – perhaps with elastic?
  • a loop to attach snack cups
  • elastic to put around the the whole chair to hold the organiser in place (I was worried with the shape of our seats that this would be uncomfy for the front passenger though)
  • like the Grab and Go Traveler, having a way to close it up and transport it would be great for older kids, especially for taking art things around

Have you made something similar? Or do you have other fun car activities to share?