Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Some favourite toys for independent and open-ended play

The toys that my children love playing with are also the toys that I love because of their timeless appeal and also because they encourage creative and/or independent, open ended play- for example if they are playing 'babies' this game can go on for a very decent amount of time depending on the age of your children! So I thought I'd share my favourite and my children's favourite toys with you- nearly all of these have been brought from a second hand kids shop nearby or from Trade me-I rarely buy toys brand new, and I love buying things to add to a collection e.g: duplo, toy cars or Fisher Price Little People. These are also the toys that both Jack and Stella love playing with so they appeal to both boys and girls. I've written them in order of what they play with the most...

1. Cars
Definitely the most popular toy in our house, both Stella and Jack love playing with our collection of cars, buses, motorbikes and the like- most of them were bought in a bulk lot of trademe for about $15 all up, with a few extra cars and things coming from christmas and birthday presents. I bought the car mat from Payless Plastics- it comes on a roll so you can choose how much you want. They don't use the car mat all that much though, just the lounge floor and couches are enough most of the time! A friend had this cool car ramp at her place so I did buy this new- it was $10 from K Mart in the toy section with the Matchbox car range.
2. Babies
I bought my first toy baby when I was pregnant with Stella so Amelie would have a baby to play with which was great advice. This is a really popular game to play when they have friends over but they also love playing with them when they're on their own at home too. We have about 4 now I think, 3 from the second hand shop and one was a birthday gift (handy when there are a few kids over -they can all have a baby each.) I got the little cot from Trade Me, the buggy and the high chair were birthday gifts from family, and the bath and baby accessories were also from the second hand shop. 
3. Puzzles
Puzzles are really popular with all 3 of my children, they all loved the wooden ones with the little pegs in them when they were around 2 years and now they are loving the alphabet cardboard ones and some easyish jig saw puzzles as well. I love them playing with puzzles- lots of learning, fine motor skills, problem solving etc and they get a great sense of achievement when they complete one.  Dollar value type shops have heaps of really budget friendly puzzles and again Zero to Five has heaps as well. Also lots on Trade Me.
4. Duplo
Duplo is a fantastic thing to start collecting if you have little ones- I bought a bulk bag for $40 from Zero to Five which was a great starting point to our collection, and then every Christmas my dad has bought them a set which is a great tradition. It's a great open ended imaginative toy and my 7 year old still enjoys playing with it. Lego is great too but we've found it better for older children say 5+ years at least (but that's just our kids, some I know starting playing with lego younger)

5. Fisher Price Little People and Fisher Price Toys
I have a bit of an obsession with vintage Fisher Price toys and have started a little collection of them, nearly all from Trade Me. The kids also got a few Fisher Price Little People Sets for birthdays or Christmas so we have a good little collection of that- the bus is by far the most popular toy, Jack would play with that nearly every day putting his little 'persons' in and out of the bus.  Again on trade me there are quite a few bulk lots of Fisher Price Little People if you were wanting to start a collection.

6. Doctors/Vets
All you need for this is lots of soft toys and a doctors play kit. And plenty of wrap around bandages!

7. Farm animals
I made this reversible playmate last year and the kids love getting out the animals and playing farms with it. If you can find a collection of animals on trademe try and find one that has fences too so they can create their own farm paddocks.
8. Playdough
I've included playdough as the kids love it but it's not exactly independent play compared with the other toys, and the mess afterwards.... well lets just say I'm pretty happy I have very old carpet at the moment! I pick up quite a few playdough 'tools' from op shops- look out for anything in the kitchen wares like plastic knives, pastry cutters, old muffin trays etc. 

There are loads more great imaginative toys out there, tea sets for tea parties, dinosaurs, trains, dress-ups are another one of my favourites…would love to hear of your favourite toys :)


Monday, September 15, 2014

DIY Scotch® Tape Gift Boxes and tags

You might remember back at the start of the year I took part in a fun campaign for the new Scotch® Expressions Tapes.  I shared ideas for a fun washi tape craft party, a washi tape dollhouse and these crafty posts as well…

 Well I am taking part part in another campaign for Scotch® as they have a new promotion and competition happening, as well as lots of gorgeous new tapes. If you take a look on my instagram page you can see photo's of the new tapes at my local Warehouse Stationery. I took my daughters with me and they were going crazy for all the new tapes, especially the neon ones and the rainbow ones :)

I was asked to write a tutorial under the theme Gift Boxes/Bags/Gift cards so immediately what popped into my mind was how to make these gift boxes. I was taught how to make these by a teacher at the school I used to teach at (thanks Roger!) and I made them with my classes every year at Christmas time- they are super easy to make and you can have so much fun decorating them. 

You can make these gift boxes any size you want. For this tutorial I used 2 pieces of card sized A4 each. As long as your two pieces of card are the same size (one for the base and one for the lid) you can do whatever size you want. I recommend using 160 GSM card stock for these boxes.

DIY Washi Tape Gift Boxes (and matching gift tags)

You will need
2 x A4 pieces of card
Long ruler ie: longer than a normal 30cm one
Rolls of Scotch® washi tape

1. Take one of your pieces of card. This can be the base of the box. Draw two lines from corner to corner as in pic above ( this is to find the middle of your piece of card)
2. Fold each side of your piece of card into the middle (where the two lines meet). 

3. I have drawn lines to show where you will cut to make the tabs- where each vertical fold meets the horizontal fold on the side of the card.
4. Cut these lines to make the tabs

5. Starting on one end of your piece of card, bring the two smaller tabs on each side of the middle tab together into the middle to make the side of the box. Bring the larger tab up and fold the top of it it over the smaller tabs.
6. Staple to keep the tabs together. Repeat on the other side of the box

Repeat steps 1 - 6 on the other piece of card to make the lid. (The lid will fit snugly on the base as they are the same size, you'll just need to squeeze the base a bit to get it to fit inside the lid.)

Now have fun decorating your base and lid with the new Scotch® washi tapes!  Wrap the tapes around the box, make stripes with different tapes, cut out triangles with the tape and make a pattern, there are endless possibilities!

I made these smaller boxes to show some different ideas for decorating with the tapes.

And to make these cute gift tags, I used some gift tags I bought recently from Tea Pea. I just wrapped two lines of washi tape around the bottom of the tag and cut an inverted triangle into the tag. I'm loving the colour mint at the moment so was very happy to get this new mint washi tape from Scotch to use for the tutorial :)

So have a go at making and decorating your own gift boxes (it would be a fun thing to do with your kids at Christmas time) and check out the Scotch® Facebook app via www.3mcreative.co.nz. Just by voting for a favourite crafty project you will be in to win a fujifilm instax mini 8 camera or a Scotch Expressions tape pack!

And if you upload your own creation (there are some great tutorials on the Facebook app, you could have a go at my gift boxes, or get more inspiration from my 'I love washi tape' pinterest page) you will be in to win a $200 Prezzy Gift Card - there's one to win every week of the campaign!

PS: check out my Facebook page this week as I will be giving three packs of tapes away as well thanks to Scotch®

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Organised Home Challenge Day Two- Handbag and wallet

My challenge for Day two is to organise your handbag or baby bag, and your wallet- here's my Facebook post with some ideas for decluttering/cleaning and re-organising your bags :)

Today's challenge is an easy one after yesterday's big fridge one-organise your handbag/baby bag and wallet. Empty everything out of your bag and get rid of whatever you don't need, go through your wallet and declutter any receipts/loyalty cards you don't use. Give your bag and wallet a clean with a baby wipe or cleaning wipe (I like the dettol ones). Add anything to your bag that you always get caught out not having e.g: pen, wipes, tissues. If you have a baby bag restock it- you might want to add a sun hat or some sunscreen soon with the warmer weather approaching (beautiful warm day here in Tauranga today!)
Hope you are enjoying my organising posts, our plasterers have turned up today so we are getting one step closer to the end of our reno, better pick some paint colours today!

Link: These bag organisers are great if you like switching between bags iQ Bags

Link: These 'mighty purses' have a built in battery charger so you can charge your phone Hedgerow

Link: There are a few Orla Kiely bags on sale at one of my favourite storeSmall Acorns at the moment… http://www.smallacorns.co.nz/browse?pi_categoryid=10&pi_brandid&ps_search&ps_sort&pi_page=4

Happy organising! Megan

Monday, September 1, 2014

Organised Home 30 day challenge- Day one- Fridge

I'm sharing 30 days of ideas/tips/projects to help organise your home on my Facebook page for the month of September- here is my Day one Challenge- organising your fridge :)

1. Take everything out of your fridge, clean the shelves, inside the doors, and the fruit and veg bins. 
2. Check expiry dates and get rid of anything taking up room in your fridge that doesn't get used e.g.: sauces/dressings
3. Find/buy some plastic containers to store food in so it's better organised in the fridge, easy to see, and easy to unpack into.
4. Make up a container with kids snack foods that's easily accessible to them
5. After reading this blog post I now take all the grapes off the stalks before putting them in a container, I also cut up celery for snacks/lunchboxes and break apart the yoghurts so again it is easy for kids to get  themselves (and make most of their lunch boxes now!)
Last- give the outside of the fridge a clean- wipe the handles, dust the top, and give the front a good wipe down.

Happy organising! 

Related Posts with Thumbnails