Friday, 28 November 2014

Easy Ways to Makeover a Children's Bedroom

Remember when I did this bedroom makeover for my two middle boys who share a room?

One of the things I wanted to achieve was a room that could easily adapt to suit their changing interests. And, having just given it an easy makeover, I think I've done just that!

While dinosaurs are still cool, the bedding and canvases we had were getting a little too babyish. I also felt that there was just a bit too much colour and clutter going on in the room. 

So, I've made three simple changes and it's made a world of difference.
Firstly, I got rid of the dark blue curtains and replaced them with the same white timber venetian blinds that we are slowly putting throughout the house.

Instant facelift!

The bedside tables were already in our house and the lamp I saw at Target and just fell in love!

Secondly, I took advantage of a 30% off Cotton On sale to pick up some new bedding. I think the black and white is much more soothing.

...the super-cute alphabet bunting is from Cotton on too.

Finally, the gallery wall got a quick makeover by removing the dinosaurs and adding the cute superhero alphabet print, a Captain America image we printed out and the Typo arrow. I also gave their names a quick spray-paint to match the black, red and white we've now got going on.

I'm keeping the hints of green and navy blue for now, but I'm not convinced. What do you think?

And those drawers I wanted to ombre? Broken! So, all we need now is a new chest of drawers next time I hit Ikea and we are sorted. (I've decided that new carpet is something that will have to wait until there's nobody left to toilet train! Or until they've all moved out!)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ten for Tuesday

1. Watching this kid eat sushi is like watching a snake swallow a rat. | 2. He's so obsessed with "soosh" that we had to make some at home. | 3. There's been pretend cooking too. | 4. Obligatory date night selfie. | 5. Rohan met baby Jacqui - he was so sweet with her my heart melted.
6. Cucumber, celery, kale, coconut water, pineapple and lime - your body will thank you. | 7. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! | 8. I let the big boys watch A Knight's Tale - there's been a lot of jousting and rousing renditions of "We will, we will rock it"!! | 9. Liam and have been playing a lot of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. I used to pride myself on never getting beaten and now I'm super proud that he actually can! | 10. Happy, happy birthday to my awesome Mum xx

Monday, 24 November 2014

Montessori Inspired Farm Unit - Part 1

One of the most inspiring blogs I've found online is Sorting Sprinkles. Valerie puts together the most amazing Montessori units with varying themes and according to different age groups.

When I saw her posts about the Farm Unit she had put together for her toddler daughter it was love at first sight! I couldn't wait until Rohan was old enough for me to steal all of these amazing ideas. (You can see Valerie's farm posts here and here).

Of all the themed units we've done this year - food, transport, space, Africa and Egypt - this one has been our favourite. Yep, even over Dinosaurs! (which I'll blog about soon). We loved it so much we kept it set up for two months.

I've had trouble cutting down the number of photos I want to show you in this post so this is a long one! Go make a cuppa first, I'll wait.

Ready? Okay...

If you've read any of my other Montessori posts or follow me on Instagram you'll know that Rohan really, really loves matching things to cards- especially when they are animal figurines. (He may be a little too organised like his mama!)
Over time we built up quite a collection and early on I would spread out the cards to focus on identifying the male, female and/or adult and baby names of the main farm animals. 
This is also an activity he could do by himself - spreading out the cards and matching them. Oh, how I love this closed-eye, so-proud-of-myself smile! 
This sensory tub was a lot of fun to set up...
I used the coloured rice from our Hungry Caterpillar tub as grass, then added a pig pen and a pond for the duck and goose.
And great to play with - It lasted all of an hour before he had everything - rice, dirt and water - all mixed in together (and a few dinosaurs attacking the animals!) but oh, boy did he have fun!

After that we kept a few mess-free farm models set up for imaginative play. These were used for a large part of every day. 

Our Fisher Price Little People Farm...
And our Duplo farm set...
The art activities were my absolute favourites. How cute is this painting-mud-on-a-pig? (The little sponges help develop pincer/pencil grip)
Then we finger-painted spots on a cow.
And stamped animals into this farm scene.
Our finally sensory activity was play dough with farm animal shaped cutters.
We set up a reading corner with all of our books about farms and farm animals. Rohan's favourites are The Pig in the Pond and Stuck in the Muck.
On the other side of the room we had our shelves filled with puzzles, language, math and practical life activities.
I love that most of our learning happens before we've even gotten out of our pyjamas!
Our practical life activities include spooning corn...
Using an eye-dropper to transfer coloured water...
and pouring beans...
We introduced Math concepts with simple 1:1 feeding the chickens corn...
And sorting numbers from farm animals...
Of the few farm puzzles we had on display, this Melissa and Doug set was a winner. He complete these multiple times a day. They're a good size to fit in the nappy bag too and came in handy when we took his brothers out for hair cuts (I'm not prepared to cut his curls - like ever!)
In addition to learning the names of the farm animals, our language activity included this map which introduced concepts such as "next to" and "across the road from". I'm also amazed I didn't teach him any bad words because he kept leaving this plastic snake in various places and scaring the life outta me! One of the reasons I don't think I could ever actually cope living on a farm! 
We were also able to do a bunch of other activities that, I thought, related to farm life and growing and cooking from scratch but I'll save those for another post!

Have you ever visited a farm? 


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Ten for Tuesday

1. I've been reading a great book about introducing Math skills - here's some simple sorting. | 2. Building towers is our new favourite thing. | 3. Mummy's towers might suggest OCD.

4. Exploring the beach at the Darwin Waterfront. | 5. These two have the sweetest bond. | 6. My big brave boy is looking so very grown up lately.

7. We had dinner at our favourite restaurant - Chow. | 8. The boys had ice cream after. It's good weather for ice cream. | 9. Then we enjoyed a nice walk- well, he ran. You didn't think his pants stayed dry enough to wear did you?!?

10. I've found the best Vege Chilli recipe in It's All Good - the kids just gobble it up. I added pumpkin, capsicum and carrot. Not sure Gwyneth would approve of the cheese, sour cream and corn chips as well!
How's your week been?

Monday, 17 November 2014

DIY Montessori Scent Bottles

Here's a super simple DIY for Montessori Monday...
I picked these salt shakers up from the grocery store for out $2 a pair.
We filled them with Star Anise, Vanilla Pops, Cardamon Pops, Cinnamon Sticks and Peppercorns.
Traditional scent bottles are opaque. At first we just explored the different smells. Now, we just wrap our hands around ours and try to guess the contents. 

Cardamon is my favourite!

Done any easy Montessori lately?