Kids ANZAC Day Activities

ANZAC Day is such a special day for all Australians and this household is no exception.  We have had four generations serve in the Australian military including my own Father, Husband and most recently my Borther serving in Afghanistan.   My husbands great uncle died in WW2 and is buried in El Alamein.  My two sons proudly bear his name as their middle names.
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In the lead up to Anzac Day and on the day itself there are lots of easy ways to get your child involved.


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ANZAC Day is an important part of our Australian Calendar. In our homes and in our classrooms, children learn about ANZAC day through stories, craft and real life experiences.


Sometimes a story can explain a complex topic in a more age appropriate way then we can. It is often difficult to find the write words to covey such an important message, in a way that children can understand. Stories do just that. Ask your child’s teacher, librarian or even local RSL for some recommendations. Be sure to pre read the story yourself to make a judgment on whether it is appropriate for your family. Some of our favourites are;
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Young children learn through hands on activities. There are many ANZAC day themed art and craft ideas that are both simple and cheap.

Pinterest is your best friend here!
Poppies: Make poppies with paper plates, cupcake papers and pipe cleaners or even with red paint and a potato stamp!

Wreaths: Paper Plates make a great wreath template. Simply cut out the middle of the plate and paint the remaining wreath green. For texture stick on small squares of crepe paper or leaves from the garden.

Flags: Colour in some Australian or New Zealand flag templates and attach them to straw or paddlepop sticks.


Their really is no better way for your child to learn about Anzac Day, then to visit or participate in an ANZAC Day March or Ceremony. Contact your local council or RSL for your areas events. A march will help show your child the range of people that have served their country, men, women, old and young in their varied positions. The colours, the sounds and the amazing memorabilia, will keep them interested for longer than you imagine. Bake some Anzac Biscuits to take along with you, wave your flag proudly and applaud the soldiers as they march by.

Through stories, craft creations and experiencing all that is ANZAC Day, our children will have a new understanding and appreciation of this special day.

Hands On Sight Word Activities

Sight Words

After years of teaching Preps, and one not so enthusiastic son going through Prep, I have found some fun activities to motivate kids to learn sight words! 

The key to motivating kids to learn anything is to make it hands on and FUN! 


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Mrs Ricca’s Kindergarten – Down By The Sea Sight Words!

Use Sand, Seeds, or rice to fill a small shallow container.  Use a finger to trace words in the sand.  This helps form letter and word order, memory and develop writing and fine motor skills.  Get those fingers moving! 


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Tactile Cards. From Lakeshore Learning

These cards are fantastic and great for tactile learners.  Each letter is grooved out of the card, ready for little fingers to trace over them.  There are three packs that vary in difficulty.


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Play Doh Sight Words – Make Take Teach

Playdough!!!!!  Easy, cheap and often at home already!  Exercise those hands, fingers and wrists to form letters then words.


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Cookie Sheet Sight Words – Make, Take , Teach

Magnetic letters are easy to find in toy shops, discount stores and large department stores.  Use on a cheap baking tray and you have a word building magnetic activity.


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Using a large piece of cardboard draw up a sight words parking lot.  Call out the word and let your child drive their car (a small matchbox car will do) to the correct parking spot


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Magic Sight Words – Simply Centers

A craft activity teachers have been calling upon for ever, MAGIC WRITING!  Also known as Wax resist, use a crayon or candle to write the word “invisibly”  Ten paint over with watered dwon paint and your word “magically” reappears!


Bubble Wrap Sight Words

Teach Beside Me – Learning With Bubble Wrap

Using a piece of bubble wrap (with the large bubbles works best) write a sight word on each bubble.  As you call out a sight word, your child pops the bubble with their fingers! 


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This activity can even be done in the bath tub or shower!  Spray out some shaving cream and use your fingers to wipe out the words.  When you are done use your hand to mix the shaving cream to start again!


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Magnetic Fishing Words – From Playdough to Plato

 Cut out some cardboard fish, attach a paperclip (this will act as your magnet end) use a piece of dowel (or even a pencil do) with a piece of string and a small magnet on the end as your fishing rod. You can buy magnetic tape to attach to your rod or even hot glue on some cut up old fridge magnets.


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 Always a class favourite, the fly swat game.  Simply put out your words (on a wall or on the floor) call out a word and SWAT IT!  This works great in pairs as a racing game!  Who can swat the word first!


Sight words are an integral pert of the early writing and reading process.  The more exposure your child has to learn these words the quicker they will grasp them.  By making the learning opportunities hands on and super fun they will begging you to practice!  



Teach Me ~ My Colours

Red and Yellow and Pink and Green, Purple and Orange and Blue, I can sing a Rainbow…..

We are learning all about colours in our house!  Learning about colour takes on varying difficulty for different aged children so lets start with the basics!

2-3 Year Olds.  This is Little Miss A’s age group!  So this is where we are starting!

Matching Colours
Naming Colours
Identifying Colours in the Environment

Activity Number 1.  
Find It, Match It, Name It!
Using Our Very Own….
You will need;
Paint Chips (Free from your local hardware store)
A Hole Punch
A Key Ring/Split Ring


Punch a hole in the top of each paint chip.

Connect them using a “Key Ring” through the hole.  
Now that you have a “Colour Catcher!” you can start catching colours!
Give your little one there colour catcher and wander through your house or even better take a walk through your neighbourhood.  
Help them find anything that is coloured.  
They then use their colour catcher to match the colour of the object to the colour on their key ring!




Little Miss A (and most two year olds) will need some encouraging to “name” the colours, but practise makes perfect!

Clever ideas to help make learning fun!!!


Well “Thoughtful Thursday” went missing for a few weeks, as I knuckled down and finished my report cards, but now it is back!!!  I have written many posts about the beauty and importance of turning everyday moments into fun learning opporutnities.  Now I have found someone who has written so very beautifully about the very same thing.  Introducing, Claire Chadwick from Scissor Paper Rock Designs.

Tell us about yourself….

Me? In a nutshell…..I’m a mother to two, step mother to two, wife to one and a general life-loving, glass-is-half-full kind of gal. I’m currently on maternity leave from Primary School Teaching, I am a self-confessed online shopaholic & caffeine addict. I take way too many photos of my kids and dip my hand into way too many projects all at once. I like to bite off more than I can chew. I run a small business from home; Scissors Paper Rock Designs; } where I design & sell typography wall prints. In all of my spare time {haaa} I like to write, read, write some more and drink more coffee 🙂 Although born in Zimbabwe, Africa; I grew up in Australia and truly love the blessings that come with living in such a fair & beautiful country. As I near my 30th birthday, I’m becoming a lot more grateful of the life I’ve lived & the plans I have for the future with my family. 


Tell us about your blog….

My blog {Scissors Paper Rock} is basically a journal of my life, with a few garnishes thrown in. I blog mainly about my life as a Mumma to young kids, and the ups & downs that brings. I blog about beautiful things, meaningful things & mundane things….whatever tickles my fancy that day or is brewing in mind; usually makes it onto the blog. I aim to keep my blog a positive, inspiring place for readers to visit and I am forever thankful for the friendships & connections blogging has brought me. I share quite openly & honestly and wear my heart on my sleeve. Writing is my creative outlet late at night when the house is quiet. I want my blog to be a keepsake for my children so they can reflect back on their childhood memories one day & see their world through my eyes. 

And here is what I am talking about!!!  Claire’s very smart ideas for making everyday moments fun learning opportunities!

Here’s a few ideas how you can ‘teach’ your kids….

  • Read to them from a VERY young age…..even from birth. Getting into a routine of books before bed is fun, soothing & educational. Get them interested in pictures, words & characters.
  • Take a trip to the library ever few weeks. Most local libraries offer Baby Story Time or Rhythm Time. Our local library also offers activities for toddlers & school aged children in the holidays. Just by surrounding your child with books from an early age can have a positive outcome towards their learning attitudes.
  • Count! Count toes & fingers, or sultanas or plastic dinosaurs. Count peas at dinner time or how many steps you walk up. Just COUNT 🙂 During play, simply find the opportunity to count. As they get older, start counting further & talking about ‘taking some away’ or ‘adding more on’.
  • Study numbers. This can be done during everyday activities. For example, when we’re out driving, I ask my 4yr old to find the speed signs. When she sees one, she has to tell me what number it was. Over time, we have talked about the numbers & what they mean. Number study can be done at home or when out shopping. Simply going on ‘number hunts’ can be fun and embed in them a very basic understanding of simple numbers & their pace value.Walk up your street and get your child to read out the letterbox numbers.

  • Get them involved with cooking & baking! Cooking can be a great chance to ‘teach’ your children without it being stressful or too focussed. Measuring, weighing & counting are big parts in cooking, as is reading recipes & following instructions. Not only is fun, but educational too.
  • Do some art & craft. I know some people cringe at the idea of crafting with their kids….and that’s ok. But some simple activities can really support & develop your child’s fine motor skills. Plus it’s allowing them be creative. AND…they feel success when they see a finished product of something THEY’VE made! If you’re not a fan of painting or working with clay, simply do some cutting & gluing & drawing activities. When Ella was about 2 yrs old, she LOVED when I drew an outline of her name or a number or a shape on some card. She would then smother it with glue & decorate it with sequins, rice, pasta shells, paper etc. Little things like that can ‘teach’ them, trust me.
  • Weave their interests into learning opportunities. Sometimes, mothers of boys say they have difficulty teaching their sons, because their child lacks interest in learning…..If your son LOVES dinosaurs or cars or Lego…then find a way to use this. Sort the toy cars into colour categories. Set them a challenge to build something with Lego using only a certain amount of pieces. Hide the dinosaurs around the house, tell them how many there are, and let them go hunt. Be creative & you can sneakily be ‘teaching’ them skills without them knowing 🙂
  • Write their name on card & get them to trace it, or stick string along the lines, or copy it onto other paper, or cut it out etc. Cut up magazines or catalogues – hunt for certain letters or sounds or pictures.
  • Play a board game. Introduce them to the concept on dice & counters, and taking turns.

  • Do puzzles together. Start with the basic wooden ones where they place the shapes into the moulds, then slowly move up to jigsaw puzzles. You can even make your own jigsaw puzzle by cutting a photo of them into pieces for them to put back together.
  • Playdough is great for fine motor skills. AS it allows them to squeeze & cut & roll. They can make shapes & letters & let their imaginations go wild. Get my easy playdough recipe from here.
  • Invest in some educational books, toys & technologies. Most people these days have a computer in their home or a Smart Phone or iPad. With supervision, let your children use them! There are so many great apps & websites out there that truly do educate & develop your child’s skills & knowledge.
  • When out shopping explain to them amounts & change, and the concept of money. As they get older, get them to pay for something using some coins. Let them experience the fun side of shopping. 
  • Take a ‘learning activity’ to a different location. Throw a picnic rug down in your backyard, and sit with your kid/s. Enjoy some books, puzzles or games that you’d normally do inside, have some yummy snacks to enjoy too. Sometimes a change of scenery can inspire them, or maintain their concentration for longer.

  • Talk about position words. Words like under, over, next to, right side etc. Get your child to demonstrate these positions, or draw objects to represent each meaning.
  • TALK TALK TALK! I truly think the best way to expand your child’s knowledge & vocabulary is to talk to them. Explain things clearly. Tell them why and how and where. Explain the ‘who’s’ in their life and the reasons for certain things. Answer their questions and encourage lots of conversation.
  • Go on a shape hunt. Draw some shapes on a piece of paper and go hunting around the house or garden for objects that are the same shapes. Keep a list or get your child to draw them.
  • Make a photo story. Let your child use your camera {or invest in a kid’s digital camera…I saw some at Big W for $30}. Allow them to take photos of their surroundings. Seeing things through a lens can really give them a different perspective or view on things. Something I really want to do with my 4yr old soon, is create a photographic ABC book. I can’t remember where I first saw this idea, but I think it’s brilliant. We’re going to create a photo album of the Alphabet {with Ella being the photographer} using objects around our home & local community. Stay tuned….I’ll let you know how we go 🙂
  • Let their imagination run wild. Make up stories that involve them as the main character and then listen as they tell you one. Join in with their dressup games……role playing is a great way to learn & interact & have some fun with your kids. 
  • SING YOUR HEART OUT!!! Sing to your children. Nursery Rhymes are a great way to grab your infant’s attention or soothe them when they’re unsettled, but they’re also fun to sing along with your toddler. As they get older, find some more age appropriate music to suit their likes. At the moment, Ella LOVES listening & watching old Peter Combe songs on YouTube. I sometime buy ‘Barbie’ or ‘Disney’ songs from iTunes for Ella to listen to during her play or quiet time. And in the car, we play a $2 CD of kid’s songs 🙂 Singing to your kids….believe it or not….is another way to ‘teach’ them!

So why  these great ideas? 

Most of these ideas were born in me from my teaching background. Finding a way to constantly be ‘teaching’ kids is a skill I picked up during my years in the classroom. I discovered quite quickly that some of the best learning my students were doing, was when they were doing hands-on, real life, relevant experiences. It was these learning moments {deceivingly teaching kids without them knowing you were striving to teach} that drew them in, taught them so much, and caught them off guard with their own interests & abilities. As I became a Mother I found these ideas came quite naturally again. However I do have to tread lightly so that I am not over-mixing my ‘teacher’ side with my ‘mother’ side too much. I want my kids to enjoy life & enjoy spending time with me…..and if I can entwine some education in there too…..then that’s just a bonus 🙂 I understand that this way of thinking doesn’t come as naturally to everyone, so I thought a blog post about it would help broaden other Mum’s ideas & skills, so they too feel more confident ‘teaching‘ their own children. 
Yet another teacher/blogger/mummy with some thoughtful ideas!  
Check out Claire’s gorgeous blog at

Thoughtful Thursday ~ Busy Bags


Today is our second installment of Thoughtful Thursday and this week it’s all about keeping little ones busy!  Kerina (Kaz) from Living on a Latte is sharing her organised and smart idea to help keep little ones entertained and educate them at the same time, now that’s what I call clever!

Tell us about yourself…

Hi I’m Kaz and I am a coffee addicted, primary school teacher, who is very happy being a stay at home mum to my two beautiful little girls. I love all things to do with organisation and have an obsession with containers. Finding the perfect container to store something in is the ultimate buzz ! 

Tell us about your blog….

My little blog (Living on a Latte) is nearly a year old. I love my blog because I get to share all the things I love – Organising, parties, camping, shopping finds, kid’s art’n’craft, “Project Life:, decorating and so much more. As a teacher I loved having a community of sharing ideas and great finds. With my blog and the fabulous blogging community I have found, I feel that I can keep that spirit of sharing going!

 Tell us about your smart idea!

One of the best things I have created in the last year to make my life easier is my busy bag collection.

A ‘Colour Sorting’ Busy Bag

My ‘Busy bags’ were I suppose you could say an invention of necessity. I had a 3 month old baby with reflux that didn’t sleep well during the day or night as well as a not quite two year old who wanted her mummy to do lots of things with her.

Busy bags saved my sanity and kept both my girls happy.

Lacing Fine Motor Busy Bag

 A busy bag is basically a small bag that holds everything you need for a child to “play” or “explore’ an activity. Busy bags are truly magic. You can have everything organised in little bags to whip out when needed. Everything your child needs is right there. I could whip out a bag whenever I needed to without straining my sleep deprived brain. When I introduced a new bag it would take me a quick minute (or less) to show her what do and then I could leave her to it. Most of the time I would just check on her occasionally. I’d walk past in the middle of cooking tea, trying to settle bubs or popping a load of washing on. I’d praise what she was doing or give her that quick helping hand. But the great thing was if things were completely crazy, she didn’t need me and she could happily play and learn independently.

Colour Matching Busy Box

 I have made a few busy bags which I have shown in a few different posts on the blog and many more I haven’t. I will hopefully share some new ideas soon. In the meantime there are lots of ideas for busy bags on the internet. I have found so many and pinned them on Pinterest. Feel free to come and check out my Pinterest boards. You can find the link on my blog. If Pinterest is not your thing just Google busy bags for oodles of ideas.

To find out more about Kaz’s amazing organisational skills and her clever ideas head over to Living on a Latte.

Someone please remind me to make some of these bags for Little Miss A!!!  Maybe it will stop her from playing with my lipstick and nail polish!