Off with the fairies

Fairyland was my mythical world of choice growing up and the obsession seems to have been passed down. Every night, as part of our bedtime routine, I am asked to tell a story and nine times out of ten, the request is specifically for a fairy story.

Yesterday, instead of sending my daughter off to sleep with the dreamland fairies, we brought them to life in our own backyard. Indulging our mutual love for all things pretty and magical, we set up a miniature fairy garden, complete with clothesline, toadstool, fairy dust, a woodland mouse, coloured pebbles, and all the pink and purple flowers we could find.

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One of the fairy houses was purchased especially for this project, but the other we made ourselves earlier this year. To see details of our painted wooden birdhouse craft, take a look at the blog post here.

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Small world play is such a great way to reenact stories or explore different real life (or make-believe) settings, whilst encouraging language development and independent play. Some of my favourite ideas include:

This Autumn fairy small world, by the very creative Bonnie from Make-It-Your-Own:

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This farmyard sensory play by UK-based early years teacher and mama of four, Anna from The Imagination Tree:

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This dinosaur small world set-up by creative play enthusiast and stay-at-home mum of three, Ann from Little Worlds, Big Adventures:

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Other fun small world ideas on my list include:

  • Frog ponds
  • Arctic landscapes
  • Construction zones
  • Deep sea exploration
  • Island and pirate ship seascape
  • Dolls house play
  • Garden life

Setting up a small world invitation to play can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. Most of the best ones I’ve come across include some sensory elements – sand, nature finds, coffee beans, or pasta, rice or lentils, straight from the pantry or died a different colour. For more inspiration, check out this Pinterest board of ideas:

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Sparking imaginations

Our little mother-daughter arts & crafts duo was recently interviewed by Alice Bradley of realestate.com.au/lifestyle and we have just been featured on their website! Check out what we had to say about the benefits of process art, what inspires our projects, and a few crafting tips from us. Continue reading “Sparking imaginations”

Milliner in the making

We CHANELed Coco Chanel’s early millinery days this week, creating a vintage boater-style hat from cardboard and paper!

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We were inspired by the story of acclaimed fashion icon, Coco Chanel, as told by Spanish author, Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara. This sweet biography celebrates the inspiring achievements of an incredibly strong woman, who started life as a little French orphan with a big dream.  Continue reading “Milliner in the making”

Lest we forget

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

Tomorrow is Anzac Day, the anniversary of Australian and New Zealand forces landing on Gallipoli to face their first serious battle of the First World War. While the concepts of sacrifice, courage, and war are a bit much for my little Australians, the poppy as a symbol of remembrance seems a nice place to start. Here are a couple of ways we explored Anzac Day poppy art this week.  Continue reading “Lest we forget”

Falling for Autumn

Seasonal art and craft is such a fun way to learn about weather patterns, explore the outdoors and use new and different materials. From handcrafted flower bouquets in spring to snowflake cutouts in winter, each change in season inspires new ideas.

With Autumn now well and truly here, we’ve been having a lot of fun collecting fallen leaves in all those beautiful Autumn hues.  Here is some of the Autumn-inspired crafting we’ve been up to so far this season. But the leaves are only just starting to fall so plenty more to come!  Continue reading “Falling for Autumn”

Bee mine, ladybird

We have so much love for the quiet but cunning ladybird in Julia Donaldson‘s “What the Ladybird Heard”. Despite being the smallest and least noisy creature on the farm, the ladybird in this story is a careful listener, keen observer, and the orchestrator of a clever plan – I won’t give away any more!  Continue reading “Bee mine, ladybird”

Easter wreath

A few days ago, we tried our hand at splatter painting to create a speckled effect on some Easter eggs we cut from paper. We had a lot of fun channelling our inner Jackson Pollock, although we went for a more subtle (and cleaner) approach. Using watercolours, we simply wet our brushes with paint, then ran our fingers along the bristles so that the paint flicked onto the eggs. It took us a little while to master the technique so we ended up a little speckled ourselves, but that was half the fun.  Continue reading “Easter wreath”

Storytelling props

“That’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.”
– Walt Disney

Our bedtime routine has always involved getting through a ridiculously high pile of books. Now that we know most of them by heart, this routine has evolved to include our own adaptations of the stories we love. Making up tales has naturally extended into daytime play and has recently been the source of some serious entertainment. Witnessing the development of an imagination has to be one of my favourite parts of parenting so far.  Continue reading “Storytelling props”

Put your own stamp on it

We were recently given a little rubber stamp and a challenge to create some artwork with it. When the rubber stamp mysteriously went missing, the challenge became a little trickier! However, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations,” so we decided to try our hand at making our own unique stamps and see what we could create with them.  Continue reading “Put your own stamp on it”

Baskets and buns

We’re all set for the Easter Bunny’s arrival – are you?!

This week we enjoyed some obligatory DIY Easter basket crafting, using a paper plate as our base. While we have an extraordinarily large collection of handbags, baskets, trollies, carts, and buckets, there’s something special about making your own Easter basket. This craft is very easy and can be adapted for different ages and skill levels. Older crafters can exercise their fine motor skills by threading the ribbon and cutting with scissors, while toddlers can focus on decorating with paint and stickers.  Continue reading “Baskets and buns”

Cat’s got your tissue

Pairing crafts with books is one of our favourite things to do; there is something very special about bringing our most loved characters to life through art.

Earlier this week, we found one of our old “baby books”, Purr, which is a sweet introduction to animal sounds by Australian author and illustrator, Alison Lester. While we have moved onto more advanced books now, finding it brought back such nice memories of our early toddler reading days that we were inspired to get our crazy cat lady on and turn something into a puurrrrfect little pet cat (we sure ain’t getting a real one anytime soon!)  Continue reading “Cat’s got your tissue”

Easter crafts

There are just three weeks until Easter and only a week left of March – how EGGciting! Time to get CRACKING with your Easter crafts. Below are a few of the activities we’ve done so far this season but for more inspiration, HOP on over to the Pinterest board I have set up – you’ll find loads more EGGcellent Easter craft ideas for kids.  Continue reading “Easter crafts”