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Baby Play at Christmas Time

Baby Elliott is absolutely fascinated with Christmas! He gravitates towards the Christmas tree almost every minute that he’s awake in an attempt to pull at tinsel and explore the shiny baubles.

To help him explore the wonder of Christmas safely, i’ve set up a number of activities for him recently and thought that you might like to try them too…

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Jingle all the way…

Miss almost three is just starting to believe in the magic of Christmas. She now knows who Santa is and dances and sings to any Christmas song that comes on the radio.

That’s why the idea struck to make this incredibly simple dance ribbon ring for Miss Z. I’ve been struggling with crafty inspo recently as we’re currently staying in the UK with my parents and I’m not really able to do as much crafting.

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Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

You might’ve gathered by now that we absolutely LOVE a good pompom craft! After going a little crazy with packs of Christmas themed pompoms recently, we really had to put them to good use! Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is one of our favourite Christmas songs, so we decided to make a door decoration in his honor!

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Our New Play Space

With only 10 weeks left until baby number 3 arrives, I’m in serious nesting mode! After the introduction of new toys and books over Christmas, it was safe to say that our play space was looking a little chaotic. Worst still was the fact toys just weren’t getting played with!

Taking inspiration from the wonderful world of Instagram, I decided to clean up our act. There are some amazing educational accounts that regularly share tips on toy organisation and toy rotation, so I recommend you follow these lovely ladies:

Finding Myself Young

Playful Little Learners

Invitation to Play

The Paige Diaries

Little Life Long Learners 

We don’t have space for a playroom in our house, so our play space is situated at the back of our lounge/ dining room area. If you’re in a similar situation, try picking a corner or area in your house that you can dedicate to toys. That way, there’s less chance of being bombarded by kid stuff wherever you go!

The Main Play Space: 

Now, I sincerely wish that i’d taken a before and after photo of this. Before, everything was piled on top of a unused coffee table, but now it feels calm and organised.

We hot-footed it to IKEA one Sunday morning (sorry, husband!) to buy the Kallax units that basically everyone has, along with some colourful drawers to hide the loose toys. The beauty of these units is that they are cheap, clean looking and it’s also easy enough to buy more when needed!

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To take you through the space, (from top to bottom) we have:

  • A gorgeous illustrated map of Australia by Tania McCartney 
  • An assortment of Grimm’s wooden toys
  • A blue basket full of sensory toys
  • A red cube containing play food for role play
  • An assortment of puzzles
  • A green cube full of Duplo
  • A green cube containing wooden blocks
  • Board books
  • A red cube full of miniature animals
  • Books plus a basket of finger puppets and dollies

This organisational exercise also made me realise that I need to introduce toy rotation. Now that Zoey is two, I feel like she is old enough for some more focused play so using the coffee table that we originally used as the play space, we’ve introduced a weekly discovery table.

The Discovery Table

I’m super excited about this because the discovery table is  going to become part of a regular blog series both here and on my Instagram. I always follow Zoey’s interests when we play and learn, but the time has definitely come to make it a little more focused. So every Sunday, i’m changing up the table ready for the new week.

The important thing here is to make the table accessible. This coffee table is the perfect height for Zoey so she can get what she wants, whenever she wants. The first discovery table is very appropriate right now, but i’ll be talking through it in a separate blog post!

 

Zoey’s Room

The issue of space when bubba number 3 arrives, hasn’t exactly been addressed yet but it’s likely he’ll be sharing some room space with Zoey. We bought a smaller Kallax unit for her room to showcase a combination of toys and books:

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Harrison’s Room

This room was the most problematic because as an eight year old boy, Harrison has major issues with keeping his room tidy! In fact, it’s taken me a few days to recover from the mass clean up of his room on Sunday – lets not even talk about the pile of dirty washing, books and toys that I found under his bed! In fairness, the kid did help although he was slightly more preoccupied with playing with the toys he’d totally forgotten about!

Again, we bought some Kallax cubes to house his massive book collection, although in hindsight, I perhaps need to buy more as the unit is 2-3 layers deep in books! Before he literally just had an untidy stack of books on the floor, but now it looks like this:

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I also decided to use the white table that was previously in his sister’s room to make a basic Lego table. This is simply a base plate glue-gunned onto the table (this was also from IKEA a few years ago). There are way better versions than mine on Pinterest that feature drawers, but I know that is completely wasted on my son!

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Sidenote: organising Lego into colour/ size is a huge waste of time. Don’t attempt it unless you know your kid is going to put it all back properly. Twice in the last few years I’ve spent whole weekends categorising Lego by size, shape and category but it just doesn’t work! Instead, this is what Harrison’s Lego cupboard looks like:

The entire shelving unit of his built-in cupboard is full of Lego (I couldn’t quite get the angle of the photo right). This is a result of getting Lego for every Christmas and Birthday since he was 4, as well as inheriting his Dad and Nana’s Lego collection. Some of this is from the 1960’s which is pretty cool! I’ve never been tempted to give away any of the collection because his siblings will get just as much use out of this, so we do our best to cope with the organised chaos!

Why we’re keeping everything…

Both kids loved helping during our weekend of organisation!

I’ve seen many great ideas regarding toy recycling on Instagram and I think it’s brilliant that many parents get their children to donate toys to charity prior to the Christmas build-up. Some of you might be thinking, ‘Why not giveaway some of this stuff to charity?’ Well, since having Zoey we’ve got to a stage where we focus on quality over quantity. This is partly as a result of moving so many times in the last 10 years and partly because we’re trying to minimise wasteful purchases. The toys and books we have will all come in handy for younger siblings in the future. If you want to read more on toys for toddlers, check out our Gift Guide for Toddlers. 

Hopefully this post will help in some way with the organisation of new toys and books post-Christmas. To get more updates on the Discovery Table series, please hit ‘subscribe’ or follow along on Instagram and Facebook. 

 

Sian x

 

 

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Cute Christmas Pompom Wreath!

It’s Craaaaaftmas!

craftmas

I probably love the Christmas build-up more than I love the big day itself, so when Little Buttons Diaries asked me to get involved with the Craftmas project, I didn’t hesitate to say yes!

I’ve gotta say, my craft sessions are usually totally random and unplanned, so actually putting thought into the project had me all of a dither! For the first time in a long time, I actually stuck to my original idea so here I present to you a Cute Christmas Pompom Wreath…

You will need: 

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  • A piece of cardboard that will be cut into an ‘o’ shape.
  • Low temp glue gun
  • Glue refills (around 5)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Felt in a variety of Christmas colours
  • Craft knife
  • Variety of pompoms in Christmas colours
  • Christmas ribbon
  • Googly eyes (if you want to make it super cute!)
  • Chenille sticks/ pipe cleaners

Step 1: Cut the cardboard base

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Cut part of a cardboard box into a ‘O’ shape using a sharp craft knife – this part is definitely a ‘grown-up’ job! Don’t stress if the cut isn’t perfect as it’ll all be covered up with the pompoms anyway.

Step 2: Get gluing! 

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This is the most time consuming part so if you have a tween or teen around, this is an ideal one for them to get involved with!

Be mindful of the fact that ‘low temp glue gun’ does not make it any less burny if you accidentally get some on your fingers – which is why it’s best to be super careful if younger children are joining in.

Step 3: Check your work

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Once you’ve filled the entire circle, gently pull off the gluey ‘spider webs.’ Double check that the wreath is covered from all angles and add more pompoms if needed. Approximately 150 green pompoms were used to make this wreath, using a special Christmas pack from Riot Art and Crafts.

Step 4: Time to get your felt on! 

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Play around with a few different iconic Christmas images to see what works best on your wreath. Featured above is our final pieces, but we also considered a reindeer, Santa and a snowman too – keep it simple if the kids are joining in!

Once the felt is cut, try blinging it up with some glittery chenille sticks and pompoms. Glue everything together with the help of that trusty glue gun. You may also want to add googly eyes for that silly/ cute factor…

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Step 5: Placement 

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Test where the felt pieces will go first. We found that the Christmas tree and stocking looked better along the vertical sides, for example. The glue sticks super fast so you don’t want to ruin your amazing craft by attempting to re-stick!

Step 6: Finishing touches

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Glue a Christmassy ribbon to the reverse of the wreath, then stand back and admire your amazing handiwork!

I hope that you all have an amazing Christmas with your family and friends. If you decide to make crafts part of the festivities, do tag me in. I absolutely LOVE it when you share your ideas and if you decide to make your own pompom wreath, send me a photo!

Sian x

For more Christmas ideas, check out the following links:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Christmas Activities for Toddlers

Gift Guide for Toddlers