Holiday Free Play

Here’s the thing about free play: it requires very, very little. Children who are good at free play know how to make their own fun. They don’t need an adult to provide them with toys. They don’t need an adult to outline the rules. They don’t need an adult to explain the process. They don’t need an adult at all really! Free play can happen any time, any where, with whatever is around. Continue reading

Childhood is Risky Business

I have previously shared some thoughts about children and risk, both here on the blog and on air. And when my daughter knocked herself out by falling while tree climbing – my opinion was challenged, but ultimately unchanged.

While I am happy to share my perspective as an educator and a mother, I am not a child psychologist myself, so I was delighted to be able to interview Dr Paula Barrett about this topic.  Here are her thoughts on the risky business of childhood. Continue reading

Routine Charts for Easy Starts

The start of the day can be harrowing, especially if you have kids of different ages who need to get to different places!  The only way I know of getting everyone out of the door on time and with everything they need, is to establish good routines and stick to them.  Routine charts can be incredibly helpful for a child’s growing independence.  Young kids who can manage a few steps independently in the morning, become kids who are responsible for their own school materials, and then become teens who are capable of managing their own timetables.

Continue reading

Music for Children to Dance

Do your children like to dance? Mine do.  This morning we twirled and whirled in tutus together – yes, I put one on too.  My daughter asked for “dancing music” so I flicked through the CD collection until I settled on one.

I didn’t choose The Wiggles, even though Dorothy rather considers herself a dino-ballerina.

I didn’t choose Justine Clarke, even though she’s hands down my favourite children’s entertainer.

I didn’t choose a Playschool album, or a Jimmy Giggle album, or any other children’s album.

So what DID I choose? Continue reading

Young Children As Artists

I need to be upfront and tell you that Christie from Childhood101 and I aren’t just blogging colleagues – we’re friends.*  And when I say I like her ebook – I mean I love it.  So much so that I contributed a few photos, helped with editing and I am a proud affiliate.  (That means if you purchase the ebook because I said it’s awesome, I get a percentage of the profits too.)

What is it?

ART not Craft is a downloadable, 53 page ebook in a pdf format.  Instead of buying a paper-and-cover book, you purchase an ebook and either print it out, or read it on the screen.  It is in full colour and contains lots of great photos of young children in action with a variety of mediums.

How much is it?

Using an e-format keeps overheads low, so you can purchase it for $15.95 (and you get a bonus gift).  If you could book an early childhood consultant to sit down over coffee while you pick her brain about all-things-art, it would cost a fortune!  This book is kind of like that.  Oh, except Christie is totally a tea drinker…

What’s in it?

Loads of information on why we approach art in the early years the way we do, and great ideas for you to try.  ART not Craft is broken into sections on drawing, painting, printmaking, collage and sculpture.  Christie gives suggestions throughout for learning, doing, seeing, and talking with your child as you go.  It is a resource you will go back to many times.

Who should buy it?

If you have ever given your child a blob of playdough, or put a paintbrush into their hand and thought, “Now what…?!” – this is a book for you!  Many parents want to be creative with their kids, and want to provide creative learning opportunities, but just don’t know where to start.  It’s also a great resource for anyone working with under fives.

When asked to comment on the book, here’s what I had to say:

“Children are inherently creative, and are capable of doing so much more than merely copying simple crafts. In this ebook Christie opens up a world of possibilities for you to explore with your child, or with a whole class of young children. I highly recommend Art Not Craft to parents and educators who are looking to provide rich, creative and artistic opportunities for the children in their care.”

BONUS!  Purchase Art Not Craft: The Process of Learning Creatively and you will receive ‘A Wish For All Children’ poster as a downloadable, easy to print A4 PDF. Hang it in your home to inspire and remind you of the importance of children making art.


*Yes, she lives in Perth and I’m in Brisbane. We share virtual cuppas. And yes we squealed like teenage girls when we got to meet in Sydney and be roomies for the Australian Blogging Conference…

Doing It Their Way

My son surprises me constantly because he thinks so differently to me. When I asked him to sweep up the cornflakes he spilled on the floor recently, he ran off to his toybox to find a truck.  Just as I was about to rouse on him for going to play instead of cleaning the mess – I realised what he was doing.  Continue reading