Three things you should embrace as a new mother

3 things you should embrace as a new mother.jpg

New beginnings!

So exciting………. I remember being a new mother. If I could go back and talk to me. What would I say? There are so many things spinning around in your mind. Let’s quieten that and get a little focus. What three habits will help the big picture?

Get this bit right and everything else seems easier to manage.

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Friday Finds {31.08.2012}


Friday Finds is the place to unwind, grab yourself a comfy chair and reflect on your past week then plan for the upcoming one. With a little something to make you think, for them to do and for us to listen or watch……. We are putting ideas into action. Challenging ourselves to do a little differently. Be inspired.

Link up your Parenting articles, Play Activities and crafts or your audio/videos.

Enjoy your weekend!


Goodness for the mind: My Promise to My Children :: The Path Less Taken

Activities for the body: Bubble Wrap Hopscotch Is 13 Ounces or Less :: Giver’s Log

Goodness for the eyes and ears: A teacher growing green in the South Bronx:: Stephen Ritz

This week on Raising Playful Tots podcast::  Inside a pediatric occupational therapy session and Sensory Processing

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31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Thirty One} Creating a playspace

Today we’ve come to the last day of 31 days to a more playful tot. Each day there’s been a chance of thought, growth, action and reflection. While we’re not aiming at making perfect playful children and recognise that we have to do, fail and learn ourselves; I hope we’ve all found some new things to try.

The playroom.
{Image credit }
I’ve always been in awe of beautiful play spaces. However as a military family it has never been practical to create these amazing areas. Also, I feel that most of the world has much smaller spaces to deal with with children. There isn’t always the luxury of a playroom just a play corner. Most people have rooms with multiple functions so need a way to conceal yet have access to both things.

This slideshow does just that…..

Here’s a chance to think about your small area; one chunk at a time. Transform the playspace you have.
Thanks for sharing in the journey of 31 days to a more playful tot.

Enjoy the slideshow.

  1. Eco friendly playroom
  2. Hand print calendar 
  3. A Quiet Place: DIY A-Frame Tent
  4. Display 
  5. Use garden hanging baskets
  6. Creating-waldorf-indoor-playspaces
  7. Play stands
  8. Displaying board games
  9. Photograph art then toss
  10. Create A Large Scale Art Center
  11. Storage and display
  12.  Chilling out areas
  13. A magnetic, chalkboard, dry erase,with sliding ladder WALL!
  14. Fun pebble cushions 

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to a more Playful Tot.

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Creating a Playspace

31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Thirty} Keep unstructured play flexible

Unstructured play

There is something to be said for children being bored. The problem though is can you direct them or inspire them to engage in longer periods of unstructured play?

How to Keep Unstructured Play Flexible?

It almost seems wrong in many eyes to set up an environment for unstructured play. But for most of us we have our default go to activities, actions and behaviors. It’s all to easy to have high expectations and nothing to fill the gaps. It’s why when we see screen free week or world read aloud day that we love the concept but when that special day or week is here we find it hard to actually do what we wanted. Bit like, don’t think of a pink elephant! It’s hard not too.

Unstructured play, downtime and unplugged play, certainly at the beginning for most of us needs to be planned, discussed and modeled.


Set aside some time to decide what unstructured play will look for you in your home. How far will you go? Will they be playing independently from you while you read a magazine or will they be creating complex tracks and imaginary stories?


Set realistic time blocks. Start small with age appropriate time blocks. The chance of us to spend a whole afternoon doing what we want is appealing but to a young child it may feel like too much. Depending on your child’s temperament and how often an afternoon of unstructured play may be in your future but it’s not always there at the beginning.


What can they do during this unstructured time? Are resources accessible? Imagination games with restaurants, stuffed animals, train sets and dressing up clothes can take over the whole house. Little planning lets you see where this type of play is best and when.  Can they play with markers, glitter, playdough?

Listen and observe

Before jumping in to their worlds, watch and join in without taking over. It’s possible to build on their stories or activities by asking open-ended questions.

  • Tell me about that part of your picture….
  • You’ve used a lot of orange there. What’s that part about?

 Talk about unstructured play activities

Start a bucket list or I’m bored jar with older children. It’s amazing what you can think up together when you look at games and activities they can do by themselves or with a sibling. The list gives a neutral point of reference for you and them when you are thinking of hands free activities

Flexible structure

To get the most out of unstructured play we’ve dipped in and out with each other. Concentrated 10-15 minutes of activities before either of us checks in with each other. Sometimes they are around the home involved and sometimes they are alone but in the same room.

There isn’t a one size fits all for unstructured play, either inside or outside.  The way we’ve tried this has changed as the ages and stages change and when new children arrive.

 What are your 3 go to unstructured activities your children seem to love?

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to a more Playful Tot.

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Keep Unstructured Play Flexible



31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Twenty Nine} Saying yes


When you say yes to something you say no to something else.

The power of that statement impacts so many parts of our lives but when we look at our children’s play lives we can quickly see how  saying yes to too many things will have a negative impact.  The power of this statement is in the choice. The choices we make for our children. The choices we make for ourselves and our family.
Child laughing

{Image credit}
{Image Credit}
It’s a constant struggle or looking for opportunities for everyday playful experiences. It’s looking at where you are and where you want to be and plotting, planning and learning your way into that place.

When you read that statement what came to mind in your home? What do you say yes to regularly and realise that you are now saying no to something else?
Children Laughing {Image Credit}

How are you raising a playful tot?

Listen to 7 tips to raising a playful tot.

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to a more Playful Tot.

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Saying Yes

31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Twenty Eight} Books to read to discover play 2

Yesterday in {Day Twenty Seven} I shared my first books to read to discover play. Today I finish off this list with a brief review.

Out of sync child has fun 

This book and the other books by the author are well thumbed in our home. For what seemed like a long time we were looking at Sensory processing disorder and we were recommended this book. I enjoyed the clear explanations and the practical activities. My boys thrived on these activities when product and sit down work wasn’t working. The range of activities based around the senses really helped support our simple ideas. The games are totally fun whether they are sensory seeking or not.

How children learn

A core text from University that took on new meaning when I had my second son. Lots of nod the head moments but the revision is well worth it. Now with two children this was really important for me to see how they were both learning at different rates. Yes everything I knew but this sleep deprived mum needed to read it again and be reassured and try newer methods

How children learn

Once I hit the preschool age with my first I began to notice all the different types of school. Even having heard of many before I really was curious to the principles and underlying methods of learning.  With 28 different learning styles there was a handy place to look up brief ideas. This handy book helped me see how it’s often elements of different learning will help my child and not a dogged observance of one only. There are familiar people mentioned in play and this book talks about each of them.

Play = Learning: How Play Motivates and Enhances Children’s Cognitive and Social-Emotional Growth

All so often we just know that something is right. this book is a classic textbook with illustrations, research and analysis. Again not a  read from cover to cover but certainly a fascinating read. I was excited to interview Dr Golinkoff and Dr Hirsh Pasek on the play podcast where they were able to take their research findings packed in this and other books to us all.

Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less

My all time favourite book buy for new parents. full of practical information. Another dip in and out book if you choose but easily a book to read from cover to cover. Lots of useful information that’s not just rehashes from things you already know. Really gives you pause for thought and challenge your play ideas. I’ve written about this book also here 

What book have you read that have really influenced your play habits?
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Books to Read Discover Play 2

31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Twenty seven} Books to read to discover play

We’re often locked in a way of play and playful thinking that’s based on our experience. More often than not that gives us some ideas but things change as our learning about play and young children increases. We also find we have children that behave differently and wish to tackle play in a different way than before.Wherever we are along this journey of play there are so many inspiring books to learn ideas and feel inspiration.

Today I’d like to share some of the favourites from my bookshelf.

Baby minds

This was probably one of the first books I saw that I loved the problem solving ideas for babies and young toddlers. it’s written by psychologists and child development experts. It wasn’t about do this and you’ll get amazing children but research based analysis and it really didn’t encourage the buying of stuff. It really fit with my newly developing ideas of how we wanted to raise our children. With ideas and tips for parents along with stories and evidence, this wasn’t a prescriptive approach. Plus it was easy to understand and use immediately.

Your child at play  

one-two years-Exploring, learning, making friends and pretending. I loved the reminders about how to integrate my work and my developing baby into the everyday routines. With down to earth ideas and lots of photographs I really had a strong feel from this book of how I could easily use everyday things around me in playful ways.

What’s going on in there?  

Much more a scientific book with explanations. I remember not a planning on reading this cover to cover but dipping in and out as needed. I enjoyed Chapter 14 Language and the developing brain  and Nature, nurture and sex differences in intellectual development. The depth of knowledge is good for those tat want to dip further than the surface.

For more books see  { Day Twenty Eight }

What books have been the foundation of your play learning?

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to a more Playful Tot.

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Books to Read to Discover Play

31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Twenty Six} Quick 5 minute activities

There are times when you have a spare 5 minutes and want to start something with the children.  It helps to have an idea about  where to find things  to reduce the time spent in frustration looking for that one things. And yes it usually is one final thing that derails us and causes us to abandon the activity due to frustration, high emotions, and lack of time now.

We all need some back pocket go-to activities that can be found at a moments notice.

Here’s a start………….

Pinch and clip

Find everyday objects that pinch and clip and a willing partner. Read full instructions.

Sibling dice game

For those starting to count the idea of flipping numbers is exciting. Keeping one game altogether and out of reach is perfect for that quick 5 minute game. Everything is altogether and bonus is it is special as it only comes down when the parent takes it down. Read the instructions.

How curious?

Collect :: mount:: discuss all the while you are doing it together. Here we were in nature. Try magazines, newspaper or junk mail. . For full instructions.

What are your go to quick 5 minute activities?


Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to a more Playful Tot.

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Quick 5 Minute Activites

31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Twenty Five} Asking the children

play time

We do a lot of things on their behalf. We make sure they have good food, good play experiences and good times. I still get battles with my three year old though. He doesn’t often /always appreciate the choices he has…..can we say in a small voice- tantrum or melt down.


“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”

~Henry David Thoreau


Have you listened to parents talk in the corridors; you on one side and they on the other . We have the funniest conversations. It makes you wonder what the children really think about things?

Today is the day to find out for fun.

This will work on your chatty under 5s.

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31 days to a more Playful Tot {Day Twenty four} Goodness for your ears

Did you get a smartphone, ipod, or Kindle recently? Chances are you are loving the freedom of looking things up at a moments notice. Audio and video is something to look out for in the Early Childhood world. No I’m not talking about our little tots this time. I’m talking about us. We don’t always have time to flip through a book or magazine but we do have time when we’re going up and down during the day or perhaps folding laundry or working out when we have time to listen.

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