DIY Book Flower Press (free craft from the garden)

how to press flowers

When I was a little girl I loved to dry and press flowers. I had them hanging in my room, randomly placed in books and stored in little bottles like potpourri all over the house.

Recently, my six-year-old daughter has shown an interest in collecting things from nature; leaves, feathers, rocks and sticks are among the favourites. When I shared with her my childhood passion for pressing flowers she was, in her words ‘so excited to try’. So with a garden full of flowers, we got started.

Supplies

Garden flowers

Heavy book (old phone book is perfect for this purpose)

Baking paper

How to Press Flowers

Step 1: Picking the Right Flowers

The main issue faced when pressing flowers is mold, which is caused when a section of the flower is taking too long to dry out, usually around the receptacle of the flower. The easiest way to avoid is to pick flowers that are known to dry well. My favourites are; pansy, African violet, petunia, daisy, snapdragons, brunfelsia, geranium, roses and vinca.

 How to press flowers  - Nine best flowers for book flower press #beafunmum #aboutthegarden

Step 2: Preparing the Flowers for Pressing

To prepare the flowers for pressing, simply dispose of thicker areas that you think might potentially go mouldy. For example, with roses it’s best to pick the petals and press them individually rather then as a flower head. 

Step 3: Creating a Moisture Barrier

It’s a good idea before you pop your freshly picked flowers into that favourite volume of Dickens, to use a protective barrier so the moisture from the flower petals doesn’t seep into the book pages. In the past I’ve simply recycled an envelope, but I’ve recently found the non-stick surface of baking paper to be superior. Now all you need to do is;

 How to press flowers  - Book pressed flowers free craft from the garden be a fun mum

 How to press flowers  - Book flower press get ready to fold the pages free craft from the garden be a fun mum

 How to press flowers  - Book flower press using big heavy books be a fun mum

  • Cut the baking paper to required size, ours was A3.
  • Fold the baking paper in half.
  • Lay the baking paper open within the pages of the book.
  • Place the fresh flowers inside, ensuring adequately spaced.
  • Carefully shut the book

Step 4: Storing the Book Flower Press

Store your Book Flower Press in a dry location. It takes several weeks, we left ours for 5, for flowers to dry and press using this method, so ensure your location is up and out of the way.

Remember once your flowers have completely dried out, they will be fragile, so teach children to handle with care.  

How to press flowers  - Book pressed dried flowers free craft from the garden be a fun mum

Pressing flowers is so much fun and best of all you can use them in a variety of craft activities from papermaking, decorating photo frames to bookmarks and potpourri.

If you plan to use your pressed flowers for future craft projects, store them in a dry air-tight container to avoid exposure to moisture.

Happy Pressing!

More

Posts from Renee

Nature Craft Ideas

Discovery box: for items kids like to collect from nature

Kids Collection Display Jars

What We Take to The Beach

We are a pick-up-and-go type of family and so I like to keep things simple when we go to the beach.   If we keep things simple, it’s achievable, and when it’s achievable, we do it more.  What we take depends on how long we will be there. If we are heading to the beach for a few hours to swim, below are some standard staples that serve us well. 

Staple Items to Take to the beach

Beach Staples

 What we take to the beach

  • Large Beach Tote – The red Seafolly tote was a gift from my Dad over 5 years ago. It’s been absolutely fantastic! (like this Seafolly purple one). It has a small zip pocket inside for keys and phone.
  • Body Board Backpack – We’ve had a Body Glove backpack for over 10 years and it’s been one of the best things we’ve ever purchased for the beach. It holds all four of the children’s body boards and it makes it easy to transport everything down to the sand. They don’t make this one anymore but there are similar ones just google ‘bodyboard backpack bag’ and you can find many like this. The large size to fit more than one board is best.
  • Body Boards – SO FUN!
  • Beach towels – The Guide Dog Beach towels are huge and FANTASTIC!
  • Beach toys – a bucket for sand play and collecting shells, plus a few plastic figurines are a favourite
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats – last year I bought caps from Little X & Y and they are great and look so funky
  • Drink bottles – I like the Contigo brand
  • Beach shoes – Mox shoes are fabulous for the beach
  • Swimwear (the kids wear to the beach)

This particular morning I was on my own with three of my kids and everything I needed I could carry like this. Easy.

Beach staples

Food: I rarely take food to the beach for short outings because it’s so hard to keep it sand free!  If we are only going for a few hours, I time the trip between eating or having a snack in the car (or home) to have when we are done. Or we buy something.

Other favourite beach items

If we are going to the beach for a longer period, there are a few other items that are fantastic

  • Recycled Mat – HUGE and brilliant for the beach.
  • Frizbee, tennis ball, soccer ball
  • Foldable chairs (from our camping gear)
  • Small esky with drinks/food
  • Shade cover (we have a Fox Swing on the car which is handy if we are travelling on the beach)
  • Change of clothes – usually kept in the car
  • There are other things that are great to keep in The Car Box that make it easy to go anywhere!

Recycled Mats

What do you take to the beach?

Imaginative Play: Sand & Sea

Imaginative and outdoor play are a priority when it comes to facilitating play opportunities for my kids. Combining them together is gold.

We visited the beach a couple of weeks ago and then I created a beach scene for the kids to play with at home. It’s really so easy and cheap to set up and here is how I did it:

Beach play

Materials

Underbed Storage Container (or other plastic container)

Play Sand (you can get bags from Bunnings and places like that)

Small plastic container (that fits inside the underbed storage)

Animal Figurines

Blue Food Colouring (optional)

Imaginative Play: Sand & Sea Animals

Animal figurines - Fraser Coast

Set up

This can be set up on the grass (that way any sand spillage is no big deal) on a patio (where I set mine up; easy to sweep) or other outdoor space.

1. Tip the play sand into the underbed storage container.

2. Put a few drops of blue food colouring into the small container and fill with water. (When only a few drops are used, it’s very diluted and doesn’t tend to stain kids hands). Regular water works well too, but I think it looks fun when it’s blue!

3. Push the sand to one side to make space for the water dish.

4. Add the plastic figurines (a few rocks work well too!)

Imaginative Play: Sand & Sea Animals

Boats are great in the mix. The kids used a Lego boat; milk bottle lid boats or plastic bowl boats are great too!

Imaginative Play - sand and sea

Imaginative Play Scene - sand and sea

play figurines - turtle

I purchased the animal figurines from Mini Zoo.  I thought it worth a quick email to see if I could get a special offer for Be A Fun Mum readers because I love facilitating this type of play and giving back. After 13 years of parenting (and going through many different toys), plastic play figurines are in my top 5 best toys for usefulness, versatility and longevity (through different ages).

I chatted to Jason and he kindly organised 10% off storewide for Be A Fun Mum readers. Mini Zoo have over 5,000 products and every type of plastic play figurines you can imagine!  Free shipping is standard on domestic orders over $50. Just use the code beafunmum at checkout. The coupon code is valid until 3rd October 2014 and may be used an unlimited number of times so feel free to share the code with anyone else who would be interested.  Great Christmas gift idea too! 

minizoo.com.au

More 

Small World Play Ideas

Plant a Pot Garden for Spring!

how to plant a herb garden in potsI like the idea of gardening, but find it overwhelming.  Last year, I enlisted the help of a friend to get me started, and together we broke up the process in 3 easy (and FUN!) steps to make it achievable for anyone! The good thing about this garden is it’s in pots, so even if you don’t have the space for a garden, you can still experience the joy of growing something yourself and using it in the food you eat.  I believe this process is so important for kids!

I’m shocked (and very happy to say) that the garden I planted in pots a year ago is still alive. I repeat, IT’S STILL ALIVE! This is how I did it (if you start now, you’ll have a garden in a month):

Stage 1: Plant the Seeds

growing herbs from seeds using toielt rolls

The kids and I planted the plants from seeds. It’s a lot of fun to see the shoots pop out of the ground.  We used toilet rolls for this projects (great way to recycle them) and you can find the step by step procedure here:  Plant seedlings in toilet rolls

Then: 2 weeks later

Stage 2: Create Garden Label Rocks

spice garden rocks

While the seedings are growing tall and strong in their lovely toilet roll case, make label rocks.  Or you can use other label methods like write on small wooden spoons (just make you varnish them with outdoor gloss). Step by Step guide here: Paint herb garden rocks

Then: 2 weeks later

Stage 3: Plant Garden

herb garden rocks

Once the seedlings are about 5 cm high, it’s time to move them into the big garden pots, add the rocks and enjoy!  You can find all the materials I used for this project here: Plant a herb garden

And a year on, below are snippet of what is growing in our garden looks like coming into Spring (with very, very little maintianance).

Parsley in the garden

Herb Garden in Pots

Seasonal Planting Guide

For more details on when you should start planting for your area, this article is helpful: Seasonal Gardening Australia

Giveaway: Gramping Fun (part 1)

Sponsored by Aerogard, Mortein and Nuffnang 

“The family who camps together, stays together” the saying goes.  As a family of seasoned campers, I get the sentiment behind the words: camping provides many quiet bonding moments, challenging times that turn into great stories, and magical experiences in the wonders of nature.

When my husband and I became parents, we knew we wanted to be a family who camps.   As our family grew, we found ourselves to be keen explorers with a love of nature; however when it came to camping, we didn’t know where and how to start so we sat on it for a while. 

Daughter number 3 joined our growing family and we were in a position closer to my sister, who had slightly older children, and was already well set up for camping.  Going camping for the first time with someone already set up is a great way to start. It meant we only needed to purchase a tent and sleeping gear, and my sister shared all their cooking items with us, which made it do-able. 

Seven years later – our family has grown to six – and we are now seasoned campers. The kids love it.  Matt and I love it. Our extended family loves it.  Some of my most precious memories of family time are when we have camped together, especially when the Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles & cousins are all there too. Best.

For this series of posts, I’m teaming up with The Gramping Association to help extended families get out there and enjoy the outdoors experience together, whether that’s in the backyard or out yonder, because camping together is an amazing experience. 

What is Gramping?

The Gramping Association is an initiative supported by Aerogard & Mortein.  The idea is to help and encourage families enjoy the great outdoors together. Gramping or a Grampout is new name of an old concept.  It’s about camping with three or more generations together (grandparents, parents and kids) which is a gorgeous concept we embrace as a family.  Membership for the Gramping Association is free and members can expect Gramping friendly tips, events, offers and prize giveaways. Right now, there are seven camping adventures on offer for your chance to win*.

*terms and conditions apply, visit grampingassociation.com.au to view. 

Gramping Association

Packing

The Gramping Association have guides and lists, for example, a printable packing list, which from a camper’s point of view, is comprehensive and useful.  Below are some other the guides you can find on the website:

  • Pack like a pro – comprehensive packing list
  • Golden goodies – food ideas
  • Top tips for Mozzie Free Outdoor Fun

{printable PDF}

packing for gramping

5 Tips for Beginners

1. Tent in the backyard or with someone who is experienced first

2. Start at a camping spot with a lot of facilities like a BBQ, water, power & toilets.

3. Build your kit bit by bit, and customise it to your own requirements

4. Keep it simple. Keep everything simple. If you don’t really (really) need to bring it, don’t.  For example, I don’t take sheets for my kids; they have a camping mat with a sleeping bag and pillow. Comfy and simple.

5. Ask others campers for tips.

Our Gramping Box

We have a box ready for whenever we want to take off for a family weekend!  This is what we have in it:

  • Food/Cooking staples
  • Zip lock & Garbage bags
  • Dustpan & Broom
  • Sun cream
  • Paper Towel & Tissues
  • Hot water bottles
  • Batteries
  • Light / Torches
  • Housekeeping items
  • Insect Protection
  • Cleaning items 

camping box

It all fits inside this Stanley 55L sturdy container.

camping box

You can see more of our gear here.

Mozzie Protection

camping - insect protection

We live in Queensland and inspect protection is imperative for our outdoor adventures.  The two things we take with us when camping are candles for when we are sitting around the tent area at dusk and a protection spray

I’ve used both of these products, and below is a little more information about them.

Mortein Citronella Candle Outdoor: Mozzies are worse at dusk so try burning Mortein Citronella Candle Outdoor around this time, which contains natural Citronella, which burns up to 25 hours.

Aerogard Tropical Strength: Aerogard’s longest lasting repellent provides 6 hour protection against mosquitoes. It also repels flies, sandflies, leeches, ticks and other annoying and biting insects. Available in roll on, aerosol and pump format.

Gramping is about family and togetherness.  There’s something special about the conversations and connection opportunities that happen when you’re amongst nature. In the next post, I’ll show you more of our set up, some of the fun we got up to and one of our favourite gramping dinners.

gramping

grampingGiveaway

Congratulations to the winners! Stacey Shailer, Jennifer B, Melissa and Clare Duncan

I am running an exciting giveaway to give you the opportunity to get yourself set up for a Gramping experience! To enter leave a comment below about a special quality a grandparent, or grandparent-like-figure brings into your children’s lives. 

There will be 4 camping packs on offer consisting of:

  • $250 Anaconda voucher
  • $100 Turu voucher
  • Gramping Essentials Pack which includes Mortein and Aerogard products to keep you protected form mozzies in the outdoors

The Promotion will be open from 12:01 am (AEDST) on 27 March 2014 and will continue until 5:00 pm AEDST on 10 April 2014.

T & C: Please read all the terms & conditions here.

Disclosure

Read my disclosure policy here.

Part 1 – Gardening With Kids: Planting from Seeds (using toilet rolls)

growing herbs from seeds using toielt rolls

I’m not good at keep plants alive but for a long time now I’ve wanted to (successfully) do a  herb/vege garden with the children. Something simple and basic, so there’s that connection between the ground and the food we eat.

I talked to one of my friends about it, she works for About the Garden Magazine, and asked her to help me and — yay — we are on our way!

I’ve broken this gardening project into steps to make it manageable, and so it fits easily around family life (rather than allocating an entire day to attempt to achieve it all).  Because we don’t have a garden bed, I will be doing this herb garden out of the ground.  I hope this inspires others to grow a few things in their own gardens, because if I can do it (which remains to be seen) than anyone can!

Part 1 – Planting from Seeds

This first part of the gardening project is easy and simple (and fun for the kids).  We plant seeds into toilet rolls until they are seedlings and ready to be transplanted to the garden bed.

What you need

Toilet rolls

Plastic container (something like an empty ice-cream container works well)

Seedling mix (I used Searles Seed Raising Specialty Mix)

Seeds (of choice)

Permanent Marker

growing herbs from seeds

Searles Seed Raising Specialty Mix

Seeds

Below are the seeds I’m using for my herb patch.

  • Mint
  • Spinach
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Coriander

growing herbs from seeds using toielt rolls

Step 1

Line toilet rolls vertically along the base of the plastic container. Place as many toilet rolls as the container will allow.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 2

Fill the toilet rolls with the soil seedling mix, about half way up the toilet roll. It doesn’t matter if the soil goes out of the toilet rolls and into the plastic container.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 3

For identification purposes, choose different colours for each herb.  Then mark each toilet roll and the relevant seed packet with the corresponding colour.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

gardening with kids -- colour code

Step 4

Place a few seeds in each toilet roll, according to the colour coding. Some of the seeds are so tiny, that we sprinkled a few and hoped for the best. It’s interesting to talk about the shape, colour and size of the different seeds with the children.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 5

Fold the sachet containing the remaining seeds over a few times.  Then, place the sachet back in the identification packet and store in a container or zip lock bag.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 6

Cover the seeds with the soil, until the toilet roll is about 3/4 full.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 7

Son waited patiently for the watering part.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Give the seeds a good water, until the water level is sitting about half way up the container.

gardening with kids -- planting seeds

Step 8

Most herbs need a sunny position (guides are on the back of each packet), so we found a nice spot and watered our mini garden every couple of days.

growing herbs from seeds using toielt rolls

HELLO! After only a week we had spouts.  It really does feel like magic when you see the green shooting up from the dark earth.  The kids were so excited.  Now, after a few weeks, we are ready to plant the seeds into our make-shift garden.

Watch out for the next post in this gardening series.

More

Part 1 Rainbow Garden: Paint Pots

Part 2 Rainbow Garden: Planting Nasturtiums

Disclosure

This is not a sponsored post.  I fortunately know a lovely friend who works for Searles and About the Garden Magazine, and she supplied me with the soil and expertise to help me do this. Thank you Renee x

Paint Leaves

autumn activity for kids paint leaves

To celebrate Autumn, the younger children and I went to one of our favourite exploring spots for a rainbow leaf hunt. We also collected dry leaves to later paint and hang in the kitchen (we did this last year with maple leaves).

I love doing this sort of stuff with the children because it has such value and meaning. It’s not just about a craft to fill the time. No, it’s more than that.   It’s about taking the time to notice around us (it’s Autumn and leaves are changing).  It’s about exploring and spending time as a family.  It’s about doing a mini project together that adds joy to the house we all live in.  And I feel good about it…long after the paint dries.

Materials

Paint ( I used child-friendly acrylic paint)

Paint brushes (small brushes work best)

Leaves

String (I use Divine Twine)

Painting Leaves

1. We looked for already dry leaves that were quite flat (ie. not too curled) to make painting easy.

autumn activity kids -- paint leaves

2. Simple designs seem to work best, like lines and dots.

autumn activity kids -- paint leaves

autumn activity kids -- paint leaves

3. Allow to dry

autumn activity kids -- paint leaves

4. The easiest way to hang the leaves, so they sit flat against the wall, is to thread string on to a large needle, and then starting from the unpainted side, thread the needle up through, and then back down again  on the same leaf.  Repeat until all the leaves are on the string. Hang and then space the leaves apart as desired!

_DSC0820

Comon…how cute do these look!?   I enjoy seeing the leaves in my kitchen everyday.  They bring colour into the house as we celebrate nature in the home with good memories attached.

autumn activity kids -- paint leaves to hang

More

Paint Sticks

Rainbow Garden Step 1 — Rainbow Pots

painting pots

Ever since I came across this picture of the Keukenhof Tulip Fields in Holland, I’ve wanted my own version of rainbow garden.

rainbow tulip garden holland

The problem is I’m a terrible gardener. I don’t even like gardening very much (just the finished product).   But I’m determined to do some digging the dirt with the kids, and armed with inspiration, I’m giving it another go.   I’ll blog the process in three steps (as we do them).  The first step is an activity for the children: painting the pots for our garden.

Materials

While researching what paint to use for our garden project, I discovered outdoor paints is available in large tins.  An alternative in smaller amounts, is outdoor craft paint, but there is only limited (and boring) colours.    A little more reading, and I decided to use non-toxic acrylic paint, and seal with an outdoor gloss varnish for protection.  Bright is ALL part of this garden, so happy colours are a must!

bright paint for outdoor pots

Pots (I bought pots from Ikea but Terracotta pots work well too)

Acrylic paint (and paint brushes)

Outdoor Gloss Varnish (I used Jo Sonja’s Gloss Varnish – Indoor & Outdoor Use)

Rainbow Pots

I let the children loose with blobs on paint a piece of paper, water in plastic cups and paint brushes.  (We have a dedicated collapsible craft table so I don’t stress about mess).

painting pots

painting rainbow pots for the garden

rainbow pot garden

After the paint dried on the pots, I did three coats of varnish.  I did this over a few days, just when I thought about it.  The varnish took about 1 hour to dry between coats.

So, step one of our garden project is done and I love it!  For the next step in the process, I’ve asked dirtgirl from dirtgirlworld to help me with gardening tips and what to plant, so look out for that post soon.

rainbow pot garden

More

Part 1 Rainbow Garden: Paint Pots

Part 2 Rainbow Garden: Planting Nasturtiums

Part 3 Rainbow Garden: Watching it Grow

A Rock Play Garden

Another post from dirtgirl: 10 Winter Gardening Tips for Kids

7 Games From Around the World

7 Games inspired from children around the world

games inspired from around the world

I love this post, and not just because it helped take backyard play at our place to entire new level; there is much more than that.  It was an opportunity to give my children perspective, beyond what they see around them.

World Vision gave me permission to use the images in this post, and they, in turn, have enriched our family life.   How wonderful it is to learn from other children around the globe!

During the past couple of weeks, I looked for opportunities in our regular afternoons, to introduce these different games to my children. It’s been wonderful, wonderful, and I’ll share the fun things we did (and continue to do) below.

1. Cambodia

Children in Cambodia play a high-jump game, trying to snag stretched rubber bands held up by friends.  Photo by Jon Warren, World Vision.

Children games from around the world

What we did

I remember playing elastics with my sisters when I was a girl, and I enjoyed introducing my own children to the game. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before.  If you want to know more about how this game is played, or how to make elastic jumping bands, head over to this post: Backyard Games — Elastics.

games from around the world -- elastics

2. Vietnam

Sponsored child Lam Duc Tri (left) plays marbles with his friends after school.  Photo by Le Thiem Xuan, World Vision.

games from around the world -- marbles

What we did

Marbles were a hit with the kids!   They loved the feel of the small heavy balls in their hands and the sound of the marbles hitting each other.  To read more about how we set up the game, read this post: Backyard Games — Marbles.

games from around the world -- marbles

3. Kenya

Boys use a pile of construction sand as a high jump diving pit.  Photo by Jon Warren, World Vision.

games from around the world -- kenya

What we did

My son especially loved this one.  It was as simple as a few chairs, a broom handle, and a travel mattress.  This is a fun extension of a backyard obstical course.

games from around the world

4. Armenia

In the afternoon, children play outdoor games like volleyball.  Photo by Narine Ohanyan/World Vision © 2011

games from around the world -- volleyball

What we did

Using eslastic tied on to the car port posts, the children then took turns of hitting the ball over the ‘net’ to eachother.

games from around the world -- volleyball

5. Bangladesh

The boy students are seen playing football (soccer) on the grounds of Kathaltala Government Primary School. Photo by Xavier Sku,World Vision ©2012.

games from around the world -- soccer

What we did

We have a small outdoor soccer net, but even just a few shoes as goal posts work for backyard soccer.

games from around the world -- soccer

6. India

Children play “ghura khel” (horse game) at school. Children hold hands and run in a circle as fast as they can. Those who fall off must chase those who are still holding hands.  Photo by Jon Warren, World Vision.

games from around the world -- circle game

What we did

One fine afternoon after school, the children and I went to a park.  I was able to sneak in a bit of exercise while the children ran up and down the hill, holding hands, and inevitably, falling. You can see how much my son loved this in the last picture there.

games from around the world

7. Zambia

The children play a game called, Frog Friendship which requires extreme concentration, stamina and balance.  Photo by Collins Kaumba, World Vision.

Games from around the world -- frog friendship -- Zambia

What we did

I adore the Frog Friendship picture, but I couldn’t find much more about the game.  That didn’t stop the girls from getting down in the pose and trying to jump together.

games from around the world

Ended up like this. Laughter.

game from around the world

I see all these children playing games — kids from different parts of the world, my own kids — and it helped me see afresh, how important it is to connect, to help, to give, to learn, to understand, to love. All the children of the world…

Other Posts

The Power of We Starts With Me

Looking Beyond

I have BIG news to share

50 Backyard Game Ideas

50 backyard game ideas

I’m passionate about all kinds of play for kids. Following my post about the importance of play, I’ve put together the ideas provided by you all in this post of 50 Backyard Game Ideas.

50 Backyard Game Ideas

  1. Climb trees
  2. Moodle ball: Use a pool noodle as a bat and a soft toy ball. This is easy to play for very young children.
  3. Outdoor chalk drawing: Draw pictures, roads and cities
  4. Obstacle course (material ideas here: Backyard Obstacle Course)
  5. Wash doll clothes in a small bucket and hang on the line
  6. Push cars around
  7. Ride a scooter/skateboard
  8. Bike ride / Roller-skate
  9. Make a streamer tree (see our streamer tree in this post: Make a School Holiday Kit)
  10. Totem tennis
  11. Handball
  12. Skipping
  13. Hula Hoop
  14. 10 pin bowling with empty soft drink bottles and a tennis ball
  15. Jump on the trampoline
  16. Throw a tennis ball on a wall and catch
  17. Play ball catch (min 2 people)
  18. Hopscotch (use chalk to draw the squares)
  19. Make a mud kitchen
  20. Sponge throw art: Hang a large piece of butchers paper on the clothes line and throw a spounge with watered down food colouring
  21. Blow bubbles
  22. Backyard picnic
  23. Hide and Seek
  24. Tag
  25. Paddle pool or sprinkler fun (as water restrictions allow)
  26. Play parachute with a sheet
  27. Garden
  28. Treasure hunt
  29. Nature hunt: On a piece of paper, write items for kids to find. (For example, 1 feather, 3 leaves, 1 smooth stones, a curly stick)
  30. Balance: Buy a thin piece of wood from a hardware store and lay on the grass. Walk across and balance!
  31. Sandpit
  32. Kick the ball around
  33. Piggy in the middle
  34. Water bomb fight
  35. Spray bottle fun: Fill a spray bottle with water and use in water fights, to ‘sparkle’ plants or put in food colouring and spray an old sheet or piece of paper.
  36. Duck, duck, goose.
  37. What’s the time Mr Wolf?
  38. Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosie
  39. Balloon volleyball
  40. Backyard basketball
  41. French cricket
  42. Backyard soccer
  43. Create an imaginative play scene. (For ideas visit this page on my blog: Imaginative Play Scenes)
  44. Dance to music on the grass (make a dancing ribbon ring too)
  45. Put a large box in the backyard, provide texters and create something
  46. Throw Frisbee
  47. Pretend to cook with bowls, cups and spoons.  Add some boxes and set up a restaurant or a shop.
  48. Throw paper planes
  49. Steal the tail: Tuck pieces of material in the back of an adult’s belt. The children run after the adult to try and catch a tail.
  50. Build a makeshift cubbyhouse. Visit this post for more ideas: Thrift Shop Cubby

Print the list: 50 Backyard Game Ideas

10 Backyard Games (my kids like to play)

My children and I had a lot of fun putting this video together. I think I had more fun editing it to the music.

More Lists

100 Ways to Love the Moment

105 Ways to Enjoy Nature with Kids

100 School Holiday Ideas

Giveaway: The Importance of Play

The team at MILO approached me earlier this year about  the MILO Play Movement, a fabulous project designed to help parents and children get active and play every day.  I enjoy working with the team over at MILO as one of their Mum Ambassadors because I believe in the power of play, and I love talking about it.

Listed below is a snapshot of survey results of Australian and New Zealand families.  For for more information, watch this short video.

In a nutshell

The Milo Play Movement team surveyed of almost 1400 children, parents and grandparents in 2011 to explore the state of play in Australia.  Not surprisingly, the survey shows spontaneous healthy outdoor play is feeling the pinch due to our ever busy family lives and is at risk of being suffocated by electronic games.  According to the survey, outdoor play is important to both parents and children, however, 45% of Aussie kids are not playing everyday.  The three main barriers to play were identified as:

1. Time

Who wouldn’t want more of this commodity every day!  Amongst homework, chores and family life, play is often pushed down the list of priorities.

2. Technology

When I was growing up, computer games were in their infancy and in no way detracted from playing outside.  Now it’s possible to immerse yourself in a virtual world that seems to know no bounds.  I believe there are some advantages with electronic play but like anything, moderation is important.

3. Inspiration

An interesting point the study brings out is many parents and grandparents think children show a lack of inspiration when it comes to creating play.  There may be a number of reasons for this but in this electronic age, where entertainment is served up, creativity and spontaneity can be stifled.  Play, like all things in life, improves when actively cultivated.

Outdoor play and our family

The way I encourage outdoor activity play with my kids is to designate a period of time everyday, usually between 4:00 and 5:30 pm for this type of play.  I’m pretty blunt about it, it’s “Play outside or come inside to do jobs.” Ha! The kids don’t need much persuading.

The beauty of outdoor play is there are many games that instigate almost instantly and with very little planning.  For example, tying streamers in a tree, jumping on the trampoline, putting cone markers out and riding scooters around them, tag, hide and go seek, creating a back yard obstacle course or even doing some of the 105 Ways to Enjoy Nature together.

We have a soccer goal set up on our small lawn, and if Dad gets home during daylight, he often throws himself into a quick game of soccer; the kids love it (I’m giving one of these soccer nets away at the end of the post with some other goodies).

milo play movement -- get kids outside to play

milo play movement -- get kids outside to play

milo play movement -- get kids outside to play

Giveaway: FUN Outdoor Kit

I’m giving away this awesome, awesome kit to one Be A Fun Mum Reader.  Thanks SquiggleMum for providing a pic of the kit.

milo-play-kit

Fun outdoor kit: The kit contains a free standing soccer net, cones, a selection of different balls a ball pump and a couple of tins of MILO.

To Enter

Entering is really easy. Just leave a comment below about a fun game you or your kids play and your response could be featured in the Play-O-Pedia App, an easy tool you can search on for games to play (give it a try).

Terms

1. Australian residents only 2. Winner will be drawn randomly  3. Winner will be notified by email and if no response is received within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn  4. Answers could be used in the Milo Play-O-Pedia App. 5. Giveaway open from 12.01 am 21 May to 12.01 am 25 May 2012. 6. This competition is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with facebook.

Disclaimer: I receive payment for consulting services as a MILO Mum Ambassador for the MILO Play Movement, and received a MILO Play Kit free of charge for my own kids to play with.

Links

Milo on Facebook

Play-O-Pedia Facebook App

SquiggleMum: Fun you can have with a tin can

Disclosure

10 Winter Gardening Tips for Kids

10 tips for gardening in Winter with Kids

Today on the blog, I’m welcoming Dirt Girl from the hit children’s series Dirtgirlworld, to guest post especially for Be A Fun Mum.  Dirtgirlworld is a celebration of life outside, taking children to a world where the real and unreal collide.  I love the show’s focus on loving the outdoors and environmental sustainability.

So, get grubby this winter with 10 gardening tips for kids from Dirt Girl.

dirt girl world winter gardening tips for kids

Great fun winter gardening ideas

1. Compost

Gather up all the autumn leaves that have fallen and jump in it! I mean, make a big compost pile. Add some manure (sheep, cow, horse or chicken poo), some water and let it heat up! Or add them to the compost pile you already have. You can also use your autumn leaves to mulch your garden beds to help keep your plants’ roots extra warm over the chilly winter. As the leaves rot down they become food for the soil.

2. Garden

Winter is a great time to plant lettuce, beetroot and broccoli. Savoy cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, radish, rocket, rainbow chard, spring onions and turnips can be planted now too. If you plant them at every two weeks, you will get a nice crop all the way through winter. It’s hard to eat 10 heads of broccoli if they all come on at once! Believe me I’ve tried!

gardening for kids

Plant in winter garden:

  • lettuce
  • beetroot
  • broccoli
  • savoy cabbage
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • radish
  • rocket
  • rainbow chard
  • spring onions
  • turnips

3. Collect & Paint Pots

Start collecting conatiners & pots for your container garden now. Paint some personalized garden pots that will be used in the spring. Or you can use them now to plant some coriander, rocket, perpetual spinach, and silver beet.

winter gardening tips for kids

Look at these cute rainbow painted pots from Whimsical Kids Canvas. Click the picture to read the post.

painted pots kids activity

4. Herbs in Pots

You could try some lovely smelling herb pots too with thyme, rosemary and ‘winter savoury’. These herbs are tough and only need watering about every second or third week but the leafy greens will need watering every 4 to 6 days. To pick the herbs for the kitchen simply pinch off the tips with your fingers – doing this also prunes them which will encourage bushier, faster growing plants.

Plant in pots during winter:

  • coriander
  • rocket
  • perpetual spinach
  • silver beet
  • thyme
  • rosemary

5.Window Garden

Try growing an indoor window sill garden with mini flowers.

6.Grow Bags

If planting out in the garden make the most of cool season sun by planting vegies in grow bags which can be moved to where the sun is at any time of day.

7. Make a Bird Feeder

how to make a gourd birdhouse

Winter is a great time for helping the birds in your backyard.  You can build a birdhouse from scraps like timber, plastic drain pipes, PVC pipe. With very little alteration, you can repurpose well-cleaned 3.8-litre paint cans, washed plastic milk cartons, coffee cans or the newer plastic containers, old boots, stiff hats, faded wreaths, and fallen branches into bird houses. Even materials that will only last for one season, like cardboard milk cartons, make good shelters for some birds.

You could even use a gourd! All that you need is a gourd and some wire. Find out how to make this on Family Fun Go.

Painted gourds can be used to decorate the garden too.

painted gourd decorate garden kids activity garden

Materials you can build bird houses from:

  • timber
  • plastic drain pipes
  • PVC pipe
  • well-cleaned 3.8-litre paint cans
  • washed plastic milk cartons
  • coffee cans
  • plastic containers
  • old boots
  • stiff hats
  • faded wreaths
  • fallen branches
  • cardboard milk cartons
  • gourds

For more some recycled birdhouse ideas go to Recycled Bird Houses or here: Bird Feeder from Recycled Materials

8. Bird Diary

Set up bird feeders and keep them full. Provide a daily clean water source. Keep a record of all the species of birds that come to the feeder and what date each first was spotted.

9. Plant Bulbs

Plant bulbs in a pot, in a good soil mixture with drainage material in the bottom like broken old bits of terracotta pot. Daffodil bulbs are easy peasy to grow in a pot. Most bulbs can be planted twice as deeply as they are high, and about the same distance apart. Bulbs are usually planted with the pointy end upwards, except ranunculi. If you are unsure, plant the bulb sideways and it will turn the correct way up as it emerges. Place pots outdoors, protected from strong winds and frosts, in a position where they will receive natural rainfalls as much as possible. Bring pots indoors to enjoy when flowering begins.

10. Visit a Garden

Make a day of it and visit a local community garden or even a nursery to see what’s growing.

Now let’s get grubby!  Love dirtgirl!

More

Dirt Girl Word — The Website

Rock Garden

105 Ways to Enjoy Nature With Kids

Nature Craft: Rock Footprints

nature craft -- stone foot prints

When I do craft with my kids, I like for it to be an extension of another outing or activity.  For example, making potpourri bags for the drawers was coupled with a trip to the shops, collecting shells at the beach turned into a wall feature and a fun addition to a country drive was to stop and make wild flower wreaths. For me, craft is about connection rather than just something to do.

When the children and I explored a local stream recently, we collected rocks to make rock footprints.

exploring stream kids

It’s not craft, it’s connection.

 

Materials

Piece of wood (or use a canvas)

2 x Screw eyes

Rocks (1 sole of foot size and 5 for toes)

Gem glue, like 330 Epoxy (a hot glue gun works too but for best results use expoxy glue)

Instructions

1. Sort, clean and move the rocks around until you get the best foot shape.

rock footprints

2. Lightly sand the piece of wood to help the glue stick. Canvas can also be used instead of the wood.

3. Arrange the rocks on your piece of wood or canvas using gem glue or hot glue gun (the gluing should be done by an adult).

pebble footprint

4. Allow to dry as per packet instructions.

5. Press screw eyes and twist on either side of wood to allow for hanging.

instuctions nature craft stone foot feature

6. Hang with a piece of twine or rope.

The Rock Footprint sign hangs on the outdoor cubby. We might add some words to the sign when we think of a good name. I’ll keep you posted.

Connecti

rock footprints nature craft Update

31 March 2014: So almost two years since I wrote this post, I thought I would show you how our footprints looks now: even more rustically gorgeous! (and still holding together after being out in the elements for that long).

Rock Footprints

More

Nature Craft