Wednesday, September 18, 2013

School Holidays: Encouraging boys to write & draw

With school holidays upon us yet again, it's time to start planning some activities for my 2 boys (who are currently in Grades 1 and 2 at school).  While boys on the whole prefer to be either playing outside (swimming, kicking the ball, looking for insects, riding on scooters and bikes, etc) or playing video games, I always try and put some effort into some 'quieter' type activities for them.

With boys, its essential to provide writing and drawing supplies that catch their attention and appeal to their 'loudness'.  But have you noticed there is a distinct lack of really cool 'boy' stuff available if you aren't into the licensed type stuff, which I definitely stay away from at all times (which you probably already know if you have read much of my blog).  It's also important to keep in mind to continue the fine motor skill activities as they get older (such as cutting) that are so important for pre-schoolers but continue to benefit hand strength which in turn contributes to writing skills.

So I have been on the hunt for stationery supplies that appeal to BOYS, and this is what I have found...

Spencil is a Brisbane-based company that offers extremely unique and original school supplies and stationery for kids (ok adults too, I admit I now have a couple of Spencil goodies on my desk I recently ordered!)... from pirates to zombies to robots to construction (and that's just for the boys, there is many girl designs too), there is something to suit every boys personality.  The Car Pens are a hit in my house with my boys, and the Display Books and Hard Pencil Cases are just fantastic! We always need A4 Display Books and I will be getting them from Spencil from now on. Check out the Zombie Hard Pencil Case below and tell me what little boy wouldn't think that is the coolest thing ever. As a final mention, Spencil always have some really great specials on offer as well.

Also be sure to check out the Spencil Facebook Page.

Note Couture is a divine (and very extensive) online store which was the pioneer for personalised stationery in Australia. All the illustrations are original and hand drawn, and the range of products you can apply them to is huge! It's well worth browsing the Children's Section of the Note Couture webstore, however our favorites for boys are definitely Alien, Blast Off, Roarrr, and Jungle Friends. The products you can apply them to range from notepads (pictured below), thank you cards, to-do lists, book name stickers (pictured below), mousemat notepads, and heaps more! The illustrations are all just beautiful, very detailed and very cute and funny! If you need to buy a special gift for a child soon, why not consider the Note Couture Children's Range, I think anything from the range would make a very treasured gift that would be very well used... any child absolutely loves their own stationery with their very own name on it along with an illustration to match their personality.

Don't forget to pop over and like the Note Couture Facebook Page.

Now that I have the notepads, pencil cases, display folders, and other supplies sorted out, we need some colouring pens and craft supplies to make it all happen!

Faber-Castell is the top pick for me, and is a brand name that is very well-known in all Australian households... I know we have a whole bag full of the absolutely fantastic Connecter Marker Pens! Not only do they last forever, they are bright and sturdy and, yes, my sons love them because they can join them together and use them as a sword or to make a crown. However, new on the shelf is the Grip Scissors, which take a little getting used to (see image below), but once your child is used to the grip, they are truly fantastic - the Faber-Castell Grip Scissors are designed for better comfort and control, making it easy for little hands to grip and improving eye-hand co-ordination. Ideal for Left or Right Hand cutting and safe for children with rounded blade points. Perfect! For older boys I would also like to mention the Anime Art Sets, which provide step-by-step help to drawing your own anime/cartoon characters.  Fantastic for the budding artist in your family, and a really unique concept.

Don't forget to head over and like the Faber-Castell Facebook Page.

I am now all set for our writing and art and craft sessions for over the school holidays... I'd love to hear your school holiday plans as well!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bite sized finger food for toddlers

Anyone else have trouble feeding their toddlers?  My daughter will NOT eat purees anymore, she will only eat foods she can pick up and eat herself with her fingers (and attempting to use a fork or spoon herself, of which is not so effective at the moment). So every meal and snack lately for us is served in a bowl or plate, with a range of bite-sized finger foods she can pick up and eat herself. So here is my list to date of the things I am giving her to eat. Dinner always consists of whatever we are having cut up into little pieces of finger food.
  • Blueberries
  • Little pieces of cut up cheese
  • Small crackers
  • Tiny Teddies
  • Frozen Peas and Corn
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Dry Cereal - Rice Bubbles, Nutri-Grain, etc
  • Pepita's
  • Tiny little Vegemite Sandwiches
  • Little pieces of plain bread
  • Sultana's or dried Cranberries
  • Larger fruit peeled and cut up - Banana's, strawberries, apples, pears, melon, etc
  • Pikelets cut up, or make tiny little pikelets
  • Bought Muesli Bars cut up into tiny chunks
  • Ham, Smoked Salmon, left-over roast, or other cold meats cut up small
  • Cooked cooled rice
  • Cooked cooled pasta shapes
  • Grated carrot
  • Hard boiled egg diced up 
  • Muesli Slice (home-made) diced into tiny little pieces

What would you add to this list??  Please feel free to leave me some comments of other toddler finger foods you feed your little one!