Wednesday Tips #23

colour mixing

One of the best ways for children to learn is by discovery. Given the opportunity to investigate, hypothesise and test their theories is a great learning experience for young children (within reason of course!)

I follow this principle when it comes to setting up a painting activity for my young grandchildren. Instead of offering a multitude of different coloured paints, I provide small, multiple amounts of the primary colours and also some white.

An old egg container makes a handy container with some compartments left empty for the children to mix dabs of different colours together using a range of different  sized paintbrushes. As they mix and mingle the colours all sorts of colours emerge , much to the children’s delight.

A sheet of paper and a small container of water for washing a brush if necessary, complete the equipment needed to explore a world of colour. So try not to tell your little artists how to make the colours pink, orange, purple etc. but let them make their own discoveries.  

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Wednesday Tips #22

summer herbs cropped

With Spring established it is time to plant the Summer herbs.

The taste and smell of fresh basil and parsley are great additions to Summer salads, pastas and  particular favourites of my family, homemade pizza and bruschetta. 

It is easy to grow herbs in a pot placed on a sunny deck or window sill. This week my granddaughter and I visited the local plant nursery to buy some seedlings and then she planted them in a pot and watered them in. Now her responsibility is to remember to give them a drink every day or so.

This is an easy activity but helps children learn not only  where food comes from but develop a sense of responsibility in caring for living things.

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Wednesday Tips #21

Looking for a venue for an outing with young grandchildren?

A trip to the zoo is always popular with young children and I have found that a membership of my local zoo is a great investment.

If you are lucky enough to live within reasonable commuting distance of a zoo which offers membership benefits I would encourage you to join. Generally, a membership offers unlimited entry and some zoos actually have more than one site. Entry for children under the age of four years is often free which makes it the perfect venue for an economical outing.zoo

I often take my grandchildren  for a visit to one of our state zoos and each time we focus on only two or three exhibits. This way we have time to talk about the animals and watch them intently. Sometimes we are even lucky enough to encounter a zookeeper who will tell us a story about the animals in an exhibit. Many zoos also have volunteer guides who are a great source of information and stories about the animals in a zoo’s collection.

With a snack and a water bottle in my bag we are set for a morning or afternoon visit and home again before any of us is too tired.

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Wednesday Tips #20



Do you remember playing the beetle game as a child?

With paper, pencil and a die you have the equipment necessary for a game of Beetles with your grandchildren. No scrounging in the games cupboard, no arguments over who uses which coloured counter and no cleaning up afterwards!

Quick, fun and ideal for those times when you only have a few minutes to fill in. Even good as you wait together in the dental surgery or hairdresser’s if you have a die tucked into a corner of your purse.

The rules are simple. As each player throws the die the number shown represents which part of the beetle she can draw. Each person must throw a 6 to start as that represents the beetle’s body. Once the body is drawn the head (5), 6 legs (4 for each one), antennae (3 each) and eyes (2 for each) can be added. The first to complete a beetle is the winner.

Dice games are good for building math concepts along with the social skills of learning to take turns and winning/losing gracefully.

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Wednesday Tips #19

ImageIt is always interesting how children construct their own games to suit a situation.

In the toybox outside, my granddaughter discovered a small net once used long ago in the maintenance of a fishtank . 

“Let’s play a fishing game,” she announced to her cousins. “We need some water please Gam,” they called.

So with a bucket of water and a variety of articles which could float, the fishing game was instigated. This kept them amused for over an hour as they took turns, counted how many items they caught, and fantasised about the size and type of fish they were catching.

Imaginative, child centred and inexpensive entertainment.

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