Things to do

yo_gabba2

We love Yo Gabba Gabba in our house, they’re fun, look great, have great music, I mean they have The roots and Money Mark as musical guests and they have Biz Markie teach the kids to beat box every week as well as handling cool kids stuff like trying new food and washing your hands. What’s not to love.

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red_sheet

When The Big Man was two we went to Gymbaroo classes for a term. It was great, we really enjoyed it. One of the great things about it was the emphasis on learning colours. Each week we were given a new colour to learn, we had a book to put them in and we would collect things of that colour for the week and then the following week, move on to a new colour.

I liked the idea so much that I decided to do the same thing again for the little man and am putting together a bunch of printables to cut out each week and stick into his own book. And then I thought “I should upload them here too”(do you put thoughts in quotations?). And so I will!

Each week I’ll upload a new printable, you can print it out, cut out the different pictures that appeal to you and yours and paste them into a little note book together. We made one just for our colours out of an old cereal box and some copy paper.

Spend the week finding additional examples of a given colour. Autumn leaves, scrap paper etc and repeat what each item is.

Red Car, Red Helmet. You get the idea.

I totally recommend focussing on one colour per week as it gives you time to focus on getting one locked down before getting distracted or overwhelmed.

Let’s kick things off here with the colour red. Seems like a good place to start don’t you think? Download the colour red here

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By the way… I am NOT a teacher, this is just something that worked really well for us, if you have other ideas and methods about teaching colours, I’d love to hear them. Please comment below.

Have fun:)

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May 12, 2013

Werribee Open Range Zoo

Posted in: Things to do
By: Peter Costello

Giraffes for the win

Not too long ago we took a day trip out to… wait for it, can you guess where? Yup, Werribee Open Range Zoo. (Man, you’re like Sherlock Holmes). If you live in or are visiting Melbourne, Australia, you should totally check it out. It’s a bit less than an hour out of town and it’s mental! (In a good way).

It’s mental! (In a good way)

There’s a bit of a standard zoo park that you can walk around, which is cool in itself, but the real kicker is the open range bus tour. Basically, you jump in a bus with Big open windows and go and get all “up close and personal” with the Rhino, Giraffes, Antelope and the like. It’s Rad! And I say that even though most of the action was happening on the other side of the bus to us. “Way to pick the good side Dad. Bah!

It’s rad you should totally check it out. Melbourne zoo is pretty rad too. That just leaves Healesville Sanctuary to visit now and we’ll have done the set. Zoos Victoria do an awesome job and are definitely worth the cost of entry and totally worth the cost of membership. NB: This is not an ad but it IS a great deal.

Anyway, Checkit. Wroarrrr!

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April 14, 2013

Awesome Apps: Endless Alphabet

Posted in: Tech / Things to do
By: Peter Costello

photo-2

I saw a post over at artchoo (which is a pretty rad blog you should totally check out) the other day about their two favourite ABC Apps. We’ve mentioned before that we have a a bunch of kids apps, one of the more recent additions is Endless Alphabet which Jeanette mentions in her post.

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We’ve been playing with it for a few weeks and we too think it’s AWESOME! It’s a beautifully finished piece of learning. The illustrations, characters and tone are all really cute and at times quite funny. The letter sounds they make have real personality and seem to really reinforce the letter. I guess by giving the letter a character there is some extra form of retention? Not sure but it seems to be working.

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Best of all though is that the three year-old’s grasp of letters has just gone gang busters. He needs some guidance when playing with the app as he can get a bit carried away, but when he focuses, he really takes it in. We’ve even started using the same method of talking about letters when working on our alphabet without the app.

What letter makes an Rrrr Rrrr Rrrr sound?

It’s really catching on, we can now even play a halfway decent game of eye spy, we still need clues, but the game is actually getting pretty fun.

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Anyway, I’m not a teacher but I can definitely recommend this app if you’re looking for something to learn / play with letters on. Also, I’m in no way affiliated with the makers of this app and not being paid to say this. I just think it’s awesome.

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March 15, 2013

Collections

Posted in: Things to do
By: Peter Costello

Collections
A little while back we were supposed to go to a second birthday party for one of the boys from mothers group. It ended up pouring rain and sadly, the birthday party was cancelled.

Rather than let that spoil the day though, The good lady wife decided we should all get our rain coats on and go on an adventure. All this meant, was a walk around the block, jumping in puddles and collecting “treasures” along the way. But I gotta say, it was awesome!

The photo above was the result of our travels. It was great fun going through them all and talking about all the different things we found and then arranging them and then finally covering pretty much everything in glitter glue, we didn’t get a photo of this but you can guess the mess:)

I’ve come to the conclusion that rainy days can be pretty rad if you just get amongst it. Good Times!

What do you collect when you go walking?

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Speeder bike

Speeder bike


We take loads of photos at ours though sadly mostly on the iPhones these days. I actually had the real camera out this week for something and the big man showed a *real* interest, not just a dad going “No, really, you’re totally into this” type interest. So we gave it a go.

He’s three so it was definitely a bit tricky for him as it’s quite an old and heavy dSLR but with a bit of help supporting the base, the little champ took a bunch of pics of his own choosing and they’re actually, pretty good.

Saurus!

Saurus!


It was so cool to see him actually looking through the view finder and working out what he wanted to take photos of. I’m thinking we should print them so we can hang them up and kinda make a big deal of him:)

We’ve spoken about getting him a little fisher price kids camera in the past but now im thinking we could probably get a cheap yet tough, point & shoot type of one on eBay for pretty cheap that he could maybe take better pics with.

His Comforter :)

His Comforter :)


Do your kids take photos? If so, what kinda rig (Sorry I couldn’t help it, I’m so lame) do they use?

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The boys playing with the fishing rodsI’ve had a couple of days at home sick this week, which in part is awesome because I get to spend some time with the lads but in reality sucks because being sick, is by definition, not awesome. That and I’m also falling behind at work. Blah, blah woe is me. (Hand to forehead and feint.)

Anyway… One of the things we did for entertainment while I was at home was make a cardboard fishing game, which I was really excited about. So excited that I made most of it while the boys were asleep (FAIL). We did make the actual rods together which was actually kinda difficult. However, we should have drawn the pics and done the colouring in together too.

cardboard fish

In total it took about an hour to make:

  • Drawing;
  • cutting out;
  • finding paper clips and
  • making the rods.

All up the boys played with them for about 5 mins, after which, it turned out, it was pretty difficult to use, the lads got bored and frustrated and were soon distracted by something else.

So how could this be more rad and less frustrating?

  • Stronger Magnets? Yes!
  • More Paper clips? Yup
  • Smaller fish, For sure! This will probably fix the first two points.
  • Make it all together with the boys.

So with these lessons learned, We are going to re-make these guys over the weekend and hopefully put up a printable as a result.

Stay tuned for that one.

Featured at:

and then, she {snapped}

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July 8, 2012

The Secret Playground

Posted in: Things to do
By: Peter Costello

secret map

A while back I posted about a totally rad app called playground finder. This app is made by Ben and Suzette Hosken, the teachers learning network, the Victorian Department of Educationand a bunch of other people no doubt. It will show you kids playgrounds close to where you are and give a description of them, the play equipment there in, the amount of shade, drinking fountains etc. as well as a bunch of user reviews.

Parent? Sounds pretty rad right?!

Anyway, there happens to be a really awesome park near our place. This park, not only has the usual swings and play equipment but it also has a really good open space with a great little hill for running up and down. But wait for it folks that’s not all, it also has toys. Really, toys, Tonka trucks, bikes, trikes, walkers, diggers. Seriously, real toys for kids to play with.

At first i thought that it might actually say something about the economic status of that side of the highway, which is a bit fancier than our side, and it might, but after visiting a few times, it makes a bit of sense and we’ve sort of caught the bug. Weve got a bunch of older toys, mostly bought from eBay that the boys have grown out of and to be honest aren’t really worth trying to re-sell on eBay (You end up losing whole weekends waiting for people to come over and pick things up). So, I think were going to take them down and give a little back to the local community.

But here’s the point. This park doesn’t show up in the playground finder app and I wonder if people specifically want to keep it a secret. What do I do? Being a fairly new family going to this park, do I share it with the Internet at large or do I just let local folks discover it for themselves.

Should I add it to the app? In the words of Dr. Seuss, what would you do? 

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May 24, 2012

Kids, Ideas and the future of design

Posted in: Making stuff / Things to do
By: Peter Costello

I have the rare privilege of working at a Pretty Rad Company. One, I get to work on some very cool clients but I also get to participate in some pretty rad events. On Tuesday, I got to take part in AGIdeas Next which is part of the AGIdeas design conference put on each year in Melbourne for design students of varying disciplines.

Next is about encouraging young, primary school students, to explore how they can shape their world through design. I guess teaching them that are designers, whether it be the way they present themselves, their school work, their food (if they cook) or how they solve problems in their everyday life.

Ken Cato did a great introduction to the idea that design touches and influences everything we do and it was great to see the penny drop for a lot of the kids when the slides moved from tap wear and washing machines to toy design.

There were about 800, eight to twelve year-old kids, 100 designers and a couple of hours to see what we could come up with. The focus of the day was not on technical skill but rather on innovation and exploring ideas. This, I think, is the key to the whole event. What was really encouraged was unbridled thinking. And really, at the age of 10 or so, who really cares if you need x and y to make z. We can work that out later, what we know is we want to make Z.

Teleporters, time-machines and robots

There were 100 tables with about eight kids, a teacher and a designer at each. We were given a sheet of idea prompts on areas that we could use design to make things better, these included areas like traffic, sleeping, washing and eating.

In terms of ideas, the girls seemed to stay on topic and tried to solve problems, the boys generally went straight to teleportation, time-machines and anything that hovers as a starting point, the challenge here was exploring an idea like time travel, or what you could make with something that hovers that would be useful to you in addition to just being TOTALLY AWESOME.

It was great to see the everyone’s ideas influence each other and build. My group developed a “Wash n’ Go” bath that was part spa bath and part Dyson dryer. A hovering music player based on the Golden Snitch from Harry Potter, and a spoon that heats up or cools down your food, (This would be great for me with two toddlers feeding themselves, food at a constant 30º would be awesome). There were a variety of robots and a mirror that you could try on all your clothes before it automagically dressed you. Nice!

All in all it was a great day and I think the kids got a lot out of it. Even thinking about design in the greater scheme of things at the age of eight or ten is amazing and will hopefully influence the way they see the world.

I too got a lot out of the day, working with a great bunch of kids was amazing. That said, I now have an even greater respect for teachers, keeping eight kids on topic, even when there’s a cool task in front of them is a lot of work. Keeping 25 kids engaged everyday is just amazing! Respect! (Thumps chest twice, makes peace sign).

Have Fun

 

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April 13, 2012

6 tips for long car trips with toddlers

Posted in: Things to do
By: Peter Costello

We just returned from an Easter trip up the coast. This involved a car ride that is increasing in length each time we do it. This time we had potty stops in addition to play stops, food stops and petrol stops. In total we clocked a 13 and a half hour trip on the way home. This was in small part due to traffic as we approached Melbourne but largely due to having two kids running things from the back seat.

A thirteen hour trip with two kids was actually pretty fun and given that it is a full day of holiday, we might as well try and make it as much fun as we can. Below are a couple of tips for surviving enjoying a long trip with little ones

  1. Embrace the kids music, it’s fun to sing along and happy trip is a short trip.(Sort of) You don’t have to like the wiggles or Yo Gabba Gabba or the like, you just have to not hate them. That said we have one particular CD that does not make it in to the car EVER!
  2. A cool idea is to make a playlist or burn a CD that has a mix of both your types of music, or as our toddler calls it, “Both our shows”. That way you can introduce them to your favorite songs but they also get what’s familiar to them as well. Just make sure that “Your” songs are still kid friendly, we chose to leave the Dubstep and Gangsta tunes out of the mix.
  3. Take a ball. Our little ones are old enough to run around and a ball is a rad toy for running them out of energy, at each stop, we try to run around as much as possible, they love it and it makes for a much happier trip post stop.
  4. Don’t, repeat, do not give your kids a cup of milk before driving up a winding mountain road. Not sure how we’re going to get the smell of vomit out of the car from that one.
  5. Eye spy is awesome! We’re still too young to use letters in the something that starts with “S” context but I spy something that’s green with lots of leaves is just as effective at keeping the little ones engaged.
  6. We tried to answer questions as best we could. We’ve recently hit the “Why” stage and there were a lot of questions on the trip. It was actually really enjoyable trying to explain things in two year-old terms. And when it stops being enjoyable, change the subject. Chrissie Swann does this with a well placed, out of context word like “Sunshine”. I thought this was really sweet.

It turns out I really enjoy the car trip, it’s actually a great day of adventure and games, with a few little set-backs (but what day isn’t) and if it allows us as a family to spend time together and visit the Grandparents then even better.

Have Fun
Pete

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