{Creative Cardboard Box City}

We've been having a 'staycation' for February break and have been spending lots of time engaged in creative play. Our big project for the week has been creating this cardboard box city to play with. 

We got this City Blocks set from VillaCarton and it's an ingenious idea combining kids' love for cardboard boxes with imaginary play and creativity. It comes flat with the city buildings printed on all sides in black and white - you simply fold the boxes together and then let the kids colour and decorate them the way they like! Once completed, it makes a fun city playscape for imaginary play! 

We've been colouring parts with markers, painting parts, and adding our own touches such as flowers and cats on windowsills and nests on the roof tiles. We've been working on it bit by bit all week and it still isn't quite finished. (But that hasn't stopped the kids from playing with it already!) We still plan to add some stickers (maybe a dog walking down the sidewalk or a teddy bear in a fire truck?), and perhaps some touches of 'sparkle' with some glitter paint. We are also having a debate as to whether or not to cut open some of the windows or doors with an exacto knife - one pea says yes, the other says no ;-) 

The set we got is a fire station on one side and a hospital on the other, but there are all sorts of brilliantly creative cardboard box toys available from VillaCarton, including a play kitchen, play houses and even costumes. 

My kids (and admittedly I - who doesn't love colouring, right?) have been absolutely loving this! We love that we have a 'framework' for our creation already set up, but can still enjoy using our own creativity to decorate it the way we like. It creates an exciting small world scene for fostering some wonderful imaginary play. It will fold flat one day when we decide to put it away (hasn't happened yet as it's getting daily use!) And we even made our own shop out of the box it came in ;-) Highly recommend! 

SEE THE COLLECTION: www.villacarton.com
LIKE VILLACARTON ON FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/VillaCartonOriginal
FOLLOW VILLACARTON ON TWITTER: www.twitter.com/villacarton


*Please note that while we received this cardboard city block set from VillaCarton to test out in exchange for writing this review, the opinions expressed here are 100% ours.

*Thanks to Petra of Bag of Pretty for turning me on to VillaCarton in the first place :-)

{Rainbow Sensory Play}

Child's hands holding rainbow-coloured barley grains for sensory play

We made some beautiful rainbow barley this week!

I found a full box of expired barley in the back of the cupboard, and using the same method we used when we made our rainbow dyed pasta necklaces, we turned it into this fun, sensory play bin 
in happy 'spring' colours (wishful thinking on our part
 as it turned out - we've had snow twice more since!)

I set out a few figures to go along with it, and left Sweet Pea to her own devices
- which turned out to be a rainbow jacuzzi for her little friends 
and hide and seek :-)

 Try it with rice, pasta, or lentils, too.

Playmobil figures lined up for the rainbow barley grains sensory play tub

For more rainbow fun see our Rainbow Party and Rainbow Blog Hop.


{Simple Book Word Sort Game}

Simple Word Sort Game

For The Beginning Reader

Simple words in context sort game for the beginner reader based on books

Princess Pea started kindergarten in January, for the first time. Although she's always been a book-lover and grand story-teller, she wasn't actually reading words yet (in fact, she was only just learning lowercase letters), but in the past three weeks she has gone from being a 'picture reader' to reading and decoding words all on her own. To help her along, I made this game from a book we were reading together this weekend. It's the sort of thing we do at school all the time, but this is the first time I did this for my own child - and it was quite exciting!

After reading the book, there were a couple of 'puzzle pages' at the end. I decided to make it into a more hands-on activity instead. I took CVC words (words that follow a simple Consonant-Vowel-Consonant pattern) from the book and wrote them on little strips of paper. I used three cupcake cases and labelled them with the vowels 'o', 'i', and 'u'. Then I let her sort the words into the appropriate cup. Good practice for beginning decoders, and because the words came from the book, they weren't just random out-of-context words. As a follow-up, you could have your child go back and find the words (and/or pictures of the objects) in the book, too, but we got caught up in other things by then. Next time.


{Ten Children's Books We Love, About Love}

Our top ten kids' books for settling down for a snuggle together!

(And perfect for Valentine's Day):

[All links are affiliate links]

Watch what happens when you plant the seed of love - see it grow and sparkle! (with actual sparkles!)

Plant a Kiss

Owen wants to send his granny a giant hug through the mail, and the hug brings happiness to everyone along its journey.

The Giant Hug

A classic! Little Nutbrown Hare wants to show Big Nutbrown Hare just how much love he has - but he's got some competition!

Guess How Much I Love You

Mama loves me even when I'm feeling on the grumpy side! 
What can mama do to make little kangaroo smile?

I Love It When You Smile

Little Chester doesn't want to leave his mama to go school, so mama finds a way for Chester to take her love with him everywhere he goes. Perfect for kids experiencing separation anxiety, preparing to start preschool, or for mama returning to work.

 The Kissing Hand

See the difference it makes when somebody loves you! 
Mr Hatch transforms from a grouch to a thoughtful friend with a little love.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (paperback)

Sweet rhyming prose. Every mama loves her baby. One of our absolute favourite books of all!

Your mama loves you, no matter what!

I Love You Stinky Face

All the little animals bring special gifts for their mamas 
to show how much they love them - and their mamas shower them with love, too!

I Love You, Too!

Those last 3 can also be bought together in a compendium, 
along with other sweet mama-love stories, called I Love You: A Keepsake Storybook Collection, which is what we have.

I Love You: A Keepsake Storybook Collection


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