Story Stones

STORY STONE SETS

Everywhere I’ve looked lately I’ve seen decorated rocks and story stones. I tried my hand painting some of my own recently and let’s just say…painting is not my talent! I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to buy rather than create story stones when I came across an Instagram story from Casey at Little Life Long Learners (@littlelifelonglearners). She shared a very clever way of decorating stones without needing any artistic skills. I was definitely inspired and want to share that with you.

It is super simple, easy and fun for the whole family! All you’ll need is:

  • Mod Podge or PVA Glue (if you use PVA you may want to water it down a little)
  • Flat Stones
  • Stickers (make sure they’re small enough to fit completely on the stones)
  • A small paint brush

….that’s it….EASY!

Once you know the materials, you can probably guess the process…

  1. Peel off each sticker and place them on the stones. Make sure you match the stickers to the size of the stones, you don’t want them hanging off the sides.
  2. Cover the sticker areas and their edges with a layer of Mod Podge/glue.
  3. Allow the glue to set.
  4. Coat them a second time.
  5. Allow to set again.
  6. Play with and enjoy your beautifully decorated stones!

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If you’re not sure what to do with the stones once you’ve decorated them, I have a few suggestions:

Hide and Seek – either in your own backyards or within your community. There are plenty of local Facebook pages dedicated to hiding and finding decorated stones.

Literacy – Ask your child to name the pictures on each stone, ask them how to spell each word. Say rhyming words or list adjectives that can be used to describe the pictures on each stone.

Story Telling – Tell a story by picking up one stone at a time and adding to your story with each new stone. Pick three stones and use them to structure a short story or sentence or choose one stone as the inspiration for a whole story.

Imaginative play – Imagine the fun that could come from having a mini pirate, fairy or dinosaur in your pocket all day!

Rewards – No sugar in these little treats!

Comfort toy – Having a little object to touch and look at throughout the day can be comforting for children feeling low or those with separation anxiety.

If DIY is not your thing but you love the idea of having a set of stones to use  then I have you sorted!

***     Introducing Flying Sprout Story Stones Busy Bags    ***

Fairy stones

The current collection of Story Stone Busy Bags include:
Pirates
Fairies
Solar System
Dinosaurs
Farm Animals

The benefits of Flying Sprout Story Stones:

~Each set comes with a task card with plenty of ideas on how to use, play with and enjoy the special stones. Each set of stones can be used for story telling, treasure hunts, imaginative play and much more.

~You can expect a set of clear, vibrant and detailed pictures that will engage your child’s imagination. The lovely images on these story stones are not hand painted which allows for finer details and more vibrant colours.

~The white stones are perfect for little hands to comfortably hold; they are shiny, flat and measure around 38-40mm in length.

What you’ll receive with your order:

~ 8+ different story stones with various pictures
~ 1x transparent zip-lock bag (to keep your stones safe and visible)
~ 1x task card (with ideas on how to make the most of your story stones)

For a limited time you can save 20% on every Story Stone Busy Bag you purchase! Use the code NEWSS20. Head over to the Flying Sprout store now to view the whole range.

STORY STONE SETS

NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN UNDER 3
Please be aware these story stones may cause a choking hazard and are therefore not suitable for children under 3 years of age.

Entertaining Your Toddler or Preschooler While Breastfeeding Your Baby

 

15 Ideas for entertaining a toddler while breastfeeding a baby blog

Breastfeeding my first baby was easy (after a hard and painful first few days). I was on maternity leave and didn’t have to be anywhere at any given time until that 6 week doctor’s visit. I was in a blissful little bubble that revolved completely about meeting the needs of that new little babe.

Image by Freepik
Image by Freepik

Fast forward four years and things have changed dramatically. This time around there is a precious new baby whose needs must be met and who requires plenty of mummy time as well as my grown up ‘baby.’ He is now an energetic and enthusiastic preschooler who demands plenty of my attention.

In the lead up to having baby number two I started brainstorming the best activities to keep my little man engaged and happy during potentially long breastfeeding sessions. It turns out, by great luck, that my new baby is an efficient feeder so breastfeeding is quick, however…she has embraced the idea of arsenic hour(s) and needs holding from 4-7pm or will scream the house down.

I’ve done a bit of reading and a great suggestion I’ve come across is to have a special box or kit of items that only get played with during breastfeeding sessions. The toys, games and activities are put safely back in the box once baby is fed and then can be played with again next time you’re nursing.

I was on the hunt for a lot of ideas so I asked around and here are a few recommendations from friends and family:

TV or iPad-

This is the most obvious (and probably the easiest) of choices. Watching something on the television or playing with apps on the i-Pad will entertain little ones quite well and it’s only fair the TV is on a bit more than normal in those first few months with a baby.

Busy Bags-

Busy Bags are portable and easy for little ones to play with one their own with minimal guidance from you while you’re breastfeeding bub. Flying Sprout has a great range of Busy Bags which you can find here. Each Bag contains a number of activities which are both engaging and educational.

Find and Seek Books-

There are so many books out there which are great for kids of all ages. In many there is a strip on each double page spread showing what needs to be found in the illustration or photograph. This type of book is great because you’ll be able to interact with your toddle or preschooler as much or as little as you’d like while feeding.

Small World Play-

There are many fabulous ideas around for setting up a play station with small world animals. You can use items from the garden, artificial turf, water (if you’re child is playing outside) and any array of toys. We have farm animals and dinosaurs, there are also sea creatures and animals from continents all over the world. Having the small world set up means toddlers or preschoolers have a space already available to them that they can use whenever you start breastfeeding.

boy child playing with his mother in color children's building kit. The details of the children's building kit are scattered on the floor.
Image from Freepik

Duplo/Lego-

This is the most popular toy in our house. We spend some time most mornings building a new structure (barn yard, house, shops, fire station, boat) and the rest of the day playing with it. You could also have challenge cards for your child; build the tallest tower you can, sort the Duplo pieces by colour, build a cube etc.

Puzzles-

Wooden puzzles, puzzle books or boxes are all great toddler taming, breastfeeding friendly activities if your child doesn’t need too much assistance.

Colouring-

A blank piece of paper and some crayons, pencils or textas can keep some little ones busy, others might need a colouring/activity book to keep them entertained. Either way, this is a quick, easy quiet task to set up.

Sticker Books-

Peeling and sticking stickers is a great task for building concentration and fine motor skills. There are so many options; reusable stickers on a background, colour matching activities, sticking dots on an outline of their name…

Doll House-

Similar to the small world play, just with dolls and a house.

Play Kitchen-

Extra large, double shot coffee anyone? Maybe not now you’re feeding a baby (though we all know now is the time you need it more than ever!) but there is no harm in imagining, or ordering one from your preschooler’s kitchen, cafe or shop. Maybe the baby would even like some fried eggs?

Car Mat-

Unrolling a portable car mat and grabbing out a few match box cars is a sure fire way to get some quiet time in my house!

Play Doh-

It can get messy but is a great way to entertain and engage little ones

Image by Freepik
Image by Freepik

Craft station-

Glue and scissors need monitoring but if you are sitting at or near the craft table your toddler or preschooler can go to town creating a new masterpiece. Pinterest has loads of ideas for simple craft projects your little one can work on while you’re nursing.

Busy Boxes-

The idea is similar to busy bags in that an activity box can be grabbed out and opened at the start of the nursing session and put away at the end. Everything is contained and can be continued on with next feed. Play at Home mom LLC has a great collection of busy boxes here.

 

If you know it is going to be a  long evening of cluster feeds, you can always whip out the ultimate quiet activity…sorting 100s and 1000s. A friend once told me of this highly amusing (and no doubt painfully frustrating) task where your preschooler is given a packet of sprinkles emptied in to a tray and asked to sort them into colours! Imagine the quiet time with that!

Why Busy Bags Make Great Stocking Stuffers

Busy Bags make great stocking stuffers and are the perfect Christmas gift for toddlers and preschoolers.

Christmas morning is still my favourite time of the year. It is filled with a sense of magic, excitement and glistening in the eyes of all the children who wake up to see what Santa has left for them.

Christmas morning in my house used to consist of a tummy full of treats. Besides Easter, it was the only day of the year we were allowed to replace the usual healthy breakfast with lollies and chocolates.

My Christmas mornings used to go something like this…

Wake up when it was still dark outside (on a Summer morning in Melbourne that is well before 5:30am) and creep excitedly into the lounge room where our Christmas stockings (we actually had decorated pillow cases) were waiting, full, under the Christmas tree. My brothers and I had strict instructions not to wake my parents until a reasonable time (6am). We were allowed to open our stockings and use/play with/eat anything inside it. Once Mum and Dad woke we would then open the wrapped gifts.

The time from when we woke until when Mum and Dad would get up often felt like an eternity. We used to spend that time watching Christmas cartoons which was fun but could have been more fun if only Santa had left us each…a busy bag!

Busy Bags make great stocking stuffers and perfect Christmas gifts

Busy Bags make the perfect stocking stuffers!

Busy Bags make great stocking stuffers and are the perfect Christmas gift for toddlers and preschoolers.

There are plenty of moments on Christmas Day when the kids need a little quiet time; some down time to focus and relax. Busy Bags are the perfect item to motivate little ones to sit in peace and play while they let their batteries recharge (or give you a little time to get things done).

Busy Bags make great stocking stuffers and are the perfect Christmas gift for toddlers and preschoolers.

Still not convinced? Here are a few more reasons why Busy Bags make great stocking stuffers (or more generally, fantastic Christmas gifts!):

  • They are light and portable
  • They don’t need batteries
  • They don’t make noise
  • Once the sugar high has worn off, a Busy Bag can be a great way to keep your child engaged and entertained
  • If your little one gets bored or impatient waiting for guests to arrive, they’ll have a fun and educational activity to keep them occupied
  • Busy Bags can keep your child out of the kitchen while you are cooking the Christmas feast
  • After lunch when everyone feels like napping the Busy Bags can give you some peace and quiet
  • The activities within the Busy Bags encourage play and interraction with with cousins and extended family
  • Travelling will be pain-free on Christmas Day with a Busy Bag; they are designed for travel after all!
  • Busy Bags include everything needed to complete the suggested activities, they are great to use while other toys are being put together or batteries are being sourced

You can find a great range of Busy Bags, including Christmas themed ones, right now here in the Flying Sprout store.