Free Resources for Learning at Home
With the recent COVID-19 situation around the world many parents have had to implement a remote learning program from home. We found a common issue of parents not having access to hands on Literacy and Numeracy resources so I have developed some FREE resources for learning at home.
We have just completed six fantastic weeks of online learning (a credit to our local schools) and incorporated these number cards into our daily learning.
Maddison had fun using all the cards, she really loved the number cards and making her own math problems.
I would recommend the shapes and number flashcards for ages 2 – 10 and the colour flashcards for ages 2 – 5.
I recommend cutting then laminating the flashcards to keep for multiple uses.
Ideas for extra learning with the number, shape and colour flashcards
- Unscramble/ordering numbers
- Matching with objects around the house or a second set of cards
- Solving problems using the + – x = cards
- Whiteboard tracing/writing
- Playdough play by making numbers and shapes from snakes click for Recipe
- Graphing objects (we love rocks and pompoms)
- Sensory play find objects counting, colour, shape
- Rainbow matching colours
Let us know in the comments below how you plan to use your cards or any other resources you would love us to make.
Toodyay Fairytale Farm
Wheatbelt Kids visited Toodyay Fairytale Farm last month before the COVID-19 temporary closed all parks and attractions.
We had a wonderful time exploring all the sculptures and small houses around the park. There are over 70 sections each with their own nursery rhyme or fairy tale to see and interact with, there are also daily guest appearances and lots of farm animals to cuddle and pet.
The Toodyay Fairytale Farm also includes a huge activity area including a playground with boat, maze, croquet, bocce, bowling, giant connect 4, jenga, bean bag tossing and a picnic area with shade and tables.
Maddison’s favorite parts of the farm were the elves making shoes, the three little pigs, the Mad Hatters Tea Party and feeding the hungry billy goats.
Watch our adventure below.
Lots to do
- Bring the family and wander the gardens, finding characters and enjoying the sculptures
- Discover who lives in the cottages
- Pat and feed the friendly farm animals
- Have a picnic
- Enjoy the outdoor activities
- Discover the vintage toys and farming memorabilia
- Book your next Birthday party, school excursion, playgroup outing, mothers group etc
*Currently closed due to COVID-19 please follow the Toodyay Fairytale Farm Facebook page for updates on reopening
Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays and every day in the school holidays.
Children (2yrs-16yrs): $9
Children under 2yrs FREE
Party/Group bookings welcome
Our Favourite Play Dough Recipe
One of Maddison’s favourite things to do is play with play dough, she will sit for hours squishing and squashing the stuff.
As an adult the smell reminds me of my childhood and all the fun I had making little worlds and stories out of play dough.
Play dough is great for kids of all ages as it helps to develop fine motor skills, pre writing skills, social skills, imagination, developing hand-eye coordination and is great for a stress relief and calming activity.
Below is my favourite recipe that i use on the stove top and some ideas that we have used with our play dough to make it more interesting and educational.
- 2 cups plain flour
- 4 tbs Cream of Tartar
- 2 Tbs cooking oil
- 1 cup salt
- Food colouring
- 2 cups cold water
Cooking on Stove
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir continuously over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture congeals and is not sticky.
Cool slightly, remove from pan and knead until smooth.
Mix all ingredients well in a microwave-safe, large bowl.
Microwave for 2 minutes.
Carefully remove and stir well.
Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
Carefully remove and stir well.
Microwave for 1 minute.
Carefully remove and stir well.
Microwave for 30 seconds.
Mixture should be congealed and not sticky.
Allow to cool slightly, then knead until smooth.
Ideas for Play
- Making snakes, snails and balls
- Letter stamping or sight word stamping activities
- Using googly eyes to make monsters
- Use toothpicks to make echidna’s
- Poke spaghetti into the play dough and use fruit loops to count
- Pop sticks, marbles and sequins
- Nature play items (leaves, sticks, rocks and nuts)
- Letter and number writing by rolling snakes and forming each number or letter
- Candles into play dough for birthday cake play
- Use beads and pipe cleaners
- Make leaf prints into play dough
- Cookie cutters
Find more recipes from our blog
Sensory Rice and Pasta
Maddison’s favourite thing to do is play in sensory rice and pasta as part of her therapy program. To make it more fun I like to colour the rice and pasta and make it all pretty.
I have included the recipe in a free printable download at the end.
Wondering what Sensory Play is?
Sensory Play includes any activity that stimulates your child’s senses :
Sensory Play is important in building nerve connections in the brain pathways to build the ability to complete complex tasks.
Sensory Play supports language development, cognitive ability, fine and gross motor skills, social interaction, developing memory and helps calm anxiety or frustration.
You will need:
- 2 bags of uncooked rice or pasta
- Vinegar (or substitute with water)
- Food colouring of choice
- 4 – 6 large sandwich bags
- Oven trays lined with baking paper for drying
- Divide uncooked pasta or rice into the sandwich bags.
- Add a splash of vinegar (or water) roughly ½ tsp into each bag.
- Add 15-20 drops of food colouring into each bag then close and gently shake. If not all covered add more colouring to the bag.
- Empty contents of bag onto baking tray for drying approx 1-3 hours
- Once dry add to play tray or tub and let kids explore.
We have used sensory play pasta and rice for:
- Fine motor skills
- Colour recognition
- Imaginative play
- Pouring activity with cups and funnel
- Finding objects like hide and seek
- Scented for an extra sensory experience
Northam Youth Precinct
Wheatbelt Kids spent the morning checking out the new Northam Youth Precinct that opened today.
The Northam Youth Precinct is located on the corner of Chidlow Street and Peel Terrace (opposite McDonalds).
The Precinct boasts areas for all skateboarding abilities and ages. The park is family friendly with grassed areas, undercover seating, BBQ, water fountains, basketball court, ping pong table, parkore and flying fox.
Maddison enjoyed riding her scooter today and we plan to be regular users. We can’t wait until the pools and slides are finished adjoining the Northam Recreation Centre which will become a hub of activity for the town.
To keep up to date with whats happening at the Northam Recreation Centre visit the facebook page.
Northam Show 2018
The Northam Show was on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th of September, Wheatbelt Kids visited the show on the Friday night to take a look at what was on offer. Maddison was very excited to go even though the weather was cold and windy.
Upon arrival we were greeted at the gates by the friendly volunteers, the smell of food vans and the excitement of the rides.
The animal pavilion was a big hit with Maddison, she loved being able to pat and cuddle all the animals her favourite was the rabbit.
The main pavilion was an array of entries and displays from local schools and community groups.
We spent the night walking around looking at the various stalls and community groups before heading down to the sideshow alley.
I still have memories from my childhood of saving all my pocket money to spend on the sideshow rides and games. To me, that excitement was always the best part of the show.
Like every child Maddison’s eyes widened as we walked through all the magical lights and sounds, this year she was able to try some of the rides and games. There were various rides for both little and big kids including the Tea Cups, Bungee Trampolines, Water Balls, the Super Sizzler and the Super Nova.
After the sideshow alley Maddison had her face painted by Alena from The Wheatbelt Face Painting Company.
We then listened to the Bedrock band play and watched the Freestyle bikes do amazing tricks before the fireworks started at 8.30pm.
It was a great family night out, we even spoiled ourselves at the showbag van before leaving with a Bertie Beetle bag.
Each year lots of volunteers band together and work long hours to bring the Northam Show to the public. We would like to acknowledge all the hard work from individuals and local businesses in bringing together such a huge event for the town.
If you would like to be involved in planning and organising future Northam Shows contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Our visit to West Coast Honey
Wheatbelt Kids visited West Coast Honey last year where the lovely Tina gave us a private tour of the premises. If you have ever driven through Gingin to Lancelin you have probably seen the signs for West Coast Honey ‘Heaven from a Hive’. Maddison and I decided that we would visit and find out more.
West Coast Honey opened to the public in September 2003 as a way to add value to the Fewster family honey business, while educating the general public on the environment and the honey bee.
West Coast Honey has free parking, free entry and free honey tasting. Visitors are able to view the live bee display in the cafe and the extraction process of honey from the bee hives to liquid (this is seasonal and only when working).
Visitors can enjoy homemade delights and beverages in the cafe, which includes a childrens area with toys and colouring.
The shop includes local produce and gifts involving honey products including candles, wax wraps, and honey ice cream.
Maddison and I loved our tour and learnt so much about the honey process from our discussions with Tina. Maddison’s favourite part was the live bee display and trying to find the queen bee. We also enjoyed the free honey tasting and honey ice cream.
West Coast Honey is a great learning and educational experience and welcomes group bookings and homeschoolers.
West Coast Honey are located at:
172 Gingin Brook Road, Granville, Gingin WA 6503
Thursday 10am – 4pm
Friday 10am – 4pm
Saturday 10am – 4pm
Sunday 10am – 4pm
Monday 10am – 4pm
*Public Holidays 10am – 4pm*
To find out more visit www.westcoasthoney.com.au
Northam School Holiday Program
Monday 2nd July 2018 was the first day of school holidays and we ventured out in the cold and rain to participate in the Northam School Holiday Program’s Floorball held at the Recreation Centre.
The session was conducted by Harrison and Connor Sargeant who are a part of the state Floorball WA team and Molly Dickson who in May represented Australia in the Women’s U19’s World Floorball Championships held in Switzerland.
Floorball is an indoor sport similar to hockey played with plastic balls with holes and special hockey sticks. A floorball team consists of five players and a goal keeper.
Floorball was first played in Sweeden in the 1970’s and has since spread through Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.
Floorball began in Australia in 1996 and has since grown in popularity.
Floorball has become popular in Northam thanks to Leith Woods who has been the driving force behind the develoment of the game in the Wheatbelt area. Leith is also the Australian Women’s Floorball goal keeper.
The Northam Recreation Centre has also hosted the Northam Floorball Open the last five years which has seen many new players join teams.
The Floorball training session was a great success with 20+ kids of all ages participating.
Molly, Connor and Harry taught us skills through fun games and training, then we played an actual game of Floorball which the kids loved.
Maddison who is 5 loved it as she woke up this morning asking to go to sport again.
I would like to thank everyone involved in hosting this event, Molly, Connor and Harry and the parent helpers for volunteering your time. It is great to see sessions like these offered to kids of all ages in the Wheatbelt.
If you would like to know more about Floorball or be involved in the next Mixed Floorball at the Northam Rec Centre visit www.facebook.com/northamrecreationcentre or call 9622 5153
The Northam School Holiday Program offers lots of fun activities for all ages book your place by contacting the Rec Centre or PCYC.
Holiday Activites at Northam PharmaSave
Tuesday 17th April – Snakes Alive Story Time and Craft with Laura and Sarabi the Stimpson Python
Maddison and I have been loving the free activities at the Northam PharmaSave chemist this school holidays.
On Tuesday we went to the Snakes Alive Story Time and Craft with Laura and her Stimpson Python named Sarabi.
Maddison enjoyed listening to the Snakes Alive book and learning about what snakes eat and how they move.
After the story Laura introduced us to Sarabi the Stimpson Python who is named after Simba’s mother from The Lion King.
Laura told Maddison that it was ok to touch Sarabi in the shop, but not to touch snakes outside as we need to remember to stay away and tell and adult.
In the craft session Maddison made a paper folded snake to take home and completed a snake colouring-in page.
To join in the free sessions visit the Northam PharmaSave next to Aldi at the Village Square on Wellington Street from 10am – 11.30am daily.
To see more activities visit our Instagram page www.instagram.com/wheatbeltkids
WA Kids Have Gone Rock Crazy
It’s 2017 and we have seen the decline of colouring-in, Pokemon Go and Fidget Spinners, as of now WA kids are going crazy for rocks.
You may have seen it through Facebook, the news, your local newspaper or you may have stumbled over a beautiful rock at the park and wondered what it was all about.
Painting rocks is not a new concept, it has been around since the beginning of time and is an enjoyable past time for many indiviuals.
The hide and seek idea originally began in Washington in the USA.
It has since spread across the United States and New Zealand and finally landed in Australia with the first groups being Gungahin Rocks in the ACT and NOR Rocks in Western Australia created by Connie Sirmans.
The last few months have seen the rise in rock groups in Western Australia and nationally as more people become aware or stumble over beautifully decorated rocks.
A list of WA’s most popular rock groups are listed at the end of this article.
The rock craze is like a giant game of hide and seek with the purpose of giving everyone in the community a little bit of happiness.
The marvelous thing about rock painting is that everyone can enjoy it, there are members ranging from 0 – 100 years old in most groups, as daycares and nursing homes are participating in rock painting craft sessions.
The general idea is to paint your rocks with whatever designs you like, hide them in a park then post a message in your local rock group on Facebook so other members can then search for your rocks.
Sometimes people post a find or a rehide for members to see but is up to the individual.
I like to think that my rocks made whoever found them happy and are lovingly cherished.
Wheatbelt Kids loved the idea of finding and hiding our own rocks so I joined a few groups to see what the Perth groups were creating and I was blown away with the talent and excitement that these groups had.
I was more excited when local Northam girl Emma started the Wheatbelt Rocks group on Facebook.
It has taken awhile for locals to gain interest but with the school holidays, the group now has over 200 members and daily rock drops have started happening.
I love seeing the happy faces on those who have found little treasures in the Wheatbelt region.
Wheatbelt Kids Top 9 Tips For Rock Painting
- Gather unpolished rocks – we found rocks from Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Home hardware.
- Make sure your rocks are clean and dry.
- If your rocks are unpolished and white you don’t need to prime them, if they are darker or slightly polished you will need to prime your rocks to allow the paint to stick. We used White Knight Squirts Undercoat to cover our rocks before painting.
- Once dry, we painted with acrylic paint and sharpies onto our rocks. Most people use acrylic paint, permanent sharpies, paint pens, melted crayons, stickers with PVA glue or nail polish to decorate their rocks.
- On the back of your rock remember to write the Facebook logo and the group that you belong to. Some people also write their name, hashtag or postcode to make it easier to find their posts.
- Once your rock is completely dry you will need to seal your design with a sealer so it can survive in the elements. We used White Knight Squirts Gloss Clear.
- The trick we found was to do a very light spray over the top then once completely dry another layer from all angles.
- Some members have had good results sealing with a very light coat of PVA glue and once dry spraying the sealer.
- If using nail polish you don’t need to use a sealer but will need a few days drying, especially if your little one puts a lot of nail polish on their rocks.
Once your rocks are dry you are ready to get out into nature and hide them.
Don’t forget to post your hide to your chosen Facebook rock group.
Some things to remember are:
- Don’t hide rocks in National Parks or private property.
- Don’t hide rocks in the grass at the park as they fly when the mowers go over them.
- Appreciate other people’s artwork.
- Most importantly have fun and be positive, you will not always find a rock when hunting but when you do it becomes more special.
Wheatbelt Kids loves this new trend and Miss 4 has been painting and hiding lots of rocks this week while on school holidays.
While the statewide rock group is good we are loving the local Wheatbelt Rocks group as it has that small community feel much like a country town.
It has been great to find new parks and make new friends both within our own town and neighbouring towns.
Miss 4 with her rock find today in Northam, she is in love with the cat rock.
These rocks were created by local girl Jasmine.
Links to popular rock groups around Western Australia:
Wheatbelt Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1698138883821487/
NOR Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/groups/NORRocks/
SOR Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/groups/811997792286797/
Ellenbrook Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/groups/EllenbrookRocks/
Pinjarra Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/pinjarrarocks/
South West Rocks (SW Rocks) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/southwestrockswa/
Geraldton Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/groups/232163663968389/
KB Rocks (Kalgoorlie-Boulder Locations) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/350599715357519/
Broome Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1857939647860572/
Busselton Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/groups/251003222047135/
Headland WA Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1771058603146014/
Karratha and Surrounds WA Rocks – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1887841861491521/