Thursday, 17 July 2014

Help!! Childhood Apraxia of Speech ~Our Journey

Hman has two words, well he actually has more than that (he is doing so very well), but two very clear words. These two words are his way of communicating and it is truly amazing what he is able to express with just these two simple words! 
I bet you are dying to know what the two words are, aren't you?? ;)
They are, non other than 'more' and 'help'
When you think about it, those two little words are very powerful and pretty handy to have in your vocabulary. 
Our SLP (speech and language pathologist) was explaining to me that when he verbalises 'more'; firstly how fantastic it is that he can put together the two movements of lips closed 'mmm' to open 'ore', however, at the moment it is not a smooth, unconscious  movement. He opens his mouth to big for the 'ore' creating a distortion so it comes out more like 'mmm ah', with time and practice he will learn the delicacies of these movements and control it better. Just one example of the intricate nature of CAS and how much these kids need to work for something the rest of us take for granted!
He uses 'more' a lot along with the sign.
Some examples include,
I want "more" milk, banana, porridge etc. 
I want you to push the toy car down the ramp again- "more".
Hey, that was fun, let's do it again- "more"
I want another story- "more"
I like that cuddle- "more"
I don't want to go home- "more"
I want to rest longer- "more"
You get the idea more more more!! 
It is so exciting that he is beginning to attempt (at times) to join a second word onto more. This is something we are focusing on with him so we are encouraging him to attempt "more ball" "more milk" etc.

Then we come to 'help!'
Which he usually shrieks loudly and consistently till we appear and rectify whatever it is he is wanting!
 Once again he uses this word in all sorts of situations
 We have  become used to hearing his screams for
"HEELP!" "Help!" "HELP!" 
Which to an untrained ear sounds like he requires some sort of urgent serious assistance, when in fact he just wants his ball that's rolled under the couch.
 Or he wants you to open something, reach something, turn something on or off. He wants to go outside "Help!", he wants that treat he is not allowed "HELP!", he doesn't want his nappy changed "Help!", he doesn't want a bath "HELP!!" 
...Or he doesn't want to leave the toy aisle at a major shopping centre no matter what you try... "HELP, HEEELP HELP!"  He is determined! Bribing him with snacks and drinks and exciting adventures is not enticing him to leave all the wonderfully brilliant trucks with their big shiny wheels and rows upon rows of every sort of vehicle. He is not going to willingly use his legs and walk out of the store nicely with us, which means we have to pick him up, he is kicking and still screaming "HELP" "HEEEEELP"!
We feel like we have to reassure all the concerned onlookers that we are, indeed, NOT kidnapping this child, he does belong to us REALLY and he really doesn't actually need HELP!
It's one of those times when that little word most parents despise, no, would actually come in handy!
But that's my boy and golly do we love him more!!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Swinging, jumping, fish oil and more / Our Apraxia Journey

My gosh, it must be time to just stop and breathe!
Deep breathes in and out... but first.
What an intense few weeks, my poor brain has dealt with information overload, leading to sleepless nights which I've combated with staying up and reading... yep that's right, more information! I've also consumed record amounts of chocolate but the good news is I have learnt ALOT! I feel as if have same real strategies I can use at home to try and help my son, Hman, with his battle with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
Read more about how we came to learn our son had Apraxia here
Here are some awesome sites that have helped me so much these past few weeks.
CHERUB Foundation
This Book and the author's blog has also been a great resource
So what have I learnt?? In order for all mountains of information to not just pour out like a bad case of verbal diarrhoea, I will keep it simple and to the point.


The first thing that stuck in my head when I was given the pamphlet on what is CAS (after I'd got my head around what it actually was) was how important nutrition plays in a child's ability respond positively to therapies. Obviously I know how important nutrition is for general health and well being but I wasn't aware of how many supplementation programs are available for kids with language disorders and exactly how that could help my child. Hman's diet as a baby was really very good. He was breastfed till 13months and loved his solids and would eat almost' anything I offered him. From the age of about 18months his fussiness and refusal of foods set in. Firstly it was anything that was saucy and could possibly be sticky on his face and fingers that he turned his nose up at. The range of foods that he will accept has steadily declined and it's something we work on daily. Through the sites I mentioned above, I have discovered a huge world of supplements to assist these kids. I've learnt fish oils are extremely beneficial for kids with CAS and I have started him on Eye Q. I'm still working on finding the best way to get it into him but will update you on that when we have success. I'm currently in a whirlwind of different information and advice on supplements including NV, iron, zinc, magnesium and B vitamins. Not knowing what will benefit him the most I am going to take him to see a bio med Dr to find out exactly what nutritional deficits he has and how best to supplement him but I also want to discuss this with his Paed Neuro who we see in a couple weeks. I have also started him on Iron to improve his concentrationOf course like everything these things cost money and most of the 'recommended' supplements are only available from the US so add on shipping costs and it's a small fortune. But what cost do you put on your child's chance at success??
Please note- I do not recommend starting any supplementation program till you have spoken with your child's medical practitioners.  


The next thing that jumped out at me is how beneficial movement is for kids with CAS.
CAS is a neurological motor planning disorder that affects speech however many kids often also have motor planning issues in other areas such as fine and gross motor skills which is why Hman sees an OT and Physio. Movement activities help the mind and body work together so simply jumping on the trampoline for 15mins a day can have great benefits! Good thing we have a super big trampoline.
Hman also attends kindy gym where he gets to use all the wonderful equipment there including trampolines, foam pits, ramps and swings.
Spending 15mins a day in the swing can also help. It works the vestibular system which contributes to balance and coordination and influences motor planning. So you will find me pushing Hman in the swing practising target sounds over and over again for as long as he will put up with it.

Auditory Bombardment

Auditory Bombardment involves pretty much what it sounds like- bombarding Hman with the target sounds over and over again. Practising in the mirror as much as possible and saying words with target sounds loudly and clearly as often as possible. We could be eating lunch and you will hear me listing words, ball, boat, bear, baby, book! You may also hear me speak quite unusually to Hman. Keeping phrases as short, clear and simple as possible helps him hear the exact sounds he needs to produce to correctly articulate words. So you will hear me say 'door open' 'toy up' 'no hit' amongst a million other things. Please understand I am not speaking to him in two word sentences slowly and clearly because he doesn't understand, he sure does understand, but by saying DOOR OPEN very clearly and deliberately he is hearing the sounds in those words- whilst he would absolutely understand if I said 'Harrison could you please open the door for me as I have your brother in one hand and your bag in the other'' there's too many words for him to hear any as clear.

Communication System

We have also introduced a communication system so Hman can communicate his needs and wants. We are using some signs with him which will make him more confident in attempting speech as he knows through the sign he will be understood. We are also using a picture communication tool. This has been extremely helpful in reducing his frustrations and he is loving using it. Of course he still has his charm and charisma which gets him a long way with getting what he wants lol the little charmer!! I will share more on exactly what we are doing in another post.
Thank you for reading. It means a lot to my little boy and my family to have your support and understanding.
Play and Learn

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

From slime to foam ~ a sensory play experience

It's been such wintry rainy weather here lately and it's also been a little while since we've done some really messy sensory play so I thought it was about time we got really messy.
I had no expectations with this one except for lots of fun and to hopefully encourage some words (always language)! 
I had a full bottle of baby shampoo that I just wasn't going to use as shampoo so decided instead of wasting it we could have some fun turning it into slime! 

We started by just mixing it straight with cornflour to make a goopy slime. It worked much the same as when you make slime, goop with cornflour and water yet it was very sticky. A fun texture to pull, poke, stretch and slide around. It did stick to everything though.
This had the added bonus of encouraging Hman to use two hands together.

I noticed that my curious cherubs were starting to have more fun squeezing out more and more shampoo into the mixture, making it more and more wet and slimy and I could see it start to bubble up. That's when I wondered, 'I wonder what would happen if we added some water?' I suggested this provocation and they decided they wanted to test it out!!

 It immediately started foaming up. The more their little hands worked, the foamier it got! Miss M asked for a hand beater to help her 'make it fluffy'. It created the most silky, soft, light foamy substance it was a delight to play with. I could of happily jumped into a giant bath tub full of it. It smelt like a beautiful newborn too which was a huge bonus!! '
This was pure fun. Totally engaging and hands on for the kids and went in their own direction. It was so wonderful to see Hman embracing these textures and happily getting messy. It's taken awhile to get him to this point.
They did make a mess but it was super easy to clean up and they were more than happy to help! They love being helpful and doing 'grown up' tasks.
Always supervise young children when playing with water and wet materials.
Play and Learn

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Today is Apraxia Awareness Day!
I have rather personal reasons for sharing with you about Apraxia and it is fitting that since it is awareness day, I share with you our story. Recently my Mr 2, Hman has been diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech and that has been confirmed by two speech pathologists.
Initially when I was told just a few weeks ago, I felt a weight lift. Finally we were getting some acknowledgement that there is an issue, the relief that I was finally being heard and that perhaps now my child would get the support that would help him was my first reaction. See, I had never heard of Apraxia before, I had no understanding of the complexities of it and what it meant/means for my child, my family and myself. I didn't understand just what a challenge this condition will be for my precious boy and as I learn more, read more, reach out more I am overwhelmed, both with fear and with hope!
I am new to the Apraxia world and I am still learning. I am frightened and worried for my boy but also determined that with hard work he will find his voice. I will attempt to explain it as simply as I can and share our journey so far.
So, what is Apraxia?
Apraxia is a motor planning speech disorder. When talking the movements of breathing, the tongue, the lips and the jaw are extremely precise and rapid. They need to be executed smoothly and consistently. For most children this is automatic. For children with Apraxia this process is disturbed, they know what they want to say but there is a breakdown between the brain and the speech mechanisms. Children with Apraxia think, have ideas, opinions, thoughts, needs and wants, just like everyone else, however they can't express these through speech. I cannot begin to imagine how incredibly frustrating this would be. It breaks my heart for my boy and I can see him trying with all he has to get his message across. He has developed a great set of non verbal communication tools to help him with this and people often comment on how expressive his face is!
If you would like to read more about what is Childhood Apraxia of Speech, here are some good links.
I found this blog extremely helpful also,
What are the signs?
I knew something was up from very early on, within his first year. I didn't know what, I had no idea of Apraxia. Every health care professional from GP's to child health nurses, paediatricians and even neurologists kept telling me, give him time, boys are usually slower, I wouldn't be concerned yet etc, etc, etc. You see his big sister was an amazing talker from very early on. Her speech was wildly impressive and developed remarkably quickly. I told myself that I just had very high expectations, that perhaps he was just being 'lazy' and when he was ready he'd take off. Even though I tried to ignore my concerns by telling myself these things the more time went on the more I knew something wasn't right.
For us these were our 'red flags'
  • As a very young baby, between 6-9months he would make sounds like daddaddad one time then we never heard them again.
  • He had very limited range of these babbling sounds that were mainly vowel sounds, never two sounds together like babababebe.
  • We thought we heard him attempt a word like ball or car but we never heard it again.
  • I tried many, many different ways to get him to make a range of sounds and he never copied. For example, animal sounds, clicking tongue, raspberries, shhhhhhhing etc. I tried stories, songs, activities (some of which you will find on this blog) all sorts for months and months on end with no progress 
  • He was a very quiet baby and is still, at 28 months, my very quiet little boy.
  • By 17 months he had no words at all and was still rather silent.
  • He didn't walk till 17 months and not controlled till 18months where he continued to be highly clumsy. He was diagnosed with low muscle tone and hyper mobility.
  • When he really wants to say something often only a 'sssssss' sound will come out.

Our story
At 17 months he had an appointment with our neurologist for a prior neurological condition, PTU. Hman has also previously been diagnosed with low muscle tone and hyper mobility. At this appointment I put my foot down (and I had to really, really put my foot down and demand) a referral to a speech pathologist. I was urged to wait till he was 2 as he may just be a late bloomer, but I insisted!! Oh how I hoped that he was just a late bloomer and I tried to believe it and wanted to believe it! While we were on the wait list to see the speech specialist I set about doing as much as I could for my boy. I had his hearing tested and results showed middle ear dysfunction which was getting worse and so he had grommets inserted. This was meant to be our magical cure. I had heard and read all these wonderful stories of little ones with speech delay that started talking just days to weeks after the procedure!! Oh how I couldn't wait for that!! It never happened, he remained as silent as ever. His speech assessment finally came round and his results for expressive language were very poor. He began therapy immediately. After four months of therapy and at just 26months of age his therapist confirmed that her suspicion of a motor planning problem was likely what we were facing. An assessment by a second therapist confirmed Childhood Apraxia of Speech. 
What causes it? Why...
Childhood Apraxia of speech is a neurological condition. From what I have read and from what has been explained to me, is that nothing I or anyone has done or hasn't done can cause Apraxia. It may have been caused by an illness or infection before, during or after birth. It may be a characteristic from a genetic disorder or it may just be a case of cause unknown. For us it is likely a genetic reason. Both my older children have been diagnosed with Paroxysmal Tonic Upgaze (PTU) which is also a rather unknown neurological condition. Harrison presented with PTU symptoms at 10months of age. His EEG results came back all clear and as his big sister had been through it all and he was presenting the same he was spared further testing, You can read about our PTU journey with Miss M here,

We have already been told that genetically something is going on so no doubt this is where his CAS has come from. We will know more when we see his neurologist in a months time and ask some more questions. Our concern for our third child (Bubba, 9months) is also weighing on our minds. The guilt of being genetically responsible for passing on these conditions is unbearable at the moment. I know I couldn't do anything to change it and I know in the scheme of things we are so very lucky, it could be so much worse. I know in time I will let that go. 

So what now?
What can be done? Is it curable? What should I do? Where should I go? How much? What if? What if? What if? I am still answering these questions and for every question answered a new one pops up. I have been reassured that these children can learn to speak and can catch up to their peers in some cases, not all. However with early (and we did pick it up very early) intervention, highly intensive therapy and lots and lots and lots of support, encouragement and guidance by all around them, they stand a fighting chance. And we will fight! We wont give up! It is common for children with Apraxia to also have delays with gross motor and fine motor skills. Currently Hman sees a highly trained and experienced speech therapist weekly. She is helping us learn Makaton so he has a way of communicating with us. She is also using the PROMPT approach with him which is very exciting. He sees an Occupational therapist regularly and a physio therapist also. His appointments are very expensive and it is recommended he has speech at least 2-3 times a week which is financially out of reach for us at the moment. However, they each give us many things to work on at home. It means I have to be there for my boy, I want to be there and I will be. I hope to share with you some of the strategies I learn and use in the future. We are also looking into special learning centres that will be able to cater to his needs and understand the support he will require. We want the very best for him, he is so incredibly worth it!!

A child with Apraxia understands everything and knows what they want to say they just need the help and time to find their voice.
By Sharing our story we hope to build awareness of this little known condition and what these special children go through. Building awareness leads to more funding for resources and support services, which would so greatly benefit families like ours. I also hope to give you a better understanding of what it might be like for an Apraxia child and their family so you can be a greater support to them.
I love hearing your stories so please feel free to share them with me in the comments below.

If you are a blogger with an Apraxia story and would like to link up, or if you would like to read more stories about Apraxia please check out this link there are some great blogs out there I am only discovering myself
 Thank you,


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Role Play Laundry Toys ~ Homemade

Through role play children get the opportunity to be someone or something else. Role play develops imagination, social skills and language. It is how young children learn best and make sense of the world in which they live. There are lots of store bought toys to encourage children to role play and we are lucky to own some, like our toy kitchen, however, you do not need store bought toys to role play! The imagination and creativity can be enhanced when using old boxes and household items in play!
I choose laundry theme as it provided a lot of opportunities to work with Hman on some skills I have been focusing on with him.
The LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES I wanted to develop through his play were:
Expressive Language
Fine Motor ~importantly using two hands together
Matching similarities

To Make
I used an old wipes box that had a double fold lid. I cut a circle in the inner lid to fit a plastic bowl and taped the bowl inside. I then taped the inner lid shut. With the outer lid (the washing machine door) I cut a circle and used some clear cellophane to cover. I then added some milk bottle lids as on/off knobs. To be honest, I could of spent a lot more time and made it 'pretty' and 'perfect' but my children don't notice these things and thought I did a fantastic job lol! I used an old tea bag box as the washing powder box and made a mini washing line using another old box and some pipe cleaners. Hopefully you can get a good idea at how easy it was from the pictures.

The words I will highlight are the main words I was encouraging Hman to attempt and use.
Your child can open the washing machine door and put the 'dirty' washing in. Then add some washing powder using the scoop. You could use some paper confetti at this point. Scoop and tip!
Shut the door and turn the machine on!
Ask you child what sound does a washing machine make?
Make the sounds of the machine filling with water woossshhhh!
Of the machine spinning around washing brrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Turn the machine off and open the door. Take out the clean clothes.
Now it's time to hang them out to dry.

This is a pic I snapped of Miss M as she couldn't resist the fun and I didn't take any pics whilst playing with Hman as I wanted to be %100 present.
This is where the fine motor development comes into the play. Have your child hang out the washing on the line. You could use pegs if you think your child is ready however, I knew Hman would become easily frustrated and likely lose interest if I made it so challenging he couldn't succeed. There's still a lot of concentration and hard work involved in getting those socks hung out!

I choose socks for this play for a couple reasons. 1. They are small enough to fit. 2. I had a lot of baby socks spare that none of my babies now fit :( and 3. They are often brightly coloured or patterned and are the perfect item for matching. Once the socks are dry, take them off the line. Now it's time to match them into pairs! Can your toddler find the correct matching pair?? Matching is an important early mathematical skill.
A great little book to extend on this play is A Pair of Socks
Sing, This is the way we wash the socks, dry the socks, match the socks.
Play and Learn

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Which one makes a sound? ~ baby play

Babies love to explore new things and this is a fun little game any tiny tot will enjoy!!

Suitable ages:
6mths- 2yrs (at the end if the post I will give some examples on how you can extend this for toddlers) 

Learning opportunities:
Exploring their senses
Fine motor control

To set this little game up I used four old film canisters. These particular ones have great lids that are very difficult to open and well sealed. Inside one if the canisters I 1/4 filled it with rice but you could use a small bell, dried lentils or anything of that nature. You can also use any small containers. Just make sure your baby is able to grasp the container easily and that it is well sealed so the contents do not be one a choking hazard.

More often than not any new item goes straight to the mouth. This is your babies preferred way to explore items. Encourage your baby to 'shake' the container. Model this and reward your baby with your facial expressions and voice. When your baby finds the container that makes a 'sound' congratulate them. Let them discover how some don't make any sound but this one does. 


When your baby is holding one container try passing them another one and observe what they do. Do they drop the one they have to hold the new one or do they grasp the new container with their spare hand? Your baby may pass the container back to you in a little passing game.

Bubba Finn enjoyed banging two canisters together!!
To Extend on this
For older babies and toddlers increase the learning opportunities by adding colours to the containers so they can discover which colour container makes a sound. You could do this with shapes and numbers also.
Use more containers, have two with the same objects inside for your child to match up. For example you could have two with rice inside and two with a bell inside. Ask your child which two make the same sound.


Play and Learn


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Spaces for playing and learning in the home for a Preschooler, Toddler and Baby


I thought it was about time I shared the spaces for playing and learning in our home.
Having three young children, aged 6months, 2years & 4years who are at home full time means having practical, fun, open ended, inviting and safe areas to suit all their different ages, interests and needs.
The other important factor for me was our budget. Being a single income family with a large mortgage means we live off a tight budget and luxury items are off the wish list. The furniture and resources I collect are always well thought out. My children are very very blessed with highly generous Grandparents, family and friends who have given them many lovely toys for Birthdays and Christmases over the years.  
I am constantly altering and rearranging these spaces for my children, I can't help it, the teacher in me needs an outlet lol and I see so many possibilities, however, following is how I have set up our play areas currently.
We are so blessed to have a games area in our house, which I made sure was on the plans when we were picking houses to build.
View walking in to our 'play room'.
This area is suitable for all three of my children, however it is toddler and baby friendly and the toys and resources chosen are suitable and safe for my boisterous 2year old and soon to be on the move 6 month old. The fact that Bubba will soon be crawling around is very much in my mind and I have made this space as safe as possible. I would always supervise my baby while playing, especially when the older children are also playing. My older children are able to play independently in here with me in the next room- this room comes off our open plan living area including kitchen and lounge and is visible from two wide door less entry points.
I love having large clear spaces of floor so the children can spread out their play. I love watching them laying down absorbed in their play as it grows and spreads across the room. We are lucky to have the space in our house.
The Construction Area
Plenty of uncluttered space to build whatever takes your fancy.
I picked up this rug on clearance. My Husband worked out that it had been cut the wrong way for the repeating pattern on it, but you'd never know. To be honest, my children only occasionally acknowledge what is even on it and I actually prefer the blank surface for imagination. The rug does provide for a different texture but I'd be happy enough with a plain one. Hman loves cars so I always have a selection of vehicles amongst other bits and pieces I rotate depending on their interests.

On these shelves we a basket of 'jenga' blocks $5 from K-mart, these cute little wooden bug skittles I found at a market, our beautiful sensory light and sound rainbow blocks and our Home Made Familiar Block People. On top I have out some African animal figures for small world play and dramatisation. We swap things around as often as suits the children however, I try not to do it too consistently as sometimes it may just take them a little while to fully discover the toys or how they can use them in play.
Our Small World Table

This is a train table that came complete with a full train set, tracks and accessories such as bridges, trees, signs, vehicles etc. I like to rotate how we use the table depending on the children's interests or disinterest. When I noticed my 4year old was no longer playing with the trains and my 2year old was constantly destroying any attempts at building the train tracks I decided it was time to use it differently for awhile.
Miss M was very lucky for her first birthday she received a number of fisher price       Little People sets including zoo, farm, fun park, airport etc that we get out and play with sometimes and can be used on this table.
I like mixing it up a bit every day or couple of days to keep their interest and perhaps encourage a different way of playing. For example, I might add a few toy dinosaurs to this scene or a lion etc and watch with delight as their imagination comes out!!
Other ways I use the table are by adding,
*Animals- wild, zoo, farm
*Duplo or other construction materials
*blocks, small parts
*Our Home made block People
*matchbox cars, planes, trucks or similar and ramps
*other toy sets like octonauts or princesses
Changing things around keeps things interesting and inspires kids to extend on their play. My kids love seeing what is on the table and even make their own suggestions of what they would like now!

We also have a sand and water table for small world play outside which we also love!!

Using Closed Containers and Storage to encourage Speech 
Throughout the room I have a number containers that close to store toys in. Most are clear so the contents and be clearly seen. I like to put Hman's favourite toys, or toys I know he wants daily. I do this to encourage two things from him, firstly his speech. Some of the containers he cannot open himself. This requires him to seek out assistance and ask appropriately for help. I also store favourite toys on high shelves- in sight but where he cant reach so he must ask for them. (note- all our shelves are securely fastened to the walls to prevent any tipping in case of climbing). Secondly, some of the containers he can open however they require two hands working together to get the job done. This is another skill we are working on with him.

I do have one container that is a solid colour and they are unable to see inside. I like to put a surprise item or items in their daily. Hman can open this one with some help but twisting the lid.

Lately I've been putting sensory things inside for exploring!

I think this is one must have item for all children. An easel provides such a diverse range of experiences for young children to not only get creative, play and learn but develop essential gross motor and fine motor skills as well. This easel has a paper roll holder, magnetic whiteboard and blackboard.
A child sized table and chairs

For any number of play related tasks a child sized table is invaluable. We did have a round one in here however, ikea had on an amazing offer so we ended up with another and the round one is now in our outdoor play space.

The Baby Zone

I love this mat. It is reversible, non toxic, easily cleaned, soft and grippy. Perfect for babies to roll around on and learn to crawl. So many people have asked me where I got it from. I got it from a baby expo and took it home that day.
You can see I've put out some baby toys on the bottom shelf, some things for Hman and Bubba on the next one up and the rest of the levels are basically just for storing things I rotate around or that I know Hman will want to play with so he has to ask for help to get them down. I also store some of the everyday tools we use like crayons, stickers, stamps, playdough, pencils for quick easy access for when the inspiration strikes.


A mirror is a great addition to any baby area.
Babies love to look at faces even their own. A mirror helps baby to learn to focus, track things with their eyes and explore faces and bodies.

This mirror is securely fastened to the wall and sitting low to the ground making it perfect to encourage tummy time and crawling.
Tent or Hiding Space

Sometimes things just get all too much and children seek the comfort of small secure spaces to unwind and calm back down. I know myself how it feels to just want to hide away for a minute or ten!! Since taking this photo I have removed all the balls as initially the balls were a fun sensation for my kids to lay on however that was rather short lived as they worked out they just weren't that comfy. In our hidey tent we have a comfy mat, some cushions a selection of soft toys and a basket of books. Perfect for taking five! Of course you don't need a tent for this and there are all sorts of ways you can construct little hideaways for kids.

Book Area

A little peaceful corner dedicated to just reading. I have to admit I am a bookaholic and have more children's books than I can possibly display or even store for that matter. All my children have bedrooms full of books. I do try to keep the books in this space displayed nicely and rotate them as necessary.
I have a couple large storage tubs of popular books tucked behind in their for easy rotation of the books and the best bit is on the other side is one of our family couches so we can all snuggle up on the big couch and easily reach books to read.

We have some hand puppets and soft toys who just loved being read to by little girls and boys!!

Just off this area we have another little space in our house that the children's bedrooms and bathroom come off. This space is more designed for my toddler and preschooler.
This is it in it's packed up state. Sometimes it's a house (well rarely a house usually it's a palace ;), sometimes it's a café and we add table and chairs, sometimes it's a shop or shops- whatever they come up with is how it transforms.

The kitchen area
I love this little Tinkerbell kitchen which was a gift.

My little window scene. Of course I want to change the paint here so that it's only blue out the window hehehe but that's my little creative streak!

The baby doll role-play area

The dress-up area

Storage Drawers
Inside these hold all sorts of resources for play!!

Writing Station
Miss M's own little space.
Read about how I set up her writing station here.
Our spaces for playing are always evolving rotating and changing however I feel I've managed to cater to the interests, abilities and individual needs of all three of my children at their different ages. It does get tricky and I'm sure once Bubba is really crawling and toddling around we may have to make a few adjustments. Please remember to secure all furniture such as shelving securely to walls.
I look forward to showing you all our outdoor areas which are by far our favourite!!
Play and Learn