Triplet's 3rd Birthday – 3rd Birthday Toys

Three year old triplets! It has happened! Yesterday was the triplet’s 3rd birthday so now there are three three year olds in our home. Can you believe it? It doesn’t seem like that long ago I was in labour and then giving birth to triplets by caesarian.

The triplet’s have been excited about the upcoming birthday. Imogen especially has been right onto it. The boys took a little bit longer to work out what a birthday was. While they were figuring that out, Immy was literally figuring out what she would wear on the special day. During a road trip last Friday night, I heard her musing aloud in the back, “On my birthday I’m going to wear a pretty pink dress.” She actually received a fairy dress from Target and was very excited to put it on yesterday. (Until she had a little accident in it.)

I was exhausted by the end of the evening last night. New toys are so exciting, but when there are three different sets of toys and three three year olds, fights are inevitable. Learning how to share and how to be gracious is such an important life skill, but oh my, it’s a wearying lesson to teach! Most of my morning talking through fights and meltdowns and building toys that kept falling down and apart,  (I’m sure The Accountant would not agree,  but I was wishing I had spent triple the price and bought some toys that were more sturdy. Honestly, quality can be such an issue these days!)

For their birthday they didn’t receive anything particularly extravagant. They each received two presents. I had bought a very large bucket of mobilo and split it into two boxes for Toby and Jayden. The older two boys have spent hours playing with mobilo at Kindy, so I thought the next two would probably love it too. The big boys were very excited that it was in the house and built all types of contraptions which the little boys played with happily. The little boys haven’t quite worked out how to clip it all together, and it is a bit hard for their little fingers, but I’m sure they will get the technique down very soon.

Triplet 3rd birthday present - mobilo
Playing with the mobilo.

Toby, who is mad about drumming, got a Wiggles drum kit. Hopefully he will stop emptying the Ikea buckets of toys and turning them all upside down and banging away with kitchen utensils now! It was a big hit yesterday and there were lots of fights over it. But every spare moment he could, Toby was clicking the sticks together in his intro and then banging away. I have to admit I had a headache at the end of the day, although I don’t think I can solely blame the drums.

3rd Birthday Drum Kit for Triplet
Drum away Toby!

Jayden got  a marble run. These are great for creativity, problem solving, science and, as it turns out, learning about gentleness and patience, because the silly thing was very easy to knock over and fall to pieces.

Triplet's Marble Run Third Birthday
Opps, over and out.

Once again, they were unable to construct it at this point, but I have no doubt that throughout their third year they will be able to piece it together to make runs. In the meantime, they loved being mesmerised by the marbles rolling down the various tracks.

Triplets third birthday marble run
Ready to go!

In addition to her dress, Imogen received two Lottie dolls. I had first seen these on Instagram and I loved Kelly’s review of the dolls on Be A Fun Mum. I really loved that they were dolls that would fit inside Imogen’s dolls house, yet the dolls looked like girls rather than adults, they had flat feet to walk in and no boobs! Plus their clothing and accessories were modest and super cute! I couldn’t get any in Toowoomba, but luckily I was able to pick two dolls up on a recent visit to Brisbane. Immy was thrilled with them and immediately wanted to undress them, it may take a little while for her to get used to putting such tiny clothing back on the dolls though!

triplet girls third birthday
Miss Im with her dolly.

Her other present was an ice-cream stacking game. They are having a small little ice-cream party on Sunday for lunch so I thought this game that I picked out of the Kindy Scholastic book club would be good to play then. I really liked playing it with the triplet’s yesterday. It comes with sounds and teaches following instructions and listening skills as you need to listen to the pre-recorded voice telling the player what colour or how many scoops to pile high. It also requires patience, motor skills, carefulness and turn taking.

triplets ice cream party
Stacking the ice creams

In the evening the triplet’s had chosen (influenced by their big brothers) pizza for dinner. I would have liked to let them make their own pizza again, but with such a busy day playing hard and having only arrived home the evening before, it was a relief that Daddy picked up pizza from the shop. I made some  wonky cupcakes so they could blow out some candles.

Triplets with birthday candles

Nanny and Uncle Peter had come over for dinner, I suspect they too went home with a headache. It was lots of fun, but oh so noisy. I think we need to do a little more work on demure table manners.

Triplets 3rd Birthday cake
I was taking a photo of Immy here, but hasn’t Toby done the cutest photo bomb?

So today, we are off to playgroup where they can share their marble cupcakes (I thought it was fitting to do three colours for the three children who are turning three) with their friends. When we come home again, I’m sure it will be more lessons in playing nicely. It’s hard work, but it is so worthwhile to learn multiple lessons through play. Buying gifts that the children can grow into also means that they will get a lot of value and use out of them. I look forward to seeing how they develop and get better at using them.

What type of games/toys do you like to give as birthday presents?

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Sensory Play – An Oatmeal Dino Swamp

I have very loosely been following my friend Juanita’s Play Each Day Challenge. If you scroll down you’ll find the challenge on her Facebook Page, you should follow her Facebook page or Instagram page, her ideas for playing with kids are inspired, and her little boy is pretty cute as well!

On Saturday the prompt was messy play. I filled my largest saucepan and made a completely full saucepan full of porridge. Which incidentally, is very handy if you’ve had a busy day and didn’t have time for lunch. You can eat the kids craft before you give it to them! (Not that I had time to finish eating, if you look closely there’s a little bit of milk in the tray because I ended up tipping my bowl full back in the mix!)

I thought that an oatmeal swamp would be nice and gooey for plastic dinosaurs to have a good old stomp around in. It turned out I was right, dinosaurs love wallowing in porridge!

I cleared a hole before they started and tipped some colour water into the middle so they had a water hole to drink from. As soon as the children were allowed to play, (Bloggers children learn that they need to wait for photos to be taken before they are allowed to play. It’s a good lesson for them in self control!) those dinosaurs headed straight for the water hole. But oh no, they didn’t want to drink there! Swimming is what dinosaurs like to do in ponds.

Before long those dinosaurs were splashing and dive bombing with gay abandon.

The price was heavy, the pond disappeared and the swamp turned blue. Imogen was distraught and wept over the dinosaurs unruly behaviour.

The beauty of letting children play with oatmeal in winter is it is absolutely delightful for dry skin and leaves it ever so soft.

It is also very safe for taste testing. Funnily enough Jayden will not eat porridge for breakfast, but somehow he thought it was delicious when eaten off dinosaur feet. He started using the dino like a spoon at one stage.

At first the dog was happy to just chill next to the kids while they played. But he is a labrador, and before long he too noticed it was edible! At this point, every stray flick of porridge was promptly cleaned up by the canine cleaning crew. Excellent service.

Before long it was time to go inside. It was straight to the bath.

Once they were undressed, they had one last sensory experience. I let them stand and smooth the oatmeal with their feet and between their toes. The boys loved doing it. Immy, not so much.

I even had a try!

The dinosaurs were sent to the bath to be cleaned also. They tried to get back into the swamp. The swamp needed to be relocated.

It was a really fun activity on a Saturday afternoon! Thanks for the inspiration Wife Mumma Life!

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Playing Each Day

My friend Juanita, from Wife Mumma Life, has been running an Activity and Photo Challenge in March.

I have done simple activities with the children, but it’s been nice looking for specific opportunities to participate in play, kind of gets us out of our comfort zone in a non stressful way. You can play too if you want, or feel free to follow our play on Instagram.

Day 1 – Painting.

The kids painted on an old door. (The other half of the door was being built in a tree above their heads as Jonty’s new treehouse!)

It started with two
And then there was four.
Before finally all five contributed!

Day 2 – Um. We had a really busy Sunday with church, a party and then tired kids sleeping while big kids went to look at motorbikes with Daddy. No time to play with string!

Day 3 – Water Play
This was delightful. I just loved the way the play progressed on this day. I hadn’t decided what to do according to the prompt, “Water”. But the kids wanted to play outside, I said they could then opened the door for them while talking on the phone and realised it was raining. I shut the door, but it was too late. Their hearts were set on the outdoors. We put raincoats on (so cute!) and headed out. I figured at that point that technically I could claim this as water play. But once we got to the sand pit, I saw a watering can. Perfect. I filled it up and gave it to Immy. She adored tipping the water into the sand.

Then one of the boys asked her to tip the water into the back of his truck. Which she happily did. The other boy that this was a great idea and before long there was a queue!

After finding a second watering can, they became happy filling the cans up over at the tap, and then traipsing over to the sandpit to empty it. I don’t know why the sandpit needed to be the empty spot!

I was a watering can short, so Jayden got a glass. He was hilarious carrying it over to the sandpit. I hadn’t prompted him, but he carried it oh so carefully so not a drop would spill. He had such a funny walk while he did it!

 Meanwhile Toby got bored (Typical of Toby) and started walking with the umbrella.

Their last play with water turned scientific as they watched carefully as they poured it down the slippery slide.

Day 4 – In the Kitchen
I had my doubts about what we could do this day. I had people coming around in the evening and a lot of cleaning up to do. Cooking with triplets is very time consuming and messy. It turned out, they loved their time in the kitchen, and I didn’t need to do a thing! We’ve had a dodgy oven that has been both burning things and leaving things raw. Not ideal. The electrician turned up to fix it (Huzzah!) and the triplets were rivtetted by the man fixing oven show.
I didn’t ask the fellow what he felt about being in-home triplet entertainment, but he had confessed that he himself was a triplet so I felt that it was only fair that since he made it to adulthood that he give back to the Higher Order Multiple community. (Us Triplet Mummys call ourselves HOMmies.) And so I allowed the triplets to sit watching him while they sucked on their lolipops.

Day 5 – Chalk. Another missed day. It’s a lot harder to do this when you have been out during the day – and don’t have any chalk and no time to visit the shops. Serious lack of planning!

Day 5 – Explore

I know it sounds really simple, but nothing is simple with triplets sometime, so our simple exploration was walking around our yard and pick

ing flowers on the way. The triplets normally are confined to a small fenced area, for obvious reasons. So when they get out in the larger garden, they love it. 

Although you have to be very careful. It really is easy to lose them in our very large block. But altogether, it was a lovely little walk with them.

I’m glad we did it too, I discovered that a little pineapple had ripened in our very over grown weed garden vegie patch. Mind you, a possum had got to it first, but when we got back in the house, the rest of us enjoyed it. Incredibly sweet and very yummy!

There’s plenty of days left. Do you think you would like to join in the #wmlplayeachdaychallenge ? I’m loving that the prompts just make me think a little more, and even though I’m doing very easy things which fit easily into our days it’s getting out of our comfort zone and rejoicing in the importance play has during childhood.

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Soft Playdough

I cam across a recipe for super soft playdough the other day while I was wasting time researching on Pinterest. It was one of those Pinterest moments where I thought, I’m going to do that as soon as I can. (As opposed to the 200 ideas that are still filed away for future use.) I shared here that the triplets have been very demanding of late, so I recognised that this would be an easy thing to make and play with. As it turned out, the triplets enjoyed it, but they weren’t in the mood at the time. (I’ll try again soon with them) Trent had his best friend around though, and the two of them had a fantastic time using this playdough.

It was a totally different sensory experience to normal playdough. The dough is really soft and smooth. It’s very moldable. It will stretch if you stretch it gently, but it also breaks apart easily. Even though it feels soft, it actually takes quite a bit of manipulation to play with. I could feel that the muscles in my fingers had received quite a workout playing with it. Which means it is a great activity for developing fine motor skills.

The recipe is super easy. It only has two ingredients – three if you put a few drops of food colouring in. Cornflour – and would you believe – Hair conditioner! As you can see below,  So it definitely isn’t edible playdough! The recipe advised 2 parts cornflour to 1 part conditioner, but to adjust the quantities if necessary. I certainly needed to add more cornflour. It was a little tricky to find the right consistency, having never seen it before. The first batch wasn’t as good as the second. I found it needed to be a little sticky as you finished mixing it in with a knife. Then you work it with your hands for a little bit and the stickiness goes away, to finish it off, I kneaded it on a bench sprinkled with cornflour, after that it no longer stuck to our hands very much and was still pliable. I used the cheapest ingredients I could find. The conditioner smelt like apples, so it was lovely to play with, and the playdough was soft on our hands and washed off easily.

But the best bit of all was playing!!!

Out came some playdough toys, and armed with two colours, the boys got stuck into playing. Pizza making was a big favourite. Even if mine kept getting flattened.

Then I started making a rocket. I was using lovely words like ‘cylinder’ and ‘cone’.

The boys were not so excited about the amazing learning opportunity I was presenting about the properties of 3 dimensional shapes. However they were very focussed on destroying my rocket ship before it even was completed. I had to go to extraordinary lengths to keep it safe!

Although it turned out that resistance was futile. Demolition was inevitable.

Once my rocket was obliterated, I started rolling playdough peas with my fingertips. Another excellent chance to develop fine motor skills. The boys weren’t too interested in that either, but wanted to squash my peas. This turned into an excellent training opportunity to teach self control and consideration. I explained to the boys, “I’m trying to roll a big pile of little peas with my fingers? Can you please not squash them?” There were a few squished at first, but I would say, “Oh dear, that makes me so frustrated because I’m trying to get a big pile. Can you please leave them so I can make a pile. Would you like to help me?” Eventually their hands would hover before they ceased and desisted! Excellent self control. The moment I asked for mushy peas they complied instantly!

Can you see yourself making and playing with this recipe? Let me know if you do!

Postscript: When we returned to play with this a few days later, the playdough was a lot harder and crumbly and we threw it out after that session, so it’s a bit of a one hit wonder. Although, perhaps different brands of conditioner might have greater success? I should also add, that it did crumble a little the first time, and was a little bit of messy play, but it did clean up OK, although I did hose the chairs off. It came out easily with water.

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess

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My little ones have been learning about turtles. It’s been lots of fun.

This activity started it.

Can you remember doing this as a kid? I can! Jonty put the basket on his back one day and crept around the house proclaiming he was a turtle. Trent thought it was a wondrous idea and got his own basket. The played happily together for almost an hour. I swooped in occasionally as a seagull and tried to eat them, but alas for turtles they moved very quickly and all I could do was peck through their shell’s unconventional holes.

Random turtle sightings are common around these parts. (As are dirty socks left on lounge chairs. Thanks hon.)

The turtle game continued to be a favourite for Trent, even when Jonty was at school. Seagulls were soon considered boring and he begged me to various animals, his favourite: “Be a shark, be a shark” and “Be a squidgy, be a squidgy.” I have no idea how he heard of squids, but it became his favourite animal to prey on the Washing Basketted Turtles. (Co-incidentally the skid of screeching tyres is a “squid”, and squids are unchangeably “squidgies” in Trent Talk.)

I soon got tired of being the never ending enemy of the turtle, and quite frankly my supersonic ability (and resolve) to transform into different menacing animals was beginning to weaken. I startled myself with having a brilliant idea to turn this play into a learning activity. Because Trent was fixated on ‘squidgies’ and I was a very tired old squidgy, I encouraged him to come and research with me whether squids even liked eating turtles in the first place.

We found all sorts of information like a giant squids eyes were the size of basketballs! (This interested me more than Trent.) I also concluded that squids weren’t all that fond of turtles. Which stopped Trent asking for a squidgy to eat him for one day. (I’ll take it.)

We made a squid mask. You’d never tell that is what it was, but anyway…. it didn’t really matter since Trent ran around the house roaring in it.

We did some turtle craft. It’s only simple. But I think there is a tendency to get carried away that things need to be worthy of Pinterest these days or not bother at all. It’s not true! You can check out other turtle craft ideas, which I’d like to do, but haven’t had a chance to do (it can be difficult convincing boys to sit down and do craft sometimes!) on my Pinterest Board. Just simplify them if you have to!

We watched a video on hatchlings. (Watch it here)

I printed some turtle pages for the boys to colour in here.

It took a bit longer, but I also ordered some cheap little books on The Book Depository. I loved doing this, and will do it more often as learning opportunities arise. If I was to scan bookstores for books on a certain topic, I’m sure it would not be so easy or cheap. Plus one of the books is at Jonty’s reading level, so that made it ideal. We also visited the library and borrowed books on turtles.

In Bargara where we go to holiday regularly, loggerhead turtles lay eggs and hatchlings scurry to the beach after they hatch. I really wanted to visit Mon Repos at Easter, but unfortunately turtle season ended early this year. It’s definitely on our to do list with the kids.

All of this activity has just been gradually implemented over the weeks. It’s been fantastic. I’m eager to pick up on the next thing the kids are interested in and turn it into a learning experience as well. Not only do the children discover more about their world, but they learn auxiliary skills such as fine motor during craft, they learn how to research, they boost their creative play, develop a love of books and most importantly it fosters a love of learning.

Apparantly turtles can be scary too.

Do your kids play with the washing baskets? What do they pretend they are?

Oh, and would you mind going over and voting for me please?

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