A sensory board or busy board is a fun, hands-on activity for babies and toddlers to help them touch, explore and learn about different objects all in one place. They have lots of developmental benefits too and are really easy to make at home with things you have to hand.
This tapioca pearls sensory play activity from our friends at Mud Mates is lots of fun and cheap and easy to do at home. The tapioca pearls are soft, squishy and sticky and kids will have a blast mixing them altogether then scooping them out into bowls, ice cube trays and containers.
Find out how to make your own spice paints and arouse your kids senses as they take their paintings to a whole new level. Spice paints are easy to make using shop bought or homemade paints as the base. A fun sensory play activity and a good way to use up old herbs and spices from your pantry.
Kids love trampolines! Not only are they fun, but when used regularly, studies have shown that jumping on trampolines offers many physical, health and educational benefits for kids too. Check out some of the benefits trampolines can offer.
Taking your toddler and doing a road trip around New Zealand road is a great opportunity to enjoy new sights and explore new places as a family. Travelling with toddlers provides a perfect opportunity to strengthen family bonds as you are isolated in your own little world and can do all the crazy things you want to do!
There are lots of fun kids arts and crafts activities you can do with coloured pasta and its easy to make at home. You can sort it, thread it, mix it, use it for simple maths, add it to a sensory box and so much more. Non-brand dried pasta is also very cheap to buy and comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Kids love painting with their fingers, but don't let the mess scare you! Sparkly finger paints are a great sensory play activity which will capture their attention longer than any other painting project! Check out this super easy recipe and make some sparkly finger paints at home.
Flying overseas with a baby or toddler under 2 years old? Infant bassinets offer the perfect solution! Although infant bassinets are not necessarily guaranteed on each flight, it's something worth investigating before you leave to help make your flight a little more bearable.
Kids love playing with clay and making their own creations. Follow these easy instructions and make your own clay at home. From pots and animals, to Christmas tree decorations, letters, numbers, fossils, ornaments and more.
Check out these ideas to help keep you and your little ones busy, stimulated and entertained inside over the winter months. Fun things you can do together when the weather turns cold and wet. The activities have been separated into approximate age groups, but some activities are great for all ages to try.
Parents often withdraw their children from classes as a precautionary measure each year as the temperature drops. When they return to swimming later in the year, not only have they missed out on the many benefits of swimming, they find that their child still caught all the colds that went around. Check out these tips and keep your kids swimming throughout winter.
Being stuck inside with young children on cold wet days is hard on both children and parents. There are many fun educational things that you can do that use everyday materials you have around the house at very little cost.
Flying is such an exciting adventure when youre little, but for parents travelling with small children it isnt always easy. We take a look at ways to survive your journey and things you need to do before you leave, at the airport and on the plane.
Here are some fun indoor activities that you can do with your under twos to encourage learning through play. As a parent or in home childcare provider, let your inhibitions go, be silly, forget the mess and join in with play wholeheartedly!
Have a go at this super easy summer activity. Kids will have lots of fun playing outside with these coloured ice cubes on a sunny day. They're great for playing with at bath time and on highchair trays too!
Hunting and foraging is a great fun autumn activity. The kids will love being outside and collecting all sorts of treasures. It also helps teach them about seasonal changes and to enjoy the different types of nature that surrounds them.
Goal setting for pre-schoolers is not something we hear about often, but its never too early to start. Its a great way to build their self-confidence and a valuable life-long skill. Goal-setting helps them to identify what is wanted, and that if they set their minds to something, they can achieve it. Setting goals with your children will direct their efforts and encourage them to achieve success.
Why not celebrate your little one's special day with a mermaid birthday party! Check out these ideas on mermaid party food and decorations, costumes and games you can play. You can also use some of these ideas for an under the sea party, pirate party and beach party.
Encourage the kids to grow their own vegetables. These simple Egg Cress Heads are a great place to start as theyre easy to make and take nearly no time at all to grow. They also make a great alternative to chocolate Easter eggs.
When youre little, waiting a whole year til your next birthday seems like FOREVER! But now it seems half birthday celebrations are starting to pop up. Sometimes for practical reasons and sometimes just because. Find out more.
Build a Birthday has come up with some great kids party bag ideas and what to put inside. Party bags are a great way for your little one to say thank you for coming to their party and the guests will love receiving little treats too.
Treasure hunts (or scavenger hunts) are lots of fun for kids of all ages! Perfect to play at birthday parties or when they have friends over for a play date. Looking for hidden treasure will get them thinking and its something that can be played indoors or outside. Check out our different treasure hunt ideas and keep the kids entertained.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers have an attention span of around 10 - 12 minutes, and once its exhausted, learning and listening are no longer fun for them. So mix it up. Use one or two of our ideas for each book you read and make story time as fun and as interactive as possible for your little ones.
Make your own fingerprint cards for Christmas this year with the kids. They're fun and simple to do at home, plus friends and family will love the personal touch of your little ones fingerprints. Find out how to make both fingerprint Christmas lights cards and fingerprint Christmas tree cards with these easy instructions.
Have a go at making your own glue sponge for the kids to use. So easy to make and no more sticky glue everywhere! Just cut a sponge to fit into a container, pour glue on to the sponge and then the kids just press their little cut up pieces of paper onto it.
Kids traditional birthday party games are still so much fun! Everything from Pass the Parcel to Musical Chairs, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Stuck in the Mud and everything in between. Check out our list of fun party games and how to play them. Theyll keep the kids amused for hours!
Children's Day Te Râ O Te Tamariki provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to give time to children. It's a fun day for activities, starting new traditions as well as continuing with old ones. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate Children's Day this year.
The kids will have lots of fun making this magical reindeer dust to help guide Santa to your house on Christmas Eve. It's a tradition you can share with the whole family each year. Reindeer dust is made from a combination of glitter and oats. The glitter is to help guide the reindeers to your house, whilst the oats will help feed the reindeers when Santa is busy filling up all the stockings.
Not sure what size birthday cake you should order or buy for your kids birthday party? Check out our simple cake size guide to help determine what size cake you will need. The cake chart will show you at a glance how many portions/slices/pieces you will get out of a round and square cake to ensure theres no wastage.
This is an easy and fun tradition to start for your kids whilst they're still young. So by the time they leave home, theyll have a box of well-loved treasured Christmas tree decorations of their own to take with them.
Clay is very versatile and there are so many ways children can play and experiment with it. Clay gives them the opportunity to be creative and learn about texture, shape and form whilst having lots of fun. Check out some of the other benefits.
Making recycled robots teaches kids about recycling and is also a great test of their imagination, concentration and problem solving skills. Its easy to make the robots out of recycled household items and things you have to hand.
So simple, but very effective! These mini Halloween pumpkins are made from mandarins, or you can use oranges. Much quicker and easier to do than the real thing. No cutting required and healthy for your kids too.
Do your kids love to dance? Have a little ballerina whos begging for lessons? Music and movement or pre-ballet classes provide a great early introduction to ballet for toddlers and pre-schoolers and offer many physical benefits too.
Its common etiquette to put a RSVP date on your childs birthday party invitations, and most parents will come back to you confirming if their little one is able to make it (or not) before the deadline date. But how do you cope with parents who do not respond in time, or dont even respond at all? Check out these tips on dealing with latecomers and non-responders.
Valentines Day is known to be the most romantic day of the year. A day to share your feelings with others and tell them how much you love them. Have a go at some of these fun Valentines Day activities with the kids to help celebrate 14 February.
Its always nice to get away for a few days, but the thought of travelling with small children can sometimes be quite daunting! It neednt be. With some pre-planning, itll be an enjoyable break for everyone. Here are some tips to help make your journey a little easier.
Be creative and have a go at your own Christmas decorations with the kids. This Popsicle Christmas Tree is easy to make and will look good on your family tree. All you need are ice block sticks, glue and collage materials.
These pizzas are perfect for kids (and adults!) over the Christmas holidays. Design your own pizzas using homemade or shop bought pizza bases, cut out some Christmas shapes, add your kids favourite toppings and cook. There are no set rules, so be as creative as you like!
If your child was born around Christmas time they might feel overlooked when it comes to birthday attention. So how do you ensure your childs birthday in December or early January isnt overshadowed by the Christmas holidays? Check out these useful tips.
Follow these easy steps on how to make an awesome bee to pop up in a flower pot or hang from the ceiling using an old mustard bottle, some electrical tape and a few other bits and bobs lying around the house!
The kids will love these homemade tin can drums! They can be made from recycled materials and things you already have at home. You can also make several different sized drums using other types of containers to show how the sound changes depending on the size.
These yoyo shakers are easy to make and a great way to teach your little one about music and different rhythms. Why not get a group of children together and play to the same beat or show them how to move with the rhythm and dance together.
As the weather gets cooler, now is a great time to get into arts and crafts with your little ones. Its not just fun, theyre learning too. Whether you enjoy getting messy and trying new things with your children or have never explored art activities at home before, there will be something here for you.
Sometimes it seems were just so busy! Busy shopping, busy working, busy cleaning the house, busy taking pre-schoolers to daycare and lessons. Have we gotten too busy to have a little fun? An early childhood teacher shares ways to help you put some fun into family life.
Kids will have fun making their own garden fairies, especially over summer when plants are in full bloom. Teach them the names of the flowers that you use, discuss the different shades of colour and how plants grow.
Painted feet art makes a great personal gift for kids to give to family and friends, especially on Valentine's Day. You could try framing their artwork too to make it extra special. Have a go at making your own with these easy instructions.
Looking for theme ideas for your little ones next birthday party? Not sure where to start? Have a look at our list of themes and complete your ideas with matching party supplies, invitations, birthday cake and perhaps even decorate your party venue in the same theme too.
Such fun! Kids will love these glove bagpipes. Teach them to play different notes and make up a band with their friends. Theyll learn about music and rhythm, perseverance, concentration and hand-eye co-ordination skills.
Recycling can be so much fun! Kids will love playing with these trucks made from recycled household bottles and containers. They get to use their imagination and concentration skills whilst theyre building them, and the trucks are great for teaching kids about road safety.
Don't miss out on those special birthday party photos. As youre busy rushing around its easy to get to the end of the party and realise that you havent taken any photos of the special event. Why not enlist the help of family and friends to be your party paparazzi and ensure you have photos that will preserve the memories for years to come.
Childrens Day in New Zealand falls on the first Sunday in March. Celebrations on Children's Day are focused around spending time with our children. Why not try out some of these ideas and celebrate this special day with your little ones.
Throwing a party for your toddler or pre-schooler? Planning and preparation are key. Once youve organised the date of the party, the venue, theme and invitations, its time to start thinking about the party day itself. Build a Birthday has put together 9 tips on party day planning to help ensure your little ones party is as stress-free as possible and goes off without a hitch.
Research has shown that early childhood physical education improves more than just physical wellness; it also assists and improves mental and emotional development in children. The earlier the age physical education is taught, the earlier children begin to develop the ability to think critically.
There are many benefits of introducing your child to swimming whilst they're still a baby, including improved physical development as well as social development not to mention fun! However, the benefit that is overlooked most often is that of cognition or mental benefits which are incredibly important for the development of children as a whole.
A birthday party is just not a birthday party without a cake, candles and the singing of Happy Birthday. However birthday cakes can sometimes cause parents a lot stress and unnecessary worry. Check out these ideas to help ease the pressure when it comes to kids birthday cakes.
Early swim lessons set a positive foundation towards a lifetime of participation and enjoyment in a variety of water sports and time spent on, in and under the water. The benefits of introducing your child to swimming lessons whilst still a baby are many, and include improved physical, emotional, social and cognitive development.
Not sure what to buy your kids for their birthday or for a friend's birthday party they're going along to? Our age-specific gift guide will give you lots of birthday present ideas on toys and activities suitable for babies, toddlers and pre-school kids.
We all know that physical activity is important for young children for their whole development, building their confidence, strength and improving balance. Being active is what kids are born to do! Find out more about the importance of exercise for preschool kids.
OK a bit messy, but lots of fun! Make your own edible finger paint for the kids. Its cheap to make and safe to use and if theres any left over, store it in the fridge or freezer to use for another day.
Celebrating Childrens Day is something we can all do with our children at home, but why not celebrate this years Childrens Day with friends, family and other members of your community too. Here are 14 fun ideas for you to try.
We are a culture that thrives on being able to spend time at play on our beaches and waterways, but we still need help when it comes to staying safe. Entering the water safely at an early age is a great way to begin, and the benefits of "baby-friendly" swimming classes are unique, uplifting and contribute to the positive development of the whole child.
There are lots of things to think about when it comes to planning your kids birthday parties. So Build a Birthday has come up with these tips to help relieve some of the stress and make it a special day. Just be sure to start planning 4-5 weeks out and you'll have no last minute panics.
So what is the guide when it comes to kids opening their birthday presents? Opening them straight away or opening them later? While most children like to rip into their presents as soon as they can, some people like to collect the presents in a central location to be opened later in the party or after everyone has gone home. Is there a right or wrong way?
Looking for kids party food ideas? Check out these simple recipes that are cheap, quick and easy to make. From pizza shapes and sandwiches to fruit skewers, fairy bread, chocolate crackles, racing cars, jelly faces, lucky dips and strawberry mice. Theyre sure to go down a treat!
Decorations add the WOW factor to any birthday party and set the scene for a special day. So Build a Birthday has come up with these 5 tips on putting together the party decor for your kids next birthday party.
Swimming lessons can help babies develop an emotional bond through interaction with other children in their class and positive encouragement from their parents. Early swimming also fosters a growing sense of self-esteem, confidence, independence and as a childs ability to freely move through the water increases - so does their sense of wellbeing.
A weekly swimming lesson is often a childs first social experience out of the home that involves their peers. They learn to relate and interact with each other and look forward to seeing their classmates each week, and even watch them for cues when it comes to taking risks and learning something new. The best way for babies to learn is by example, and as they are with children their own age, a lot of fun goes along with it.
Have a go at making your own Magic Rainbow Milk. Kids of all ages will love it! Its cheap, quick and easy to set up and if you do it outside (highly recommended!), theres not that much mess to clean up afterwards.
Have a go at making your own rainbow salt tray. Toddlers and pre-schoolers will have lots of fun watching the colours come through when they draw pictures, create patterns and write their name in the salt. It is cheap to set up, educational and you will already have the items at home.
Erupting snow is a simple sensory and messy play activity you can make at home. It's easy to set up using basic household ingredients and will keep your kids entertained for ages! The snow is soft and powdery and even feels cool to the touch. Its just like playing with real snow, but without the frostbite!
This ANZAC biscuits recipe is easy to make and a traditional way to commemorate ANZAC Day or to enjoy on any other day. The first ANZAC biscuits were made by women on the home front and sent overseas to the New Zealand and Australian soldiers fighting in World War 1.
Have you ever bought a gift for a child and realised that it was not suited to their age? Are you not sure what to buy? Do you want to buy something that is not only fun, but also encourages early childhood education too? Here are some gift ideas that will suit a childs age, hold their interest and encourage learning through play.
Is your little one prone to food allergies or food intolerances or do they have a friend who is? At Christmas time with the never-ending series of lunches, dinners and distractions, it can be hard to keep an eye on what toddlers and pre-schoolers are eating. Check out these helpful tips on foods you might like to avoid.
Often students learning a new motor skill, like swimming, experience a sudden lack of progress after a very strong start. This can be because of something called the 'learning plateau'. This term describes the way in which a period of rapid skill acquisition can be followed by a prolonged 'dry spell' during which no discernible progress is visible.
Kids Christmas stockings or Santa sacks are a simple tradition that date back centuries and are still very popular today, but where do you start when it comes to filling them? Check out these 8 useful tips.
Follow our toddler party tips and keep things as simple and as stress-free as possible for your child's next party. Toddlers are at an age where they are easily impressed, so dont feel pressured to throw the biggest birthday party of all time.
Enjoy reading the Twas the night before Christmas poem to your kids on Christmas Eve. It's one of the oldest and most popular Christmas traditions worldwide. It was written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822.
It may be re-assuring for those with new babies to hear that when it comes to your babys first Christmas, expensive gifts are not necessary! Many parents feel the pressure to buy the latest and most costly toys, but with everyone managing tighter budgets these days, parents are looking for cheaper alternatives.
Kids LOVE slime and this is such an easy messy play and sensory play activity to make using simple household ingredients. Your kids will have lots of fun stretching it, moulding it, rolling into balls, throwing it into the air and letting it splat on the table!
Over the years as our living space has decreased and our use of smart phones, tablets and television has increased, children are now often missing out on connections to nature. In our hectic world, children need experiences that were such a big part of their parents childhood. Check out these natural resource activities to try with your little ones.
You dont get much messier than this when it comes to messy play! But its made with soap flakes, so at least its a clean mess! It's the perfect outdoor sensory play activity. Make your own colourful soap slime at home using this super easy recipe.
Take your toddler's artwork to the next level with bubble wrap roller painting! The bubble wrap helps to create interesting and colourful pieces of art to hang on your wall or homemade wrapping paper for family birthdays and Christmas presents. This activity is great way for your little one to practice colour recognition too.
Have fun this Easter making your own marbled Easter eggs for the kids. This edible Easter activity is a take on dying hard boiled eggs, but you colour the white of the egg instead of the shell! Enjoy watching your childrens faces when they discover whats beneath the egg shell.
Easter just isnt Easter without an Easter egg hunt! Whilst Easter egg hunts are lots of fun for kids of all ages, you may need to scale it down a bit when it comes to toddlers and pre-schoolers so that they enjoy it just as much as the older kids. Check out these 6 tips for organising a fun Easter egg hunt.
Kids parties can be stressful enough without any mishaps to spoil the special day. So Build a Birthday has put together some tips on how to avoid the most common kids party disasters so you dont end up hosting the worst party ever!
Kids party food neednt cost the earth or take too long to make. So Build a Birthday has put together some tips on what you can do and what you can make with a little creativity and a limited budget. From the number of birthday party guests you invite to ensuring you have just enough food, plus ideas on budget conscious party food you can buy or make at home.
Hosting sustainable kids parties may seem a little daunting and too much like hard work! However there are things you can do (even small things!) to help reduce the impact your kids birthday parties have on the environment.
Hosting a kids bat party is lots of fun! From preschoolers parties to Halloween gatherings, this monochrome number is sure to delight and is a breeze to whip together. Check out these tips on how to set the scene, fun party food ideas you can use and games you can play to keep your little bats busy.
Painting with ice chalks is lots of fun! Make the most of the summer weather and have a go at this easy ice chalk paints recipe. Its a great outdoors messy play activity, science experiment and painting material all in one!
Have a go at making your own handprint Christmas wreath with the kids this year. Its a really fun Christmas craft activity from Mud Mates and easy for toddlers and pre-schoolers to do with a little help from you. Why not make a new one every year and keep a record of the size of their hands and fingerprints as they grow!
As we head into summer here's a quick reminder of what we need to do and what we need to teach our kids to do. Weve all heard the phrase Slip Slop Slap and Wrap a thousand times, but its so important as parents and caregivers to keep kids safe in the harsh New Zealand sun whilst they're playing outside, swimming in the pool or visiting one of our many beaches.
We all love summer, but it can wreak havoc with kids sleep patterns with balmy nights and daylight streaming through their curtains. A good nights sleep is important for all of us, so help make things more comfortable with these 5 easy tips to help them get to sleep during the warmer months.
Water is an essential part of Kiwis identity and many under 5's grow up spending their holidays at the beach, fishing off the rocks, swimming in a pool or learning how to drive a boat. Yet according to Safekids Aotearoa, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between 1 and 4 years old.
Sunglasses are not only for adults. We should teach kids from an early age about the importance of wearing sunglasses so that they develop good habits that last for life. Sunglasses maybe a fun fashion accessory, but they can also save your kids skin and help prevent eye problems as they get older by blocking out the sun's powerful ultraviolet rays (UVR).
All you need is love! A beautifully illustrated picture book about different kinds of love and ways you can show someone you care. Whether quiet, loud, shy or proud, the lyrical text champions love for a faithful pet, a best friend or simply your child's most favourite person in the whole world.
Taking part in recreational gymnastics from a young age comes with many benefits for toddlers and pre-schoolers. As well as helping them to develop their co-ordination and build their self-esteem, its all about having fun and focusing on interactive play and their social well-being. Pre-school classes encourage them to be active in a safe, monitored environment.
Learning to swim is such an important life skill for children to learn from a young age and having swimming lessons even before they start school is a great place to start. Here are some expert tips to help you navigate the process, from choosing a swim school and booking lessons to what you can expect from lessons, moving through progressions and everything in between.
Its officially summer! Maybe youve already dipped your toes in the water and picked out your little ones togs and jandals for this season too. Whatever tradition you have in your family this summer make sure to add practicing Water Safety to that list, because at the end of the day, it could save someones life.
Water play can be a great source of fun and exercise for the whole family, but it can also be dangerous for children if the proper water safety precautions are not taken. The good news is though there are many ways to keep children safe in and around water. Check out these helpful tips.
Who remembers making mud pies? Making mud pies is sadly not as common as it used to be, but heres a very easy recipe you can try at home with the kids to help bring back their revival. Making mud pies is a great learning activity too and perfect for messy playtime in the garden.
Have a go at creating your own mini aquarium in an old jam jar. Its easy to do and the kids will love how the glitter and sea creatures swirl around inside the jar. The aquariums also make great party decorations and party favours for kids to take home instead of a party bag.
As adults we often think about what would be on our bucket list or list of things to do before we grow too old, but what about a bucket list for preschoolers? Here are some fun ideas for your little ones bucket list; things for them to do before they reach 5 years old.
Exploring science and nature can be so much fun for little ones. When children are engaged in learning about science and nature, they are also learning strategies for active exploration, thinking and reasoning and develop working theories for making sense of the natural, social, physical and material worlds.
Its a win win - kids get to paint and theres no mess for parents to clear up! This kids mess free painting idea is easy to set up and perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers to do at home. A fun sensory play activity to try on a rainy day.
Going through airport security is usually a fairly mundane procedure, but when you have young children in tow you may need to do a little more planning. Check out these useful tips to help make getting through airport security a little easier next time you fly with kids.
Travelling with kids who have asthma can still be enjoyable if you take a few precautions. Whether you are heading off to the beach, the countryside or even overseas, good preparation can help keep your childs asthma at bay while youre away. Check out these helpful tips.
Who would have thought that your childs car seat could harbour more germs than your toilet, but a survey carried out by scientists at the University of Birmingham discovered just that. Are you aware of the risks?
Did you know that kids car seats expire after 5 12 years from the date of manufacture? Once a seat expires, or has been in an accident of any scale, the life span becomes zero. The car seat then needs to be disposed of safely, to prevent other people from using the seat again.
Choosing a babysitter or nanny while you're on holiday is one of the most important decisions you will make. We look at taking a nanny on your trip and hiring babysitters at your destination to help you choose the most suitable option for you and your family.
Are you sure youre using the appropriate car seat for your little one? Do you know when to change from a rear-facing seat to a front-facing seat or when its ok to use a booster seat? Find out more about kids car seat safety laws in New Zealand.