New Look Website Coming Soon

New look website coming to Learning4kids
Yes, it is time for change and I am bursting with excitement to share our new look website with you!  The image above is a little sneak peek until the new website is finished……it is so close!
I have been running my little hobby Learning4kids now for nearly 3 years and thought it was time for a fresh new look.  Everything will stay the same and I will be continuing to share lots of fun activities for learning through play.
But with a new design will also bring a new online shop!!  Yep, that’s right; there will be a new online shop available to readers providing educational toys, resources, art and craft supplies.  Many of our readers have written in asking where I have got some of the items in my posts, these will now be available to our readers if they would like this option. The new online shop will only be a small part of the new website as I absolutely love what I currently do and will be continuing to do the same.
I apologise for not being present the last few weeks and the up coming next week as I am working hard on getting the new website up and running.  We have so many exciting things to share with you once the new website is finished so don’t go anywhere……I am still here and will be back shortly with a new look website!!  
If you would like to stay informed and up to date with what is happening, here are a few options for you:
Subscribe by email: <HERE>
Follow us on Facebook: <HERE>
Follow us on Pinterest: <HERE>
Before I click publish on this post, I would also like to thank every single one of you who comes to Learning4kids. Some of you have been here right from the beginning and still continue to support me.  Each and every one of you are amazing!   So a huge thankyou from the bottom of my heart and I look forward to sharing the new chapter of Learning4kids with you!  I have a dream and I can’t wait to share it with you!!
I would also like to acknowledge some very special people to me who have been a rock of support through this process.  I am forever grateful to these beautiful people who all have been so incredible in helping me bring this new look website and my long time dreams to life.  This was no simple process with other unnecessary complications but a  huge thank you to T’Anne, Ash, Pete, Sam and Rob.  Thank you to my beautiful friends and work colleagues.  My husband, wow, you are the reason this is coming to life, thank you!  And my three  beautiful blessings, my children, thank you for understanding why Mum has been a little busier lately than normal.  I love you all so much and I feel so blessed to have you in my world. 
Learning 4 kids

Busy Basket of Activities for Road Trips

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang and NRMA Insurance
Busy Basket of Activities for Road Trips
Road trips with the family are a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time together and create long-lasting memories.  However, for children, sitting in a car for long periods of time can create boredom and irritability, leading to unwanted distractions for the driver.
Keeping children busy and entertained on long road trips reduces distractions for the driver and makes getting from A to B a lot safer. 
‘Busy Baskets’ full of activities for kids to do on family road trips is a great way to entertain them and reduce these distractions, allowing the driver to concentrate on the road when driving.
The Busy Basket and taking regular breaks is also a great way to take the kids mind off ‘are we there yet?’.
Busy Basket of Fun
Busy Basket of Activities for Kids on a Road Trip
When considering the items to place into our Busy Basket, I wanted to have games and activities that did not include lots of small parts that could get lost easily in the car.  I also wanted to include items that my children are interested in, including some of their favourite toys and books.
Plastic zip lock bags are great for storing and organising different items, games and toys separately and for easy access our Busy Basket sits on the middle seat between two booster seats.
What you will find in our Busy Basket:
  • Colouring in books.
  • Threading cardboard shapes with rope.
  • Card Games – Go Fish and Snap.
  • Tin of pencils, crayons and textures
  • Stickers – Make pictures out of stickers.
  • Blank Notebooks – writing, drawing, Noughts and Crosses, and placing stickers on.
  • Finger Puppets – make up stories.
  • Several favourite children’s books.
  • Kaleidoscope (favourite toy).
We also placed a homemade activity into our Busy Basket, Threading Felt Squares.  This is a fabulous quiet and educational activity that will entertain children and is super easy to make!
Threading Felt Squares
Threading Felt Squares
Threading Felt Squares is a fine motor activity that requires concentration as you thread the button on the end of a ribbon through the centre of a hole on felt squares.  Children can explore colours, make patterns and count as they thread the felt squares onto the ribbon.
Some More Busy Ideas for Kids
Road Trip Activities
  • Etcha-sketch or Magna Doodle for drawing.
  • Felt Board activities.
  • Magnets on a baking tray.
  • Play Simon Says or Eye Spy.
  • Play Spot – spotting objects such as cars a certain colour.
  • Sing Songs or listen to Adio Books
  • Puzzles
  • Take a map or atlas that your older kids can use and follow along the journey.
  • Take photos
An Important Message
Driving with little ones in the back seat can be distracting for drivers at times but one of the biggest distractions on our roads today are our mobile phones and texting while driving.  This video is a good reminder of how a few seconds of taking our eyes off the road to read a text message can quickly and easily end in an accident.  If we need to use our mobile phones, we should pull over in a safe place. If we’re about to drive, we place our mobile phone in the boot of the car or back seat where we cannot reach it while driving.
NRMA Insurance’s virtual Crashed Car Showroom is an online experience that people can enjoy and learn more about car safety.  There are some really interesting videos and features to try out.
Be sure to check out the Safety Hub on NRMA Insurance’s website where you can find lots of useful information such as finding out the safety rating of your car and what questions to ask when buying a car.
How do you keep distractions to a minimal when you’re driving?  I would love to hear your ideas!!
Learning 4 kids

Messy Fun with Finger Painting

This is a sponsored post by Nuffnang and Radiant
Learning Benefits of Finger Painting
Recently I watched a hilarious video by Radiant called Radiant Returns Art Class where a group of Kindergarten students were involved in Finger Painting and this inspired me to get the paints out for some messy finger painting fun!  The Radiant Return videos prove that the mess is no big deal or excuse not to provide messy learning experiences for our kids!
In early childhood education Finger Painting is often the very first painting experience children will encounter.  As simple as it may be putting paint into trays for little fingers to play and paint with, there are numerous reasons why finger painting is beneficial for child development and learning.
Let’s Play
Finger Painting Ideas for Kids
All you need is a bit of paint and little hands and fingers! 
Some Ideas:
  • Place small blobs of paint onto a large tray (the lid of a plastic container is great for this).
  • Make a rainbow by placing small blobs of paint, each colour of the rainbow in a row onto paper. Then blend and mix the paints together using your fingers and hands.
  • Create patterns, drawings, numbers, words and shapes in the paint on a tray and place a piece of white paper over the top to create an imprint of the finger paint drawing.
  • Finger Painting is so much fun completed on an easel or a glass window.
Getting Messy is all Part of the Learning (and Fun)
Learning Benefits of Sensory Finger Painting
Although we would prefer that our kids completed mess free activities to avoid the paint on the walls, furniture and their clothes, the benefits of finger painting are numerous. 
1.  Finger painting is easier for little fingers that are not yet ready to manipulate a brush.
2.  Sensory experience of exploring paint, textures and prints.
3.  Fine Motor Development: Finger Painting strengthens the finger and small hand muscles developing pre-writing skills.
4.  Colour recognition and children can discover informally about mixing and exploring colours.
5.  All the senses are involved: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and (if you use edible paint) tasting!
6.  Hand-eye coordination and control.
7.  Experimentation and exploration of paint as a new tool for discovery.
Finger Painting for Toddlers
Once all the paint is mixed together it makes such a delightful colour of brown and purple but the learning benefits and fun outweigh the prettiness of this activity. 
8.  If you place the paper on the floor, large muscle control and balance could be improved.
9.  There is a focus on the process, not on the end result or the finished product.
10.  Finger Painting promotes self-expression, creativity and imagination.
11.  Language development: talking about the creative process of finger painting, what the child is painting and colours.
12.  Kids learn that they can manipulate and be in control of their surroundings.
13.   It is MESSY, which also means it is FUN!
Radiant Return Video – Finger Painting in a Kindergarten Class
This is just 1 of 13 videos from the Radiant Return series and they are so much fun to watch!  Be sure to visit the Radiant Return Website to view the rest of the videos.  The videos were all done completely for real with a real family (2 best mates and the girl is the girlfriend to one of the guys), real torture tests with the actual clothes bought from the shops, washed in real domestic conditions and returned to the unsuspecting retail assistants.  Radiant Return obtained approval from the owners of the shops but, to maximise the reactions of the assistants, the exercise was performed without their knowledge.
Radiant is available in 3 great variants, Brilliant Whites Sharper Colours, No-Sort and Sensitive. Each variant contains Colour Guard technology which is how Radiant keeps your colours newer for longer.
Giveaway – Giveaway – Giveaway
Giveaway Radiant Return
Today I am giving away 1 x one-year supply of Radiant (approx. $100) ‘Radiant Prize Pack’ 
For your chance to win, all you need to do is answer the following question:
“What is the biggest mess your child has ever made?”
Click here for Terms & Conditions
This giveaway has now closed!  Congratulations to Alison Ford on winning 1 year supply of radiant products!

Children’s Learning and Technology

The Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids is the tablet that grows with your child. With intuitive Kids Mode, parental settings and a great selection of preloaded apps, it’s the unique tablet for kids that parents will love.
Children's Learning and Technology
Technology is touching almost every part of our lives, our communities and homes.  It is a big part of our world today and our children are being born and raised in this digital world.  It is a fact that tablets and other technologies are here to stay and will continue to develop and change the way we do things, particularly the way we educate and teach our children. 
I believe that with the introduction of technology in schools and in the home environment has opened up a huge window of opportunity  in children’s learning.  Tablets and other technologies are an effective tool in children’s learning when they are relevant and interactive to the learning experience. 
Like with anything though, moderation is important and there is nothing better than real life hands-on learning opportunities for our children. 
How do kids learn?
Technology and Learning
Essentially we all know that children learn differently, in their own way and at their own pace.
Children learn best through following their interests and what has meaning for them and seek out stimulus best suited to their style of learning. 
As educators and parents we need to find ways that motivate our children to learn and create opportunities that are interesting, motivating and engaging for them. 
For example all my children learn through play but they all have their own specific interests and ways of learning and acquiring information.  My eldest child loves books and learns best through repetition and reading.  She is also musical and often uses this artistic streak to help her development an understanding of a challenging concept or skill.  My middle child is very sensory orientated and learns best through technology, games and hands-on experiences.  She will continue doing something over and over again through trial and error until she finds the solution.  My youngest child is also very sensory based and learns best through watching and then exploring and doing.  She is very hands-on orientated. 
Benefits of Technology as a Tool for Learning
Benfits of Technology for Children
Effective technology integration is achieved when its use supports curricular goals. It must support these components of learning: active engagement, participation, frequent interaction and feedback.  When looking at the benefits of utilising technology within the classroom or home we first must look at purpose, relevance and nature of the device, game or app.
  • Technology provides each classroom and home with more interesting, diverse, and current learning materials.
  • Technology has provided another means for providing information and another tool for learning.  Some technology and educational games and apps are highly interactive and this can keep students actively engage, focused and on task longer.
  • Technology can be used as a tool to motivate.
  • Technology provides another avenue to explore concepts and skills and may assist children developing an understanding that was previously a challenge.
  • It has provided the opportunity for self-correcting, try again and problem solve.
  • Prepare children for the future and up to date technological advances and developments.
Technology also changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means.  The educational opportunities that technology gives to children are amazing and endless.
Make sure you pop over to our current GIVEAWAY – We are giving away 1x Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids and $100 Google Voucher.

This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.

The Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids is the tablet that grows with your child. With intuitive Kids Mode, parental settings and a great selection of preloaded apps, it’s the unique tablet for kids that parents will love.

Learning Benefits of Tablets

Sponsored by Samsung and Nuffnang
Learning Benefits of Tablet
Technology is a big part of our world today and also a big part of our children’s world.  It is a fact that tablets and other technologies are here to stay and will continue to develop and change the way we do things, including the way we educate and teach our children. 
Recently, I had the privilege of reviewing a Samsung GALAXY Tablet 3 Kids and exploring the educational benefits for young children through tablets. 
I will be giving away the GALAXY Tab 3 Kids shown here in this post to one of our lucky readers! 
Learning is Fun with a Tablet
Samsun Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 1
I believe that tablets have a place in development and learning in schools and in the home environment.  I believe it has opened a huge window of opportunity in children’s education. Like with anything though, moderation is important and there is nothing better than real life hands-on learning opportunities for our children.  The GALAXY Tab 3 Kids has parental settings to help you stay in control of app usage and the amount of tablet usage per day; you can even set it to be used only between certain hours.  Having control of ‘tablet time’ will help you to monitor this usage and give you peace of mind. 
I am a big fan of apps that have a purpose, relevance and encourage learning.  In my opinion, they must also promote control of hand gestures and that are highly interactive.  Tablet devices allow children to manipulate virtual objects using natural hand gestures and this appears to stimulate experiences that can lead to stronger learning.  Learning is fun with a tablet because they are bright, interactive, motivating, promote problem solving and the images and icons appeal to the target audience.
Exploring the GALAXY Tab 3 Kids
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 2
The GALAXY Tab 3 Kids is a kid friendly tablet that has a fun bright yellow face. I found all the bright colours and large icons to be really cute which naturally appeal to a younger demographic, we could even personalise the tablet with one of my children’s name and photo.  It has a ‘Kids Mode’ alternative home screen that helps parents to control their child’s tablet time.  My children are aged 3 – 7 and Kids Mode was great as the preloaded apps are designed for kids of all ages but there is also the option to switch to ‘Standard Mode’ – so the tablet grows with your child and can be used like an ordinary tablet.
Other features:
  • Parental settings to help control app usage and purchases and manage the amount of use per day.
  • Available to purchase from selected retailers, including: JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, Dick Smith, Target, Big W, Good Guys and Myer RRP $299.00
Educational Games We Loved
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 3
As mentioned before there are a number of preloaded apps available on the GALAXY Tab 3 Kids, some are educational, e-books, games and entertainment.  I really loved the pre-loaded app Dolphin Reader it story books are fabulous, interactive and also provided activities linked to the story.  As the basic story lines are read out loud, they were highlighted for children to read along.
The ‘Creative Corner’ app inspires imagination and creativity and can also be used as a learning tool.  Miss 3 is learning to write her name and this app allows her to play with colours and move her hand in the right gestures to form the letters in her name.  Miss 7 practices her spelling words that she brings home for homework.  It’s great because they can clear the screen and start again without wasting any paper.
Giveaway Image
I’m giving away 1x Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids RRP $299 and 1x $100 Google Play voucher to one lucky reader*.
For your chance to win, all you need to do is answer the following question:
“How will the Galaxy Tab 3 for Kids fit into your life?”
* This is a game of  skill and entries will be judged based on creativity and originality. Open to Australian residents only. Entries open 9:01am AEDT, Monday 14 April 2014 and close 5:00pm AEDT, Friday 25 April 2014. Terms and Conditions apply.
<Click here for Terms and Conditions>
Learning 4 kidsThis giveaway is now closed.  A big thank you to all our entrants and best of luck!
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