Some of the essentials we use all the time for general play as well as science.  They are also great ideas for gifts, either for other people or if you have over-enthusiastic relatives.

Downloads download: Young Scientists (1.21MB)
added: 26/02/2010
clicks: 3594
description: This is a free ebook for parents of babies, toddlers and children. It has lots of information on why you should do science with your kids and how to turn anything into a science activity (even for babies). Plus heaps of suggestions and links to activities for all ages. download: Easy Weather Diary (104.50KB)
added: 09/04/2010
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description: A template to help track clouds, wind and general weather. It can be used with non-writers or early writers. download: Advanced Weather Diary (108.55KB)
added: 09/04/2010
clicks: 1474
description: A template to help track rain, temperature, clouds, wind and other weather.


  • A digital camera. We have a children’s one, although the way it goes through batteries means it’s fairly useless.  The toddler is actually quite successful with a real one.
  • A tripod.  A fantastic safety net for the camera.  By setting it up on a tripod at the right height she either doesn’t move it around, or if she moves she hits things with the legs rather than the delicate camera.
  • Books.  I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said.  And a library card.
  • Blankets/wraps.  These are incredibly versatile.  Portable play space, picnic blanket real or pretend, cubby, put balls on them and roll them around, dress up, keep warm, play hide and seek.  We have flannel and muslin ones from when they were babies, plus a big bright pink leopard print one that my husband picked out for the big girl.  Just hem a large piece of fabric, I cheat and use the rolled hem on the overlocker and it takes about 5 minutes.  If you’re really creative you can put a casing around the edge and put a cord through, instant toy bag.  Or make a fleece quillow – put a big patch pocket on the middle of one end, the blanket folds up and turn it into the pocket and you have a pillow.

Consumables – try an office supplies store or somewhere teachers go.  There is such cool stationery out there.  Alternatively $2 shops.

  • Stickers
  • Post cards – These are a big hit with us because we live interstate from most of our family, but you can always send a postcard.
  • Balloons
  • Water balloons
  • Contact – a big piece of contact sticky side out on a kitchen cupboard with lots of bits of paper, pompoms etc that they can stick on it is marvellous entertainment.
  • Poster paint
  • Fridge magnets – lots of places give out free magnets, kids don’t care what it is advertising!
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Straws
  • Pens, textas, crayons, pencils etc.
  • Sticky tape and a dispenser.  And if you don’t want things stuck on your walls, sticky tape balls are still cool for little ones to play with.  Hours (or at least minutes) of entertainment watching a baby trying to put one down.
  • Old magazines
  • Shaving Cream, lots and lots of shaving cream.  This isn’t just fun for getting all over yourself and drawing on walls, it can be carefully mixed with the poster paint then used for 3D finger painting.


  • Torches and a good supply of batteries.
  • Fit ball – brilliant for babies to bounce, tummy time, push, roll, one of these is a must at any age.
  • Cars.
  • Balls of all sorts


  • Biscuit cutters. These can cut toast, sandwiches, salt dough shapes and playdough as well as the obvious.
  • Oatmeal – make up with a bit of boiling water, leave to cool and you have a mud substitute for babies to squish and smear.
  • Pasta tubes and shapes. They can be threaded onto pipe cleaners as well as gluing and they make great rattles.
  • Overcooked spaghetti.  Break them up into little pieces and overcook them, they’re a great mud substitute like oatmeal.
  • Rice. Can be coloured with food colouring fairly easily
  • Playdough
  • Wonton wraps.  Very easy, and all sorts of things can be cooked up then put in them.  My 3 year old can make them herself using ravioli moulds.


  • Any plastic kitchen jars, especially things like stock containers.
  • Egg cartons
  • Little tiny decor/willow/tupperware containers, including pill and dressing ones.
  • Bags, bags and more bags.  We have hand bags, shoulder bags, overnight bags, present bags, backpacks, green shopping bags, pouches you name it.  They love putting all sorts of things or collections in them and they’re great homes for socks, finger puppets or ribbons.  Shopping is so much fun when the toddler is carrying it in her butterfly backpack.

Let me know any of your essentials and I’ll add them to the list!

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