Six sensory boxes for preschoolers

6 sensory tubs for preschoolers
Have you used sensory tubs with your little ones? I think Little Miss is just about ready for me to start making some for her so here is a round up of tubs I made for big brother – for reference he was three when he used all of these.

I don’t think all of these are ‘officially’ sensory boxes – I use that term for anything that’s, ‘a load of stuff in a big tub.’



Construction sensory box

This is probably the simplest to set up of the boxes in this roundup. It’s a good place to start if you want to have a go. Details


Ice -cream

Ice-cream sensory box

This took a bit of effort to make but he continued to play with the set for a couple of years so it was well worth it. Details


Early maths


I just gathered things I had around the house. Often I find both kids play with things differently if they are presented differently. Details



Sensory box zoo

He loved this one and I got to be seriously anal about tidying it up in the evening. Parenting tip – when cousins come to visit don’t leave 3 children alone with this tub!! (I can still remember the mess 😀 ) Details



Robot sensory box

This was basically a themed craft box. Details 


The beach

Sensory box Beach

E. still talks about this one – I definitely intend to do it for both children next summer. Details


Have you used sensory tubs with your kids? I’d love some more ideas 🙂


My Random Musings
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Posted in Pre-school, Sensory play | 4 Comments

Bullet Journalling – when you’re not artistic

Bullet Journalling - when you're not artistic
Have you seen pictures of bullet journals on pinterest or instagram? They are pictures of beautiful notebook pages with gorgeous handwriting and hand drawn doodles. To me they are equally inspiring and terrifying!

If I’d seen these first I wouldn’t have started. I’m a lefty and while I can write neatly it doesn’t come naturally, I can’t draw free hand, and to be honest I don’t really have time for another hobby!

The concept was developed by  Ryder Carroll and you can watch the get started video here. As a lifetime list maker and permanent diary failure I love the idea.

Since this is about bullet journalling I thought I’d use bullet points (original!)

Why it works for me

  • You start with a blank book – this means that I don’t have pages and pages of blank space when I’ve lost the book (and/or the plot) – I’ve got nothing for May, June or August but it doesn’t matter, with an actual diary this bothered me!
  • If your list for the day is really long it doesn’t matter – again I found this a problem with a dated diary.
  • General notes, to do lists, packing lists (current food Big Brother is prepared to have in his lunch box) all go in the same book with the day to day diary – and you don’t run out of space!
  • You can adapt the way you use it as you go – I started with monthly then daily lists – now I have a weekly section as well.
  • I can use up the pretty notebooks I’ve been hoarding – the advice is use an plain notebook that will fit in your bag and so on but mine mainly stays at home I’m fine with using pretty ones!
  • It really doesn’t matter if you don’t do it every day (or every month) Currently I have months where I’ve kept up with it for the whole month – I’m hopeful for October!!

What I do

I definitely advise you watch the video but here’s the basics of what I do

  • Keep an index – this is really important (I honestly can’t believe that I never thought of this before!)

Bullet Journalling - when you're not artistic

  • Give pages headings, number the pages and write them in the index
  • Future log – I have two double pages for the whole year – I haven’t found this overly useful but next year I’m going to remember to write birthdays in it!

Bullet Journalling - when you're not artistic

  • Monthly log – there are loads of fancy ways you can do this I just write the numbers and the days in the margin and then jot anything down. On the joining page I write a list of things to do – it really doesn’t take as long as you think it will

Bullet Journalling - when you're not artistic

  • Daily log – this is just a dated to do list I cross the bullets if they’re done. (You can also use this as a for Journal type entries but I’m not great at keeping up with those!)

Bullet Journalling - when you're not artistic

  • Any other lists I just pop on the next blank page and put in the title in the index

And there you have it – scribbly handwriting and all- it’s definitely not as pretty as lots you’ll see but really useful for a busy mum – and I definitely would have found it useful when I was teaching.



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Posted in Home, Life | 2 Comments


I sat down to try and write about Little Miss at 15 months and it turned into another poem! She is definitely our last child and I’ve tried (and manly succeeded) to enjoy the baby phase more than I did last time! I’ve been much more aware of how quickly it passes (Even when it absolutely doesn’t feel like it!!)

In the last week or so though I’ve felt like all of a sudden I’ve got this big girl living in my house!



You demanded in the way only a toddler can,

That I removed your tee shirt so you could continue to dance,

and marvel at your own round belly.


You dripped water on the floor,

And stomped in it,

Giggling at the mess you created.


You pulled half of the books off the shelf,

In a crazed frenzy,

Until you found the one you wanted,

Then snuggled on my knee and fell asleep.



You are so little and yet so big,

And I can see glimpses of the wonder and terror that is to come.


But for now,

I’ll try to hold on to,


Today, You are so little and yet so big, And I can see glimpses of the wonder and terror that is to come.


If you like this you may also like: Just breathe




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*Often when I write a longish post I write it and then let it sit for a few days. My initial post was basically a rant and while I stand by that I realised I know some stuff about teaching that might actually be useful! Hopefully it’ll help some of you! *


As we’re back in the swing of things with the new school year I’m back at being irritated with the ever presence of homework in our lives.

To be clear I’m more than happy to listen to him read, practice times tables, help him find out extra things about topics that have interested him and so on. I’m also happy to spend time going over things he might be struggling with in class.

The problem is that in the past 15 years or so primary school homework has become a thing that has to be done every week regardless of need. As a teacher I found the management of homework difficult to justify in terms of my time because time spent by me (and  parents) didn’t really seem to equate to many gains in understanding.

When I was training to teach (and when I’ve supported training teachers and teaching assistants) the focus was on ‘process rather than outcome’. I always said to teaching assistants that were working with children in my classroom that I cared less about how much was written in books and much more about whether the child understood the concept. If that meant abandoning the planned activity altogether and getting out counters and dice then so be it. I always tried to keep the focus on learning things rather than on rushing through a piece of work.

Homework – it turns out – is all about getting that piece of work done. At the point we sit down to do the work E couldn’t care less about learning anything new he just wants to get it done so he can get on with something (anything) else!

So how can it be better? Generally in a classroom there would be some kind of focused teaching, then often some group work or pair work to practice the skill before children are given something to do on their own – sometimes this would all happen in one session other times – if it was a new or tricky concept it might be a few lessons before I’d expect children to be able to complete a task totally independently.

So, with this in mind, what I’ve started to do at home is look at the homework as soon as it comes home and during the week practice the skill by playing games, chatting at the dinner table and so on. Then when it comes to Wednesday night he can confidently – and mainly independently- complete the task. What’s even better is no one ends up having to pour a big glass of wine while texting obscenities at their husband.



Obviously I don’t expect to manage this every week but so far it seems to be working.


Let me know what you think. If you’ve got any other hints or tips please share them too! <3



Diary of an imperfect mum


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Posted in School | 6 Comments

Easy wall art



Do you follow me on Facebook? I seem to manage to keep it updated a lot more frequently! I’ve set myself a little challenge to blog a lot more this month.  Little Miss is finally napping with a bit of consistency which makes it much easier to plan my day.

We moved into our first non- rental house  9 months ago and we’re gradually getting it sorted. I’ve hung photos practically everywhere (it’s so nice to not have to worry about how many picture hooks we’ve put in walls)

For our bedroom I wanted something a bit different. These were so simple to make. I used tester pots for the colours and gold acrylic that I already had. You can get really cheap artist canvases from discount shops (They’re probably no good for actual art but great for things like this)

Inspired by this post  – it’s really hard to take good interior design type photos – especially if you live in a tiny house!




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Posted in Crafts, Home | Leave a comment