Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Recycling Fun with Rubbish and Pallets!

You know we love to make play resources from recycled pallets and this one has been on my list for quite some time. Well if I'm honest, not my list, Daddy's list!

He has again made my vision become a reality and says it was one of the easiest of my 'bright ideas'  to build. When I posted a picture of our finished pallet sink a few weeks ago on my facebook page it proved very popular so I promised to share with everyone how we made it.


Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem


I think it turned out beautifully and I had just the right spot in the sandpit ready to go!

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem

I'm often asked where we get the items we use in our recycle and upcycle projects so I thought I would take you on a little journey through one of our favourite places to visit on a weekend.

I know that probably sounds awful to most of you reading but I just love looking through other peoples trash and finding something I can turn into treasure for very little cost and i personally think it is an important learning journey for children to be involved in to.

We live in such a throw away society at the moment I like to show my girls that you don't always need to go and buy something new. We wander around our local revolve store and talk about what things might have been used for and why people might have brought them to the dump (tip, trash). It's not hard to spend an hour there!


Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Our twins Ruby and Tara love to explore and investigate and tell me how we could use things if we take them home...they are ever hopeful and never see trash, just treasures to be rescued!


The revolve centre is located in a big shed at our local dump. It is an initiative of our local council and houses an eclectic collection of used goods that people have disposed of but that have been rescued from the rubbish pile and offered for sale at usually very reasonable (dare I say cheap!) prices.

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem
It's not pretty but serves such an important role in the sustainability practices of our community...and is a magical place for early childhood educators like me!!


There are indoor and outdoor areas and with a bit of creativity and imagination you can find a use for most items there. Some weeks there is a lot to choose from, other weeks not so much but that is the fun of the hunt!

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem
On this particular visit we found this little beauty and my dreams were finally realised...yes I know I really need to get out more but stay with me, it gets more exciting!


We dragged out a few pallets from the stash under the house (doesn't everyone have a stash of pallets under their house?) and began to lay out the pieces.


Doesn't look like much here does it? 

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Let's break construction down to a few easy steps...

Step 1


His patient self took a few boards off another pallet and measured them against the sink length. You'll need two long pieces of pallet timber to form the length and two shorter pieces to form the width.


Step 2


Lay your pieces out to form a frame as shown below, check measurements again


Step 3


The frame should fit the sink easily, test by laying it inside your makeshift frame before screwing your frame together to form a secure tray.




Step 4


Now you will need 4 short pallet lengths and 1 long length to make a frame with legs like the one shown below. Notice that the front boards of this pallet have now been taken off to use. 

Screw together at the legs, the back of the pallet will form your kitchen sink cupboard/splashback.

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Step 5


Screw the frame to the standing pallet and you are ready for the final few steps already! His patient self also added a pallet length to the top to form a small shelf and neaten the look a little.

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Step 6


Now secure the sink frame you made earlier to the stand and cross your fingers that the sink still fits!

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Drop the sink into the frame and you are ready to 'dress' your sink. We use a bucket under our sink holes if  we are playing with water so we can recycle it onto the garden.

Even if you don't fill the sinks with water though there are so many ways to use this new resource.

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Have to say my girls do love to wash their dishes in the sandpit though and who am I to stop this beautiful role play...certainly saves the sudsy mess normally following these same helpers in my own kitchen!

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Yes, I do love it when a plan comes together and yet again we have managed to turn someone else's trash into a little treasure for our backyard playspace.

Building a pallet kitchen sink from recycled materials - Find out how at Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Does your council have a recycle centre where you live?



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Warm Wishes...




















Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Children's Cardboard X-ray 'Tablet'

October is Doc-Tober for Disney Junior! Your preschooler can see Doc McStuffins and her toy friends in new episodes on the Disney Junior TV channel and enjoy brand new Doc games and activities on DisneyJunior.com.au.



Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem


My twins have reached an age where they are very interested in their body parts and how things work. They also love playing Doctors and I have to hide a chuckle or two when I hear them say things like "I'm going to fix your head bone now".

To support their learning journey with this interest we look at books of skeletons and muscles, research pictures and facts on the internet and sing songs about the body making sure to incorporate lots of actions requiring certain body part movements. 

The lightbox has been popular and we have been examining skeletons of both animals and people and naming the parts. Even my family daycare toddlers love to do this!

There is also lots of craft but as I am in favour of more process based art activities we don't do a lot of stencil or 'end product' type craft about bones.

However, sometimes it's nice to start a project together and complete it with a set goal in mind. Given that they have been showing such an interest in bones and skeletons and being little Docs lately I decided we could work together to make our very own X-ray tablet using some recycled materials and a little creativity!

Now I know you are wondering if I have lost the plot a little...of course the X-ray tablets aren't real but they are lots of fun to make and seeing the excitement on my girls faces when their x-ray machine lit up pictures of the bones they cut and pasted was just priceless!!

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem


You can place them on a light table for a great effect if you have one but you can also just hold them up to the light outside or near a window and they will work just as well! 

Want to make your own x-ray machine with your budding little Docs? 

Let's do it!

Children's Cardboard X-ray Tablet



Here's what you need....


  • Cardboard - we just cut up some cereal boxes from the recycle bin
  • Scissors
  • Paste
  • Pictures of bones - large enough to fit on an A4 piece of paper
  • Paint for your frame colour
  • White A4 paper


Here's what you do....

Cut out a frame shape from each side of a large cereal box (or plain cardboard) as seen in the photos below. 1 box will make 2 frames which is what you will need to make one x-ray tablet.

Keep the cut out pieces from the middle of the frame to paint or craft with later.

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem



 Neaten up your edges so that one frame fits perfectly on top of the other.



When you are cutting out your frame template ensure that you can fit a piece of A4 paper on top without any gaps.


 Now it's the children's turn...lay out some darker coloured paint, place the frames with the blank cardboard side up on a flat surface and let the the kid's create their masterpiece.

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

My twins started out with purple as it is their favourite colour at the moment, I think their current fascination with Doc McStuffins might be encouraging the love of all things purple and pink!


Apparently though the purple in your sister's paint pot is always better than the one right in front of you!!


Now it's time to cut out some bones! I copied these bone images from some activity slides we have been using on the lightbox but you could also just do a search online and download some skeleton or bone images, paste into a document and then print out...easy and cost effective!

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

My girls love their cutting activities and this one was a nice challenge for them. Tara decided to cut out very precisely around each finger bone while Ruby chose to cut all the way around the picture.

They possibly would have done this all day if I had had  enough bone pictures. Now there's a sentence I didn't think I would ever say!


When your little helpers have finished cutting out (if you have younger children use larger pictures with not as much detail and guide them around the bone outline like Ruby did above) it's now  time to paste!

We pulled out the A4 paper and stuck all the bone pictures down onto the paper, we then left them to dry in the sun

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

When your frames are dry as well as the bone pictures, lay the paper down onto the frame  (which should be lying painted side is down) and has been given a coat of glue....try to get picture lined up in the middle of the frame area if possible.





Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Now lay another piece of paper on top of the bones and paste to frame as before.



We're onto the final step, lay the other frame on top of the white paper and press hard to keep everything flat...you are nearly done!

The picture or drawing of your bones should be sandwiched in the middle of the frame pieces,

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

You could let them decorate their frames any way they want, perhaps with some collage materials, natural materials or some writing or drawing. My girls chose to do theirs just with paint.

Remember to use darker colours to hide any printing or pattern on the cardboard.

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Now the fun part, put on those Doctor coats and hold your x-rays up to the light

Seeing the bones started lots of questions and had me trying to find the answers! Tara wanted to know why she couldn't see her foot bones when she put them over the x-ray tablet.

This project has led to an exploration of the role of radiologists and Doctors which has been interesting, I'm not sure if they totally understand the concept of x-rays as yet but they are well on their way!

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Tara kept trying to make the tablet show her hand bones when she lined them up with the shadow on the x-ray and was adamant it would work because she was a 'real Doctor' now!

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Obviously a clearer, larger  image of bones will create a better result, if you can't find any suitable pictures why not just draw some basic bone outlines freehand.

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

The  girls immediately set up their Doctor's clinic and gave all their toys an x-ray as well as bandaged broken limbs when needed...which apparently was often!. 

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

A moment to check the x-rays and then it's time for the all important diagnoses.

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Then we headed to the other side of the house to catch the last rays of daylight and hold up the tablets which then caught the glow of the setting sun.

Children's Easy Cardboard X-ray Tablet - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

I can't wait to see how they play with their x-ray tablets again tomorrow!

What is your child's favourite piece of Doctor equipment to play with?



If this is your first visit to Mummy Musings and Mayhem and you like what you see you can follow me on FacebookBloglovin and Pinterest for more inspiration, frugal fun, recipes and mayhem!


Warm Wishes...

This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
October is Doc-Tober for Disney Junior! Your preschooler can see Doc McStuffins and her toy friends in new episodes on the Disney Junior TV channel and enjoy brand new Doc games and activities on DisneyJunior.com.au.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Easy to Make Doctor's Kit Play for Kids!

October is Doc-Tober for Disney Junior! Your preschooler can see Doc McStuffins and her toy friends in new episodes on the Disney Junior TV channel and enjoy brand new Doc games and activities on DisneyJunior.com.au.
My twins have been engaging in  lots of hospital play lately, inspired by the Doc McStuffins TV series they love to watch at the moment.

They have been having lots of fun with the felt bandages, stethoscopes and bandaids we made the other day but there have been a few fights over whose 'Doctor tools' are whose (as always seems to happen eventually with twins!). So we decided to make some personalised Doctor kits to keep their special pieces in ...they both engage in dramatic play in very different ways so I like to encourage and support their individuality as often as I can.

They were so easy to make but have already provided hours of fun, I do love when the simplest of activities  keep children busy because they are allowed the opportunity and scope to use their imagination and self expression to create.

Our Doctor's Kits are a great way to introduce some recycling into play too - I don't know about you but I never throw out shoeboxes, they hold so  many possibilities!

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem


Want to make your own special Doctor's kit? 


Here's what you need to make your box...

  • Empty shoeboxes - large or small
  • Craft paint and brushes
  • stickers or Clip art collection of your child's favourite Doctor, my girls love Doc McStuffins as you can see!
  • Printer if using clip art images

Here's what you do...


It really is a quick and easy project that children of all ages will enjoy being a part of from start to finish!

Let each child choose their box and paint colour, my girls chose their favourite purple, darker colours are preferable as they give a better coverage but no need to worry about that to much as they will be putting pictures all over the box anyway.

When they finished and were happy with their efforts we hung them out to dry in the sun. We decided not to paint the inside but you could of course or even add some material as a lining!


Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

That afternoon I set up a table for the girls to get busy with their boxes. I printed off some Doc McStuffins pictures and gave them a sheet each to practice their cutting skills. Ruby is currently learning to use her 'helper hand' more effectively when cutting with scissors and turning the paper to help her to cut. 

Coordinating her fine motor skills can be a bit challenging for Ruby so I try to include activities using these skills at least once a day to support her learning journey.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem


Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Tara absolutely loves working with scissors and is always very precise, I love watching the different ways children work, each way is unique and just as important.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

When supporting children to work with scissors it is important to..

  • Guide but not do the cutting for them. Show how to hold the scissors, a sticker on the thumb can help remind them how to place their fingers
  • Have sharp kid friendly scissors but not blunt ones - they will do more damage.
  • Supply a mix of easy to cut out pictures as well as smaller more difficult ones to build up their confidence
  • Guide them to turn the paper or picture they are cutting with their 'helper hand'.
  • Keep your expectations age appropriate - first let them learn to snip and cut along lines before expecting them to cut out a picture.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem
Use cutting activities as conversation prompts and reflective listening activities. 

Ask what they are cutting, why, is it big or small, give them some easy directions to listen and follow. Tara could talk underwater I am certain of it....she spent 10 minutes here telling me what she was cutting and why she was doing it! 

She is the typical 4 year old chatterbox full of questions about how and why things work which can be exhausting (as parents of 3 and 4 year olds will know!) but I also know every time I answer her or help her to find the answers she is learning something new and storing that information for later.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

As they cut out their pictures the girls glued them onto their boxes, each with their own sense of style and individuality.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

I just used some of my cornflour paste/paint which is so easy to mix up and does the pasting job well! If you would like to give it a try yourself you can find the recipe here.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

When the designing was done we left them to dry and then got down to the fun part of stocking their Doctor's kit.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

We also collected some little soft friends and made a hospital table with the help of a few blankets.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

We have lots of hospital props due to my  Family Day Care Service but you really don't need to go out and buy special equipment, the idea of this activity is to use what you have and turn it into something fun!

As well as the toy props I used some craft wadding and cotton balls, old medicine syringes, cut up pieces of old bandage to make smaller bandages and some homemade bandaids and plaster casts made from felt scraps which I showed you how to do in this post.

We also made some easy DIY stethoscopes with old headbands, some ribbon scraps and baby jar lids!

You would be surprised at what children will want to include in their Doc boxes and what they will use everyday items for in their dramatic role play games. Just add a few basics and let them take it from there!

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

I must say having their own boxes has kept them very busy and no longer arguing about who is using what and who had it first! And when they want to move around they just throw everything back in and close the lid. They are light enough to cart around easily for small hands.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

Their list of patients kept growing and they continued to play side by side but in very different ways and that's just what I was hoping for when I set out to make these Doc Kits with each of the girls.

I also liked that they had been involved from start to finish with the process and were very proud of their efforts.

Easy to make, budget friendly Doc's Kit for children - Mummy Musings and Mayhem

You know what I always say....simple is usually best when it comes to fun!


If this is your first visit to Mummy Musings and Mayhem and you like what you see you can follow me on FacebookBloglovin and Pinterest for more inspiration, frugal fun, recipes and mayhem!


Warm Wishes...





This post is part of a Nuffnang native advertising series.
October is Doc-Tober for Disney Junior! Your preschooler can see Doc McStuffins and her toy friends in new episodes on the Disney Junior TV channel and enjoy brand new Doc games and activities on DisneyJunior.com.au.

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