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I’ve been coveting terrariums for some time now (These ones from Frog, Goose and Bear and Pollyposs are particularly beautiful), but I’ve been far too afraid to try one myself. You see, I am NO green thumb. But I just knew they’d make perfect gifts for my mum and mother-in-law who both love their gardens. [...]

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WIN: A Family Pass to Santa’s Magical Kingdom

The Christmas season is on our door step.

On the top of my ‘to-do’ list before then is to update our very extensive and beautiful Christmas Book Lists to include some of this year’s delightful new releases. And then I’ll be taking my family along to enjoy a wonderful evening at  Santa’s Magical Kingdom.

To dip your own toe into the Christmas Spirit this year, the kind folk at Santa’s Magical Kingdom have offered My Little Bookcase followers the chance to win a family pass to the Opening Weekend of Santa’s Magical Kingdom (Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 November 2014).

Win tickets to Santa's Magical Kingdom_ My Little Bookcase

A family pass, valued at $130, allows 2 adults and 2 children to attend the event, where you can:

● Walk-through the magical Christmas Wonderland

● Marvel at the spectacular Christmas-themed circus show

● Meet Santa and receive a free gift!

● Enjoy interactive story reading with Mrs Claus

● Visit the Christmas craft area where you can decorate your own gingerbread man and decorate your own Christmas decoration

● Visit the Snow Castle and Activity Land

● Meet roving Christmas characters

● Be thrilled by the amusement rides and laughing clowns (including a carousel, Santa’s

Sleigh Ride, ferris wheel, and Australia’s largest super slide)

Santa's Magical Kingdom 2014

EVENT DETAILS:

Santa’s Magical Kingdom

15 November 2014 – 23 December 2014

Caulfield Racecourse, Caulfield

Tickets available through Booking Office 1300 307 740 or via Ticketek (Prices start at $35.68)

Visit www.santasmagicalkingdom.com.au or the Santa’s Magical Kingdom Facebook Page for more details.

TO ENTER:

Sessions during the  Opening Weekend of Santa’s Magical Kingdom are :

Saturday 15 November, 10am and 2pm

Sunday 16 November, 10am and 2pm

For your chance to win a family pass to one of these sessions, simply share your favourite Christmas book with us in a comment below (or on our relevant Facebook or Instagram posts).

THE WINNER:

The entrant with the most creative entry, according to Jackie of My Little Bookcase, will be selected to receive a free family pass to the Opening Weekend of Santa’s Magical Kingdom.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

1. Each reader may enter only once.

2. The event takes place at Caulfield, Victoria (This giveaway is only open to entrants who can attend this venue on Friday 14, Saturday 15 or Sunday 16 November 2014)

3. The winner will be decided on 7 November 2014. All entries must be received by 4 pm (AEDT) on Friday 7 November 2014

4. The winner will be chosen by Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase

5. The winners will be notified via email and announced on social media. The selected winner must be contactable. Please send a private email or message if your social media accounts are private

6. The winners are asked to send a reply email including family name, contact information, preferred attendance date and time and delivery address within 2 days before a new winner is selected.

7. My Little Bookcase will be required to pass winner’s details onto Remark Marketing who are responsible for free family passes.

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About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase

A Backyard Space for Play and Learning (and Reading)

We’ve been spending quality time in our backyard lately, and I thought I might share this little corner of our home with you.The arrival of spring always instils a fresh new love for our backyard, but since bringing Ike home after an 8-day stay at the Royal Children’s Hospital, the kids have just delighted in the opportunity to spend as much time in the backyard as possible, a place where there isn’t any stifled air or dull, restricting walls.

You’ll see that our backyard is really quite simple but it inspires wonderful play and provides opportunities to engage in play-based learning.

Let me take you on a little tour of our backyard space:

Australian backyard cubby house_ My Little Bookcase

Santa built this cubby house for Cammy a few years ago. It is a mini replica of our little 1950s weatherboard home (I might have given Santa a few specific design instructions- wink wink!), and I just love it- so do the kids!  It is certainly the hero of our backyard. Sure, I enjoy being up there with Cammy and Ike, but I also love getting a glimpse of it as I hang the washing on the line and every now and then, when I’m shutting up the windows and door, I’ll steal a few extra minutes to sit up there by myself. It is just so tranquil and innocent.

Books are important to us so they have certainly influenced the décor in the cubby house.

Possum Magic Cubby House Bunting_ My Little Bookcase

I made a beautiful Possum Magic bunting for Ike’s first birthday party, but it was such a windy day that all the flags just gathered into a little bunch, and it sort of went unnoticed. So as not to waste this beautiful piece, it now hangs proudly  in the cubby house.

Cubbyhouse artwork and book display_ My Little Bookcase

The walls are adorned with some of the kids’ own artworks and gorgeous illustrations we cut and framed from the My Little Bookcase 2013 calendar , along with the Ikea spice rack bookshelves that Cammy proudly painted herself. We rotate the books seasonally.

In the cubby house there are a few specific spaces:

A reading corner

We rotate the books seasonally.

Cubby House Reading Corner_ My Little Bookcase

A play kitchen

The play kitchen is filled with a mismatch of unused furniture and surplus toys.

Cubby House Kitchen Corner_ My Little Bookcase

A Dressing table (that doubles as a writing desk)

Cubby House Dressing Table_ My Little Bookcase

A round table set

This table used to be in our home before we re-organised the writing station for the kids, and then it was moved into the cubby house. It is sometimes used as a dining table here and other times it becomes an art desk.

Cubby House Art Space_ My Little Bookcase

At the beginning of every season, we like to give the cubby house a bit of a spring clean: a dust, a window clean, and a wash down of the toys. We rotate the books in the reading corner and add a vase of fresh flowers from the garden.

Cubby House Spring Clean_ My Little Bookcase

Cubby House Spring Clean_ My Little Bookcase

At Christmas we enjoy jazzing it up with some seasonal decorations.

Christmas Reading Corner_ My Little Bookcase

I specifically asked ‘Santa’ for a double story cubby house to create extra space in the back yard. We haven’t really created a specific use for the space under the cubby house,  other than adding a few nails in the structure to hang pots and pans and a swinging sign for Cam’s Cafe (which we converted from a piece of Cammy’s artwork). It’s a great place for the kids to create mud-kitchen recipes and run little pop-up cafés though (Print your own mud kitchen recipe book template for outdoor cooking).

Outdoor kitchen/cafe_ My Little Bookcase Outdoor cafe/kitchen_My Little Bookcase

Cammy loves creating all sorts of concoctions (which is where I got the idea for a mud kitchen recipe book- you can download and print a template here).

It’s been five years since our extension and we still haven’t planted flowers in our garden beds, which is okay because Cammy likes to use them to create fairy gardens. We’ve got quite a few around the place. Fairy gardens provide a wonderful opportunity to build an interest in writing.

My Little Bookcase Fairy Garden My Little Bookcase Fairy Garden

The back fence is a canvas for all sorts of art- I simply provide a bit of chalk, paint or mud.

Backyard Literacy_ My Little Bookcase Backyard Literacy- Painting with Mud_ My Little Bookcase

and the generous grass area provides space for gross motor activities, impromptu play and planned outdoor literacy and book-inspired activities.

Outdoor Alphabet Hunt

MORE BACKYARD AND OUTDOOR INSPIRATION:

Check out some more of my favourite Australian backyards and cubby houses.

Children’s Books Daily: A cubbyhouse that became an art studio

Mummy Musings and Mayhem: Easy recycled pallets for outdoor play

Adventures at Home with Mum: A marvellous mud kitchen

Happy Whimsical Hearts: A magical children’s garden

Learn with Play at Home: A simple mud kitchen

Suzie’s Homeschool Adventures: A DIY outdoor kitchen

Be a Fun Mum: A makeshift tinsel tent for drawing

Octavia and Vicky: Tissue box traffic lights

Mother Natured: Spider Web Obstacle Course

Also visit Childhood 101 for a host of inspiring outdoor spaces

Like this post? Stay connected:

Be sure to join one of our communities for more literacy-based inspiration, or subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on future posts.

About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase