One of my absolute favourite things about running my business, Little Lifelong Learners, is that I get to connect with parents and educators all over the world! Whether they’re an early years teacher, a family daycare provider or a parent in our Little Play Club community – it is such a blessing being able to share a common passion for all things play!
We’ve decided to kick off a monthly blog feature where you’ll be introduced to some of the parents and educators inside our Little Play Club community! Throughout this series, you’ll get to take a peek inside the homes and learning spaces of the people in our playful community and find out how they champion play and create beautiful playful moments to set an incredible foundation for their little learners.
This month, we’re chatting with one of our members, Laura Austen! You’ll learn what play means to her, some of Laura’s go-to activities for connection and even her favourite fast invitation! Laura will also share a little peek into her playful home and why she loves being part of our Little Play Club community. Ready? Let’s get to know Laura and her little learners a little more!
Tell us a little bit about you and your family!
I’m Laura, Mummy to two little boys, Nicholas 3, and Cameron 1. I’m an Early Childhood & Primary trained teacher and currently a stay at home Mummy to my two little ones. We live on 20acres and love all things outdoors; animals, gardening, swimming, trucks & dirt, balls, waterplay, and absolutely love taking our Tuff Tray on an outdoor adventure for a range of play invitations. Living in sunny QLD, we also spend a lot of time on our veranda engaging with our Dramatic Play set up, which is an all time favourite!
What does play mean to you?
My playful vision is a combination of a few things; making playful memories together is my priority to continuously build a loving and supportive relationship full of connections and also to inspire learning and a love for learning through play based learning experiences. I really value the importance of play and absolutely love seeing the excitement and discovery on my little ones faces as they explore new & familiar play based experiences.
What’s your go-to activity when you want to connect with your little learners?
I absolutely love Bookish Play as a fun activity to connect with my little learners. Choosing a favorite book or theme that my little ones are showing interest in and turning it into an interactive, hands on, play based experience brings so much joy to my littlies and we always make the best playful memories together doing this!
What about when you need something fast to keep the kids entertained?
My go to for a fast activity is Play Dough Packs. I was so inspired by Casey’s idea to use the IKEA Glis containers to create play dough packs. I have created a few different themed packs using CollectA figurines, Let Them Play stamps, bits and pieces from the dollar shop and play dough. My little ones absolutely love these and I find them so calming, especially adding lavender to the play dough mix.
It is so convenient to be able to pull out a pack of their choice and away they go, happily playing for hours. It is also a go to when we are out and about for appointments or even a Cafe or Restaurant to keep little fingers busy lol!
Can you tell us about the play spaces you have in your home?
We have a few different play spaces set up around our home in our main areas, as I find my little ones play best when they can see me, touch me, interact with me and even play well independently just knowing I am right there. Our main indoor play spaces are in our living/dining/kitchen area and our enclosed veranda. In our living area, we have a play kitchen and toy rotation shelf area with a large play mat my little ones love. On our veranda is the ultimate Dramatic Play Zone using Casey’s printables, which both my 1yr old and 3yr old loooove!
We have a Construction Zone, Dr Surgery, Vets, Hairdressers and a little Shop front I rotate through different set ups (Ice Cream Shop, Sushi Shop, Fruit & Veg Shop, Donut Shop etc.). I also have a little arts & crafts table set up near my office desk for times I am in there, my little ones can access this independently & love to create masterpieces in here. Our favourite outdoor play activity would have to be our Waterplay Station and play invitations on our Tuff Tray!
What has been your favourite part of being a member of the Little Play Club?
I have missed being in the classroom teaching but love being a stay at home Mummy raising my two little ones. My favourite part of Little Play Club would have to be all the amazing printable resources available in each months themed Play Packs which foster amazing opportunities for play based learning.
I have really enjoyed getting my laminator out again, especially for the Busy Books, we love these! I also love how encouraging and supportive Casey is, she is so inspiring and is such a world of knowledge when it comes to play! The challenges she sets are so motivating and fun, we love being a part of this lovely little community! My teacher brain also enjoys soaking up all the valuable information and advice in the Masterclass videos too, these are so valuable!
Where can our community connect with you?
Facebook or inside the Little Play Club!
It was such a pleasure having Laura as our very first member feature on the blog! It has been such a pleasure watching Laura’s journey unfold over the last few months since she joined and I can’t wait to see what’s next for her!
If you’d like to come and join the fun inside our incredible Little Play Club community, just tap the button above to get all the details. We can’t wait to meet you!