Free kids ebooks


Then there’s the cost…but Project Gutenberg Australia has made many classic works available in the public domain. They’re available online to download or read from your browser. Once again, for free!

This link is for children’s literature, but there are titles available for the whole family.

Titles include;


Ahhh Mary Poppins!

Mary Poppins DVDWhile I don’t have strong childhood memories of the classic Disney movie ‘Mary Poppins’ I have often longed for her arrival at my home over the past few years!

But, during our last library trip (bless you librarian folk for tolerating us once a week), there it was! The Mary Poppins DVD, on the shelf, ready to borrow. And with our forthcoming staycation I thought it was just the thing for some ‘good ol’ family entertainment’ (ha, don’t get to write that much)! So off Mary went into our library bag for a rainy day.

If you’re not familiar with it, here’s some quick stats; released in 1964, directed by Robert Stevenson. Starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Glynis Johns. And the storyline? A magic nanny comes to work for a cold banker’s unhappy family. Of course they’re not unhappy for long and soon us older folk are singing along to familiar songs such as A Spoonful of Sugar, Step in Time, Chim Chim Cheree and of course, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…

And the verdict? We loved it! It was a great show for the younger ones (ours being 2, 3 & 4) each enjoyed it enormously. And as I didn’t really recall the storyline it was a journey for each of us…the Carousel ride, the ships Admiral (and his cannon) and the delightful Mary Poppins herself with her carpetbag full of goodies. What a wonderful voice Julie Andrews has and Dick Van Dykes dancing…we need a chimney sweep like that (not to mention the maid and the cook). If only we really could have a tea party on the roof…our kids have already asked to have one!

So, this staycation I recommend a revisit with ‘Mary Poppins’ for pre-schoolers or other young kids. Perfect for a lazy family afternoon or Saturday night special. We’re going to grab a copy to keep at home for next time.

To beach or not to beach? Or our 2, 3 & 4yo hit the sand running!

I say, ‘to beach’ it is! And yes, they were literally running…


Little Life Toddler Daysack - Butterfly

Both of us adults in the family were brought up inland, so while the lure of the waves, sand and breeze does get us…its more of an island holiday or Queensland trip that gets us thinking ‘beach’. But, we actually have beaches only around 1/2 hour from us here and we have sadly neglected them over the years. For me it was the thought of Melbourne’s ‘bay’ beaches and my old theory that ‘no waves, no beach’. Mind, I am nowadays a real Melbournite and defend Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay beaches fervently! And the lack of waves is perfect for the little ones!

So, this stay-cation, on a beautiful autumn morning we headed off. The whole thing was magic – for the kids it was one big sandpit and an unconditional ‘get as wet as you like’ thing. For Mum and Dad it was all about having our feet buried, making sandcastles and the sound of the waves, seagulls and that other thing…what is it…oh yes, no kids arguing!

What we took for our Autumn morning beach trip;

  1. the kids already in their bathers, sunscreen, Banz sunglassesses and hats.
  2. our 2yo, currently potty learning wore swim pants
  3. water (check our range of gorgeous kids Cheeki drink bottles).
  4. hot cross buns, its now officially pre-easter and I can’t resist them (ate morning tea on the way)
  5. beach towels for everyone.
  6. bucket and spades (raided the sand pit). And the bucket is great to bring your shells home in (show and tell, tick).
  7. truck (our 2yo boy mainly played with this).
  8. croc’s (easy on and off and good for checking out rock pools).
  9. change of clothes (but why bother if the kids are dry when you’re getting back in the car and aren’t sandy).
  10. lunch (ate on the way home). Don’t miss our Fridge to go to keep things cool for up to 8 hours!

What I’d recommend;

* If you don’t have one of those collapsible picnic baskets I recommend them. They’re great for tossing a whole lot of things together when heading out with the kids. You’ll use it a lot more than you think.

Stuff it bags, I just grabbed one (from a row of them hanging in our broom cupboard) and filled it with our clean change of clothes. Another one for spare swim pants and wipes.

* If you’re like me and not keen to show off your beach body, don’t despair. I wore my swimmer pants under a light dress. There were no bikini’s there this time of year!

* Map out how to get there before you leave. I also goggled “best (insert your coastal area here) beach  for kids” and read a few articles to choose one. Some had barbecue areas and playgrounds which would be OK if you were planning on going for a while and maybe had older kids.

* With younger kids don’t think you have to stay too long. We kept it simple and made it a morning trip – as our lot are fairly worn out after an active 1st semester at Kinder.

* coins – our car park needed coins to buy a ticket! And lets face it, with kids, park as close as you can I say.

So, if you’re not normally a beach goer, aren’t sure if your kids are old enough or worry about too long in the sun – pick a lovely autumn day and enjoy your staycation!

Embrace the stay-cation

If you haven’t heard of a “staycation”, perhaps you’ve heard of a “stoliday” or “holistay”. What is it? Its a stay at home holiday! I love this concept and I think the idea is a great one for both parents and kids. Its the ultimate slow down and spend time together. Make the ordinary extraordinary – in your own neighborhood!


So often we get caught up in what we should be doing at home, but by embracing the staycation you are saying “no” to the vacuum cleaner and “stay away mop”. Don’t even get me started on the lawn mower! Swap the suitcase for your slippers I say!

To get your staycation happening consider the following tips;

1. plan how long you will be on your ‘staycation’ and stick to it.

2. organise a list of activities for each day

3. plan ahead if you need to buy anything beforehand

4. try and include something everyone will enjoy

5. include ‘special’ trips you don’t make often

6. make sure the whole family is on board – its not relaxing for you if someone starts cleaning out a cupboard!tyre swing

7. stick to a schedule – try and be up and out of the house as you would on holiday

8. spend a day at home ‘playing’ – we parents may not take the time to really ‘play’ when we’re faced with the inevitable jobs around the house. Spend a day dressing Barbie, throwing the ball, building the best train track ever!

9. try and have a routine – just as the ‘maid’ would come in and make the beds in a motel – have everyone make their own, but must be done by, say, 9am! Do your other chores early and then forget them.

10. do your normal holiday things – take photos, send postcards, eat holiday food. Make your own at home!