It’s Children’s Book Week this week and kids all over Australia will be dressing up to celebrate at childcare, kindy and school. Whipping up a costume need not cause huge anxiety with our list of costumes using things you already have at home (really!) and a handy list of websites that have free character mask printables.

Have zero props?

Your child can be Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Use clothes you already have + backpack + this printable from

Diary of a Wimpy Kid usually wears a white t-shirt and black shorts, but in a stretch normal play clothes, the printable and backpack will do.

Have an AFL uniform?

Kids can dress up as Specky Magee. Bonus points if you have a footy too.

Have a netball uniform?

Kids can dress up as their favourite Netball Dreamz character. Again, Bonus points for the ball

Have a construction hat and a tool belt?

The little yellow digger is the book for you. Add overalls and you have Bob the Builder (ok that’s a TV show but you said you were desperate)!

Have a pair of rabbit ears/cat ears?

There are lots of options for you depending on your other props.

Rabbits: Peter Rabbit (+ blue jacket and carrot) , Guess How Much I Love You, Goodnight Moon, Alice in Wonderland (waist coat and clock), Bunny Cakes.

Cats: Slinky Malinky (black clothes + old socks pinned to top for effect), any cat (leopard print clothes).

Left over Halloween costumes?

Witches hat and broom. Black clothes

The Witches, Wizard of Oz (+ green face paint and red shoes) , Harry Potter (+ glasses and scarf) , Room on the Broom, Meg and Mog.

Have a crown or tiara?

The lion, the witch and the wardrobe, the Snow Queen.


Fern from Charlotte’s Web (+ toy pig or spider)

Scarecrow (+ hat and shredded paper hair)

Dance clothes

Angelina Ballerina (+ eye-liner whiskers and ballet shoes).  

None of the above? Print a mask! Animals, robots, dragons, and story characters including the rainbow fish can all be found online. Here are some websites with free printables:


10 Practical Ideas for An Authentic Early Literacy Experience

10 Practical Ideas for An Authentic Early Literacy Experience

GUEST POST- Allison Banford, Jack the Wombat.

I have a confession to make.  I am a serial ‘saver’.  I see activities all the time that I think are fantastic and hit save with all the intent to do them with my little man. Yet, six months later, when I look through my saved list on my phone I end up ‘unsaving’ them as we never ended up doing them.  Please tell me I am not the only one!

Don’t get me wrong, we do a lot of planned learning activities in our home.  They definitely have their place in providing key learning experiences.  Though, to do these all day long would just be impractical.

I am a big advocate for early literacy.  I know that the early years are the most important in developing solid foundation.  I also know, that learning must be meaningful.  So the question remains, how can someone create practical and authentic everyday experience to promote early literacy?

Here are 10 of my favourite (authentic and practical) ideas:

Talking about objects when on an outing

  • For example, when driving in the car you can talk about the traffic (colour of vehicles, number of vehicles, or size of vehicles).
  • You can also ask your child to describe objects they see (what sounds do they make, colours, etc).
  • To make it fun you can also play games like ‘I Spy’.

Discussing your plans for the day

  • Try talking to your child about what you have planned for the day, where you might go or who you might see.
  • Ask questions like ‘what would they want for lunch today’?


  • While in the garden you could talk through the growth cycle of the plant.
  • Ask question such as what can they see?  What sounds can they hear?
  • You can get them to describe the different textures of the leaves (what is the difference between the leaves on the trees and the ones on the ground).
  • Get your child to draw or write about what they saw in the garden.

Involving them in cooking

  • You can talk through the recipe or if they are old enough get them to read or write down the recipe.
  • You can also discuss the ingredients or finished product (How it tastes? What does smell like? How does it feel?).

Checking the letter box

  • You can discuss the process of sending letters.
  • Read letters together.
  • Practice writing and sending a letter.
  • A pen pal is another great way to get your child excited about checking the letter box (check out my Jack the Wombat Program for a fun and safe pen pal for your child).

Playing music and singing along

  • It doesn’t matter is you are a good singer or not, singing helps children learn new words.
  • Singing slows down language so children can hear the different sounds in words and learn about syllables.
  • Singing also helps develop listening and memory skills which makes repetition easier for young children.

Read Labels

  • When on your next at the supermarket you can talk to your child about the products you put in your trolley i.e. where were they made, how healthy they are.
  • Have your child read the label or once home practice their writing skills by copying the label.

Link books with real-life experiences

  • If you’ve read a book about animals at the zoo, you might like to take your child to the zoo and point out animals that look like the ones from the book.

Point out different types of signage

  • When you’re out and about with your child, point out different signage i.e. shop signs, road signs.
  • Explain how print can be used to name different places or things.

Visit the library

  • Encourage your child to choose books they would like to take home.
  • Read the stories together.
  • Talk about the pictures and ask questions about the story.

What are your favourite authentic and practical early literacy activities?  We would love to hear from you!


About the author

Allison, creator of Jack the Wombat, is a mother and an early literacy advocate.  She strongly believes early literacy is a critical building block for everyday life and future success.  Allison helps parents to navigate their way through early literacy, helping them to find the right learning strategies and educational activities for their child.   She achieves this through her early literacy program ‘Jack the Wombat’, in which she aims to make learning to read and write fun for kids and easy for parents!

Allison is currently offering a free 10 page ‘Jack the Wombat Activity Book’, designed to promote early literacy which you can access at