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Friday, 4 October 2013

Hello Autumn!

I found myself with lots of Autumn materials left over from a wedding at work where their colour scheme was orange and brown to tie in with their Autumn wedding. Together with the pine cones and conkers we had found I created a baby sensory box in an old food crate which I thought adding a bit of rustic charm to it. It reminded me of harvest time and apple picking :)


I thought the colours looked beautiful together and I added some orange ribbons I had to add extra texture as well as real flowers left over from the wedding, especially as lil E loves flowers at the moment. This discovery sensory box provided lil E with lots of different textures and opportunities for further discovery and play. For example, one of her favourite games in to put items from one box into another.


This box was very quick and basic as I happened to find myself with lots of things I didn't quite know what to do with but lil E had lots of fun and it was a nice way to introduce her and involve her in the fun of the changing seasons, even if she is too young to take much notice of nature changing around her.

And who doesn't love the changing seasons and seeing all these beautiful colours together!?


Goodbye Summer

Just a reminder of my favourite summertime activity this year and a way to see off Summer and to get settled into Autumn which is well and truly here!

This summer I bought Big A a butterfly kit which I had got from Sainburys although you can buy them just as easily on the Internet.




With this kit you had to send off for the caterpillars and they arrived alive in a special container, it was amazing. We set it all up like the instructions said, waited patiently, or as patiently as a 5 year old can, and before we knew it we had butterflies hatching! It was amazing to see the whole process from start to finish, even for me, and I think it was our favourite activity of the summer. Big A even got to hold the butterflies when she released them, she loved it.



I also printed off some activity sheets about the butterfly life cycle where Big A could learn all the steps and how the caterpillar turned into a butterfly. This she was very keen to do as she had experienced it first hand and felt confident enough to draw each stage for herself. She had so much fun with this butterfly activity, we will definitely be doing this again next Summer. Maybe one year we will be able to find some frog spawn!


Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Walking Art

This is one of lil A's favourite things to do, although she adores doing anything arty or especially messy art and games. It's so simple and so much fun, but just make sure your little ones don't suddenly disappear into a carpeted room!

It was a very simple method of taping down a roll of paper and using a paint pat purchased from ELC. The sponge pad helps to put a thin layer of paint on the hands and feet so you don't end up using too much and instead of getting hand and footprints you would just get big blobs of paint everywhere. For an even cheaper version you could use large sponges and squeeze paint onto them as this would work just as well.





Even lil E got involved and she loved it, although she looked a bit perplexed as to why she was allowed to make mess and get away with it! Still, it was a good sensory experience for her, she liked it on her hands but was a little less inclined to get her feet messy, probably because she had never felt paint squidging between her toes before and thought it felt strange hehe.

I on the other hand love seeing their little footprints all over the paper and wish I could record every little hand and footprint they ever make xx


Friday, 21 December 2012

Nativity Fun

Lil A was going to be a Shepherd in her school play and I suddenly realised that she probably didn't quite understand what the nativity was or the characters and the story. I decided to buy a few items to help teach her what it was all about including a book, a little wooden nativity set (a mega cute Christmas decoration!) and I downloaded this fantastic learning pack from 3 Dinosaurs.



Lil A thoroughly enjoyed all the learning aids but most of all she really enjoyed all the activities in the free nativity pack I had downloaded from 3 dinosaurs. There were so many different activities including lots of educational pieces that linked in with the Nativity but also helped her learn, such as helping her with her writing practice and fine motor skills as well as problem solving with puzzles.


I think that the fact that someone goes to all this trouble to make these and to make them free to all is amazing! It allows us parents to help support our children's learning and to help stretch them a little bit further. As it stands Lil A cannot get enough of these packs and I am constantly having to download them to keep her happy and I love the fact that she is learning and she doesn't even know it! Mwuhaha! xx

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Quick sensory play for babies using different textiles



This was a very quick thrown together sensory box I made for Lil E using lots of different scraps from my sewing supplies. There was all different types of textures and materials used including ribbons, cotton fabric, felt squares, some wool tied up so it was like a soft ball and some bead clusters that had fallen off some shoes. She loves to touch different surfaces and textures and is a very hands on baby so I thought this would be a wonderful chance for her to just sit and play with lots of different materials.



Lil E absolutely adored this new 'toy' I had made for her, I couldn't believe how something so simple kept her entertained for so long, especially as they were just scraps of whatever I could find to throw together. She just wasn't interested in her flashy, noisy toys when these new mysterious bundles were around. Her definite favourite were the bead clusters, although I made sure to watch her with these just incase any came loose. Also with the ribbons I made sure to watch her so as not to choke herself on them and as she loves to put everything in her mouth I made sure she didn't eat any of it!

Overall this was brilliant fun for Lil E and a huge success and I look forward to getting it out for her and to making lots more sensory experiences for her.

NOTE: Please make sure that any sensory boxes or experiences that you create for babies and young children do not contain any hazardous materials and please supervise at all times.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Christmas Themed Button And Ribbon Sensory Station





I decided to leave this for Lil A to find when she got home from school yesterday. It's a Christmas themed sensory station with buttons, ribbons, heart and star key-rings and small squares of felt. (Yes I did raid my sewing supplies and I hoard a lot more useful bits n bobs than I thought!)

I love that little intake of breath before she goes 'Wow!' and then the questions that come tumbling out after she sees something that's new and has appeared from now where. The adorable little gleam in her eye when she spy's something that looks super fun and she can't wait to get stuck in.

Then she decided she was hungry and wanted to eat first. Ok, maybe play is better on a full tummy. Then she rushed straight back to her new discovery and forgot to wipe her face in the rush and excitement...


Please excuse the state of her face, mummy didn't realise until after the pictures were taken, bad mummy!

I introduced some giant tongs for her to use and also a large jar for her to put the buttons into. Not only did she enjoy picking all the pretty buttons and ribbons but it was also a great activity to help her fine motor skills and a great way for her to enjoy some pretty sensory fun.


She decided that this was her Christmas sweet shop and she would use the tongs to dispense the sweets into the jar and used the muffin tin to make button cakes and ribbon spaghetti. I love how something so simple can really fire their imagination!



Overall this was a very enjoyable role play sensory game and I enjoyed putting in lots of orders for Christmas goodies. If only they were real sweets...xx

Friday, 9 November 2012

Underwater World - Indoor water sensory play in the sink

This was actually so much fun to create and collect all the cute bits I needed to create a little under water world for Lil A and I knew she would love it. She asked for days afterwards if she could play with it again and would be at that sink for ages.

I've seen a few of these around (although for the life of me I cannot find them to show you as they looked so much fun) and thought they were a brilliant idea to contain some sensory fun and also great for hot weather or rainy days. Great for the imagination, sensory play and also ideal to keep away from Lil E who would just try and eat the small blue beads!


I think her face says it all here. Oh and don't you just love her hair she styled herself!?

The coloured beads are decorative beads used in florists to fill up vases of flowers or empty vases for decoration. You can also pick them up at most home stores and I've even found some in the Pound shop before - bargain! I then added her large shells that had been collected from various Cornish beaches by her Grandad on holiday and lots of little shells she had collected herself from Southend beach. Then I added some plastic fish and toys from her bath and it was colourful and complete. There was so much more I could have added but the sink wasn't big enough! I think what fascinates them is not just the water but all the different colours and textures they get to play with, plus the novelty of playing in the sink, of which she has done on occasion without much structure!

Next I want to expand this activity to include the kitchen sink where we can do some water 'cooking' using cooking utensils and things to float in the sink to fish out. I got this idea from the following blog:

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/07/cooking-in-the-sink-sensory-pretend-play.html
http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/07/cooking-in-the-sink-sensory-pretend-play.html

And then also expand on this water play to include lots of water experiments to help Lil A learn and understand what materials float and sink and why this might be. As done on the following blog:

   
http://handsonaswegrow.com/2012/08/water-play-experiment-float-sink/

Aren't they fab ideas!? I would love to see more ideas for some water sensory play :D

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The best thing to spend on your child is not your money but your time.