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Baby Play at Christmas Time

Baby Elliott is absolutely fascinated with Christmas! He gravitates towards the Christmas tree almost every minute that he’s awake in an attempt to pull at tinsel and explore the shiny baubles.

To help him explore the wonder of Christmas safely, i’ve set up a number of activities for him recently and thought that you might like to try them too…

1. Christmas Basket

I put together this baby safe basket with a green, red and white theme. Included are:

  • Happyland advent calendar toys
  • A crochet snowflake
  • Grimm’s teether with ribbon attached (just make sure you double knot a tie securely)
  • A knitted Santa – made by my wonderful nanna when I was a baby.
  • An eye-spy bottle with dyed rice and pompoms.

Sensory baskets mean that Baby can explore a small range of items with an element of choice. I find that when loads of toys are out, Baby E gets overwhelmed so these little baskets are a winner.

Best for: babies who can sit up

2. Sensory Bottles

Christmas means lots of small, shiny things which can be problematic with a mobile baby around.

Help baby explore safely by putting mini baubles, beads, jingle bells and ribbon into clear bottles. These are from Innocent smoothies but Voss bottles work really well too.

Best for: babies with strong head control – this makes for a great tummy time activity.

3. Christmas Lights

Pop battery operated, LED fairy lights into a Tupperware box and you’ll have yourself an activity that will keep baby occupied for ages!

These lights are low-heat but do just check your own to make sure they don’t get too hot. You don’t necessarily have to use Tupperware either. Clear bottles and takeaway containers make good alternatives.

Best for: younger babies as a tummy time activity or for older babies who are comfortable in the seated position.

4. Bow stick

If your baby is confident in a seated position, try the ribbon stick!

Simply stick ribbons onto a door (or even a cardboard box) for baby to pull off. Aim to use the larger ribbons and supervise constantly to avoid baby putting items in their mouth.

Best for: mobile babies who can sit or stand.

5. Bauble exploration

The clear baubles that are available in craft shops are just brilliant for exploring small materials safely. Even better is the fact you can add them to the tree afterwards!

My three-year-old helped me make these so they couldn’t be easier. Simply place baubles, buttons and jingle bells into one half, then close it up. I’d also advise that you glue the halves together too.

Best for: babies who can sit comfortably.

Safety first!

As always, please don’t do these activities without constant supervision. Check items for loose parts and don’t let baby put any of the pieces in their mouths.

Need more?

Check out the Christmas section of the website for more ideas!

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The Creative Play A-Z

Are you looking for a more creative approach to playtime?

Play doesn’t have to mean expensive wooden toys or elaborate set ups. Playtime should mean spending quality time together. Quit trawling Pinterest and Instagram for creative activities to do with your little ones and let me be your guide instead!

Featuring over 40 activities and recipes, The Creative Play A-Z is the ultimate starter guide for parents and carers who want to introduce a creative approach to play – all for the price of a couple of coffees!

For each letter of the alphabet, a new theme is introduced along with an activity idea and how to make or create it. The activities featured are intended for children aged between 2-4.  You can test out the free sample here. Continue reading The Creative Play A-Z

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10 Activities with Playdough

Playdough is our absolute favourite play resource. Its a fantastic sensory tool but without the mess associated with other sensory forms of play.

Now that I’m a mama of three, the playdough is out on a daily basis. So here are 10 invitations to play that all involve playdough… Continue reading 10 Activities with Playdough

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Three Ideas for Winter Themed Play

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that we love, love, LOVE messy play. Zoey has reached the stage where toddler tantrums are on the rise and the calming effect messy (or sensory) play has on her is instantaneous. If you’re in a similar boat to me, give these ideas a try…

Winter Wonderland 

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Using our trusty tuff spot tray, we recreated a beautiful winter village complete with a family of reindeer. For the snow we used a combination of:

  • uncooked rice
  • flour
  • white tinsel confetti
  • cotton balls
  • pompoms

It was messy and it was wonderful because it occupied both children for ages! Definitely check out your local craft store for accessories such as the trees and wooden houses (which are actually tree decorations). We usually wait until the seasonal stuff goes on sale, so there’s a pro tip for you!

Shaving Foam Snow

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This is such an easy option! Not only is it relatively quick to clean up (especially if you were to set it up in the sink) you don’t need a heap of resources either. For our version, we used:

  • Sensitive shaving foam (better for young skin)
  • Peppermint essence for a nice Christmassy feel.
  • Silver stars
  • An assortment of toy animals that would be at home in the snow and ice!

Not only does this set up have a calming effect, but it also smells so lovely too!

Polar Bear Rescue

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So this option might depend on where in the world you live! As we’re in Australia and dealing with 30c days (it’s still officially Spring), this play idea comes as a welcome relief! To recreate this at home, simply put some miniature polar bears, or  animal of your choice, into a bowl of water and leave to freeze overnight.

Prior to play, leave the bowl to thaw out a little to remove the icy dome. This will take between 30 minutes and an hour so a little patience is needed!

This actually turned into a nice little STEAM based activity for my eldest too. He loved trying to figure out what would make the ice melt quickest. It’s always such a major win for me when activities can bridge the 6.5 year age gap!

Happy playing!

Sian x

As always, I love seeing your versions of these ideas so please tag me in on either Facebook or Instagram! 

For more reasons on why you should embrace the mess, check out the blog post ‘Why Mess is Best.’

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Small World Play: FAQs

How old should my child be before I start small world play? 

The answer to this really depends on a few things. Is you child likely to try and ‘mouth’ items provided? Are they able to sit unaided? Are the toys suitable for your child’s stage of development? Has your child shown an interest in imaginary play?

We started Zoey on small world play when she was 12 months old. In the beginning, we only used Fisher Price Little People (which are suitable from 12 months). She showed a real interest in imaginary play over the coming months so we proceeded to using rice, lentil and other items as a base – we also knew that she was past the stage of putting everything in her mouth!

Is small world play safe for my toddler? 

As with any activity that you decide to do with your toddler, keep them supervised at all times. Don’t use items that they are likely to choke on and try to use toys that are age appropriate.

I want to give small world play a try, how do I choose the themes?

Really, I just follow Zoey’s lead. If she’s been obsessing over her Little People farm, then i’ll relate the theme accordingly or if we’ve just visited the zoo, then i’ll create a small world based around our trip. The best thing to do is use this as a guide, but go with what your little one is interested in.

What kind of foods could I use?

Rice, lentils, flour cocoa and even Froot Loops have made their way into our small worlds. I never buy products specifically: it’s usually just what needs using up in the kitchen! If you want to make coloured rice, click here. If you have any concerns over choking or if your toddler is always putting things in their mouths, please bank these activities for a later date.

Food and play seems like a lot of mess, why should I create small worlds for my little one? 

Small world play helps both imagination and creativity. The act of moving the animals and people around whilst using a ‘voice’ is a fantastic way of developing language skills. For Zoey this is simply learning animal names and making their noise, but in time she will act out whole conversations from the perspective of the people or animals in her small worlds.

What toys can I use in small worlds?

Plastic toys that are easy to wash are best. Our absolute favourites are the Collecta animals from Oh Ivy. They’re durable, realistic and also ‘softer’ than competitors, making then perfect for toddlers. We’ve also used Little People, HappyLand and Star Wars characters!

 

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