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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…

Continue reading Baby Play at Christmas Time

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Easy Peasy Rainbow Rice


Rainbow rice is a wonderful way to introduce sensory play to your toddler. It’s both cheap and easy to make, yet will provide hours of fun. We first started making this with Zoey when she turned one and we felt confident that she wouldn’t just eat the rice! Continue reading Easy Peasy Rainbow Rice

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Slime recipe

Struggling for ideas this weekend due to the weather being too hot/rainy/cold? (circle weather type applicable to your part of the world) Slime is a really cool experiment that you can make using ingredients from around your house. Whilst its super messy, slime is also heaps of STEAM based fun too!

This is a borax free version of slime, so you wont end up with a putty.  That being said, we have discovered that if you leave it in a mason jar for long enough, it will turn into a solid substance not dissimilar to play dough!

You will need: 

  • 250g cornflour
  • 60ml shampoo
  • Warm water (for consistency)
  • Food colouring.
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Ready to go with all the ingredients!

Please note that whilst none of the ingredients listed are poisonous, it is best not to try this with very young children susceptible to putting items in their mouths.

Method:

1. Measure out 250g cornflour

2. Add 60ml of shampoo and mix together

3. Slowly add some water

4. Mix again, lift the spoon out of the bowl to check. You will want it to be runny.

5. Finally add droplets of food colouring.

The science bit: The molecules of the starch react when mixed with water to give the slime its viscosity. So when you (gently) lift the slime, it will be runny like liquid. However, if you press the slime more firmly, it should feel solid.Essentially, the experiment assists with learning around solids and liquids. Depending on the age of your child, you can introduce this scientific vocabulary to them.

Possible questions to ask:

(Before starting) What do you think will happen to the ingredients when we mix them together?

What happens to the slime when we hold it/ lift it out of the jar?

What happens to the slime when we press firmly?

(At end) Can you summarise/ explain what happened to the slime?

Here are some variations that we have made:

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Sith slime for Star Wars Day

 

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Hulk Slime

 

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A touch of pink for Valentines Day

Give our version of slime a try over the weekend and let us know how you get on. We love to get comments and feedback 🙂

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Activities for ANZAC Day

With ANZAC Day just around the corner (25th April), I thought I’d share a few activities for you to try with the kids at home.

ANZAC Day is one of the most significant events in Australian and New Zealand calendars. It marks the first major military action taken by ANZAC forces in World War One. You can read more about it here.

But how to make the importance of the events that took place relevant to young children? It can be tricky to convey the significance when the wars happened such a long time ago. My best advice is via books, crafts and art.

Doilie Poppy Art

Poppies are the symbol of peace used for both Remembrance Day and ANZAC Day. The poppies grew on many parts of the Western Front as the battle-scared landscape recovered. 

Watercolour Poppies

This is our chosen poppy craft for ANZAC Day. After reading about the significance of the poppy, we set about using liquid water colours and droppers to create our poppies. Follow the photographs for instructions on how to make them yourselves:

Use a dropper to spread the watercolours. We used red, blue and black.
Lay doilies on top of one another
Pinch together and tie with a pipe cleaner – great for fine motor skills!

ANZAC Biscuits

Available at Target and Big W

This is a beautiful book by Paul Cummings and Owen Swan. It tells the story of a little girl called Rachel. She makes ANZAC biscuits for her father who is fighting in the trenches. This actually used to happen: ANZAC biscuits would be sent in tins to the soldiers because they could last the journey – amazing! I love that by reading, you can get a history lesson without realising!

We haven’t gotten around to making any this year yet, but why not try making ANZAC biscuits with your children after reading the book? To try a recipe, click here.

Usborne See Inside The First World War

Available on Amazon

You can always count on Usborne to make any subject appeal to children. This is a really informative read for slightly older kids – I’d say from 7 onwards.
Although the book doesn’t focus on ANZAC Day itself, it makes for a brilliant overview if your child begins to show more of an interest in what happened during the First World War.

Fingerprint Poppies

I first did these with a year 3 class to mark the 100th anniversary of Remembrance Day. They are simple enough to try with a range of ages – all you need is some paint and fingers!

As you can see from the picture, we created a display with our poppies by cutting them out and sticking them onto a green background.


Food Pouch Poppies

Simple enough for the little ones to do. We used our huge collection of food pouch lids to create some loose part poppies.

Food pouch lids are brilllaintly versatile for a whole range of activities. They also help with building strength in the hands and fingers for developing fine motor skills.

Clay Poppies

I can’t take credit for this one. Harrison made this clay poppy in school a few years ago. They formed part of an incredible outdoor display at his old primary school.

If you have some air dry clay and acrylic paint, this would be a wonderful activity to try with older children.

hope that you will be able to try some of these activities over the ANZAC weekend. Please comment below and let me know how you get on! 

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Before you throw that away…

Before you throw that carton away, what could you make with it? In celebration of Earth Day, here’s our invitation to make and play with the stuff you’d usually just throw away.

There are so many items that we humans must recycle or bin on a daily basis. Instead, put your creative caps on and get crafty.  We’re lucky enough to have a whole kitchen cupboard dedicated to coffee cups, egg cartons and plastic bottles.

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The recycling cupboard on one of its more organised days!

Here are a few suggestions on what you can make.

Carton Castle

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Materials used for the carton castle 

Made entirely from cardboard packaging, this castle is still going strong a few months later. The seven year old is obsessed with all things knights and castles so when I saw this packaging (in my mind it resembles a portcullis), I knew that it would make an ideal castle. Sometimes you just need to be a little bit creative with the way you view the raw materials!

We painted it with grey and brown acrylic, along with some glue and glitter. All the parts are loose, which means that the seven year old can redesign his castle whenever he wants.

Sensory Bottles

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We made these sensory bottles for Valentine’s Day.

These are one of my favourite things to make for grisly toddlers. Otherwise known as ‘calm down’ bottles, they certainly do the trick when other toys fail.

All you need is a plastic bottle (pictured is a plastic Voss bottle), a couple of tablespoons of glycerine, water and glitter.

Fill the bottle up half way with water, then add the glycerine and glitter into the mix. Add more water to just below the top and screw on the lid. Give the bottle a little test to see if you like what you’ve made before gluing the lid shut. Simple!

 

Food Pouch Flowers

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Daffodils made from lids for Saint David’s Day

If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably have billions of food pouch lids from baby food. We’ve kept them all and they’re great for making pictures, fine motor skills (threading) and counting too. In fact, this has just given me material for another post!

 

Paper Plate Masks

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A bear mask made entirely from recyclables

We usually have way too many paper plates left over from birthday parties – we discovered that they make really cute masks. This bear mask was made from a coffee cup lid and scraps of card. All we did was dab a mix of various brown acrylics onto the mask and stick everything together with craft glue.

We had great fun running around The National Arboretum one sunny Sunday afternoon, pretending we were going on our own Bear Hunt!

Octo-cups

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Happy little octo-cups!

 

When I forget my Keep Cup (naughty!) I try to make myself feel better by holding on to the coffee cups. One of the activities we tried during an ‘Under the Sea’ themed week was to paint and craft the coffee cups into octopus – or octo-cups as we decided to call them.

These cute little octo-cups are a great way of developing fine motor skills (using scissors and glue) with a little bit of creativity thrown into the mix!

Shoe-box Studio

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A collaborative animation filmed inside an old shoe box

If you’re feeling completely ambitious, try making a shoe-box animation studio. We’ve made a few mini films now, which despite their short duration, have taken entire days to make (great for rainy days). We’re new to YouTube, but you can check out one of our films here  There’s plenty of free apps that you can download to make a stop-motion animation – no expensive equipment needed at this level!

 

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about our suggested ideas. Parenting is an expensive business, so we love to save money by reusing household items wherever possible. Check out our Instagram feed for daily updates on what we do at home – there’s often a recycling element to our activities!

Please comment below to let me know what you think of our ideas or even send me photos of what you’ve tried yourself!