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An invitation to play: muddy farmyard

You might’ve guessed by now that I HATE wasting materials! I recently used coco powder as a writing tray for one of my students and since it was then destined for the bin immediately after, I decided to turn it into mud instead! Continue reading An invitation to play: muddy farmyard

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Fishes in the water, fishes in the sea…

Do you ever just get inspiration from totally random objects? This is exactly what happened here!

With a surplus of cardboard thanks to a recent IKEA binge, I had been desperately wracking my brains on how to use it. Then I noticed the fish themed ice cube tray lying on the draining board, waiting to be refilled and the idea sparked. So here is our fish pond… Continue reading Fishes in the water, fishes in the sea…

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Discovery Table Week 5: Rainbow

We’ve been doing discovery table set-ups for just over a month now and this week’s rainbow theme is the winner so far! Zoey has constantly been at the table, playing with her Grimm’s rainbow people and building different structures with the rainbow. This table was also a hit with Harrison too, although he was slightly disgruntled that I changed the noticeboard whilst he was at school!

Speaking of the noticeboard, I’m really keen to find out how children in different countries learn their rainbow colours. We were always taught the acronym, Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’ but I realise that might be a distinctly British thing!

So what’s on the table this week?

As always, nothing was bought especially for the theme, this is simply a matter of gathering together existing toys and books. Bringing different items to the forefront each week means that the toys we have retain their interest.

Grimm’s Goodies

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 Santa brought the children lots of Grimm’s for Christmas – they are by far the most popular toys in our toybox. Here Zoey is using the rainbow as a slide. Notice that she’s matched the colours up!

A Basket of Buildables

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 These edx rainbow people and Grimm’s rainbow people have offered a range of creative opportunities this week. 

Colourful Books

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Books glorious books! Harrison has been reading ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ to his sister all week. The British Museum Colours book is also a great resource for early learners. 

 

The Book of the Week

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‘All the Colours I See’ is our book of the week. I will be sharing this beautiful book over on Instagram stories. 

Play opportunities:

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The rainbow table has provided so many opportunities for creative play. This sensory set-up with the Valentine’s rice was a particular favourite. 

 

If you want to check out more posts in the discovery table series, click on the links below:

Discovery Table Week 1: Baby Clinic

Discovery Table Week 2: The Alphabet

Discovery Table Week 3: The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Discovery Table Week 4: The Ocean Waves

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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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Bob the Blob: A Halloween Slime Craft

Halloween means slime – right? We’ve tried a few different versions of slime before, but this recipe is hands-down the best for some gooey fun! As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, we like to make our Halloween crafts cute rather than creepy and Bob definitely fits the bill!

As a quick word of advice before commencing this activity with the kids, this is best done with older children (from 6+ really) because of the ingredients used – this is definitely not a taste safe recipe!  Don’t do this activity unsupervised and make sure that hands are washed thoroughly after use! 

You will need:

  • 500ml of clear glue
  • Saline solution / contact lens solution containing saline
  • 1 tsp Baking soda (otherwise known as bicarb of soda)
  • Food colouring
  • Googly eyes
bob the blob ingredients
We used a cheaper alternative to contact lens solution from the local chemist which seemed to work just fine!

 

Method:

  1. Add the majority of the 500ml bottle of clear glue to a mixing bowl. I kept some back to adjust the mixture as needed.
  2. Mix 1 tsp of baking soda into the glue.
  3. Use a few drops of food colouring to create the colour of your choice and stir in well.
  4. Add a few drops of saline and keep mixing with a spoon. You should start to notice the mix binding together.
  5. Keep adding a few drops until you end up with a stringy ball – it’s best to do this gradually so that the slime doesn’t become too sticky!
  6. Start to knead the slime with your hands – be patient and the slime should start changing consistency but if its still too sticky, try adding a bit more of the glue to the mix.
  7. If needed, strain out any extra ‘watery’ mix with a sieve. You should end up with a stretchy, malleable slime that doesn’t break apart easily.
  8. Once you are happy with the consistency, add in some googly eyes.
  9. Pour slime mix into an airtight container to preserve.
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Don’t googly eyes just make everything better?

 

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The slime needs to be stretchy without breaking apart too easily

 

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An airtight container should preserve the slime for longer!

If you have your own version of slime, i’d love to hear about it in the comments section below or you can tag me into your FB/ insta posts.

Also check out our other Halloween themed posts: Cute not Creepy, One pumpkin: two invitations and Betty the Blue-nicorn! Happy Crafting 🙂