Saturday, 28 January 2012

Simple Indoor Water Play: A Bucket of Soapy Water and a Scrubbing Brush

Little Chick has been really keen to do some more water play, following on from our Outdoor water play the other day. But some days you just don't want to be outside for very long and there's still the rest of the day to fill.  So we had some simple indoor water play fun with a bucket of soapy water, a spray bottle and a scrubbing brush and the bonus is that Mummy got some help with the cleaning!

I'm always amazed at what I might think of as a chore, really excites my daughter as to what we've got to do.  This is what happened here, I needed to clean the bricks in the porch and Little Chick was so excited that we actually had a lot of simple fun playing together with the water, whilst getting a useful job done. (I know this will change as she gets older, but at the moment I'm learning to cherish that excitement and enthusiasm she has about almost everything.) 

 Little Chick loved the water spray bottle. She enjoyed watching the bricks change colour as she sprayed them and also getting water sprayed as high as she could reach.  

I've also seen some lovely ideas on the web for using water spray bottle with coloured paints from Sun Hats and Wellie Boots, which would be fun to try sometime (but maybe outside!).

A bucket of soapy water and a scrubbing brush.  
Why is it always the simple things that they get so much fun out of? 

And lots and lots of industrious work

Then she moved round cleaning (and watering) the rest of the porch!

Although outside is definitely the best place for water play, probably closely followed by bathtime, it's great to be able to have fun with water inside too and I think porches, garages or outhouses if you have one are great places away from carpets, curtains and furnishings for them to get things wet!  It also only took a minute to mop up any water from the floor compared to about 10 minutes it usually takes to clear up the glitter after craft activities which never seems to completely go either - I think we should do more play with water!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Winter Outdoor Water Play


Little Chick loves playing with water and keeps asking me when can get the paddling pool out.  So what water play can you do when it's not lovely and sunny for getting completely soaked?
We had fun with an old water butt, some flower pots, buckets and sticks and of course, water!

There is so much research about the importance of outdoor play and outdoor exploring, I know it's something we should be doing regularly all year round but it always seems so much easier to do in the summer!  But I love the moto from Kierna at Learning for Life: "There's no such things as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather" (John Ruskin).  So we still try and get out to do something every day, because that time outside, whether long or short, always seems to refresh everyone.

This is our old water butt, with the top cut off by my lovely husband who likes to find uses for everything broken.  The winter before last the weather was so cold that the water butt was frozen for so long that it cracked and developed a slow leak, so although now no good for storing water, he's turned it into a water play feature for the girls.  I'm hoping he's going to create a water wall with Little Chick this summer, and this is the start of it.  There are some great ideas featured here at Let the Children Play and more water play ideas from Learning for Life.

We filled it up with some water and added a few flower pots and Little Chick insisted the tractor needed a wash. 


We did some running and some jumping to warm up.


Everywhere we go at the moment seems to be 'look at me jumping, look at me running' so she was only too willing to have her picture taken doing these!  Good for running off some energy, I think.

Then she got busy turning the tap on and off and filling up the buckets with water and emptying them into various trays and watering some of the plants around the garden.

We also found that the flower pots weren't very good at holding the water!

But that they did make a good shower. 

 Little Chick loved it when I created a shower with the larger flower pot.  She went off and found a stick and said it was her magic wand and then had lots of fun swishing and swashing and splashing her wand through the falling water, again and again.


And we both got splashed!

We weren't out for long, maybe half an hour or so, but there was lots of fun and energy and giggling and splashing that was good for both of us.

I've linked up at:

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Drawing & Writing in Coloured Sand

Following on from our sand and glitter art we used the leftover sand tray for some fun drawing, writing and mark making.  
Little Chick is really into identifying and trying to write letters at the moment, the letter E and M seem to appear on pretty much every picture at the moment so I thought using a sand tray for drawing and writing would be a fun, sensory play activity that she would enjoy.

Firstly more sand was added to the tray.

Then Little Chick had fun swishing and swirling and making patterns in the sand.  Drawing in the sand really is a blank canvas for them to express whatever they want, be it patterns, letters, numbers objects or faces.  It really can be anything and it certainly doesn't need to be anything recognisable, it's all about letting them draw what they want.  Little Chick really liked drawing snakes, circles and dots this time, and of course letters.

She then got busy having a go at drawing letters in the sand.  

She loved seeing the effect of her drawing had on the purple sand on the white tray as it made a great contrast.

She also really enjoyed spooning and mixing the different coloured sands. 

There was lots of pouring from one spoon to another.  

Meanwhile Shoeshine was doing one of her currently absolute favourite activities - drawing!  Great for their development in so many areas including early literacy skills.  Although the resulting picture may just look a lot like scribbling, if you watch her whilst she's drawing the concentration on her face shows there is so much more going on.  Allowing them from an early age to create art and draw their own pictures on regular basis is so important.  Shoeshine is currently 18 months and is always pointing to the pen pots and picking out paper.  It's been a pretty much every day activity this past week - I'm running out of room for displaying all their pictures!

There are loads of ideas on the web for playful, multi-sensory approaches to early literacy development, I'm just starting to discover them and I'd love to hear your ideas.

Here are a few great ideas I've found so far:

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sand and Glitter Art: Thank You Cards

After all the lovely Christmas gifts we received from friends and family we definitely need to write some thank you cards (we're probably a bit slow in our house to get round to these things!).  Little Chick loved making and 'writing' her Christmas cards so I knew it wouldn't be difficult to get her excited making some thank you cards.  I suggested we see what creations we could make with some glue, coloured sand and glitter.

The purple sand is from a bag of ready coloured play sand left over from the summer, the turquoise sand is natural play sand coloured with blue food colouring, shaken in a food bag and then left to dry and the natural sand came straight from the sand pit.  I did have a go with some pink food colouring but it wasn't very successful, I'm wondering if yellow or red food coloured would be effective.

So I gave her a tray and let her get going creating things with her glue.  We used a cotton bud for the glue as I find this is good for drawing patterns with the glue without being too difficult.

Little Chick is really into recognising and drawing letters at the moment so she was keen to include these in some of her pictures.

Then there was plenty of sand sprinkled on the picture.

And generous amounts of glitter too!

The cards were then tipped up to let all the loose sand and glitter fall off.

Little Chick loved seeing what happened as the picture was revealed.

Some of the patterns she made were beautiful.  The spray pattern on the left is a snowflake.

Letters continued to feature in quite a few of the cards.

I just love the effects you get when the different coloured sand mixes and who would disagree that a bit of glitter just makes everything that bit more special!


We also did a couple of joint cards where I did the glueing for the lettering or pattern. 

And Little Chick did the sprinkling.

We then left them all to dry.  Fingers crossed they have stuck well and will survive being posted round the country.

Some of our finished handiwork.

Amazingly nearly all the mess was confined to the tray and I'm thinking we'll be using the sand tray for some other fun later in the week before I clear it all away.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Small World Play: Arctic Snowy World

Last year we had lots of fun with small world play scenes, particularly over the winter months, inspired by some fantastic scenes from The Imagination Tree (seaside, dinosaur land & construction site).  So one of the things I've been looking forward to this winter is the chance to make some more. As Little Chick is currently obsessed with asking when is it going to snow (and why didn't it snow at Christmas) and given it's unlikely to be snowing here anytime soon, I thought it would be fun to do a pretend snowy play scene for the girls.

First I built some icebergs, I say built, I just used some odd shaped pieces of polystyrene packaging from a parcel that had arrived this week.  I cut up a few bits of the polystyrene and washed and scrubbed them with a washing up brush to get rid of any of the loose bits.   I then lined a tray with sparkly shiny wrapping paper, the foil type rather than the paper sort and the back with some blue plastic sheeting and added some Arctic animals. This was all done in the evening ready for the girls to discover the next day. 

The next day the girls were very excited and to add to the fun we used some simple bathroom products - bubble bath and shaving foam.  

The blue bubble bath for the water and some shaving foam for the snow for loads of messy sensory fun. Little Chick loved helping to add the snow and kept saying 'more snow, more snow!'

Our local children's centre often use shaving foam for sensory messy play and I thought it would be perfect for our snowy scene.  The bonus is it wipes up really easily and smells lovely!   

Little Chick immediately asked for a boat and some people.  So I quickly made a boat from a cream cheese tub, lolly stick and triangle of paper stuck together with sellotape.

Little chick said the penguin was on an iceberg and it was the penguin from the book Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers.  I love how they link things together, it never ceases to amaze me just how much they are taking in every day.

Both the girls got stuck in.

Shoeshine was fascinated by the texture and touch of the shaving foam.

The people went for lots of sailing trips in the boat.

And lots and lots of walks in the snow.

And a bit of swimming too!

It was lovely seeing the girls playing together.

There was lots of wiping the little figures and wiping each other's hands.

We had loads of fun with this play, there was lots of imaginative play, making stories with the little people, plenty of sensory play with the different textures of the shaving foam and bubble bath and a fair bit of messy play squashing, squishing and squeezing the foam.  It was also great to have an activity the girls could enjoy together, with a good bit of co-operative play going on.
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