Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Baby Play: Colours Spin Art Mobile

With two very besotted big sisters, Baby Boo is definitely at risk of being smothered in big sister love at the moment!  They just want to play with him all the time, so to try and channel some of this affection, I suggested the girls might enjoy making something for him.  So we got busy making a spin art mobile, whilst Boo had his nap.

Babies love bright and contrasting colours and at 3 months old Boo is really loving looking around at things so this is a great thing to hang above him to look up at.

Out came the salad spinner and all the paints.  I just love this picture, above, of some great cooperative working, with Little Chick helping Shoeshine squeeze the paint out - alas this is not what it's like in our house the rest of the time!

We haven't done spin art for a while so it was great to see how much Shoeshine has grown up and how much more she can do independently since we did it last.

In goes the paint

Time for a spin.  Lots of good practice for gross motor skills to get it spinning.

A voila!

I absolutely love spin art, it's so simple but produces such fantastic splashes of colour, needless to say the girls love it too!  

I then made a cross with two pieces of wood and fixed them together with a bolt in the middle.  Then using some colourful thread I fixed the spinners on with knots.  At the top the thread was just wrapped around the wood and tied and at the bottom I use a hole punch to create the holes.  It's hung on a small hook in the ceiling above his cot, so it can be put up or taken down as and when.  Boo is pretty chilled at the moment and doesn't find it hard to drop off to sleep, so it just stays up all the time. If a baby struggles with settling and is prone to over stimulation I would probably take it down for sleep time and just have it up for play times.

Each hanging disk is two spin art circles, I decided not to glue them together as I liked the added shape that it gives as most of them are not completely flat.  

All that was needed next was one beautiful baby!

He absolutely loved watching it go round, trying to move to be able to see them and the girls were very excited to have made something for their baby brother to play with.  Each morning Little Chick goes in and gives it a good spin round and 'oohs' and 'ahhs' at her little brother watching it go round!

Other spin art ideas, check out our spin art solar system we did a while ago.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Small World Play: Beach

We had such a fantastic time at the beach back on our holidays in June that I've been thinking how could we use that experience as a springboard for play back at home.  Recreating the beach at home is never quite as good as the real thing but then that's what imagination is for!  This simple, quick to put together small world play managed to avert a meltdown whilst I was getting tea the other afternoon.

From our holiday we had collected some seashells and some stones so I put some of these into two dinner plate size bowls, added a bit of play sand and some little figures and gave them to the girls.  Sometimes it's nice to see them share and learn to play together with a small world play scene, but other times it's nice for them to have separate ones so they can play with them differently (and stop squabbling if it's that time of day!)  These were so simple, it was easy to put together two, you can use a plastic tray if you think you're little one is likely to drop it or knock it off the table or crash the stone down hard!

The little people playing in the sand. 

Of course, how silly of me to make a beach without any water!  So after I gave them the requested cup of water to each of them to add to their beaches there was lots of wet sandy mess in the bowls and lots of getting the little people to 'splash in the sea'.  Shoeshine loved splashing everything in the sea and taking everything in and out of the bowl, whilst Little Chick enjoyed describing the different seashells and lining them all up and counting them.

Once they had finished playing I just wiped down the table and scooped everything back into the bowls and left them out to dry out in the sun before putting the bits and pieces away.  This way the sand just fell off and I didn't need to wash any sand off.  I'm sure the bits will be coming out again soon in a variation of a beach/seaside small world play as I often find the girls like to recreate and play with the same things several times either over a week or periodically over a longer time and seaside scenes are often requested. 

A trip to the beach is a fantastic, awe-inspiring experience for little ones with so much to see, hear, smell and feel.  By recreating a little bit of it at home we were able to chat about our holiday and the things they remembered as well as see, smell and feel the stones and shell we brought back from the beach.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Ice Cream Play Dough Gift Set

We love playing with play dough in our house, so I thought I'd share one of the gift ideas I've done using play dough.  Last summer I was inspired by Sun Hats and Wellie Boots' ice cream play area and I thought it would make a lovely birthday gift for one of Little Chick's friends.

I bought a couple of plastic tubs, a set of lollisticks and an ice cream scoop.   I then made a batch of play dough and divided it into four, kneading in the various colours and flavours.

For the strawberry ice cream I added some strawberry flavouring and a bit of red food colouring to turn it pink.  The vanilla ice cream was left uncoloured, with the addition of vanilla essence.  The mint ice cream had some green food colouring and some peppermint extract and for the chocolate I added cocoa which made the colour and smell.  With the mix of these gorgeous flavours our kitchen smelt amazing when making this!

The cones were made from rolled triangles of cardboard.  I found that it was really difficult to get a good cone shape bending the card, it tended to form angles rather than a smooth curve.  So I briefly dipped the cardboard triangles in water then shaped and left to dry.  Once dry I glued them together.  (I have to say that  I would have likes these to be more robust than they turned out to be,  They were OK for play but wouldn't last lots of play sessions.  I think making them of multiple layers of slightly thinner cardboard might help next time.)  

I then painted an old shoe box with some left over emulsion and added a label so the box could be opened up and used as part of some ice cream shop play.  I also added some little shakers of glitter for the sprinkles. All the items then fitted inside the box to give as a birthday present.  There are loads of other things that could be added, sticks for the flakes, beads instead of glitter, an apron, a menu board etc. but hopefully we created a simple, fun, personal birthday gift.  And what I'm sure my girls would like now is for us to make another set for play at home!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Fairy Garden Play Dough Small World Play

As we've been having lots of fairy play recently, I thought it would be fun to create a play dough fairy garden small world play for Little Chick to play with.  This was inspired by Sun Hats and Wellie Boots' fantastic Egg Carton Fairyland.

  So with our box of various coloured play dough, some stones, glass pebbles, silk flowers and of course some little fairy figures I started creating a fairy world.

This was definitely one of those activities where I had as least as much fun as the girls with!

The paths were made with glass pebbles, including a set of stepping stones across the lake.

One of the fairies hiding in the foliage. 

There was a grassy green area with lots of plants and flowers, a river flowing into the lake of blue play dough in the middle and a mud area with rocks and a bridge that crossed over the river.  The mud area was some of our batch of chocolate play dough.

I was really pleased with my creation, even if I do say so myself, but when I called Little Chick in to show her, alas she didn't want to play with it - she wanted to create her own!  So with some help, but trying to encourage her to do it however she wanted and that she didn't have to copy mummy's exactly (all to no avail), but in the end she was really pleased with her own fairy world.  So I played with my one and she played with hers!  

The fairy world proved so popular with Little Chick that she was very sad to have to take it apart and pack it away in the evening.  In fact the next day she wanted to recreated it again and then the next day she wanted to create it again!

Day 1. The lying down fairy is having a swim in the lake.

Playing with the fairy world, retelling stories of going on adventures, rescuing their friends from the monsters and having a fairy tea party.

The next days's recreation.  She needed some help with the bridge and some instructions for rolling out a long sausage to make the river.

Still not bored of fairy world play we had recreation no. 3!  

Who knows how many more fairy world's we'll make over the next few weeks.  (I think Little Chick particularly likes the fact that she can get all the different play doughs out at once and all the pots of accessories too - we're still working on the helping tidy up activity!)

So although she didn't really play as I had anticipated, with the one I made for her (isn't that always the way?), it was great to see my creativity sparking her imagination to make and play with her own fairy world and we both had lots of fun.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Purple Glitter Play Dough

As well a making some Pink Strawberry Fairy Dust Play Dough we also made some Purple Glitter Play Dough.  Following our usual recipe for no cook play dough we simply added some purple food colouring and some silver and purple glitter (lots and lots!) to make the dough all sparkly.

Perfect for making all sorts of fairy creations.  This is the first time we've made glitter play dough and we're definitely going to do some more - who wouldn't want that bit of extra sparkle?

Other Ideas for Glitter Play Dough

I love this galaxy sparkling play dough from Fairy Dust Teaching Kindergarten. 

And this white glitter play dough from The Imagination Tree. 

 Or these gorgeous scented multicoloured glitter play doughs from The Creative Mama

 - some great ideas for next time I think.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Pink Strawberry Fairy Dust Play Dough

For Shoeshine's 2nd Birthday party, Little Chick and I made her some pink strawberry fairy dust play dough for everyone to play with.

Using our usual recipe for no-cook play dough from The Imagination Tree, we added our special ingredient - fairy dust! (Actually a generous amount of some body sparkle powder I found languishing in my make up bag - no really when I am likely to get a chance to wear that at the moment?)  So much better for use in the playdough!

We sprinkled plenty of it in and then added some strawberry flavouring to give a sweet fairy smell and some pink food colouring for added fairyness!  

We then got busy mixing and kneading the mixture until it came together.  

Although you can't really see in the pictures it has a lovely subtle shimmer.

I also put out cupcake cases, silk flowers, little fairy figures, some cutters and some glass pebbles to let them create whatever they wanted to.

We had some lovely fairy cakes, fairy islands, fairy gardens and fairy biscuits!  And Shoeshine just loved squishing and squashing and pressing everything into her ball of play dough.

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