Monday, 29 April 2013

Our Messy Play Date

After the success of Hartley's Birthday Party we decided to have anther messy play party. A great way to see our friends and all make mess together.

We had lots of different activities set up. All were edible so the children could explore them as much as they wanted and parents didn't have to worry if anything went in the mouth (which it did!)

The activities I set up were:

Pool of porridge oats and Farm animals.
The children loved this one, it was one of the less messier pools, so perfect for the little ones to start off with. Even the bigger children loved rolling around in the oats and standing under a shower of porridge.

Sealife Spaghetti
I coloured 6 packets of spaghetti in different shades of blue and green using food colouring. I then and added a variety of sealife animals.
The children  loved playing in the spaghetti. Some even went swimming with the fish!

Bugs in Jelly
I filled a pool with different flavours of jelly and then added some plastic bugs and magnifying glasses.

Cocoa Cloud Dough with dinosaurs
I made cloud dough using flour and vegetable oil. I added cocoa to make it more look like dirt and then added some plastic dinosaurs.

Blue Gloop Pond with ducks 
I made gloop using cornflour and water. I added blue food colouring to make it look like a pond. I put in a few ducks and frogs to add to the fun element.

Edible Paint
I made paint using flour, water and food colouring. I decided not to use 'real' paint because we had so many babies coming that may have put it in their mouths.
I provided brushes, different paint tools, cars, duplo bricks and balls so the children could explore the paint how they wanted.

Water Tray
A favourite with all the children. They loved, scooping, pouring and most of all splashing!

And at the end of the party we even had a little helper!

All the children and grown ups had lots of fun. I hope to do another one soon.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Goldilocks and The Three Bears

Hartley loves stories and will often choose to look at a book but I recently found out he also really enjoys story telling.

The other day at our local Children's centre one of the ladies told the story of Goldilocks. She used no pictures and few props but yet Hartley and the other children were completely engaged the whole way through.

So this week I decided to focus on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I found a doll and three different sized bears and a bowl and spoon for each of them.

I also put out a big tub of porridge oats.

Hartley and his friend loved listening to the story and copied my actions as I showed how big the bears, bowls, beds were. They were so engaged, which is pretty amazing considering they are both around 14 months!

They then played with the bears, Goldilocks and of course the porridge.
They scooped, poured, whisked and stirred the porridge.

We then added water. This changed the mixture and made it more sticky. Hartley loved whisking and stirring the porridge. He was also able to pour in the water himself.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Rice Krispie Sensory Fun

Sensory Play does not have to take a long time or effort to set up. Sometimes we just need a quick and easy activity to occupy for a little while. This is when I usually have a look what I have got in the kitchen.

Today it was rice Krispies.
I put the rice krispies into a bowl and then added some plastic cupcake cases and utensils.
Hartley loved this activity. He really enjoys scoping and pouring at the moment. This made a nice change from water play.
He loved filling up a jug and then emptying it again.

 As our activities go this was not to messy and I was able to sweep most of the rice krispies up to reuse.
I have now put them into a larger tub for Hartley to explore when ever he likes.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Frogs in Jelly

This week I decided it was time to play with jelly again. Jelly is a super sensory material which is suitable for all ages.

This time I added some plastic frogs to add even more fun.
I set up the jelly whilst Hartley was having a nap. He was super excited when he saw the bowl of jelly.
 He was a little unsure about touching the jelly at first and preferred to play with the frogs.

He picked them up and then made them jump back in the pond. We had lots of fun hopping the frogs into the jelly pond making frog noises.
After a while he started to touch and explore the jelly.
He really looked closely when it was on his fingers and rubbed his hands together. I asked him what it felt like and used words like squishy, sticky, wobbly.
Hartley then fetched a spoon (I always have a variety of 'tools' readily available)
He loved scooping and pouring the jelly.
By the end he was covered in jelly, he even got it on his foot!

I left the jelly out in the playroom for Hartley to explore when he wanted. The next day he decided to use a whisk to stir the jelly.

Here he is inspecting the jelly on the whisk.

It was really interesting doing jelly play again. When we first played with it he was only about six months old. Then he got stuck in straight away and poured it all over him. As he has got older he investigates the jelly in a different way, he is much more aware of all his senses. I am sure as he grows and develops how he plays with materials will keep changing.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Den Making

One of mine and my sisters favourite things to do when we were younger was building a den.
They were usually very simple creations made out of anything we could get our hands on; tables, chairs, clothes horse, blankets, sheets, cushions etc
But to us they were our own little hideaways, an adult free space  where we could play, read and talk in secret. Sometimes we were even allowed to eat our lunch in our den.

It is also one of my favourite things to do with Hartley. Since he was a few months old I have made cosy spaces for us to snuggle, read and play together.

Hartley loves playing under our new table, in fact he loves crawling through and small space so I thought it was time to make a den again.

I simply placed two sheets over our table so it became an enclosed space. I then added a duvet and a few cushions inside and I had transformed our dining table into a cosy space for both of us to play.

Of course older children will have so much fun making their own dens. They coud be made out of anything inside or outside in the garden. Den making encourages children to be creative. It also allows them to have ownership of their own space. It is also a great activity for siblings or friends to do, which encourages them to work together.

Hartley loved playing in his den, he chse toys to take into it, we shared books together and we snuggled!
I also put a tunnel leading into the entrance which made it even more fun and we both crawled into the den, this was good for both of our physical development!

So next time its raining outside and you and your children are bored, why not make a den? You will have as much fun as the children!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Sensory Bags

I have been meaning to make sensory bags for ages. They are quite simply plastic bags filled with anything you can find that makes an interesting sensory experience. Even little babies can enjoy them. This is also a great activity for children who not to ken on getting messy.

It is best to use which you can seal like a zip lock freezer bags. You can make them in whatever size you want. Mine are small and could be easily taken in your bag for those moments when your baby or toddler needs entertaining.

I didn't realise that my bags had cartoon animals already printed on them, but this adds a fun element.

Sequins Sensory Bag
All you need:
a zip lock resealable bag
hair gel or hand gel
Money Sensory Bag

Hartley loves playing with money (under supervision, of course) so I made this as a safe way for him to explore.
All you need:
a zip lock resealable bag
hair gel or hand gel
a few coins

For both these bags I used hand gel but hair gel works just as well and comes in different colours. I just put in a few squirts.

 Oil and paint sensory bag
 I started to experiment with this one. I put a few spoonfuls of vegetable oil into the bag, I then added a squirt of green and red paint. The paint separated and made all sorts of wonderful patterns. 
Hartley loved this one and kept squeezing, slapping and squashing it.

Bubbles sensory bag
All you need
a zip lock resealable bag
a squirt of washing up liquid
a little water

Hartley loved his one too as he explored the bubbles. We taped this one shut to be sure the water didn't leak.

The possibilities are endless and I have many ideas for future sensory bags. Hartley loved exploring them and they would also be good for toddlers and older children as a tool for calming down.

Sensory bags are meant to be enjoyed under supervision as the bags could be opened. To be extra safe you could tape around the edges.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Sensory Dirt and bugs

I have wanted to play with dirt for ages. As Hartley still puts everything in his mouth I decided to make my own sensory dirt first.

I found a recipe for sensory dirt at Frogs & snails & puppy dog tails sensory dirt and then made my own with what I had in the cupboard.

I used;
cocoa powder
instant coffee

This made a dry dirt with lots of textures. It smelt lovely too.

I then added some giant bugs. I also provided some spades and a magnifying glass.

 Hartley had lots of fun exploring the dirt and the bugs. He liked looking through the magnifying glass, finding the bugs and digging in the dirt.

I then decided to add some water to the dirt, which turned it into a chocolatey, gloopy, mixture.
Hartley loved investigating the gloop.

 He had lots of fun mixing, squishing, and stirring the gloop with his hands.

It was lovely to observe him fully exploring the mixture with his hands. He enjoyed clapping his hands together and the way the gloop felt between his fingers.
 And just to prove I really am a messy mummy Hartley printed some lovely, messy hand prints on my trousers!

The next day I added even more water, this turned the mixture into a  chocolatey mud. It smelt great too.

Hartley was so excited he jumped in!