Friday, 30 November 2012

Nothing for ages then 6 come at once!

Shapes, Egg carton caterpillars, Small world beach play, Play dough invitation to play, Eucalyptus sensory rice play and Pretend baking inspired by Abney and Teal's love of porridge. Phew

These are all my outstanding posts. I've decided to get them all out there in one post and then I'm all ready to get blogging for December. What an exciting month that is going to be. More on that later...

So lets begin.


This activity couldn't be any simpler.
I drew around some shapes on coloured card.
I used cookie cutters but i guess you could print shapes on to card stock I'm just an old fashioned,
I then drew the outline of the shapes on white paper, cut the shapes out and showed Ninky how to match them up. As an after thought i wrote the names of the shapes underneath.
This went well, simple but effective. I was pleased.
Ninky had other ideas, aren't kids ideas sometimes just the best.

He decided he had to write the name on the shapes on them when he got them right. You can see his mark making on the pictures which was a nice addition to the original activity.
He then decided it was essential that a helicopter and car got involved. This was a fun way for him to find the shapes.
I would say the shape name and he would fly or zoom the vehicle to the shape he felt was right. He did really well on these considering this was our first shape activity.

Eric Carle inspired egg carton caterpillars

Ninky loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar. He makes play dough caterpillars, signs about caterpillars, talks me through the pictures. You get the gist. He also loves egg cartons, don't really know why but he really likes making things from them. He is a very tactile child and i guess he likes the texture or something.

I cut the cartons into two pieces with three pods on each side. We had recently bought some oil pastels so i got them out to colour the egg cartons., now i know this probably isn't the correct use for oil pastels but well it was fun.

We looked at the pictures in the book then i helped Ninky pick the right colours and showed him how the pastels would smudge if he rubbed them. I helped with the faces a little bit. He was really proud of his caterpillars and kept them on display on top of his toy box for ages.

Small world beach play

Now i should start by saying, its only very recently that i heard the term Small World Play. I had been playing this way for years with my niece pose the rose but i hadn't realised that was what it was called. I have spent many a happy hour with Pose, her collection of Polly Pockets and a washing up bowl filled with water and an assortment of Polly's belongings pretending Polly was swimming.

I came across the term, an explanation of what its all about and lots and lots of ideas on the fantastic site This lady is amazing, she has great ideas on most play related things and is well worth subscribing to. There is also a great section on and i highly recommend signing up for her play planner, it has become a firm favourite and i always find at least one thing to inspire me for the coming week.

These pictures need a disclaimer, this was a rush job. This is not a quality job and i seriously recommend seeing the above sites or some better ideas, i will be going back there before i try again.We'd been on holiday, the first time Ninky was really old enough to take it all in. He wanted to live on the beach. When we came home he wanted to play on the beach again. As we live in the midlands and it was no weather for the sand pit i had to do some quick thinking and a beach themed small world play fit the bill.

I made yellow cloud dough, See the above sites or pinterest for a how to.
I stuck blue and yellow card to a cookie sheet to resemble the sea and sand. I made a sky, sun and clouds, which wouldn't stand up. I tipped the cloud dough in and added some shells, a few pots and moulds to act and buckets and sandcastle moulds. Ninky added a bus which drove into the sea a lot!

As slapdash as it was, he loved it and i will definitely be doing this again. He has some rockets and moon related stuff on order for Christmas so i will be attempting something similar to the fab moon scape small world play that the imagination tree did recently. I'm not sure how to link to this post directly on their site but i will try to find out as it really does deserve to be looked at first hand.

Play dough - Invitation to play

This should be a whole post on its own and I'm certainly not the best equipped to explain it but its something i think most moms probably do without realising it, setting out a group of items with which the child plays in an open ended way. This can be as simple as setting out the tea set and a few bits of plastic food or something that includes a bit more planning and preparation. Amanda at Dirt and Boogers recently did a week of posts on invitations to play. Please have a look at her blog, She is very knowledgeable and has a great 'voice', very real and ordinary which i mean as a compliment while still inspiring.

This invitation to play was inspired by her. I had been having a really bad week, i felt ill and really very blah! I hadn't been the best Mommy i could be so when Amanda's email popped into my mailbox i finished up my cuppa and got to work getting together the things for a play dough based invitation to play. Which really wasn't very much work at all.

I got out the plastic storage box lid i use to contain messy play or keep things from rolling away.

I had recently made some cinnamon play dough so i got that out with some pom poms, dried pasta, spaghetti, a spoon and some lolly pop sticks. I collect the dried food at the end to use again and again.

I set this out and explained to Ninky he could do whatever he liked with it. He played for a good while. I kept it out for a few hours and he would come back at intervals to try something else. I have made an effort to do this at least once a week since and the more i do it the more Ninky engages with it. Which i this is the case with most activities with kids, if you don't do things with them regularly then they wont learn to love them. Kids need repetition to become comfortable with things.

Euclyptus sensory rice play

Now credit where credits due. This idea is shamelessly taken from The Imagination Tree. I have used eucalyptus in a burner in Ninkys room when he has had a cold but i never would have thought to add it to rice for a sensory tray. I will admit i was worried about the oil getting on Ninkys hands and him rubbing his eyes and causing irritation. I tested this myself a few times to make sure, not that I'm an over protective mother or anything. It was fine. It was a lovely way to clear his nasal passages while playing and beats me dabbing it on a tissue or setting up a burner for a while before bed.

The original post had green rice but as i had some blue and yellow dyed rice left over from making rangoli for Diwali at the playgroup i jointly run so i used that. Ninky was having non of the making Rangoli, he just liked spreading the rice around liberally so we don't have any pics of that im afraid.

I put the rice in a plastic bucket (i really need to get another one of those shallow garden trays or under bed storage tubs soon) and added, a funnel, some small tubs, spoons and a train mould Ninky likes. He played really nicely with this, pretending to make porridge,  like Abney and Teal.........this leads me to my next post.

Now i thought i had photographed this activity but when I've come to look it appears i have lost the photos. Um not sure how but i fear it may have something to do with a certain 2 year old who likes to mess with Mommy's phone. I will repeat the activity soon and post some pics then

Pretend baking and making porridge a la Abney and Teal

I have a baking draw, its one of the few unlocked draws/cupboards in the kitchen which obviously leaves it wide open for constant raiding from the Ninky.  I make birthday cakes for friends and family, recently i was making a cake and Ninky wanted to join in. I like to cook with him but i couldn't really let him help me with a cake i was being paid for, hygiene standards etc so i suggested he make some pretend cakes himself.

He very carefully selected his equipment, i was impressed that he chose all the right things, he has obviously been taken more notice than i thought.

He played for a little while just pretending to whisk and pour into the cases but he then came in and asked for his play oats to make porridge. I keep a bag of porridge oats for him to play with, they get lots of use from sensory trays, building site small world play and  this pretend porridge making.

He had such a great time, i love the pure joy on his face on these pics.

Again apologies, the pictures have disappeared. I'm blaming the tiny technology freak. I will post some pics asap i thought i would post the ideas without pictures for the time being though.

This now leaves me largely up to date with my posts. I have a Halloween and bonfire night post still in my drafts but i have decided to shelve that for this year and bring it out along with some new activities I'm sure next year. Is that cheating? I'm not sure but it feels like a sensible thing to do given the busy month i have coming up.

Soooo December. I discovered the creative Christmas countdown this year hosted by where 24 bloggers have come up with great activities for you to enjoy each day and if you sign up these get sent straight to your inbox along with a supplies list. I love the idea and am going to try to blog along.

I may deviate from the countdown itself in some ways if i think the activity is not age appropriate or we have other plans that day but i will be getting with the spirit of things so please stop by to see how I'm doing.

Have a great December and whatever you're doing this December i hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for reading.

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