Monday, 29 July 2013

Outdoor kitchen

Our temporary outdoor kitchen has been great fun.  I have been inspired by the sheer number of mud kitchens on pintrest  but haven't quite got round to doing the full on mud session yet.

We created a leafy, red dyed rice concoction that Chops loved stirring, spooning and generally dolloping everywhere.  The exciting thing was the next day it was full of snails who seemed to be feasting on the mixture, much to the delight of Chops.

I also put out a muffin tin, lots of smaller bowls and a sieve just to make it feel a bit more like a kitchen.

Going to work on a full on mud pie kitchen next - got to convince hubby its a brilliant idea though!!! (He mainly does bath time so he is on clean up duty after the mess).

Chalk fun

 SOOOOO loving being outside (although there have been a few rain showers but enjoying throwing on the wellies and jumping in the puddles in between the showers).  It is so rare in the UK to get such a prolonged spell of warmth!
We have spent so much time outdoors and chalk and pots of water with brushes have been filling lots of time. We have a permanent outdoor chalk board and we have also had the easel up and of course the patio is popular.  We used lots of different sizes and shapes of brushes and sponges and also some normal sized chalk and giant chalks.
I found this from the imagination tree inspiring too, which was all about putting chalk on the board first and letting the kids paint out the chalk with water which has also been a great activity that doesn't create too much mess!!!

Shaving foam sensory fun

I had been wanting to do this for ages and with all this hot weather we had the perfect opportunity - shaving foam play!  As we had the paddling pool up Chops could wash everything off in the pool as she played so we got quite covered and added sand and glitter too.  Great fun and such a different play material - next we want to try shaving foam painting.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Busy times and golf tees

Well 2 months went by quickly! Had lots on including a birthday and a holiday. Chops is now 2! So where to begin.

We have been doing lots of activities so I will try to get an idea up as often as possibly starting with an idea I got from Pre School Patti. I had been wanting to try it for some time and finally got some golf tees off the father-in-law.

It is super simple and they really enjoyed it and using the mini hand held hoover to collect up all the pesky small balls of styro foam!  We used some simple plastic hammers and golf tees pushed into styro foam.

Lots of fun they played for quite a long period of time returning to it again later.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

100 things to do with a paper plate challenge

I love paper plates and we use them a lot - even just in my "keep Chops happy when out kit" that I have full of stickers and colouring books as we can decorate a plate with crayons and stickers when out and about.  So I have challenged myself to find 100 things to do with a paper plate and I have set up a pinterest board for it!  Lets see if I can complete the challenge in a month!!!!

Water Fun

It was glorious sunshine today and we spent most of the afternoon in the garden and the biggest hit was 5 little ducks!
This is a pic of Chops doing this a while ago but we had 5 small people getting in on the action today.  A tub of water can be explored in so many ways.  I added blue dye, washing up liquid, 5 ducks (one an odd colour), a few metal spoons (one with holes) and straws, for the added bonus of blowing bubbles too and a few extra tubs for pouring and transferring water.
Ducks were scooped up into other buckets, water was collected and taken to the sand pit, spoons were used, hands were used and general wet fun was had by all.  Great if you don't want to get the paddling pool out yet and brilliant for lots of different ways to explore water.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Giant toddler friendly fuzzy felt!

This is something I made a while ago but it is just starting to be used a bit more.  The nice thing was that Chops actually asked for it today.

I had bought a pack of felt letters from Sainsbury a while ago and didn't know what to do with them, so I covered a canvas with green felt and cut up some more large shapes out of felt so Chops could create giant fuzzy felt pictures.

Today Chops and her friend had a great time with it and concentrated on paring up shapes and letters.  A great fun activity and really cheap to make. You can also just throw them around!!!!!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Fun with dough

The nice thing now is that the girls ask for things they would like to do from the activities that are kept in cupboards (items that are not regular toys and that I keep out of the way for play that needs a watchful eye - Chops is still putting things in her mouth on a daily basis - ARRRGGGHHH!).

Today stones were demanded, so we pulled out the dough, stones and lolly sticks to make some creative shapes.

I love home made dough I find it much softer and I am not so precious about it too (I feel myself twitching if they start shoving things into bought play dough - whats that about???)

There is a recipe here on The Imagination Tree but this is the one I use below and I always like to add a bit of glitter!

Glitter dough – infinitely better than normal dough, basically add a small pot of glitter when mixing the flour and salt together!  

2 cups of plain flour

4 tablespoons of 'cream of tartar'

2 tablespoons of cooking oil

1 cup of salt

2 cups of boiling water with the 
food colouring added to it

Might not come together but gather and knead for a bit and its great.  Allow it to cool in a bag as I find this better and it keeps for ages.

Sand play

Well I have finally given in and bought a sand tray - I was reluctant as I didn't want a sandy house but sand is such a hit when we head down to the sandpit at the park that I just had to and £20 from Argos seemed cheap enough for lots of fun.

Its already a big hit, Chops has played with it loads and 5 of them were having great fun today - just got to crack the concept of keeping the sand on the decking!

I got my trusty tough tray out too so they could dig and make castles as well.  Adding in other objects such as shells and lolly sticks to make it more interesting (and not all about plastic).  Lots of birthday cakes were made!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Travelling with Chops

So we have experienced our first flight with a 22 month old and it went very well. Top items for entertainment were sticker books and magazines with stickers, mini cars to ride around the seat, rainbow slinky, books, pen and sketch book, travel aqua doodle, treading beads (we had a farm set) and of course the iPad! I downloaded some BBC programmes that Chops loves. Top tip of all - make a friend. We had a lovely chat with 4 year old Bella!!! Great fun.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Book author stalking

I am a massive fan of the Lulu books by Camilla Reid and so have been stalking her on google tonight only to discover she established her own publishers Nosy Crow who publish Pip and Posy books! Love them too!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Modern Art with a Toddler

 Who Knew that viewing modern art with a toddler could be so much fun.  We 'accidently' went to Tate modern on Easter Sunday and had such a lovely time.  We just went around the public bits as we didn't have loads of time to get around but Chops loved it.  We spent a good 30 mins just charging around the turbine hall, rolling on the floor and generally enjoying space! It really is the most amazing gallery.

The Dan Flavin rooms were the best bits as far as Chops was concerned as they made rainbows on the walls and Chops just danced around with Nanny making different shapes and patterns.

We then went around the Energy and Process rooms where Tree of 12 metres was where squirrels and the Gruffalo lived, Terracotta Circle is where our cat Bean would sleep and Remade 2008 needed 'tidying up' as there were a lot of dust bunnies around it!!!

It was hilarious and actually made much more sense than some of the descriptions that were in the galleries! We will be going again very soon.

Easter Fun Sensory Bin

Well we didn't manage much Easter fun last week due to the 'house of sickness' but we have been doing lots of things this week to make up for it and my favourite so far has been the sensory bin that we made for playgroup that we whipped out again on tuesday.  I love playing with it as the texture of the rice is so relaxing.

I bought really cheap white rice and dyed it with food colouring. I found the best way to do this was to use the liquid food colouring (I used some out of date colour I had). Place the rice into a food bag and massage the colour into the rice - once all covered pour it onto a tray and let it dry out.

 I had two deep bins and then my trusty tuff tray and placed rubber measuring spoons, plastic eggs with things hidden in then (stars, chicks and rice), plastic shot glasses, coloured lolly sticks, flowers, egg cartons and a little basket that acted like a sieve (got to love the freebies on the front of Cbeebies Magazine).  Chops and her friend also delved into the plastics cupboard (a cupboard that I let them play in with pots and cups).  This meant lots of filling and pouring.  They also turned the eggs into shakers and Chops had fun making 'drinks' by putting rice in the little cups with the lolly sticks as straws.

It did get very messy but so easy to sweep up and the they helped do that too with their 'mini me' broom and brush set. A great activity.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Sick but still having fun!

So we have been a house a sickness! But still have a toddler to entertain so luckily we had help from neighbours and a bit of nursery time to fall back on and in between we set up a few activities.  

Luckily we had some 'cloud dough' made up already (thanks to The Imagination Tree for the inspiration for this).

7 cups of any type of flour (we used plain flour), 1 cup of vegetable oil or baby oil (we used vegetable), powder paint to colour the dough and as much glitter as you wish!!! (We also had fun making it together - Chops loves to stir)!

I put some stones, cutters and pots on a large play tray and we just had lots of fun and some how dinosaurs joined us - always a bonus.  Its such lovely stuff with a silky texture and makes solid forms and then crumbles back to a soft loose texture - could play with it for hours myself but Chops can manage about 15 - 20 mins at a time these days!  Best thing is its easier to clean up than sand and safe if a bit ends up in the mouth (which it invariably does with Chops).  It has kept really well in a sandwich box too, so great to whip out when needed.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Cardboard tube fun

So this is what we have been doing instead of being out in the spring sunshine (ha ha)!

Its amazing how much fun you can have with a load of cardboard tubes and stones.

Chops was very excited by the extra large tube which was an old wrapping paper insert.  They ended up being used to talk through and spy through (and all tubes should be used in this way - its only right).

We extended the play by talking about how we could feel the sound and taping lots of small tubes together to try to make it as long as the wrap insert.

Is it Spring

So I was trying to remember that it really is spring and looked at some of the photos of when we did manage to get out into the garden and have some fun digging and planting spring flowers (which are now under an inch of snow and probably not going to make it)!!!

This is such a great activity as we have given chops a patch of her own and she can dig away without worrying about the plants and we can plant some veg when the weather comes good again!

We also gathered stones, shells and pinecones from around the garden and decorated the border which was good fun too. (Who knew that the very annoying 50ft Christmas tree, planted over 50 years ago according to our neighbour, could be a source of fun and decoration rather than just piles of needles!)

Come back spring - pretty please.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Start again?

Ok so the 'I am back now' post but didn't really work out so let's see if we can get going again. My creativity is getting more directed into play with the munchkins now (particularly having found the wonderful theimaginationtree which has inspired lots of creative play). 
So I am going to include ideas for play, musings about mummy life and general creative things to see if I can pour some of my creative urges into here to keep me inspired. Fingers crossed!