Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple Play ideas 3

Monday 21 November 2011

Hi there everyone!

The year is winding up, and there are appointments and committments everywhere. Our boys have started swimming lessons once a week, there are doctors appointments, dinner dates..... the list goes on. Christmas is coming, and soon it will be 2012!! Also, in the next week or so, Mr-almost-3 will be turning 3!! He has put in his order for his Luigi and Guido cake (from Cars) and wants Ham and Pineapple pizza for his birthday dinner. It's not his party year... we had a party for each sons first and second birthdays... then we paused and asked "Are we going to do this EVERY year?" We decided no.... parties on even number years. How do you work it at your house? Who do you invite to the parties? Family? Friends? Everyone?

Today's play idea is really simple. Once again it involves simple household objects: empty jars, water, food colouring and spoons.

Fill the jars up with different volumes of water, add food colouring and voila! Home made xylophone. Mr-almost 3 enjoyed clanking and clunking the spoons on the outside, and putting the spoon inside and 'stirring' the water so the spoon clinked on the side of the glass jar.

Add Mr 4 to the picture and the coloured water became a 'mixing experience' - what colour does green and yellow make? blue and red? red and yellow? etc.....

So why do this experience with your children? Here's why:
1. It's cheap and you probably have all the stuff in your house already
2. It can improve musical awareness (the pitch is affected by the volume of water, cause and effect - hit the jar, wait for the sound).
3. Mixing colour is basic science experimentation - what happens when? Encourage your child to guess and predict what may happen
4. It is water play without huge volumes of water.
5. Encourages colour knowledge - encourage your children to name the colours.
6. Basic mathematical language  - more, less, full, too much, not enough, empty. Encourage these words too!

And finally something I really want to share with you - with help and loving guidance I sewed a skirt for my neice's birthday.
An enormous thankyou to my friend Karen from k4j designs for her patience, moral support, guidance and all around sewing guru-ness and help! Here is a link to some of Karen's creations:!/k4jDesigns.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!
Dansie x

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Simple Play Ideas 2 - Playdough

Thursday 10 November 2011

Playdough. It just drums up images of my childhood and my teaching days. I remember as a young uni student learning to make playdough on one of my pracs and burning it (please don't burn it, the smell is disgusting). There are two types of playdough - cooked and uncooked. Cooked takes a little longer to make, and it lasts longer. Uncooked is a quick fix, but seems to go greasy rather quickly.

Playdough is really great for kids of all ages, and I'd have to say the right age to start your child playing with playdough is when you feel they are ready. Yes, they will eat it, and yes... it will be messy but it will be so much fun for them! Also, playdough is beneficial for fine motor development (and those muscles needed for many things including hand writing), eye hand co-ordination, imagination (who hasn't made a playdough snake?) and other cognitive development such as textural awareness, sensory development and understanding cause and effect (stab the playdough and what happens? A hole!).

Here's the recipe I use. It's from the McKenzies cream of tartar tin:
2 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup salt
food colouring
2 cups water.

Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, stir over medium heat (don't burn it!) for about 3-5 minutes or until mixture begins to stick together. It starts to look doughy.

What I find is a good idea is to make the dough without the colouring, and then poke a hole in the dough and add tiny bits of food colouring into the whole then knead it through.

BE CAREFUL you don't turn your hands blue like I did... I was being careful and as I needed it all the blue squirted out onto my hands. Alternatively, you can add the food colouring as it's cooking, or use gloves to help you mix it through.

The yellow playdough has glitter mixed through it.

Plain dough is great, but there are variations you can add:
 - Rice (for texture)
 - Sand
 - Rolled oats
 - Cous Cous
 - Glitter
 - Vanilla essence (for a lovely smell),
 - Eucalyptus Oil (brilliant for winter)
 - Lemon essence

Possible tools you could use for playdough play:
 - Melon Baller
 - Rolling pin
 - Cookie cutters
 - Knife and fork
 - Toddler scissors for cutting the dough
 - Chop Sticks
 - Garlic press (for tiny worms!)

Be creative and use what you have!

I store my playdough in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap in an icecream container. I find it lasts quite a while this way.

Hoping you all have a great day today. It's already feeling warm here today, I think it may be over 30 degrees today. Good day for the boys to start their swimming lessons!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Simple Play Ideas 1

Friday 4 November 2011

One of my dear friends became a Mum for the first time this week (yay!). I was talking to her a little while ago about playdough. She told me I should blog a recipe and some ideas to extend playdough play. In honour of her entering Mummyhood, I've decided to do a series of 'simple play ideas.' My definition of a simple play idea involved engaging with your child using cheap, everyday household items.

The first idea I will share with you is something that Mr-almost-3 loved when I tried it with him. You will need a bucket or empty icecream container and some clothes pegs. The goal is for your child to place the pegs around the edge of the bucket. We sorted ours into colours also.

This activity is brilliant for developing fine motor skills, categorising/classifying/sorting skills and colour recognition, as well as an abundance of mathematical skills (counting, one-to-one recognition), and cognitive development which comes through process (pick up the peg, squeeze the peg, place the peg on the bucket, repeat). While undertaking this activity here are some questions/interactions to help you engage with your child
1. What colour is your peg? Where are the other pegs the same colour?
2. How many pegs are the same colour as the peg you've got?
3. Show me how you squeeze the peg....
4. Where does that peg go?
5. Tell me what other coloured pegs you can see?

I like the concentration on his face in this picture! Mr-almost-3 sat at this activity for about 20 minutes or so, and even asked for more pegs.

Here is the finished product:
(That's some impressive pegging!)

What simple activities do you like to involve your children in? I'd love to hear what and how you do it.....
Have a great day!