It’s been a funny couple of weeks. I’ve felt like it’s impossible to keep the all of the balls up in the air but I’m pretty sure no one really wants to read a blog post of me moaning about how sometimes I can’t manage the basics of my incredibly privileged and easy life. Then I don’t write anything – which of course adds to the feeling that I’m not on top of everything. When I was actually hiding in the kitchen eating biscuits this came to me in response to The Prompt. This one’s definitely autobiographical – it turns out I’ve been a secret eater for a while!
Hiding in the kitchen stealing from the biscuit tin,
6 year old me,
15 year old me,
39 year old me.
Everything changes and nothing changes.
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This is February’s sensory box. Obviously it’s not still February and I don’t think this is really a sensory box but luckily my ‘boss’ is 20 months old so I reckon I’ll get away with it! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you probably already know everything you need to know about this box!
Little Miss has recently become aware of colours. Well kind of – she thinks everything is red – but she seems to understand that red is a way to describe things. So I decided to see if I could help her along.
- Coloured bowls (I got these in a set from Tesco)
- Rattan bowl – this is the one I used for her treasure basket, a clear bowl would work just as well
- Random coloured plastic stuff (mainly toys). I aimed for things that were one solid colour to make it as simple as possible.
- Sneak a Peek Colours. (This is an affiliate link which means if you click on the link and buy something I get a small advertising fee at no extra cost to you.) This is a really sweet little book. There’s a colour on each page and you’re supposed to look through the hole to find examples of the colour.
How did we get on?
- She’s still mainly favouring calling everything red although she’s learnt the word ‘blue’ and occasionally uses it correctly.
- She sometimes sorts things correctly – then randomly adds in wrong ones. Basically we have no clue whether she gets it or not!
- She pulls the box out and insists people sit and play with it with her. This means that she likes it!
I’m not sure how E learned his colours but I’m pretty sure I didn’t actively teach him and he is doing just fine! I do remember him learning purple because some good friends had a purple car!
As with the play dough sets, the sensory boxes are at least partially for my own benefit. I really liked the planning side of teaching. Not the form filling paperwork aspect of it necessarily; but the finding interesting ways to inspire learning. So when I’m planning sensory boxes or play dough sets I get to feel like a teacher again (and there’s no ofsted in sight 😉 )
If you’re looking for more ideas here is my Pinterest board for toddler ideas
For February’s play dough set I wanted to use the stones that Little Miss liked so much in the Arctic Animal box. I found this idea and decided to make a whole play dough construction kit.
- Play dough – this is the recipe I use.
- Stones – these are polished stones but any old stones will do
- Sticks (from the garden)
- Milk bottle lids
- Glass pebbles
- Play dough tools – I went for rolling pins, knives and scissors. Play dough tools are great for developing cutting skills because they’re totally blunt so safe for little ones.
How did we get on?
(Thanks to Karen from Two Tiny Hands for the heading suggestion 😉 )
- As expected Little Miss was basically uninterested in the ‘point’ of the set! She likes to push things into play dough and to be honest it doesn’t really matter what I give her with play dough at the moment.
- She was however, very excited by the scissors. Up until this point she’s rarely been allowed to touch scissors so she obviously thinks they are things of wonder!
- E on the other hand really went for it. We’ve made various structures and had some great discussions. Since it’s half term having an activity they will both do together is a major plus. 🙂
I struggled to think of a January sensory tub. I wanted it to have a white base but I didn’t really want to use rice (my carpets still haven’t recovered from the stars) or cotton wool. In the middle of January we went to a messy play group. There was shredded paper and animals in one of the tuff-spots so I stole their idea!
This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the link and buy something I get a small advertising fee at no extra cost to you.
- Shredded paper. I couldn’t bring myself to actually shred clean paper although it only took about 5 sheets!
- Stones. I’ve had these for years (not from amazon) I’m not sure this is actually the best place to get them from but I’ve included a link incase you don’t fancy going to the shops 😉
- Milk bottle lids
- Old chocolate tin. My idea was that this was the water. It also makes a good noise when you drop things into it!
- Cut up egg box . They were supposed to be for the animals to hide in – she’s basically ignored them. If your child is at the chewing stage, egg boxes aren’t considered safe because there can be salmonella on egg shells.
- Polar Animals. These are the ones we have and I would definitely recommend them.
If you’re interested in how we use sensory tubs and some of the benefits I went into more details in the Autumn post.
( I don’t like this heading because it sounds really formal but I couldn’t figure out another way to say it!)
- There’s been lots of really good exploration. The paper falls really slowly when you throw it up in the air. 😉
- Generally I encourage my kids to play with the contents of the boxes inside the box but this didn’t work for this tub! Possibly the shredded paper is to big but she just wants to get everything out and stand or sit on it!
- She’s particularly interested in the stones. She’s been lining them up and carrying them around. They’re smooth and cold to the touch so she probably likes that they are quite different to her toys.
- She’s not been especially bothered about the animals. She’s definitely beginning to play imaginatively but perhaps these are a bit small for her.
For more ideas for sensory play see my pinterest board 🙂
I finally made this month’s Winter Play Dough!
I’ve been meaning to make up some new play dough for ages. After the chaos of Christmas I always find it hard to get motivated in January. I found this list of play dough ideas organised by months last week and I loved the January one so that gave me the push to get organised.
- White play dough – I used this recipe. When I’ve made white play dough in the past, I’ve just used a standard recipe and not put any colour in it but it does end up kind of grey so this worked better.
- Silver stars
- Glass pebbles
- Shiny pipe cleaners
- Play dough stampers – I got these from The Dotty Dough Factory She doesn’t seem to have the same ones is stock anymore but she has similar tools and makes lovely homemade play dough. We’ve bought lots of bits from there over the years.
- Star cutters – snow flake ones would make more sense but I didn’t have any!
*** Obviously none of this is actually toddler proof. Please use sensible judgement. The glass pebbles in particular pose a choking hazard and are not suitable for children who are still at the stage of putting things in their mouth Nor is it suitable as a ‘busy toy’ while you get on with other things unless the child is older. ***
For general information about how I use play dough go to my post about Autumn play dough
- Play dough in general is good for fine motor skills and hand muscle development.
- Objects of different sizes and shapes required different grasps for Little Miss to pick them up.
- Both children were able to fully engage at their own level
- Although it doesn’t actually look like it from the outcome(!) Little Miss was looking carefully at what was available and choosing what she wanted.
- I was able to model language and counting as she played (this is a fancy way of saying I talked to her about the choices she was making 😉 )
This has been really popular which is why we now have tiny stars spread over our house! I’d better get planning for February please let me know if you have any ideas 🙂
For more winter activties check out my pinterest board