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!
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- 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
I haven’t written a sewing post for a while – because I don’t seem to have sewn much! Lately, I mainly sew more for other people. I guess because there’s a definite reason to get it done – and because everyone in this house already owns far too much stuff!
I made these for a friend for her birthday but they could equally work as Christmas ornaments, hung on a twiggy tree or can be strung together as a banner. There there’s a two big ones and three little ones – one for each member of their family. They’re all hand sewn – which I liked because I could pick them up and do them anywhere. But I’m really, really slow at hand sewing so they were actually pretty late for her birthday!!
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What you need
- Scraps of felt – I used all the same brown for the bodies but you could use different colours – I buy felt from Paper and String – it’s 40% wool so it’s lovely and soft.
- Toy stuffing (You can pull apart an old teddy if you wish!)
- Basic Sewing supplies
- Cut out pattern – I drew my own – if there’s enough interest I’ll see if I can figure out how to make this downloadable.
- Sew all the features onto the front of each owl using whipstitch. I only joined the wings on the inside so they look ‘flappy’.
- Tie a loop in about 10cm of bakers twine or ribbon and clip into position. I like to use these clips rather than pins on the whole because I find them less fiddly and they don’t make holes.
- Join front to back using blanket stitch. Because it’s felt, it won’t fray so you can just stitch it outside out without a seam. Make sure you leave a gap for stuffing.
- Stuff it gently – you don’t want it too fat – and sew up the hole with more blanket stitch.
Ta-da! I think they turned out pretty good! I’m hoping 2017 is going to be the year I really get back into sewing (but I’m also ‘going’ to lose a load of weight, keep the house clean, stop playing around on my phone and basically be a super organised version of myself so we’ll see 😉 )
To be honest I don’t usually make new year’s resolutions in January. Probably because I went straight from being in education to educating others, I’ve always found that the beginning of a new school year is a good time to make changes rather than in the middle of winter.
But, I really liked an idea I saw on Under The Sycamore ‘s Facebook page. They make resolutions as a family and pop them in the stockings to find next Christmas. If you’ve been around for a little while you probably know I’m a bit obsessed with Christmas traditions and I particularly like getting all of the Christmas themed stuff out gradually over December so this seemed perfect for us.
Obviously if I was a decent blogger I’d have done this before new year’s day so you could find it and do it yourself ! Maybe some of you are as disorganised as me??
- Cut a six sided star out of a piece of coloured paper per person
- On each side write one of sentence starter I chose:
- In 2016 I loved …
- I want to go…
- I want to try… (I encouraged this to be about a new skill – E chose, ‘skating’ which was a bit random!!)
- I want to get better at…
- I want to do more…
- I want to do less… (This one was about bad habits – I chose, ‘playing on my phone’ – so far it’s not really sticking!)
You could leave them blank but I find children often find it easier write if there’s some structure provided.
- Gather a load of glitter, sequins, glue etc (this is obviously optional but it makes it seem fun 😉 )
We talked about about resolutions at the dinner table then sat and filled in our stars together. I was planning to write some for Little Miss but I think what she created is a good reflection of her at 18 months so I’m going to leave it as it is!
Have you set any resolutions as a family? I’d love to hear what you’ve done 🙂