Monday, 29 April 2013

Weather Dressing Up Box

With the weather changing so quickly at the moment (one minute we are enjoying the sun having a picnic in the garden, the next we are caught in hailstones!), Poppet's weather vocabulary is getting a good workout, and she is especially enjoying her Maisy's Wonderful Weather Book. I think the only weather she hasn't experienced since learning to talk is a thunderstorm, I'm really looking forward to showing her that!

So to expand on the weather theme, I went through the house and gathered lots of weather related dressing up things - I got Poppet's sunhat, sunglasses, swimming costume, my scarf, her raincoat and wellies, suncream, a paper umbrella/parasol, mittens and woollen hat and put them all into a basket.

I then read her the book (in which Maisy the mouse gets appropriately attired for a sunny day, a snowy day, a rainy day, a windy day, a storm and a rainbow day, sorry if I have just ruined the ending), and encouraged her to get dressed up to suit the weather. I think she was just a little bit too young for this activity, it took a lot of coaxing for the first weather before she got the idea. Her very favourite thing to put on was the wellies and raincoat, once they were on they were not coming off.

A Rainy Day

In fact the raincoat was still on 4 hours later, sitting on the sofa watching Brave. Because it was raining outside.

A Windy Day

       A Snowy Day

She was also really keen to get Little in on the act. I'm not sure what weather they were going for here.

She ended up just freestyling for the rest of the morning. I really need to get a proper dressing up box organised as she as at that stage where she loves taking clothes off and on. I often put her down for her nap in one outfit and when I go back to get her she is wearing something completely different!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Toys from the recycle bin

These simple free 'toys' go to show that you don't need to spend money to keep little ones entertained. I collected a variety of washed out containers - a golden syrup tin, miniature jam jar, milk carton, soft cheese carton, yoghurt carton, spice jar etc... and put them in a cake tin along with little kitchen things like an egg cup and ice cream scoop. Little loved exploring them all, and Poppet uses them as props for her play kitchen, especially liking prising the lid off of the golden syrup tin with her toy kitchen utensils, and sprinkling pearl barley everywhere when I fill the spice jar up with it.

Exhausting work!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Toddler play garden

As an enthusiastic gardener myself, I have always intended to encourage the gardening bug in my children. I think its a really healthy interest to cultivate in little ones, and is something they are naturally drawn to with all the creepy crawlies, mud, fresh air and water play. With this in mind, we wanted to create a small toddler garden for Poppet to play freely in.

We chose an area that used to have a mini greenhouse thing on it (excuse the mess of the garden it is a work in progress) so it already had brick edging and good, diggable soil.

Poppet & Little's daddy knocked it all down so we were just left with a rectangle of soil. Then he rearranged some of the bricks to create a little entrance into her garden. I did some research online for ideas for elements to include, and this is what I came up with!

What is in the garden:
  • A Flamingo Willow Tree (Salix Integra), that I had brought with us in a pot from our old flat and needed a new home
  • A lavender plant for its lovely smell
  • An alpine strawberry plant (miniature strawberry)
  • An old Ikea candle lantern (spike removed). 
  • Lots of pine cones
  • A garden gnome, and angel wind chime that we found in the garden
  • Ceramic bunny rabbit, bird on a stick and wooden bird house all from Poundland
  • An upturned ceramic pot to encourage creepy crawlies
  • Plant labels to stick in the ground.
  • Plastic plant pots and a windowbox, for collecting things in
  • Large pink quartz stone
  • Watering can and children's gardening utensils
  • Upturned vegetable crate to be used as a work bench
It has been very popular! One of her favourite things to do is to make 'hot chocolate' in her bucket using mud, water, and pinecones.

She can spend ages in there. Note the bunny in the lantern, apparently that is his house. Nana and Grandad also kindly got her a little pull along gardening truck so she has all her tools to hand!

It's not quite finished yet, we want to tidy up the brick work and aim to have a few more plants (hopefully some sunflowers, a fushia and maybe a vegetable like pumpkin). 

She also likes to wander into the greenhouse and water the plants with her little watering can!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Decorating Digestives

This is something I remember doing as a little girl with my mum and wee sister (shout out to my sister Anna who is an actual qualified teacher and gives me leftover craft supplies!), and I was reminded of it when I came across it in Poppet's Make with Maisy book. I switched the icing for melted chocolate because we have a glut of leftover non-Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs, and my mum has arrived to stay bearing Jelly Tots & Chocolate Buttons so I used them too. I put the sweeties out in little bowls along with some raisins and hundreds&thousands and a bowl of melted chocolate, ready for Poppet to wake up from her afternoon nap.

I find this is the best time for me to set up a little 'Invitation To Play' for her as it gives her something to focus on while coming to from her groggy sleepy state. CBeebies also works!
She got stuck in pretty much straightaway, after a little instruction on how to 'glue' the sweets and raisins on she was away. She only popped a few sweets in her mouth and was very restrained considering. 

The finished biscuits!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Conjunctivitis Playdough

Both girls have got conjunctivitis just now and it's horrible seeing their eyes so red and sore looking. It's a round the clock job cleaning the gunk out of their eyes, administering eye drops and trying to keep them from rubbing their eyes with their (usually quite dirty) hands.

So I thought it would be a good time to try out some scented playdough, and picked eucalyptus oil for its anti-bacterial properties. Hopefully it will save me from a bit of hand sanitising! Both girls have a wee cough and are generally snotty so the lovely smell of eucalyptus should really soothe them.

I followed the 4 minute playdough recipe from The Imagination Tree and added green food colouring and eucalyptus oil at the dough stage and kneaded it in.  

It has become a  play scene for some  'Brave' storytelling, Poppet is a big fan!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Playing with lavender (while making lavender baby sock sachet)

Poppet loves nice smelling things, she is forever sniffing my scented candles, so when I got the lavender out to make a quick lavender sachet I gave her a bowlful to play with. She loved it! I also gave her an ice cream scoop, funnels and a egg carton to give her some scooping and filling fun.

Straightaway she picked the bowl up to give it a good sniff and then wanted to share the lovely smell with her little sister

She had great fun scooping it up and then pressing it down very carefully.....

and was also very keen on helping me fill a baby sock up with some, which I then quickly sewed shut and voila, easy lavender sachet!