Friday, 31 May 2013

Playing with bubbles!


The girls were given a tube of bubbles by their Grandad at the weekend so yesterday we had lots of bubble related fun! Poppet was so excited and amazed by them, and Little was very cute staring intently at the bubbles floating around her as her sister flew around the room catching them all.

Poppet loved trying to pop (or eat) them all and was so fast that Little rarely got anywhere near one. Only twice did one get near enough to her that she tried to touch it. And the only way I could make that happen was by first quickly blowing lots of bubbles in the opposite side of the room to keep Poppet occupied and out of the way!

Of course monkey was brought in on the action, apparently he liked popping them too. So lovely how she wants to involve monkey in everything nice that she does.

Little finally managing to pop a bubble!
Every now and then I managed to make a really big bubble which Poppet loved - 'that's a big one mummy!'. She wanted to catch the bubbles but they kept popping so we added some glycerine to the mixture as apparently that makes them longer lasting. Then we made a 'bubble catcher' from a pipe cleaner and a lolly stick. She really loved catching the bubbles and holding them for a while.


Poppet of course insisted that Little also got a bubble catcher but this really only got chewed.

We mixed the leftover bubble solution with some red paint in a bowl and I showed Poppet how to blow it to make bubbles (quite anxiously telling her 'it's not milkshake it's paint OK? Blow don't suck!). But she managed fine.

Once the bubbles were overflowing we pressed a sheet of paper against them to make bubble prints.....


We are going to use the resulting painting as wrapping paper for a certain aunties upcoming Birthday!

She is so proud of it she was still pointing out her 'bubble painting' to me this morning at breakfast. Later in the day Poppet asked me for some water in her little pot, then she did this with it, so the activity obviously stuck with her! 

Poppet: 2 yrs 4 mos
Little: 8 mos

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Painting Indoors with the Tuff Spot

Poppet has been poorly and requested to do some painting, so we got out the Tuff Spot and laid out her painting bits and bobs along with some clean sheets of paper. There were various brushes and roller type things along with foam stamps (which never look like they are supposed to incidentally), straws, cotton buds, a toilet roll holder, a yoghurt carton and a helicopter (there was paint with various toy cars at her toddler club the other week and she loved making patterns with the wheels).

She started with a bit of loo roll printing and we talked about the circles that it made.....

She was more keen to get a bit mucky this time and started painting her hand with a cotton wool bud. I am glad that she is starting to embrace messy play even though she is a bit of a clean freak at heart. The benefits of messy play are that it introduces the toddler to new sensations and textures, develops their imagination and creativity, helps them discover patterns, and teaches the child that there is a time for mess (and that time is not when you are 15 and I have told you to put your washing away!).

She enjoys when I draw around her hand so this time I used a small brush to paint around her hand, she loved this, keeping very still and drooling in concentration a lot! I guess it must feel quite tickly and nice. She also really liked painting using the helicopter wheels. I really need to pick up some more wheeled vehicle toys as she really enjoys painting like this.

She tried to blow the paint using the straws (I was very clear to her that you can't suck, only blow), but it was too thick..... one day I'll do this with watered down paints as it makes interesting paintings.

She had a great morning and forgot she was ill at all!

Of her own accord she tried out some hand print painting again, no encouragement needed from me this time! She really enjoyed squishing her hands about in the paint and kept her hands there for ages, and did a few really clear hand prints on the paper ( once I told her she needed to do it quickly, down then up).

She did get pretty much covered in paint, but jammies were put straight into the wash and she had a quick 2 minute wash-down in the bath and she was right as rain. The tuff-spot contained the paint really well aside from a couple of little splatters on the floor. It really made painting much easier for us.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Glittery Play Dough Fairy Cakes

One of Poppet's favourite ways to play with play dough and guaranteed to keep her occupied for a wee while so that I can sit and have a cup of tea finally unpack that suitcase that has been sitting there since Monday.

I gave her pink (ish) raspberry scented playdough, a couple of playdough knives, candles, heart shaped silicone fairy cake cases, a bun tray, biscuit cutters, silver glitter, and my rolling pin ( I have tried to use her little one and it is rubbish, you can't roll the dough out very easily with those little ones so I just give her mine, she gets on much better with it).

Obviously the glitter was very quickly poured out and copious amounts sprinkled about. She attempted to fold the dough over and knead the glitter in like she has seen me do before which I thought was clever.

Then it was over to the important task of cutting out the cakes. She is very pleased with herself that she can manage this by herself now (unless it is a particularly thick wedge of playdough in which case I am needed to assist). She knows to wiggle the cutter about to cut right through to the bottom.

Once her cakes were done, she realised her bun tray was too big to fit into her play oven so insisted that I put them in my oven instead. The addition of glitter to the playdough cake play definitely went down well although she does still have glitter on her scalp despite me washing her hair. And our bath is a bit glittery.

Poppet: 2yrs 4mos
Little: 8 mos

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Treasure Basket

I created a treasure basket for Poppet when she was a baby, much to my mum's amusement who assumed I think that I could not afford proper toys and rushed off to the Early Learning Centre to buy some for us. Now Little is sitting well (and crawling and pulling herself up to standing, yikes!), I set about making one up for her too. Treasure baskets provide rich mental stimulation and are a really enjoyable experience for babies. I find that a treasure basket occupies the girls for far longer than any bought toy, and they are far and ahead Little's favourite past-time.

Treasure baskets are based upon the concept of heuristic play. This was a term coined by child psychologist Elinor Goldschmied and describes the exploration of the properties of everyday objects through the use of the senses. It is a type of play that comes naturally to babies - their instinct is to explore objects by mouthing them and touching them in order to find out about their physical characteristics.

A treasure basket is simply a ridged low sided basket, easily accessible by a sitting baby, that is filled with a large number of different everyday objects (about 50). The baby is allowed to play freely with the basket without adult intervention. They should be allowed to explore the objects in their own time, and make their own decisions about what to play with. In fact that is the best part - observing what objects capture your baby's attention and which they discard!

The objects can be any small object from everyday life, providing they are not choking hazards. Plastic should be avoided, as all plastic looks, tastes and feels the same so does not offer much in the way of sensory exploration. The baby should never be left alone with the basket and an adult should always supervise the play. Importantly, the basket should not be left out 24/7, or the objects will become boring. To keep it novel, present it to your baby once a day or every couple of days, and regulary update objects.

Our treasure basket contained the following:

a teaspoon, a whisk, an empty golden syrup tin, a dessert spoon, a metal lid, a little sieve,  an egg cup, a tea strainer ball, a set of bangles

a large comb, a small comb, a plastic measuring cup, a frog bath toy, a toothbrush, a plastic cup

a wooden train track piece, a wooden orange toy that splits into segments, a wooden spoon, a small wooden dish, a wooden train, a wooden spatula, a wooden cube, a little wicker basket, wooden cubes on a ribbon, a large wooden bead, a toy wooden mallet 

an empty glass spice jar, a toy mirror, a CD, a silicone pastry brush, a make up brush, a soft toy flower with little mirror, ann egg box, greaseproof paper

a crochet coaster, a dishcloth, an organza sash

a large shella pine cone, a cork coaster

We had too many plastic and metal things but I tried to make sure they were different colours and shapes. At some point I am going to make a trip to Poundland and add a loofah, some brushes and more wooden bits and pieces to balance things out.

At first Poppet was rather too helpful and wanted to 'tidy up' whatever Little took out of the basket. She doesn't like the mess you see. Eventually I convinced her to let Little play freely. One of her favourite objects to fish out and put in her mouth was the sieve - I find this funny because it was Poppet's favourite thing too - what is it about sieves that babies like so much?! Her other favourite thing is the silicone pastry brush, she just loves sucking on that, and makes very loud noises with it.

When she got a hold of the wooden spatula, she started to bang her forehead with it repeatedly - now I didn't know how far I should be abiding by the 'don't interfere' principle of heuristic play - did that include not intervening when baby starts walloping themselves on the head with a wooden instrument? She did not look to be enjoying it but wasn't cottoning on to the fact it was her own actions that were causing it. Anyway, I just observed, and she ceased soon enough, so an important lesson was learnt. Don't bang own head with spatula.

Poppet : 2yrs 4mos
Little: 7mos

Friday, 24 May 2013

Textile Basket

In Little's baby play book that we were given by the Health Visitor, there was a suggested play activity of giving your baby different materials to feel and explore while you are doing your ironing. As a variation on this I gathered a selection of different textured fabrics from around the house, filled up the washing basket with them, and gave it to both girls to play freely with. There was a crochet coaster, a teatowel, a rough dishcloth, a chamois, a mosquito net, an LCD cleaning cloth, a set of rainbow scarves, a silk pillowcase, a muslin cloth and a woollen hat.

The rainbow scarves were a big hit, Poppet took great delight covering her sister in them. Little found this hilarious.

Poppet loved trying out all of the different colours .It was great practice for her learning her colours, she knows 'pink' (oh how my mission to not gender stereotype has failed!) but her other colours can be hit or miss.

Little modelling the mosquito net, which, for some reason, Poppet says is 'mummy's dress'. I don't own any white dresses, but I am guessing she is saying that because of our wedding photos that she has seen! Not very complimentary of my wedding dress though. But it's amazing what they observe.

Poppet also loved throwing the scarves into the air as they floated to the ground very slowly.

A whole morning was spent playing with the basket. Mostly the rainbow scarves although Poppet also spent quite a lot of time using the crochet coaster as a breastpad. Ahem.

Little wearing the woollen hat (placed there by her sister).

Poppet:2yrs 4mos

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Spice Up Kitchen Play

Poppet got a play kitchen for her 2nd Birthday and it is one of her very favourite toys. However I find that it can be left languishing a bit if it isn't kept inviting, so every now and then I give it a quick tidy up and introduce a couple of new elements for open-ended play. On this occasion I introduced mini-pompoms and cinnamon sticks.  I also laid out an ice cube tray, her little sieve and tongs, and china cups and saucers. 

Straight away she decided to make 'hot chocolate', and took a cupful of pompoms over to her little hob. She carefully added them one by one to her saucepan with a spoon (she had even switched the hob on!) and used the cinnamon stick as a stirrer. I was pretty impressed she knew how to make hot chocolate (I always make it on the hob so she has obviously been taking note!).


She made a cup especially for mama........

And another one for Little!

After that she then began 'making marshmallows'....

that were carefully placed in the oven. She even used her oven glove to get them out again.

The whole day she kept going back to do some kitchen play so the pompoms and cinnamon really sparked her imagination. 

Poppet: 2yrs 4 months
Little: 7 mos

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Safari Sand Play

We have just received a little bag of play animals in the post via Ebay and put them to use straightaway, creating this safari small world play scene in the quite frankly under-used sand pit. I was quite surprised at Poppet's animal knowledge, she could name most of them. All the hours spent reading 'Dear Zoo', 'Animal Alphabet' etc... have obviously paid off.

I buried a plastic box filled with water under the sand to create a 'watering hole', stuck some greenery and flowers in and added a couple of rocks to create the scene. Together we picked out the safari type animals. She took a lot of convincing that the cow was not appropriate.

Notice how Poppet is attempting to have as little of her feet as possible in contact with the sand. The little weirdo.

She wanted lifted out and preferred to play with the animals from outside the sandpit. Predictably, most of the animals ended up dying a watery death at the bottom of the watering hole.

Yes, she got her own way with the cow. Some arguments just aren't worth it

Then there was a lot of 'raining'. Somehow it always ends up as water play!

Poppet: 2yrs 4 mos
Little: 7 mos