Spin Art Flowers

Spin Art Flowers

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Spin Art Flowers are just really good fun to make and as it is a two step process it happily fills a day when you have no other great plans…well mine was meant to be housework but painting is far more fun. So if you have a salad spinner not currently being used for washing and drying salad,why not give this a go with your little ones.

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I could and lie say that this came out of hours and hours of thought but in actual fact it just came about as I was tidying up this morning and found my sister’s salad spinner, which reminded me I that I had rescued it from a pile of junk destined for the charity shop with the intention to use it to create spin art.

I began by cutting out some circles of paper to fit the bottom of the inside basket. Pook had a go at practising her cutting skills by trying to cut out the circles. It is a good challenge for young children to hold the scissors and paper while turning it to cut all at the sametime.

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Next I let the girls chose the colours that they wanted to paint with. I let them squeeze the paint on themselves. When they used what I would of thought was too much paint they turned out way better. Meemoo had a go at squeezing out the paint too.

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Next you simply place the lid on and spin the spinner. They both enjoyed doing this. It was great work out for their upper body muscles. Yet again another opportunity to get those arm and hand muscles ready to write.

The best is yet to come as you take off the lid to reveal a wonderful piece of spin art if you are lucky. If your child insisted on using all the colours then you will have a beautiful piece of brown paper! This happend many times until I worked out not too use too many dark colours together and putting the paint in the middle seems to work best.
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We could of done it over and over and over.

Once our beautiful spin art had dried we scrunched it up from the middle and used it to create a flower. Pook then turned them into cards for her friends.

There are loads of wonderful possibilities with this. You could explore colour mixing, cut the paper in different shapes to make all sort of pictures. The best thing is that the process is endlessly fascinating and every time you get a different effect.

So dig out your salad spinners and have some painting fun! I would love to see your creations so please share on my facebook page.

 

Mud, mud glorious mud!

Lots of fun has been had with our Mud Kitchen the past few weeks. Mud is lovely stuff especially when you are younger. It holds a world of make believe possibilities making mud pies, mud cakes, mud soup, mud stew…you get the idea.

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It was relatively easy to set up after inspiration from all the examples of mud kitchens all over the internet.  Basically it is an outdoor play kitchen which uses mud and natural ingredients to cook with rather than plastic food for children to explore, offering multiple learning opportunities. I simply re-purposed some old shelves that where not being put to much use for garden storage. I lowered them to become a work surface for the girls. Next I raided old pots and pans from my kitchen cupboards along with a shelving unit unused. You the kinda thing you get sold while wandering around Ikea dreaming up its infinite uses because you like but it never works out! I then hammered some nails into the shed to hang the utensils off.  The mud is in an old storage box used to grow vegetable in last summer. Its work in progress as I would like to add a chalkboard and a sign.

While I was busy with all this I set Pook the task of looking for some sticks stones and other exciting ingredients she might want to have in her kitchen.

Now it was time to let the fun begin. Pook and Meemoo have had a wonderful time cooking and mixing.

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It is a wonderful open ended play space that lets the girls imaginations run wild. It is also simple to add a suggestion for the next step in their play. I recently added an empty chocolate box, which prompted Pook to make Mud Chocolates, a new one on me. She got very involved in finding the right consistency for them to be sticky and then place them in the sunny spots to dry out informing me that it was food for the flies. I could tell you about all the science she was learning and working out or just tell you to have a go you never know where it make take you and your little ones.

 

 

Coloured water play

Coloured water play is so easy to do and is a must for a sunny day. Who doesn’t love splashing around in the water on a hot day?!

It is simple to set up coloured water play. I collected some empty drinks bottles. Truthfully I  had a quick peek though the recycling bins and washed out all the good ones with warm soapy water to get rid of any residue liquids. I then added a good glug of food colouring to three of the bottles. I stuck with the primary colours. The reason for this is that it provided the opportunity of colour mixing with a new format. Colour mixing is so often just done with paints , that is good to provide children with the opportunity of exploring this in a different way. The idea behind this is the more opportunities children are given to explore and play with a concept the more it is understood, remembered and ultimately learnt. The other bottles just had water in them.

Next step I let Meemoo and Pook explore. Pook loved pouring and mixing, making yummy drinks for us all. She enjoyed mixing the coloured water to explore what would happen as they mixed together. She was excited to mix them together, making green had the best effect. However you have guessed it we did end up playing with brown water after a good few mixes. This fascination with mixing led me to explore other play opportunities for mixing and making food in the garden.

Meemoo was more interested in putting the lids off and on the bottles as she is currently fascinated with how things go together, watching her do also gave me some time to reflect on proving more activities that cater for this need.

So some simple water play but oh so much learnt by the girls and me watching what their little inquisitive minds are exploring.

Magic Pictures

Magic pictures are a quick and easy activity to set up, keep little fingers busy for a good long while. I found the original idea on pintrest but have adapted it.  It is a fab activity if your little one, like Pook, is fascinated with scissors and cutting. Cutting is an important skill which helps to develop fine motor control.

I started making the Magic Picture by finding a clip art of an animal that I knew Pook would like. I choose a butterfly. After printing it out I then taped it behind a sheet of blue sugar paper, to look like the sky. On the the blue sugar paper I drew lines for Pook to cut down.

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Pook  loved cutting down the lines on the blue paper and folding them back to see what animal would appear. After having cut the lines a happy time was then had colouring it in. When then flapped the paper and it looked like the butterfly was flying in the sky, a truly Magic Picture.

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This activity really caught her imagination, with her asking me to make many more. The opportunites for pictures are endless.

Here are some other quick ideas

  • Chicks with Yellow paper to look like straw
  • Safari Animals with Yellow/Green  paper
  • Farm animals with Green paper
  • Insects with Green paper
  • Fish with Blue paper
  • Stars, Moons and Planets with Black paper

 

Rainbow play box – Tame those lost plastic toys

A Rainbow Play box is a great way to collect and make use out of all of those odd bits of toys.

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You know the ones that left stranded in the bottom of the toy boxes, under beds and just dribbled throughout the house. I swear its a territory claiming exercise, let no room be left without small bits of brightly coloured plastic. Well aha now we have foiled you!

Now this is where you can embrace the tatty bits of brighlty coloured plastic that are threatening to take over all floor surfaces in your previous grown up home. It was simple to do and both girls could join in. Pook and Meemoo loved collecting up all the odd bits of brightly coloured plastic and placing them into a clear plastic box, any box will do.

Suddenly the unloved became loved as it was in a new box. There are so many of them all together it opens up wonderful opportunities for some early maths work.

  • Re explore the toys as they are in a new place
  • Sort the toys by colour
  • Provide coloured paper to sort them onto and then if your are feeling creative you can arrange them into a rainbow
  • Sort them by size
  • Line them up and count them.

Enjoy taming you bits of plastic junk and reclaiming a part of your house!

 

 

Easter Exploring box

An Easter Treasure basket is a great way for young children to explore in a hands-on way all the artefacts that are connected to Easter and Spring.

In this treasure basket there are ;

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Plastic fillable eggs in an egg box – great for colour matching and counting

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Small eggs and plastic chicks which are excellent for filling and emptying. The process of filling and emptying is a key development schema in young children. Meemoo has spent many happy minutes sat doing just this.

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A selection of chicks and bunnies to play with.

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A set of bunny ears. Who doesn’t want a pair of these?!

A couple of baskets for collecting and transporting. This is another one of those development traits that keeps young children amused for hours as they make sense of the world.

This is all nestled in some sensory grass which like real grass has the ability to deposit itself and grow anywhere!

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I cannot this time take full credit for this wonderful exploring box as some of the contents and the fab box were a gift from a good friend. Thank you for the inspiration.

 

Rainbow Playdough

Rainbow Play dough is easy to make following my basic play dough recipe. It is wonderful to cut into and see a rainbow.

I have been mulling over how to create a rainbow in play dough without it turning to a brown mush for a while and today inspiration struck.

How to make Rainbow Play dough. 

It starts with a double quantity of basic play dough which is then split in half. Place half to one side for later, split the other into six pieces. Then using food colouring dye each of the six pieces one of the colours of the rainbow.

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Next step roll each of the coloured pieces into a long sausage shape.

 

Then roll out the plain dough that was set to one side.

 

Place the dyed dough on top and fold the plain dye around until you have a Swiss roll shape, and give it a gentle roll.

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Now for the best bit, get a knife and let your small person cut the dough in half and look inside to see what magic you have made.

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Pook was captivated dyeing the dough and watching it change colour. I got her to squeeze the dough to get the dye to mix in. This is great activity for strengthening little hands, to get them ready for writing. The best part was cutting into the dough to see our rainbow. Pook then enjoyed cutting up the dough and making rainbow cakes. Surprisingly you can squish the dough back together and the colours stay. Pook had so much fun re-cutting it to see new rainbows and patterns.

Farm Small World Play

Farm small world play is easy to set up and uses many of the toys we already had. After a visit to a farm it was the perfect opportunity to make some links in learning for both Meemoo and Pook.

The farm small world was built using some Duplo. It was a great opportunity for some construction play with a purpose. The animals needed a barn. This was then extended to become more creative as Pook used green bricks to create grass and blue bricks to create a pond, just like we had seen at the farm.

I added some craft grass to add texture to the farm small world scene. There are lots of opportunities for extending this. You can add some beans for as food for the animals, a small pot of water dyed blue for the ducks to swim in.

To extend the play opportunities further for the Farm small world play I made some simple labels for the farm animals. It is a good introduction to some early reading skills for Pook. She enjoys asking what the word says and matching it to the correct animal.

Meemoo simply enjoyed exploring the farm small world by picking up the animals making the noises for each one in turn.

Farm small world play provides many opportunities for early learning fun.