Salt Art – Heart of Tifiti

Salt art was a new experience in our house. It was perfect opportunity to use a new art process to explore the story of Moana, which is still a firm favourite in this house.

You will need

A3 white paper

Water colour paints

PVA glue

Salt

Food colouring

Pippettes

Paint brushes

Salt Art Process

We began by painting our sheet of paper in various shades of greens and yellows.  It was a lovely opportunity to explore mixing paints to make different shades of greens.

After this was dry we began the salt art. The first step was to create the spiral shapes using PVA glue. Our glue was in a squeezy bottle which gave Meemoo and Pook a workout for their hands. it is quiet a skill to squeeze the bottle and to get the glue to make the shape you desire when you are only little.

Next we gave our paper a liberal coating of salt and after shook off the excess. Now it was ready to add the colour. I had mixed a few drops of yellow  and green food colouring with some water.  Meemoo and Pook used a syringe to suck up some water and drop it onto the salt.  They enjoyed watching the colour travel along the salt. It was difficult to be precise and some off the ink leaked into the paper.

Our guest blogger, Sarah,  used the same process to make Salt Art sea animals.

It is a really fun process and an interesting way for children to make pictures.

 

Balcony Play Space

Our balcony has become our new play space. Outdoor play spaces, I think are just as valuable as having a decent place to play inside.

Since we have moved to a flat , Meemoo and Pook have a small balcony to play, which is not quiet the same as having a garden to run freely in when you are 3 storeys high!

Rethinking our outdoor play 

Having a balcony and being three storeys high meant I rethink of how Meemoo and Pook would play outside. What exactly could they do safely in the space? How would we make the space safe?

How we created a  safe balcony play space?

The first concern being so high in the sky is safety. Our balcony had railings but they were not safe enough. It was too easy to throw toys threw the bars or climb up them.  The first thing we did was to buy some safety barrier in a lovely shade of green.

Our balcony also has a large section of wall that protruded into the space. The safest way to manage this risk , was by buying the biggest plant pot that would fit in the space. There is no space left to climb and it is too heavy for the girls to move.

Lastly in an effort to deter Meemoo from climbing I ensured we bough folding furniture that would not be left out as a climbing temptation.

How do we use our new  balcony play space? 

With a little space, I have managed to squeeze in many different play opportunities.

Meemoo and Pook adore playing in their house, which fits perfectly in the space.  It allows them to continue their many role play games from inside and does not stop their game. ( Yes it does mean toys are dribbled from one of my flat to the other!)

Water play is floor based with our new waterways toy. It is a wonderful toy for exploration of how water flows and moves.  We also have a small paddling pool, just big enough for the two of them to get in and cool down!

We no longer have our mud kitchen but we have in miniature a small box of natural objects to explore.

Perhaps one of my favourite things is our new painting easels. It was easily made from an old cardboard box and some pegs use to attach it to the fence. Meemoo and Pook had a great time painting. I cant wait to set it up again when the weather is dry.

Amazingly this all fits, with space still for a little running and perhaps more importantly for my table and chair to sit at and drink tea while they are playing outside.

How do you use your outdoor space? What is your children’s favourite thing to play with?

 

Summer of Fun 2017

Summer of Fun 2017 is gonna be the best! Trust me on this.

Summer of Fun is  a simple set of play plans which are currently being fine tuned to help you have a fab summer playing with your little ones.  The play ideas are open ended and broad .

Whats the reasoning behind Summer of Fun 2017?

The idea behind Summer of Fun 2017  is that each day there is simple activity which can be a springboard for free play. Free play is the best, it is when your child or children are engrossed and don’t actually need you.  Free play is when a child is free to explore their ideas, thoughts, and make new connections about the world around them. So walk away and grab a coffee.

Summer of Fun is not about over planning children’s time and rushing from one thing to the next. It is not about adding stress to a busy life.

Summer of Fun is about finding a little time each day with your child to play together. They are designed to be simple to set up using basic items, paper, paints, glue and toys you already have.  We all know the oldest trick right?! Moving toys and playing with them in a new space or a new way opens up a whole new world of discovery. Yes I mean muddling them up and mixing all the tiny bits and pieces from sets together!  And it goes without saying that sometimes a mess is made, but the mess below led us to create our own paper.

Themed Days

Making Mondays 

Get all the craft mess out one one day and create to your hearts content!

Trip out Tuesdays

This does not have to be an impressive and amazing trip, some of the best days are the ones spent at your local park.

Wacky Wednesdays 

A day for Messy play, play dough, slime, gloop, we have got it covered!

Thinking Thursdays 

A day to give those Summer holiday brains a little work out with activities based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths!

Foodie Fridays

Spend a day in the kitchen cooking up a storm!

 

So why not join up and join in?!  It ain’t gonna cost ya!

Play Spaces

Play spaces are important for both children and adults. Children need a space to play and adults, well we need a space free from all the toys.

Play spaces, I love creating them. In our last house we were fortunate to have a dedicated playroom. It is still fondly refereed to as the Rainbow room. When I knew we would be moving a play space was one of the many top priorities. Now we find ourselves living happily in our 2 bed flat, still with spaces for play.

Family Room Play Space

Our flat we has one very large room, that is multi functional, within, which I have created  a space to play.

We have limited storage, which was a conscious decision. Meemoo and Pook have 6 boxes of toys to choose from, plus Lego and drawing/writing things out all of the time.

The boxes are only half full, with the intention for them to remain that way. The boxes are themed.

Meemoo and Pook have a varied selection and there is often

  • puzzles and games
  • small world toys
  • role play toys
  • wheeled toys
  • toys relating to their current interests
  • dolls and princesses

Most days tidying up is as painless as it can be with a 3 year old and a 5 year old as both girls know what goes in what box. I have a spare set of 6 boxes in the loft and I rotate the toys roughly every 6 weeks.

Bedroom Play Spaces

It has been an adjustment having a shared bedroom. I am constantly trying to make best use of the space. Meemoo and Pook are currently have an Ikea Kura bed as a set of bunk beds. It works well for now and the main priority for us is that Pook is not too high up. The girls love to play in their bedroom together, something that they did not do much before. I have decided that ‘less is more’ when it comes to the toys which are available to them in this room.

I have created a space for all the dollies, a table top play place for small world that is easily rotated and a dressing up area, with a limited number of costumes on offer.

 

So that is a quick round up of our play spaces for now and how they are set up. It is always a work in progress. Currently I am trying to add more decoration, a challenge in a beige rented flat! I also need to find a better Lego solution.

What play spaces do your children have in your home?


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Starting School – I just played all day

 

 

Starting school, what do they do all day? Play?

After your child’s first day at school no doubt you will be asking them “So what did you do today?,” in a hope that their answer will give you a glimpse into what they did without you, where they looked after, did they have fun?

The answers will be one of two

  • I dunno
  • I just played.

 

Dont Panic!

This is probably what your child will say about everyday at school about their first year at school.  Don’t panic they are learning all day long. I know from experience that what looks like play is actually carefully crafted learning by the teachers in the class.

Many teachers are sat agonising over the best way to plan their precious 6 hours with your children in their care. The best way to get a to get the most enjoyment. The best way to get the most engagement. Ultimately a day with learning crammed into it.

It is just that it has happened without the need of a desk , pencil and workbook each, when everyone all faces the teacher at the front. It has happened through short bursts of carpet time. Learning occurred when adults made sensitive interactions alongside children as they play. Learning happened with a adult guiding them towards the next step and skill they need to acquire.

It is a magic trick! By the end of the year all teachers aim for every child in their class to be well on their  journey in learning to read, write, count and use numbers. To be most importantly be a part of their school and class.

How your child will learn? 

Your child may be the one who goes home looking slightly dishevelled, the one with paint in their hair or the clean one. However there is no doubt that your child will have had an array of play opportunities all carefully presented to encourage them to think and discover for their selves.

It might be that they chose to make these discoveries inside or outside. In the first year at school the outside classroom is an important learning tool with many classes allowing children to choose to be in or out. Your child may have chosen to access the creative messy area, or role play areas, or construction toys and small world or more investigative science areas. All are equally valid and all offer a wealth of learning opportunities.

For young children all play is work and all work is play, there is no distinction so a day spent playing is a day spent working and a day spent learning.

I just played is the best answer, you know that they will have had an amazing day full of adventures. Just watch they will share them with you when you least expect it.

You can read more about starting school

What really happens in the classroom? 

Phonics – A parents game 

3 fun quick phonic games