Smurf House and Village

 

Smurf house and village is a fun toy to make from things you may already have at home.

It was inspired by Meemoo and Pook’s current interest, from watching it in German, plus seeing them on a recent trip to Brussels. This is not at all what I had thought we would do for week 4, see the plan!

The Smurf houses were fun, if a  little involved to make, but even Meemoo had a go. The best bit has to be that we are still playing with them a week later and have played with them everyday.

To make a Smurf House you will need:

Flower pots

Paint

PVA Glue

Hot Glue Gun

Foam Sheets

The first step is to turn the plant pot upside down,  cut out the door and window.  I used a craft knife to do this. Next  paint the pots your chosen colours. Mix the paint with a little PVA glue, this make the paint thicker and helps it to stick to the pot. Leave the pots to dry.  Then apply a thin coat of PVA, and leave to dry overnight.

Smurf House Decoration Time

Pook sat and helped me design the decoration and details for the Smurf Houses. All of the pieces were cut of of foam, I did not use a template the shapes were cut  by eye.

Pook was able to cut many of the simple shapes. Firstly we added foam around the doorways and the windows. Attach the foam using the hot glue gun. (Hot Glue guns are not suitable for children to use.)  Next we added flower pots  to the sides. The roof was attached last.

Making the Roof

First draw a circle on a piece of foam which is slightly bigger than the flower pot.  Add decoration spots to make it look like a Smurf house. It was easier to attach one edge of the roof, then the opposite side. This then leaves you with the slight rounded shape when the next 2 sides are folded in.

The roof took a bit of fiddling, I did have a few goes trying to get it to look right.

Making a Smurf village 

The Smurf Village was very simple to set up.  I found a large piece of green material and arranged the houses on it. Next I added small stones to make pathways,the inspiration came from seeing the shop windows displays in Brussels.

I made a small lake out of larger stones and small blue beads from a broken toy necklace!

Meemoo and Pook, have thoroughly enjoyed playing with it. Meemoo added all the small cakes from My Little Pony castle and then obviously the ponies came to live in the Smurf Village!

Stomp Dinosaur Stomp

We have stomped dinosaur stomped our way through week four of our Summer of Fun!

Here’s a quick reminder of what we’ve been up to this week:
reminder of what we’ve been up to this week:

Making Mondays Trip out Tuesdays Wacky Wednesdays Thinking Thursdays Foodie

Fridays

Make your own dinosaur bones out of salt dough. Take a trip to a natural history museum Do you remember the bones you made on Monday?  Dig for them today in your own dinosaur excavation! Make some frozen dinosaur eggs.  How do we get the dinosaurs out? Make dinosaur footprint biscuits.

This week required a little bit of planning, as some of our activities were done over a couple of days.

 Making Monday,

We began the week making a basic salt dough recipe (equal volumes of plain flour and salt, mixed with approximately half the volume of cold water until they form a soft, but not sticky dough). Miss N was tasked with using her salt dough to make dinosaur bones. I then baked these at 100C (fan oven) for 3 hours.

I used up the leftover salt dough in the evening to make some footprint tiles. After baking and cooling, I painted the footprints and left them out with the matching dinosaurs for the children to explore.

Trip Out Tuesday

We are becoming dinosaur experts after our trip to the National History Museum in London – an amazing trip out Tuesday! Meemoo Pook and I took the opportunity on Tuesday to visit to refurbished Natural History Museum in Luxembourg. While small in comparison to London we still had a great time.

 Wacky Wednesday

I buried Miss N’s salt dough skeleton in the sandpit, and set out scraping tools and brushes for the children to excavate the skeleton. Add an explorer’s hat, and Miss N looked every bit the expert archaeologist!

Gemma had less space, but still was able to do this brilliantly on a smaller scale too.

Throw in a little dinosaur movement (flap like a pterodactyl, stomp like a stegosaurus or run like a velociraptor) and you have a truly Wacky Wednesday!

Thinking Thursday 

We had so much fun playing and exploring with our Dinosaur Swamp with frozen eggs.

 Foodie Friday

We put Mr Z’s excellent mark-making skills to good use by making a basic shortbread biscuit, and pressing the toy dinosaurs into the dough before baking. We added a little icing to the imprints when the biscuits were cool, to make them pop! Yummy! I think Foodie Friday is a perfect end to the week!

 

Please share your dinosaur adventures on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram.

Next week we are exploring fairy tales and imaginary worlds – where will you travel to? Come and join us for our summer of fun, just sign up in the pop box on the right to receive your exclusive and free play ideas for next week straight to your email inbox.

Sensory Sea Play

Sensory Sea play was a fun alternative to water play. I set it up while Meemoo was recovering and needed to keep her hand dry.  I decided to use rice as the base. Rice is very easy to dye. Rice is also pretty easy to sweep up when it inevitably gets spread about.

How to dye rice

  • Spread the rice out on a flat tray
  • Drop over blobs of food colouring

  • Mix the food colouring through the rice until it is well coated
  • Leave to dry overnight.

Setting up Sensory Sea Play

The rice was put in a clear deep sided container. I added another handful of white rice to the box and mixed it through. Next I added

  • sea shells and a stones
  • plastic fish and coral

I set it out to play on a piece of blue fabric I had spare.

Meemoo enjoyed playing with the rice. She added her Aerial doll and Flounder. We then created some stories using Aerial and the fish. Pook came home and joined in the play. The play then changed again as Pook added cups and spoons for pouring, filing and stirring. Later in the week when the play was returned too I add some tweezers. This provided a perfect opportunity to practice fine motor skills.

Fine motor control practice

Children need many varied opportunities to practice their fine motor control. It is a large part of a young child’s development that takes many years of refining both pre school and when in school.

In this activity Meemoo had the opportunity to

  • practice the pincer movement needed for holding writing implements
  • hand eye co ordination to fill up the cups

Sensory Sea play , relatively easy to set up and not too messy.  Give it a go, we love to see your play ideas too!

 

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Thank you for reading x

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

Starting School – What really happens in the classroom?

animated-20clipart-20free-11949861182029597463an_apple_01.svg.medThis year I am in a unique place, lots of Pook’s friends are off to school in September and I am going back to work in Foundation stage so I am seeing starting school from both sides.  So I thought to help explain what really happens once the doors close and you say goodbye I would write a series about starting school.

However before all the detail here are a few thoughts I would like to share with you.

    • Don’t forget you are and always will be their first teacher, we are just glad to be part of their journey.
    • On the first day I am just as nervous as you and the children.
    • I promise I won’t forget to remind them to put their coats on when its cold, put an apron on when doing something messy because it does get messy!
    • I will wipe away their tears and snotty noses, find the all-important wet paper towel for those scraps and bumps.
    • I will share with them the very best of me and what a journey we shall have full of fun and adventure, with surprises at every corner.
    • I will teach them how to read and count and write, joining you along the road you have already begun to walk down.
    • I will share all the good days, the mad days and sometimes sad days.
    • You little one may come home all about how Miss does this and that but at school all we hear about is you.
    • Be proud because I know they will amaze us all.
    • Enjoy your cup of hot coffee, it’s your turn for a rest!

 

You can read more in the starting school series here

I just played all day – What this really means?

Phonics – A parents game 

3 fun quick phonic games