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.

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.

 

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

Summer of Fun part 3 – Fairies

Here is our 3rd Guest post from my creative and talented friend detailing her wonderful summer of fun. Wish I had been there too!

Fairies

This theme followed Miss N’s birthday, and her imaginary fairy had saved a couple of fairy-themed presents to give to her at the beginning of this week.  So, she started off with wand decorating and a fairy finger printing set.

We also…

  • dressed up as fairies;
  • played with the wonderland set we hired from the toy library;
  • made potions in the garden as it had been so dry, we couldn’t make a muddy enough hole in the garden, so we put a Frisbee at the bottom so the water held for a short while. Miss N collected leaves, feathers and flowers from the garden to make a colourful potion that she thought her fairy would like.  Mr Z enjoyed feeling and smelling the lavender we included, and we blew some magic bubbles into it too, just for him.
  • enjoyed small world play with fairy play dough and Playmobil fairies
  • found fairies hiding under the balls in the paddling pool. It was hot, and sneakily gave Miss N more practise at using her goggles and putting her face in the water, which was helpful as she’s had a break from swimming lessons over the summer.  Mr Z enjoyed being in the pool with us too.
  • ate sandwiches with fairy toppers and fairy bread, a sandwich where hundreds and thousands are the filling. This was a revelation for Miss N.

We also went on a trip to Trentham Gardens.  We chose it primarily as a halfway place to meet up with friends where all the kids could explore and play, but it had the bonus of a fairy trail to follow! We also recommend the barefoot walk, if you ever visit.

fairies 2

There are loads more fairy-based ideas too that we didn’t get around to – making peg doll fairies, dancing to the Sugar Plum Fairy music and reading the books galore on the subject, making fairy bells by threading bells onto elastic to make bracelets. I think Mr Z would have particularly liked playing with the finished product.

Ice Cream Messy Play

Ice cream messy play is great fun and it merrily whiled away an afternoon or two for Meemoo and Pook.

I have made a new discovery playing with frozen gloop is a lot like playing with actual ice cream. We often play with ice cream play dough so when I stumbled upon this I could not wait to have a go. For those of you who are not aware gloop is a mixture of cornflour and water which is fascinating for young children to play with as it is solid and then liquid all at the same time.

How to make Gloop Ice Cream

To begin you need to make a basic cornflour and water mix. Ours  looked too liquid to become ice cream consistency so I poured in a good amount of plain flour. The girls had a fab time mixing and it was good work out for their little arm muscles.

 

Mixing anything is a great way to develop children’s shoulder pivot. This is an important developmental step for a child  enhance their fine motor control. I know this is something I go on about a lot but it is so vital to children’s early learning!

Next add food colouring to make your flavours of Ice Cream. Meemoo and Pook choose vanilla, strawberry and mint flavours. I then portioned them out into a mini muffin tray and froze for 24 hours.

Next step I set it up as an invitation to create with the Ice Cream Messy Play. I put out  our plastic ice cream cones, some beads and sequins to use as to use as sprinkles.

Pook and her friend had a fab time playing with the Ice Cream Messy Play. Our little blobs of ice cream sat perfectly on top of our play ice cream cones.  It is in fact so realistic to play with that my friend on being presented with an ice cream for her almost began to eat it! As the frozen gloop began to melt you could get the sequins to stick on the side. As it melted in the bowl it became a beautiful thick gunky mess to play with.

So there you go frozen gloop does work and it actually looks incredibly realistic. Be careful not to eat it!