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 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!

Summer of Fun

I am really excited to introduce the first ever guest blog from a close friend who has a passion for creating wonderful and imaginative adventures in play.

Our summer of fun!

Hi!  I’m Sarah, mum to Miss N (5 years) and Mr Z (9 months).  I’m currently a stay at home mum, which means lots of lovely play with my little ones.  I’m also Gemma’s friend, and after posting some of my summer play photos on Facebook, she invited me to write a guest post for her blog. So here goes!

When I started thinking about the summer holidays sometime in May, six weeks felt like a very long time to have off with both children at home!  I love planning activities for the children to do, so Miss N and I came up with five themes, one for each week that we were at home,

  • Pirates and Under the sea
  • Olympics
  • Fairies
  • Nature
  • Science

 

This gave us a focus of things to do, variety so that each week felt different, and lots of things to look forward to. I kept the cost down by using things I already had in the house, hiring toys from the toy library and adapting activities to use cheap resources that I’d picked up when out shopping.  Most of the activities were set up with Miss N in mind, but there were a few specifically for Mr Z.

Pirates

By far Miss N’s best loved activities this week were the treasure hunts.  I had made her an ‘old’ treasure map of our house and garden, showing where the tools the she would need were and X marks the spot for the treasure.

sarah

I created an authentic and distressed looking map by wiping a wet teabag over a piece of card, then leaving it to dry, before carefully burning the edges of the card with a match.  Miss N had to use the map to find the tools and then dig for the buried treasure, a wooden chest with golden coins in, which I had my lovely husband bury in the garden the night before!

During the week the other favourite activities enjoyed by Miss N and Mr Z were

  • Dressing up as pirates;
  • Eating pirate mini babybels

  • Making a treasure map pizza. It would be more effective with a range of toppings, but Miss N is extremely resistant to eating vegetables!

  • Reading Pirates stories, we especially enjoyed Pirates love Underpants by Clare Freedman
  • Playing pirate board games we borrowed from the Toy Library

Under the Sea

The second half of our first week was Under the Sea as it naturally followed on from Pirates. It involved

  • some sand play;
  • a seaside treasure basket of large shells and pebbles for Mr Z;
  • sea creature sand art and scratch art;

  • oyster sandwiches (a Babybel ‘pearl’ inside a wholemeal roll);
  • crab croissants (googly eyes on cocktail sticks pushed into a croissant),
  • watching Finding Dory at the cinema;

We live a very long way from the seaside, and so made the most of our town centre beach that is made every summer holidays, and is free!

I’m a gatherer of ideas with some original thoughts, and so lots of the ideas are based on things I have found on the Internet.

I will be back next week to share our Olympic themed week.