Monday, October 31, 2011

Cauliflower Prints


* sliced cauliflower florets
* paint
* paintbrushes
* paper

Slice the cauliflower florets as straight as you can, uneven edges will mean your print will not come out as well. If you slice them in half they are easier to hold (rather than in multiple thin slices).

The girls enjoyed the painting part just as much as the printing part!

The prints look like cute little trees, they'd be ideal for making cards or murals.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Squeezy Paste

When squeezing tubes of toothpaste becomes an Olympic event my girls are bringing home the gold baby. Until that glorious day we may as well do it for fun.
As well as the benefits for fine motor control (with the squeezing action) there are many sensory play aspects to this activity as well.
I loved watching the different things the girls did with their tubes; Bubble pretended she was icing a cake and was very particular about where she squeezed her paste and how much, Squeak just loved squeezing the tube as hard as she could and wanted to paint with it using the brushes.
In the words of Bubble, this activity was "really super cool".


* large tubes of toothpaste
(we bought ours really cheaply on clearance. Dollar stores often stock cheap paste as well)

* clear PVC sheet
(ours is a section cut from a shower curtain but you can also buy clear PVC at craft stores. Failing that you could just use a wipeable placemat, glass or plastic top table, plastic tray or something like a large baking dish)

optional ; brushes and scrap cardboard (for clean up)

I covered the tubes of toothpaste so they didn't resemble anything in the bathroom using big label stickers the kids had drawn pictures on. I wanted to differentiate between tubes that were for craft activities and those for personal use!

I just laid our sheet across the table but you could tape it if you need to. A wipeable placemat or series of placemats would work well for this activity as well.

The girls both had different techniques for squeezing their toothpaste and had fun working out the best ways to do it.

Squeak squeezed as much as she could out of her tube and then used the toothbrushes to paint and make patterns.

She especially enjoyed mixing the colours together.

Bubble used her tube for imaginary play, turning this empty ice cream cup into a 'cake' and making 'snails' with her toothpaste.

Bubble icing her cake.

Clean up was made very easy by using a folded piece of scrap cardboard to scrape the paste up (this works well for cleaning up paint as well), then the mat went into the shower for a quick wash down.

It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow

Monday, October 24, 2011

Memory Matching Balloons

Yes, yes, another activity involving balloons! They are big time fun at our house as far as my girls are concerned, so steel yourselves for even more of them to come :-)
This game is just like a traditional matching/memory game, but using balloons instead of cards. I designed it to work for both of our girls age groups (2 and 4), to teach colour matching for Squeak and sight word matching for Bubble.
And of course, to have an excuse to run around crazy in a room full of balloons.
That too ;-)


* balloons of the same colour
* stickers
(we used a pack of coloured dots and a pack of large labels)
* texta/marker

optional - we use balloon clips when we play games involving balloons, they can be bought at most party/discount stores very cheaply (we paid $2 for a pack of 100 from our local dollar shop). Using balloon clips instead of tying off balloons means you can deflate them after the fun is over and reuse them again and again. Better for the budget and better for the environment too.

Inflate your balloons and either tie them off or use balloon clips to secure them. You will need enough balloons to create as many pairs as you will be using in your matching game.
We used ten balloons for Squeak's colour matching game and ten for Bubble's sight word game as well.

You will need two sets of each sticker you intend to use for your matching game since you will need 'pairs'.

For Squeak's colour matching game we put ten coloured dots on the sides of ten balloons (two of each of the five colours).

For Bubble's game I wrote her sight words (two of each word) on large label stickers and she attached them to the sides of her ten balloons.

We threw all of the balloons onto the floor, ran around to stir them up so they were jumbled and then raced to see who could find all of their pairs first.
The girls had to find two matching balloons, say the colour/word (or ask me what it was) then put them on the bed before finding their next pair. There was a lot of crawling, running, sharing and learning going on.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nature Theme - Magnifier Discovery Board

A little while ago we created our own Magnifier Discovery Board which was a big hit with the girls. Today we took it with us to a Botanical Garden and filled it with interesting things we found there.
This board ended up involving more than just the visual element because the girls lifted the lids to feel and smell the things inside.


* fine sand
* gravel stones
* seed heads from different grasses
* thistles
* dried leaves with a spotted pattern
* bark
* dandelion spores
* tiny flowers
* small gum nuts/seed pods

abc button


It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow

Animals That Live Underground

Recently we've been reading the book Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French and Bubble has become intrigued by the fact that some animals live under the ground.
Last night I made her a simple diorama that hangs on the wall and we played a sorting game using animals that do and don't live underground.
Not only did Bubble enjoy it but so did Squeak, so we'll be leaving it up on the wall for awhile!


* scrap cardboard
* small shoebox with a hinged lid
(could also use an unhinged box but attach one side of the lid with tape. Or use no lid at all!)
* coloured paper (green and blue)
* glue
* paint (brown)
* wooden building blocks
* animal pictures
* tape/blutack

To create our animals I taped animal pictures to wooden building blocks.

The diorama was made using a side cut from a box. I glued a small shoebox at the base and then glued blue and green coloured paper to both to represent sky and grass.

To reveal the 'underground' area the girls just had to lift the lid on the shoebox.

I painted a burrow inside the box and we talked a lot about how the different underground animals dug their holes and why they might live there.

We'll be decorating the backgrounds over the next week and also adding 'animals that fly' to our diorama too.

The animals that live above ground stood on the box.

The animals that live underground went inside the box.

The girls played with this for a long time. I'm glad I hung it in their doll play area because I can see it becoming involved in their imaginary play in many other ways too.

abc button


It's Playtime at hands on : as we grow