Saturday, 24 November 2012

Cloud Dough Sensory Tub

Today I tried my hand at making cloud dough - which is really less like a dough and more like a moldable silky sand. I actually can't believe it's taken me this long to make, because it's SO easy and a really beautiful and interesting play substance. All you need is:
  • 4 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of oil (vegetable or baby oil)
  • 2-3 tablespoons powder paint
  • Glitter (optional)

Literally all you do is put the flour, powder paint, and glitter in a mixing bowel, add the oil and use your hands to mix together until it resembles bread crumbs. Done!

It feels wonderful to touch and can be molded to shapes much like wet sand (but far nicer consistency and no way near as messy!).

Today I decided to make my fist 'Sensory Tub' for Bean, using the cloud dough as a base medium. If you haven't heard the term 'Sensory Tub' before you can read more about the concept here. Our sensory tub is just a plastic storage box at this stage (although I have plans for bigger and better things to come!), and can be filled with all sorts of different substances and items for open ended play that also stimulates the senses.

For my first try at the sensory tub idea I wanted to create a little desert type scene, so I filled my box with:
  • Yellow glitter cloud dough
  • Coloured plastic shot glasses
  • Glass pebbles
  • A variety of scoops
  • Some toy animals
I also put out some different size containers and a plate for scooping/filling.

I decided the test run for this play substance would be best executed outside, as I wasn't sure how messy it might be and it just so happened to e a beautiful sunny day! It was also the first activity we've done in Bean's newly set up outdoor messy play area (which, at the moment is just a low table I found on eBay with a box full of paints, paper, brushes, chalk, etc underneath - it's a work in progress!).

The first thing Bean picked up were the animals...

...Then Lion and Tiger had a little chat...

...Next she explored the different scoops and containers...

....scooping and pouring...

....touching and tasting...

...of course some of it got poured on the ground, and that was ok (LOVING the outdoor messy area for this reason!)...

...She then decided to 'feed' some of the cloud dough to the chalk animals I had drawn for her on the ground that morning...

...It looks like very pretty pollen on the Bee...

...she also found another scooping implement to use! 

This was a really successful activity, and Bean is still totally excited about playing with it three days later. Definitely will try some more variations on the cloud dough soon...and now i've seen the sensory tub idea in action there will be MANY more to come! Oh yes! Such a simple and creative concept for open ended play, and only limited by your imagination.

B xx

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Stained Glass Christmas Tree

This is a really simple adaptation of our sticky pictures using the light panel, but could also be done using a low window or glass door on a sunny day.

This time I drew the outline of a Christmas tree onto contact paper with a marker, then laid it sticky side up on top of the light panel using masking tape to secure. One evening last week I cut out lots of bits of the coloured lighting gels I had left over from another light panel project (purchased on eBay), and we used those to stick onto the tree outline...

It was beautiful to see all the colours with the light coming through...

When we'd finished sticking I cut another piece of contact paper the same size and stuck it down to seal the picture...

...and that's it! So simple and looks really beautiful in the window...our first Christmas decoration in the house this year :-)

B xx

Monday, 12 November 2012

Discovery Box - Threading Practise For Little Hands

Lately I've been getting into the concept of 'Discovery Boxes', which is something I first did for Bean when she was about 6 months old and recently I was re-inspired by a post I saw over at The Imagination Tree, a blog i've only just discovered that is FULL of amazing play ideas!

The basic notion of the Discovery Box is a box that you fill with a selection of household, craft or natural objects that can be used in open ended play. The idea is that you let the child explore the box and its items in whatever way they chose, interfering as little as possible and allowing them to discover things for themselves, only offering suggestions or help if they struggle or run out of ideas. These boxes can be a great activity for a rainy day, or to occupy a busy baby or toddler for some time whilst you get something done.

This weeks box was something to extend Bean's current fascination with putting things 'In and Out' and 'Through'. Its perfect for practicing hand eye co-odination skills, without being too difficult for little hands to achieve success and satisfaction.

Here are the contents:

  • Colander
  • Large funnel
  • Grater
  • Strainer
  • Plastic cup with holes cut in sides
  • Plastic cup with foam stuck over top and holes cut in foam
  • Cardboard squares with holes cut out
  • Straws
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Pipe cleaners

When Bean woke up from her nap she toddled over to the box, which i had laid on the floor in the dining room. First she asked me to hold some of the cardboard squares whilst she threaded the pipe cleaners...

 Then she proceeded to try it herself with straws...

Then she got out the cup covered in foam...

And pretended to drink from the cup using the pipe cleaner as a straw (totally un-prompted)...

Then the colander took her interest, she liked to listen to the sound the pipe cleaners made as they went through the holes...

With the funnel she liked to see the straws disappear through the bottom and then look underneath to see where they'd gone...

She enjoyed putting the lollipop sticks through the cup with the holes in the sides...

I left the box out over the next few days and it was revisited several times. I noticed that it was a good way for Bean to self-regulate when she got over-excited or a bit manic towards the end of the day, doing a focused quiet activity like this really seems to help calm and center her...and it's so easy (and inexpensive) to do!

More discovery boxes to come soon....

B xx

Sunday, 11 November 2012

You REALLY Know You're A Parent When...

We all have those moments that blatantly remind us of how utterly parenthood has taken over our once organized and well groomed life. I had one such moment last week (number 1!) and decided to make a little list for some light relief! Feel free to add some gems of your own...

1. You go to a trendy cafe for some rare alone time with your partner and on the drive home realize that you put your shirt on inside out.

2. You SMS pictures of your babies poo to your partner to update them on the status quo.

3. You absent mindedly eat food from the bottom of your child's sock.

4. You use baby talk words in adult conversation.

5. Cleaning the house becomes 'alone time'.

6. You stop looking in the mirror before you leave the house.

7. You find stickers EVERYWHERE!

8. Touching poo becomes mundane.

9. Talking about poo becomes dinner conversation.

10. You find a piece of food in your coffee but you drink it anyway.

11. You can't remember the last time you got to finish a meal.

12. You feel overjoyed to find an item of clothing in your wardrobe that doesn't have food/spew/play dough on it.

13. You no longer care/know anything about popular culture.

14. You can't leave the house without at least 15kg of STUFF.

15. Feeling exhausted is no longer something worth commenting on.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012