Articles on this Page
- 11/12/12--00:00: _Lunar Landscape Sen...
- 11/14/12--00:30: _Abstract Line and C...
- 11/14/12--14:52: _Advent Activities a...
- 11/15/12--03:31: _Christmas Ornament ...
- 11/15/12--07:50: _Twinkl Educational ...
- 11/17/12--03:44: _Top Toy List for Ba...
- 11/19/12--02:21: _Invitation to Play ...
- 11/21/12--15:29: _10 Shape Learning A...
- 11/24/12--07:58: _Golden Cinnamon Sen...
- 11/26/12--02:25: _20+ Christmas Activ...
- 11/27/12--10:48: _Snow Dough Recipe f...
- 11/28/12--15:58: _8 Christmas Cards K...
- 11/29/12--15:42: _Counting and Maths ...
- 12/02/12--20:30: _Easy Homemade Wrapp...
- 12/03/12--11:30: _White Clay Ornament...
- 12/05/12--15:55: _12 Christmas and Wi...
- 12/06/12--16:44: _Focus on the Nativi...
- 12/07/12--15:11: _Spin Art Christmas ...
- 12/11/12--00:00: _Arctic Small World ...
- 12/12/12--15:46: _10 Sensory Bins for...
- 11/12/12--00:00: Lunar Landscape Sensory Small World Play
- 11/14/12--00:30: Abstract Line and Colour Paintings Inspired by Paul Klee
- 11/14/12--14:52: Advent Activities and Calendars for Kids [It's Playtime!]
- 11/15/12--03:31: Christmas Ornament Exchange!
- 11/15/12--07:50: Twinkl Educational Resources!
- 11/17/12--03:44: Top Toy List for Babies and Toddlers!
- 11/19/12--02:21: Invitation to Play with Fairy Play Dough!
- fine motor skills through pushing, rolling, cutting, squeezing, pinching, balancing etc
- counting and problem solving through counting out objects, comparing quantities and lengths, matching and sorting materials
- language and story telling through using new vocabulary, inventing new stories, addigning roles to characters and toys, using voices to become a character in play
- sensory development through smelling, touching and moulding the scented, sparkly dough
- Use this set up in a classroom/ home education lesson as a storytelling prompt
- Provide pink and purple books and sparkly gel pens and stickers for writing and drawing the story after they have told it orally
- Turn it into a maths activity by making it into a fairy birthday party with a set number of guests! Can you count out 8 jewels, necklaces, balls of dough for "cakes" etc. Add or subtract small amounts, compare sizes, lengths quantities and weights etc Be creative!
- 11/21/12--15:29: 10 Shape Learning Activities for Kids [It's Playtime!]
- 11/24/12--07:58: Golden Cinnamon Sensory Tub!
- Simply tip one bag of economy rice (around 40p) into a deep baking tray and squeeze liquid yellow food colouring over the top. Stir the colour through with a fork until it is evenly coated, then leave it to dry. It doesn't take more than a hour or so and I've found it works perfectly well without adding alcohol hand sanitiser, and also remains safer if accidentally put into the mouth.
- Once dry, sprinkle cinnamon all over the rice and stir it through, then invite your child to add plenty of gold glitter to make it sparkle!
- Add in anything gold and shiny that you can find to really bring the tray to life! We added gold star Christmas tree decorations, glittery gold pinecones, gold bead strings, gold treasure coins, gold ribbon, golden eggs, gold wicker balls and the all-important scoops and spoons.
- 11/26/12--02:25: 20+ Christmas Activities for Kids!
- 11/27/12--10:48: Snow Dough Recipe for Winter Sensory Play!
- 11/28/12--15:58: 8 Christmas Cards Kids can Make! [It's Playtime]
- 11/29/12--15:42: Counting and Maths Skills with Play Dough!
- wooden matchsticks
- wooden numerals (both Creation Station brand- very cheap!)
- red sparkly play dough (find our easy-peasy no-cook recipe here)
- Put the sticks into the dough first and ask the child to count them, then find the numeral to match
- Take some sticks away from the dough ball and work out simple subtraction problems practically
- Use a larger piece of dough to stick in two numerals, find the correct sticks for each and then add together to solve simple addition problems
- 12/02/12--20:30: Easy Homemade Wrapping Paper with Kids
- 12/03/12--11:30: White Clay Ornaments Tutorial
- 12/05/12--15:55: 12 Christmas and Winter Play Dough Recipes [It's Playtime!]
- 12/06/12--16:44: Focus on the Nativity: Celebrating the Christmas Message with Kids!
- 12/07/12--15:11: Spin Art Christmas Trees
- 12/11/12--00:00: Arctic Small World Play in a Suitcase
- 12/12/12--15:46: 10 Sensory Bins for Christmas and Winter [It's Playtime!]
Create a sensory, small world play scene to replicate the moon's surface and provide hours of space imaginative play for your little ones! Using recycled materials and homemade moon dust, it's easy to set up and can lead to plenty of learning opportunities and creative story-telling too.Make your own moon dust!
6 cups fine salt
large squirt of liquid black food colouring (or 1/2 tsp gel colouring mixed with few drops water)
2-4 tbsp baby powder or flour
generous sprinkle of silver glitter
We also used this moon dust to practise early writing skills in this previous post.
You also need:
empty egg cartons
a large tray or tub
Then we tipped in the moon dust, making sure it covered all the recycled craters and shiny foil, and added in some moon buggy and space station toys, complete with little astronaut figures! This set had previously belonged to the girls' boy cousins and is what has prompted a sudden interest in all things "spacey" recently!
Here are 5 great books about space to read with this project!
fine motor skills, sensory exploration, new vocabulary, language skills, story telling, positional language, creativity, creating art in 3-dimensions, combining materials, creativity, imaginative play
Bean: 8 mos
See all our sensory tubs ideas here
See all our small world play ideas here
Create some stunning paintings to investigate colour, form and line with a little inspiration from abstract artist Paul Klee! A great art project for children with beautiful, open-ended results.
We are framing these in our new kids art gallery space in the kitchen, and giving some away to family members too as there are so many wonderful finished pieces!
Want more art inspiration? Check out the wonderful list of art projects for kids that are linked below to Kids Get Arty! And visit my creative co-hosts Maggy at Red Ted Art , Tinkerlab, Imagination Soup, Creative with Kids and Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas to see their amazing ideas too!
Have YOU got a post about creating art inspired by real artists? Link it up below!
See our other art projects: Mondrian
Klee & Kandinksy
Just two weeks to go until the beginning of the Christmas countdown, here are some fun and simple ideas for creating a memorable Advent with your family this year, from homemade calendars and wreaths, to activity trees and themed books. These great ideas were linked up to It's Playtime in the past, (with a couple of our own mixed in too!)Featuring [clockwise:]
10 Homemade Advent Calendars [The Imagination Tree]
Christmas Picture Book List [Life at the Zoo]
Magnetic Advent Tree [Making Boys Men]
Advent Activity Tree [The Imagination Tree]
Here is a great crafty challenge to get kids excited about Christmas, while learning a little about geography and the joy of giving all at the same time! Have a blog and want to take part? Read on!
Calling all Christmas Loving Crafty Bloggers!
I am very thrilled to announce a brand new partnership between The Imagination Tree and the fabulous educational resources site, Twinkl Resources! With so many free materials for you to download, print out and use at home or in the classroom, as well as incredible resources in the premium collection, I think you will be as excited as me when you take a look! What's more, they've just been shortlisted as a finalist for a BETTs 2013 award, woo hoo!
Here is a go-to list of great quality, tried and tested toys for babies and toddlers that provide plenty of opportunities for open-ended play and learning! Pin it and share with family and friends as a handy reference for future present buying for Christmas and birthdays, or as a guide to creating a baby and toddler room in a child-care environment!
Top Toys for 2-6 Years + Post, here is a list of highly recommended toys and resources for young babies up to older toddlers. These are just suggestions and of course you should apply your knowledge of your own child when thinking what to provide for them to play with.
Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile
Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Triangle Play Mat
Tiny Love Double Sided First Book
Manhattan Toy Skwish
Sophie The Giraffe Teether
Manhattan Toy Classic Baby Beads
Lamaze Activity Knot
Manhattan Toy Winkel Teethers
Heimess Beeswax and Wood Rattle
Soft Baby Boing Ball
Lamaze Freddie The Firefly
Jungly Tails - Soft Baby Book
Whoozit Photo Album
Older Babies and Toddlers
Classic Pop-Up Toy
Peg Hammer Bench
Farm Sound Blocks
Large Wooden Play Blocks
Floating 3D Blocks Bath Toy
Colour Water Blocks
Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks
See Me Sensory Ball
Wooden Magnetic Wobbly Stacker
Rainbow Stacking Toy
Wooden Rainbow Sound Blocks
I cannot say enough about the BRILLIANCE that is Playmobil! Yet few people seem to know about their baby and toddler range, called Playmobil 123. I've linked our two favourites but there are many more to be discovered too!
Playmobil 123 Noah's Ark
Playmobil 123 Train Set
Fish Colours Mix 'n Match Peg Puzzle
Farm Chunky Puzzle
Orchard Toys: Transport Puzzles
Galt Baby Puzzles
LeapFrog Spin & Sing Alphabet Zoo Ball
Vtech Red Playtime Bus
Natural Soft Dolls
Baby Walker with Bricks
Pintoy Wooden Trike
Shape, Model and Mould Set
Jumbo Paint Brushes
Homemade Toys and Games (cheap and just as fun!)
Treasure Basket for babies and Toddlers
Baby Discovery Bottles
Baby Material Box
Discovery Boxes for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Fibre Optic Sensory Cave
Crawl Through Play Tunnel
Top Creative Toys and Resources
Top Educational Toy List for 2-6+ Year Olds
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Here's a magical invitation to play for children who is interested by fairies, princesses and sparkles! Combining play dough, sensory play, motor skills and creative storytelling in one play prompt, this Fairy Play Dough is a great way to engage little ones in learning and creativity as they play!
I set out an Invitation to Play for the girls based on one of their favourite current interests, fairies and sparkles!
Here's what was on the table:
pink, strawberry sparkle no-cook play dough [click here to read our recipe add pink and strawberry essence and glitter!]
unicorns and fairies
pink and purple sequins
sparkly pom poms
a little door
fairy dust in a bottle [click here to read our recipe]
Read all about our Invitation to Play in this introductory post
Join us on Facebook for DAILY Invitation to Play ideas!
Here are some great ways to learn about shapes with young children which are all are easy to set up and offer plenty of scope for creativity! Learning maths skills through play and art is the best possible way! Many of these ideas were linked up through It's Playtime, thank you to all who contributed and are featured here.[Clockwise]
Foam Shapes on the Window [The Imagination Tree]
Shape Sticker Collages [The Imagination Tree]
Giant Felt Shape Board [The Imagination Tree]
Shapes in Play Dough [Come Play an Hour]
IQ Shape Puzzles [Learners in Bloom]
Matisse Shape Art in the Bath [The Imagination Tree]
Shape Stamping [Mummy Musings and Mayhem]
Paint Chip Shape Mosaics [Happy Hooligans]
Triangle Fractals Community Art Project [Anjalicuric]
Printing with Shapes [At Home with Ali]
Create an aromatic, golden sensory tub filled with golden, cinnamon scented rice for a truly multi-sensory play time with kids!
we dyed some rice green and scented it with peppermint oil to create a perfectly Christmassy sensory tub, filled with all sorts of sparkly decorations and fun things to play and explore with.
This year for our Christmas sensory tub we have dyed our rice with yellow colouring and added golden glitter and cinnamon for a really evocative, seasonal playtime. The whole house smells wonderful and with the addition of a few glittering extras it has become a real feast for the eyes as well!
Here's how we made our golden cinnamon sensory rice:
The girls were really amazed at the sparkliness of this sensory tub and absolutely loved playing with the rice, scooping, tipping and transporting it between containers. Cakie found a way to turn one of the pine cones into a little Christmas tree and decorated it with bead strings and the hanging stars.
This is also the perfect sensory tub to create along with the ever-popular nursery rhyme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! This has been Pop's favourite ever since she was a tiny baby and she automatically began to sing while she played.
What they are learning while they play:
sensory: investigating materials using all of the senses
literacy: using new language to describe how things feel, look and smell , storytelling through play
maths: counting out scoops and cups, comparing quantities e.g. full and empty
fine motor skills: balancing, transporting, scooping
creative: singing familiar songs and rhymes, imaginative play
Bean: 9 mos
You may also like:
Christmas Sensory Tub
Flowers and Fairies Sensory Tub
Hedgehog Hibernation Basket
Patriotic Sensory Tub
Baking Sensory Tub
Gingerbread Play Dough
Golden Cinnamon Sensory Tub
Cinnamon and Nutmeg Play Dough Cookies
Snow Play Dough
Do pop back to visit this post often throughout the winter time as we will be adding all the other Christmas and winter themed activities that we get up to over the next two months too!
If you have a post about your traditions in your home feel free to link it in the comments section below so we can see it!
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Recipe for Snow Dough:
2 cups corn flour (corn starch in US)
1/3 to 1/2 of a cup vegetable oil
3-4 tablespoons silver glitter
[You can also use baby oil, which makes it smell and feel even nicer, but do NOT use with under 3s or any child who may put it in their mouth as it is dangerous if ingested. We stick to vegetable oil just incase!]
This recipe does not create a huge amount of snow dough, just enough to cover the base of a washing up bowl by about 2 inches. If you want more for a larger scale sensory tub, then increase the quantities accordingly.
What they are learning as they play:
Sensory: exploring through sensory investigation, learning new descriptive language
Literacy: story telling, vocabulary development
Science/ Knowledge & Understanding of the World: combining materials, recipes, geography and habitats
Creativity: imaginative play, forming sculptures
Maths: counting out measurements
Bean: 9 mos
Cloud Dough Seaside Play
Pink Cloud Dough Cup Cakes
Coloured Paper Snowflakes At Home with Ali
Splattered Cards Art Club Blog
Cork Stamped Christmas Trees Mudpies and Sunshine
Pom Pom Snowman Mummy, Mummy Mum!
Collage Christmas Trees Rainy Day Mum
Handprint Rudolph The Imagination Tree
Up-cycling Kids Art into Cards Making Boys Men
Photo Reindeer Red Ted Art
Set up a creative approach to developing early maths skills using play dough, matchsticks and wooden numerals!Invitation to Play recently as a way to encourage some completely open-ended, hands on counting and number skills. If you follow our Facebook page you may have seen it posted there. As is always the case with play invitations, there was no set outcome in mind and the children were encouraged to do whatever they wanted with the materials, with my role being to observe, prompt questions and interact when they wanted me to.
What was on the table:
[Recognising numerals, counting using 1:1 correspondence, matching numbers and amounts, recognising small sets, fine motor skill and control, problem solving skills]
Extend this activity!
Read more here about Invitations to Play, what they are and why they're brilliant!
You may love these other playful numeracy ideas!
Paper Plate Number Spinner
Play dough Learning Mats
Egg Carton Colour Sorting
Homemade Rain Gauge
Use the finished papers to wrap gifts or to cut out and thread ribbon through to make gift tags!
Check back to Red Ted Art and Creative With Kids each day this month for more simple, fun and creative ideas!
I found the recipe for this baking soda [bicarbonate of soda] white clay dough via Busy Bee Kids and then altered it a little so that it worked for us.
How to make white clay:
2 cups corn flour (corn starch)
1 cup bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
3/4 cup of warm water
Mix the dry ingredients in the pan then stir through the warm water. Mix over a medium heat, stirring as it starts to bubble and come away from the sides of the pan. When it has started to dry and resemble a soft play dough consistency, take it off the heat and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Turn it out onto the counter and knead it for a couple of minutes to make it super soft and pliable. It should look and feel like bright white play dough!
We then popped them straight onto a baking sheet and dried them in the oven at 100 degrees C (or 200 F) for an hour. They also dry perfectly if jut left out in the air at room temperature for a day or so, depending on the thickness of the dough. Ours were thin and dried very fast (not really even needing the full hour in the oven.)
This clay can also be coated with varnish or mode podge, painted using acrylic or metallic paints or covered with glue and dipped in glitter. It would also take colour very well if it was mixed in during initial pan cooking stage. We are trying that next!
Here's what they are learning while they play:
motor skills: mixing, kneading, rolling, cutting, squeezing the dough; threading the twine; hanging carefully by the loops
maths: measuring quantities
science: observing change in state of materials from dry to malleable to hard
literacy: following instructions, reading recipes
Bean: 9 mos
See our other ornaments too!
Handprint and Footprint Keepsakes
Easy Salt Dough Ornaments
Salt Dough Initials
Featuring Ideas from:
Candy Cane Play Dough [Love Play Learn]
Christmas Pudding Play Dough [Sun Hats and Wellie Boots]
Gingerbread Play Dough [The Imagination Tree]
Scented Snowman Play Dough [Sugar Aunts]
Peppermint Play Dough [The Fairy and the Frog]
Pine Scented Winter Woods Play Dough [Small Potatoes]
Oranges and Lemons Play Dough [The Imagination Tree] link to follow
It can be SO easy for the ever increasing commercialism of Christmas to creep up and over-take the whole reason for our celebrations and we are trying to build up our own simple traditions to make sure we keep our focus on Jesus, not just as a babe in the manger but as a perfect Saviour, the servant-King.
Here are 4 simple ways we are trying to do this at home:
[No doubt we will adapt and add to these as the girls get older!]
Nativity Story Advent Calendar
We love advent calendars (in fact I think I might be a little obsessed by them) but we make sure that whatever type we have, be it chocolate or a toy one, we also use our gorgeous bible story book version called The Story of Christmas. This has 25 little numbered hardback books in it that tell the story slowly and carefully, including a lot of details that are often skipped over in today's retelling. The girls love finding the right number each morning and hearing the new part of the story over breakfast! Here is the link below.
This is a new activity this year that we are currently working on together. It is designed like our Advent Activity Tree from last year, but with a more Biblical emphasis on the nativity story. Each day there is a star shaped paper hanging on our tree branch with a Bible verse on one side and an accompanying simple activity on the other. For example, on Day 2 we read a few verses about who Mary is, then made a little character of Mary from a cardboard tube, fabric and pens. We are building up a whole set of characters for story telling and it is really helping to bring it all to life! When we have completed it I will out together a full post of 25 activities for you.
Nativity Story Telling
Setting up the crib scene with all the characters and a little straw lined box is one of my fondest memories from childhood of the build up to Christmas. Last year when the girls were 3 and nearly 2, we made this Nativity Scene Small World Play box together, using Playmobil characters and simple props. The girls played with it and retold elements of the story that they had been learning in our family devotions and reading time. This sort of retelling helps to consolidate the important events and to teach it in a meaningful way through play.
Nativity Stories & Singing
We have put all our Bible story books about Christmas into a story basket for reading together and talking about throughout the month of December. These books don't just come out at Christmas time, of course, as the message isn't confined to one month per year, but this is a particular focus for these weeks. We try and read these together when daddy is at home, in our family devotions time. They also serve as a great springboard into questions and further discussions. At the same time we sing some favourite hymns and choruses, taking time especially to learn Away in a Manger and Who is He in that Poor Stall?
These are our simple, achievable and adaptable ideas that we are focusing on at the moment. As the children grow up I'm sure the list will adapt and we will be inspired to try new activities too!
Speaking of which, check out the linky list below for a wonderful collection FULL of incredible ideas for activities, traditions, books and more ways to take time to teach the nativity story and it's message to our kids. Please take a look at all of the efforts of the amazing bloggers who have linked up and visit their sites to leave a comment too!
Here are the 28 fabulous bloggers taking part in the Focus on the Nativity event today!
The Imagination TreeLiving Montessori NowKindergarten & Preschool for Parents & TeachersMy Nearest And DearestLife At The ZooCreative Connection for KidsThis Reading MamaAdventures in MommydomTrain up A ChildRainy Day Mum3 DinosaursCrafty Mom ShareThe Magic Of PlaySun Hats and WelliebootsThe Fairy and The FrogHousing a ForestThe Iowa Farmers WifePreschool Book ClubCraft To ArtThe Golden GleamHere Come The GirlsMamas Like MeIn Lieu Of PreschoolKids Creative ChaosMy Small PotatoesLove Play And LearnKids World Citizen
Do YOU have a post you have written about any aspect of the Nativity story? It could be an activity, a play, puppet show, storytelling, lesson idea etc. Link it below so we can all find you too!
How to make spin art trees:
Simply cut some Christmas tree shapes from green card to fit inside the bottom of a salad spinner. Fix the card in the middle of the basket using a piece of blu-tac and let your child squeeze as much liquid paint on top as they like. In fact, the more the better! We also use runny glitter glue to add a big dose of sparkle and fun! Close the lid and spin as fast as possible (what a great gross motor skill to practise!) Then take a peek at the creation inside! We often add more paint at this stage, or sprinkle some glitter over the picture, then put the lid back on and spin again. The layers that build up by doing this can look really stunning!
First Spin Art with Toddlers
Spin Art Easter Egg Garland
Spin Art Fireworks Pictures
Spin Art Autumn Leaves
Bean: 9 mos
So I did some research and finally found the exact mini suitcases that I was after at this craft shop on eBay, made from a hardened type of paper mache that is a perfect blank canvas for painting and decorating the inside of! Oh the possibilities, what to choose and where to start?! An Arctic scene for winter, that's where!
I started by simply painting the inside of the box with ordinary, washable white paint to represent the snow and ice. Then I squeezed some PVA/ white glue into a simple wiggly outline and covered it with silver glitter, shaking off the excess when dry. On the opposite side I used blue glitter glue to create a frozen lake and left both to dry overnight.
Christmas Sparkle Sensory Tub [The Imagination Tree]
Golden Cinnamon Sensory Tub [The Imagination Tree]
Peppermint Scented Oatmeal Bin [Train Up a Child]
Treasures Sensory Bin [My Nearest and Dearest]
Red and Green Christmas Sensory Bin [Fantastic Fun and Learning]
Christmas Sensory Bin [Frogs and Snail and Puppy Dog Tails]
Nativity Story Sensory Tub [The Fairy and the Frog]
Shiny Treasure Tin [Laura Ingalls Wannbe]
Sensory Snow Dough [The Imagination Tree]
Arctic Sensory Small World [The Imagination Tree]