Monday, 30 April 2012

Miss Polly had a dolly....

'The Fairy' loves role play. She also loves the nursery rhyme 'Miss Polly had a dolly', so Dr role play is the perfect combination.

'Making' dolly sick  with red sticky dots from the craft box (chicken pox obviously!)

I love this one as she took it (unusually in focus for one of her shots!)

Making her better (she insisted on having a hat to go with her medical bag when tending to her patient - just like the nursery rhyme, maybe the NHS should invest in some sun hats too!) 

We then obviously had to sing the rhyme:
'Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick,
So she called for the Dr to come quick, quick, quick
The Dr came with his bag and his hat and he knocked on the door with a rat a tat tat.

He looked at the dolly and he shook his head,
He said Miss Polly 'Put her straight to bed'
He wrote on the paper for a pill pill pill.
'I'll be back in the morning,
Yes I will, will, will'

Language Focus
Vocabulary: sick, poorly, medicine, body parts
Other skills: role play, social skills (empathy) and learning rhymes.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Playdough coffee shop

After seeing this amazing idea for chocolate play dough i've been waiting for the right opportunity to use some. When 'The Fairy' asked to play 'cafe' I thought the time had come.

The raw ingredients (vanilla, strawberry and chocolate play dough see here for the recipe I use  NB playdough should not be eaten due the large amounts of salt in it).

Making cherries to go on top of the cakes and strawberry shortcake biscuits.

We even had some sprinkles (an old spice jar with sugar stars) to use when we were 'baking'

The play dough smelled so good I just had to join in and make some biscuits and cakes too

Our finished plate of goodies

'The Fairy' asked if she could be the waitress (we don't spend all our time in Starbucks- honest!). Together we made a menu and the 'The Fairy' took our orders using her clip board - great for developing literacy skills in a natural environment! I got to enjoy being served the cakes. You could extend this play idea using money, a till and even a receipt.

Language Focus
Vocabulary: names of food items- cake, biscuit, cherry, roll, cut, press
Other skills: pretend play and developing imagination, social skills- learning to order food, memory (our waitress went and got our orders and then brought them to us)

Monday, 23 April 2012

How to make a handprint dragon

Despite yesterday's paint disaster 'The Fairy' was very keen to do some painting, so we decide to be festive/patriotic and paint a dragon. After seeing Red Ted's amazing A-Z  of hand prints I fancied giving some a try.

We don't normally celebrate St George's Day but 'The Fairy' is currently into dragons so I thought she might enjoy the story. And she did!

We made the basic hand print. I love how the extra (not on purpose) smudge of yellow looks like it could be a hand. Added a thumb print face and finger tail and leg.

Added some spikes and other details (it looked quite dinosaur-ish before we added the 'fire').

Then 'The fairy' got stuck into some free painting!

Language Focus
Vocabulary: hand, paint, brush, dinosaur, roar, colours

Painting in our PJ's

I often think that the poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling should be handed to parents as they leave the postnatal ward to return home (or as the midwife leaves if you have had a home birth). The sentiment of the first line and 1/2 appears to sum up how I'd often like to respond in the many manic situations we find ourselves in  'If you can keep your head when all about you, Are losing theirs..'

Yesterday was definitely one of those days.

We had a bit of a painting 'disaster'......  We woke up too late to go to church (after having been up half the night with 'The Frog'). 'The Fairy' REALLY wanted to do some painting, so we decided to have a lazy morning painting in our pyjamas.

Whilst setting up we had a bit of an explosion - so much for a 'relaxed' morning!

It was so messy all 'The Fairy' and I could do was laugh. We laughed so loudly it woke up my darling hubby who was having a lie in (normally a bomb wouldn't wake him). I was tempted to see if we could make a print from the explosion on the table but we didn't have a piece of paper big enough (I though it would make a great part of Red Ted's Get Arty Link up party - as a Jackson Pollock style painting!) We did a bit of hand printing to try and use up some of the paint then had a mammoth clean up operation and some impromptu water play!

Both the children ('The Frog' had been innocently watching in his high chair) and myself looked like Smurfs, there was paint everywhere- on the walls ...carpet... I'm very pleased I insisted 'The Fairy' wore her painting apron. We then curled up on the sofa to watch the London Marathon. I put the paints way until tomorrow (at least!)

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Polar sensory tub

Walking through the jungle  by Debbie Harter is a bed time favourite of ours. The book tells the story of a little girl who travels around the world meeting various animals and is back in time for tea! The rhythm of the book is great and the pictures are bright and bold resulting in a very engaging book. We are very lucky to have the Spanish/English version. We are a bilingual family so we try to encourage literacy in both languages. This is a great addition to our bilingual library.

After our success with ice suncatchers I thought some more ice sensory play would be a great idea. So I created a small world polar 'sensory tub' for 'The fairy' to play with based on the iceberg page...

To prepare this activity I froze some water in various containers (with a bit of added glitter). We then added polar animals (I do know that penguins and polar bears live in different hemispheres so this is not geographically correct but these are the polar animals we have in our toy basket!) 'The fairy' helped to choose which animals live in the cold from the selection we had. Then she chose the figure she thought most looked like the girl in the book from our selection of people.

She wanted to feel the ice and explore it to start with (including feeling it on her feet). She then decided 'The frog' may also want to feel it on his- he wasn't to impressed with his big sis's idea!

After spending time exploring the ice we used a glitter shaker to make it snow (the pic of this didn't come out very clearly). My first thought was to use flour and glitter together to make 'snow' but then thought that might get very messy. My very lovely friend and colleague C (who has given me lots of ideas to develop sensory play especially play with food) always tells me 'its not mess its creativity' but I think its better to leave that kind of mess outside or on wipable floors! Let me know if you try it and how you get along

After the snow came small world play.

Here the animals are sleeping while the penguin is telling them a story.

Hopefully we will have time to make some more 'tubs' based around other pages

Language Focus
Vocabulary: cold, slippy, shiny, sparkly, animals names (including categorising where animals live), snow different types of weather
Developing Play Skills: imaginative play is an important stage in a child's language development

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Small world jungle play

I love how sometimes the simplest play ideas are the best. Yesterday we went to the allotment and 'The fairy' wanted to bring her new toy giraffe (she was very proud as she got it as a reward for getting stickers on her sticker chart).

 Soon her imagination was at work, she pretended the garlic was a 'jungle'

She decided he needed a house so set about work collecting stones to make one.

Then he needed a bed (apparently giraffes like to sleep on grass and dandelions).

Language Focus
Vocabulary: giraffe, house, live, sleep, eat, tall
Play skills: imaginative play is a very important stage in language development.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Orange playdough fun

I think play dough has to be one of my favourite 'inside' activities. It's simple to make, its fun and 'The fairy' loves it which means I love it too! Its a great way to develop imagination and fine motor skills. With an added bonus that we both find it relaxing (a bit like kneading bread or using clay). So this morning when it appeared that we both had got out of the wrong side of bed (largely due to lack of sleep as 'The frog' is teething) a play dough session seemed to be in order. As 'The fairy' had just had a clementine as a post breakfast snack we commandeered the peel and set to work on the easiest play dough recipe in the world - with a citrus twist.

The play dough recipe below was given to me by my wonderful friend and collegue D, who is Portage worker .... (as an aside the Portage workers I have had the joy to work alongside have been a very talented and inspirational bunch - they are all very special people and have taught me lots especially about sensory play).

Very easy playdough
1 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 cup of boling water (just from the kettle)
1 table spoon of cream of tartar
1 table spoon of oil (this makes it nice and stretchy)

Mix it all up, give it a bit of knead and away you play.

There are loads of things you can add to make the sensory experince different... food colouring, flavouring or a tiny bit of essential oil (NB make sure that it is a non toxic one as some can be toxic) for a different smell, bits to make it give a different texture (lentils, porridge oats) glitter for added sparkle or flowers for a natural touch. When adding ingredients I usually omit a bit of another similar ingredient (e.g. if I'm adding food colouring I leave out a bit of water, flavoured oil then I omit a bit of olive oil or if I'm adding porridge I leave out some flour). The basic mix keeps well in a sealed container in the fridge for a bit (if the there are added 'foody' bits then it doesn't keep as well).

As we had an orange theme we used some food colouring and added orange oil to give an olfactory dimension. We snipped up clementine peel to poke in. After a root around in the cupboard I found some lentils and dried citrus peel to add as well.

Today I encouraged 'The fairy' to use other utensils rather than the favourite rolling and cutting and so we raided the kitchen for interesting looking items.

We squeezed

and banged

and pressed

and pushed

and sprinkled

and finished with some 'pizza cakes'

I love watching The Fairy come up with ideas in play. She often makes worms when we play with playdough with 'no cutters'. I wonder if today she chose 'pizza cakes' because of the food related materiels she had available.

Language Focus
Vocabulary: roll, hit, push, squeeze, sprinkle, smell, orange
Other skills: fine motor skills and imaginative play

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Teddy bears' picnic

'The fairy' adores picnics and is always nagging me to have one. Today because of the grim weather we were looking for something fun to do when she asked to have one. I found our china tea set and table cloth (a present from Great Granny) at the back of  the cupboard. We waited for a break in the rain and set up our tea party on our balcony.

We brewed some blackberry tea (with cold water)

Waiting for the colour to change


She wanted to add some flowers. The tea was not only a beautiful pink colour but smelled fruity too and the flowers added a tactile element. Very sensory!

Then the rain came so we decamped indoors. At which point 'The fairy' decided we needed snacks, a chocolate dinosaur, shiny cake and a bun with a cherry on the top were on the menu!

 I decided that pink tea, pouring and cream carpets didn't mix so swapped the 'tea' for clear water. 

This activity was great for imagination, developing her concentration and role play and well as linking in with her new found fascination with things changing colour (see the Easter biscuits we made at the weekend).

Language Focus
Vocabulary: stir, pour, tip, drink (if your not using flowers in the water!), names of food and crockery
Play skills: Role play is an important stage of development and helps to support imagination and language development.