Tag: learn through play

Life Cycle Of A Frog – Squishy Sensory Bin Fun

Life Cycle Of A Frog – Squishy Sensory Bin Fun

My eldest got some tadpoles at school the other day, and the excitement was very very real! Everyday when I fetched him he would show me their progress and point out the ones that were growing. I had been waiting for the perfect moment to use my Toobs figurines from Kid-Ease, and this was it!

My youngest still is fully absorbed by sensory trays so I always try and combine them with a little learning for my 5 year old now as well. We picked out a froggie book and got to making our “pond” habitat.

Materials Used:

Waterbeads

Jelly type substance – you could make some goop up from cornflour and water, but I used Sno Ball from Zimpli Kids and added some blue food colouring to it

Logs/sticks

Pebbles

Leaves

Frog figurines or any other figurines found around a pond

I also used polystyrene cut into the shape of a lily pad because I didnt have any other suitable “lily pads”.

Explore the Life Cycle of a Frog

I always have to hold my kids back a bit before they dive right into a sensory tray. So I began by pointing out the various different stages of a frog and asked Aadam which order he thought they belonged in. As soon as he touched the sensory tray it was over and they both were too excited to play. We combined it by reading one of our favourite “frog themed” books, frog on a log. We also spoke about what other animals you would find around a pond like dragonflies, fish, butterflies and turtles. We also spoke about how the frogs lay eggs in groups and that they need to be in the water or they will dry up and not hatch We also discussed how the frog changes as it gets bigger and how it slowly loses its “tail”.

Its so much fun to learn when you get to play and explore as well!

I never know whether to turn our sensory trays into blogs or just post the pictures up on instagram. What do you prefer? Whichever way I hope you got some inspiration, and happy playing!

Creative Cardboard – Thinking Out Of The Box

Creative Cardboard – Thinking Out Of The Box

We are pretty big fans of making things out of cardboard in our house. I love how a simple box can be turned into, well, anything your heart desires really! It drives my husband insane but I keep every single box after a delivery for the boys and I to turn into a magical masterpiece.ย Cardboard sneaks into your home every time you do the shopping, and you can get boxes for free at most stores just by asking for them.

Apart from simply using flat pieces of cardboard as a canvas, you can build things with it using only tape or glue. It’s recyclable as well, so the possibilities are endless.

I thought I’d put together a list of some of the things we have made to inspire you to get creative. March is national craft month after all.

1. A Market Stall

I kid you not, we are going onto year 3 of pulling out our market stall. You’ll need a slightly bigger box for this one (think washing machines, fridges etc). Cut out a window and have fun getting creative.

2. A Rocket Ship

Would it be an article about cardboard crafts without one? We slightly cheated with this one and bought a “flat pack” cardboard rocket ship. I wanted to use it as a craft for Aadam’s party so the kids could all paint it. I can’t remember where we got it from but Makedo sell awesome “assemble your own” cardboard construction kits which you can buy from Takealot.

3. A Marble Run

One of the most iconic ways to use cardboard tubes and it provides hours of endless fun. If you are worried about marbles with your little ones you can also do the same thing with Pom-Poms. Turn it into a colour sorting activity for your pompoms.

4. A Mini Town

Let your imagination guide you here, the possibilities are endless. Just find a nice sturdy box that’s the right height and create away!

5. A Car Ramp

One of our favourite ways to “race” our Hot Wheels or Monster Trucks. Find a bigger box and open it up. A glue gun comes in handy with this one to stick the different lanes on. The boys played for hours comparing which car went faster!

6. A Mini Aquarium

The perfect craft for a cereal box, and a little boy for was dying for a fish ๐Ÿ™‚ The boys did all the painting and bits of cutting here and mummy did need to get involved with the hot glue gun to stick some of the sea weed and suspend the fish. This still sits in our dining room today!

7. A Post Box

After all our family left last year to return oversea’s we were feeling very sorry for ourselves. Combine that with a few movie runs of “Postman Pat”, it wasnt long before the boys wanted to “post” letters to their grandparents and aunts and uncles. A simple small box does the trick here with cut up toilet roll for the legs. Make sure you cut a “door” in the back to retrieve your letters once posted!

8. A Letter Or Number Sorter

This is the perfect educational craft to make out of a shoe box for the kids. We chose to do ours with corresponding uppercase and lowercase letters, to help with recognition. But you can do whatever you want! For smaller kids you don’t need to even use letters or numbers, it’s a fantastic fine motor skill activity in its own!

9. Art, Art, Art

Cardboard really does make the best canvas. Its thick, sturdy and a ton of fun to experiment with. Paint landscapes or portraits, abstract or 3D, just give your kids a piece of a box and let them paint away!

10. A Car

Would a childhood be complete without making your own box car? Have a “drive in” movie night at home and get the kids to make their own box cars. You can see we didn’t even get to decorating ours before Aadam jumped in and was “vrooming” away. He just got frustrated because it didn’t actually go anywhere ๐Ÿ™‚

11. A House

Yes, of course I would finish my list without getting to a house. Whether it’s a big house for the kids to play in (you’ll need much larger boxes for that again), or a smaller house for their dolls (or action heroes); making a house out of cardboard is a must! Mummy got involved again cutting out the smaller detail like the windows and glueing the slightly uneven floors, but the boys designed and painted to their heart’s content!

 

A few other ideas to give you inspiration, but I didn’t necessarily have “photographic” evidence”:

  • A space helmet – perfect for little heads and oh so easy to make, even easier if you have any “build-a-bear” boxes lying around the house, they were almost made for this!
  • A guitar – Super easy to make, and all you need to do is add a few elastic bands. We have made a number of impromptu guitars out of shoe boxes before!
  • An oven/stove – Fairly simple to make because of the square shape and I have seen some fantastic ones on pintrest. Bottle tops make the perfect temperature dials.
  • A Petrol/ Fuel Pump – Another fab one to all get involved with. The rectangular shape is nice and easy so you can have fun and get really involved in the painting and design detail of it.

There you have it, 15 quick and fun ways to get creative with cardboard. It really is one of the things the boys and I turn to often and I love hoe it expands their imagination. With almost all of these things my eldest has come to me with the idea, and whenever we get a box as a gift or with a delivery he’s the first one to say “mummy, lets turn this into a……”

Happy crafting month and I hope some of these ideas gave you inspiration!

 

 

Making Learning Fun with Panda Post Learning

Making Learning Fun with Panda Post Learning

I love it when I get to work with brands that are so aligned to my parenting style and philosophy. The second I heard from Nina I was so excited to jump on board with Panda Post Learning. My blog has always focused on fun learning ideas and activities to do with your kids. Its more than just chucking an activity in front of them and expecting them to do it, itโ€™s about doing it together and spending time with your kids. I wrote a blog post a little while ago on how being back in an office environment (as opposed to a home office), I was battling with guilt while the kids were on holiday. They are too young to just drop off at holiday classes, and I certainly didnโ€™t want them just watching TV the entire day, so I created a few set up in advance activities for the kids to do in the day.

Enter Panda Post Learning, itโ€™s like Nina read my mind ๐Ÿ˜Š Panda Post was born to empower parents to make learning through play easy and fun! Helping parents to reduce screen time and increase play time. Each month a new theme is announced. Age appropriate boxes are available for children from 9 months to 6 years old. Select a box according to your child’s’ age (Baby Box,Toddler box, Playschool Box, Preschool box) and receive your box by the 20th of the subscription month, it’s that easy!

Our September box arrived, and the boys thought it was Christmas. They went crazy opening it up before I even got to take a few good pictures. I went for a combination box of both preschool and playschool and the boys are 3 and 4. When you receive your first Panda Post you receive a few โ€œextrasโ€ that wont be included every time. Basics like scissors, glue and crayons to get you going on your arts and crafts journey. Our box had a healthy mix of art and crafts coupled with some puzzle games to encourage thinking (my boys are still getting frustrated with lining up the dots) and a fun ball catch kit to encourage gross motor skills.

A thoughtfully typed out description and activity list was included in the box, breaking down the activities step by step, making it super easy for your caregiver or nanny to do if you happen to be at work. Our box was โ€œSpring themedโ€, so naturally the focus was on flowers, butterflies and birds. I honestly found the box jam packed with different options, we still haven’t gotten through half of them! We have created butterfly shaped suncatchers (something I always wanted to do but always forgot to buy contact paper), peacocks, owls, pet rocks. We have hunted for bugs and butterflies (and now have an earthworm living in sand stored in a container). We’ve spoken about spring and growth, planted seedlings and painted pots!

I only blog about products I believe in, Panda Post Learning is supporting a local, proudly โ€œmumtrepeneurโ€ business and is making my life a whole lot easier. My eldest comes at the weirdest times of day with a head full of ideas of what to craft, Panda Post sends you everything you need. No running to the craft store at inconvenient times because you donโ€™t have one thing that you need.

I have literally just received an SMS from our playschool reminding me about the upcoming October break (yes I had forgotten about it), so guess who is hopping onto the website to order the beach themed October box…

You can find out more about their subscription boxesย on their websiteย .

My top educational gift list ideas

My top educational gift list ideas

With Christmas coming up in less than 34 days I thought it was a great time to do a round-up of some of my favourite educational toys.

Personally I prefer gifting educational toys, not that my boys don’t have a ton of cars and remote control gadgets but I prefer toys that allow them to Continue reading “My top educational gift list ideas”

5 toddler friendly Science experiments to expand young minds

5 toddler friendly Science experiments to expand young minds

So Iโ€™ll admit it, Iโ€™m a bit of a โ€œPinterestโ€ mumโ€ฆ.ย with such great ideas out there, who has time to come up with their own original ideas right ? With it being โ€œholiday seasonโ€ with various mid year breaks coming up its perfect timing to get some new ideas on how to spend time with your kids. Continue reading “5 toddler friendly Science experiments to expand young minds”