Setting up an Easy Tinkering Tray for Seasonal Crafts and Activities
With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to set up a busy box or tinker tray for my youngest that would help keep her occupied, entertained and engaged over what can be an overwhelming time for little ones. Our Christmas Busy Box was quick and cheap to put together, yet offers priceless opportunities for the kids to explore and create using the simple supplies set out for them - and with this on hand there’s always something to distract them and keep them occupied. It’s so easy to do - and you can easily make one using things found around the house. Read on to find out how.
Reviewing HABA's premium wooden marble run
We LOVE marble runs, and over the years have amassed a few different versions. Wooden marble runs are usually considered the best of the best - not only do they look and feel beautiful, they also offer far more flexibility, challenge and play-possibilities than their plastic counterparts. Wooden marble runs can be quite an investment though, so what is it that makes them so special? We were very privileged to get the chance to review one of the best - and biggest - sets around when the lovely people at HABA sent us their Master Building set, plus one of the many add-ons that are available. Read on to see what we thought, and if it's as special as (let's face it) it looks...
Why Marble Runs are Such Marble-ous Developmental and Educational Toys.
A Marble Run is one of the toys I consider essential for children of any age, offering as it does a wide range of play and development opportunities whilst simultaneously giving a sensory experience too. But understanding why and how these toys are so great is vital if you want to encourage kids to play with them and help them get full value from the activity. Read on to find out more about the benefits of this type of toy, and how to find the perfect set for your child.
Painting is a great activity for young children. It’s a fantastic work-out for their imagination, and helps them practice their fine motor skills, as well as helping to develop their understanding of colour, shape, texture and viscosity (yes, wet paint WILL drip onto the floor/your clothes/the dog’s dinner…). We do a lot of painting in our house, and love finding different things to paint - after all, flat paper can be SO last earlier-this-morning. We try to bring natural materials into our play at every opportunity, and painting is the perfect thing for this as its easy to find natural objects to decorate. Stones, sticks, pinecones, shells… you name it, we’ve painted it. Painting leaves is an absolute favourite, though, and something that we do all the time - read on to find out why!
Though I love letting my kids get stuck in to some messy play, I sometimes find the thought of the inevitable cleanup just too daunting. On days like that, I often resort to our tried and tested fallback -the cleanest messy play imaginable - bubble play!
What are treasure baskets, and how do they benefit our children? In my own experience, treasure baskets are one of the most valuable experiences we can offer our babies, so here is a brief explanation to help you get to grips with these ideas, and some practical tips on getting started!
Serving up Conker Soup and Pinecone Stew
Autumn is my favourite time of year, but even so there can be times when the days are grey and gloomy. At times like that, I often set up a pretend picnic for T-Bird and her toys that I put together from colourful finds we pick up on the school run. She loves it so much, she calls it a party!
I'm not a lover of keeping our toddler confined to her highchair during the day (though I'd absolutely LOVE it if she would last a whole night in her cot), but there are times when I need to keep our little trouble-magnet in her chair just for a short while. Meal times, for example, or when everything is going crazy and I just need ten minutes where I know she's in a safe place while I keep stirring that risotto....
Posting things is a very common schema/urge in young children, as is transporting, so our postal play session satisfied both needs - T-Bird could collect up our "letters" in her postman satchel, and then pop them through the slot in the postbox. Simple stuff, but she took it very seriously and was kept engrossed for a good old while.
Revamping a DIY Sorting and Counting Toy
As T-Bird is getting older and has now thoroughly mastered the challenges of the Hoop Tree, I wanted to spice things up a bit by injecting some colour and adding a colour matching/sorting game element. I considered painting the hoops and branches, but that would have been far to much work. Being lazy, I went for a quick 'n' dirty fix instead. We already have some larger wooden rings decorated with trailing ribbons, so, to make these a little different, this time I went with washi tape