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Thursday, 30 January 2014

Pasta Sensory Play

I have been eager to try out some sensory activities on Dooey now that he has reached 8 months.  As he is still exploring everything with his mouth, some things are too dangerous for him unless they are safe to eat.  Unlike Wugs, Dooey doesn’t seem put off by certain textures so I wondered how he would respond to something like Tagiatelle or spaghetti.   I had some Tagliatelle in the cupboard that I had planned to use in meals, but it had somehow got pushed to the back of the cupboard and as I hadn’t used it in the last six months, I suppose I'm unlikely to do so in the next six months.  Rather than see it go to waste, I cooked it up and let it cool before letting the little one go wild. He played happily in that bath for an hour and a half and (surprisingly), even his elder brother joined in the fun.

What we used:
A baby bath (putting this in the actual bath with both children would have also worked well)
Tagliatelle pasta (perhaps add a little cooking oil to avoid clumping)

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Chinese New Year Small World Play

One of the joys of belonging to a mixed race family is you get to celebrate everything!  Chinese New Year is a welcomed festivity in our home.  It's celebrated about a month after Christmas, during what I used to call "the depressing months of winter" when I lived in the UK.  At this time of year, the shopping malls are decked in reds, pinks and golds and little red "angpow" packets (of money) are distributed to the younger members of the family.

This year I wanted to introduce Wugs to the story behind the celebration.  It seems there are many variations of it, so I went with the one that I could get my hands on in picture-book format.  "The Great Race, The Story of the Chinese Zodiac", by Dawn Casey tells the story of the Jade Emperor using a race across a river to determine the order and names of the calendar months. The book (like all Barefoot Books) is well-written with beautiful vibrant illustrations.  After reading this book almost every night for the last two weeks, I created a Chinese New Year small world play.

Part of the small world play involved a number-matching game which I made using stickers with numbers 1-12 written on them and I placed them on the base of each animal according to the order in which they came in the race.  Then I created some foam circles and placed them on the opposite side of the river for Wugs to match the animals with.  (He could check underneath the animals if he couldn't remember from the story).

Outside the tub I added a treat which I placed in the red angpow packet.  The treat was 3 crispy almond wafers, called "Love Letters" which are rolled in the shape of a scroll.  They are delicious and very popular at this time of year.

What we used:
Green and brown playdough
Dyed blue rice
Wooden peg doll (for the Jade Emperor)
Green, red and black felt (for the Jade Emperor's clothing)
Black thread
Coloured felt-tip pens
White foam paper
Black marker pen
Small plastic animal figurines (Safari Ltd)
Plastic flowers
Angpow packet
"Love Letters"

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Counting Stones

I'm always amazed at how the simplest of things appeal to little children.  I was searching for counters for Wugs to use while learning his numbers and I found these in a home interiors store.  I would love to say we found them in the garden or in the grounds of our condo, washed them off and used them for this activity, but we don't have a garden and I'm pretty sure taking them from the condo gardens would be classed as theft, so I went ahead and bought them.  I added the numbers using a permanent black marker and left the rest to his imagination.  The stones have been laid in a line, bundled under the seat of a ride-on car and carted around in various bags (his latest obsession).

What we used:
Black permanent marker

Friday, 10 January 2014

Colour Matching Wheel

As Wugs only naps once or twice a week, I've been looking for activities that will keep him entertained in the afternoons when he is too tired to go out, but still requires some stimulation.  I've discovered the wonderful world of busy bags!  They are activities that can fit into a small bag (usually a freezer bag) and can be useful in occupying children when travelling etc.  The colour-matching wheel is popular on the web.  I created this one by drawing around a plate, dividing up the segments and colouring them and the wooden pegs.  Then I laminated the wheel.  This isn't necessary, but I didn't fancy doing all that colouring when the inevitable will happen - some water or juice gets spilt on it.  This was a good activity to teach Wugs about colours and by using the pegs, he got a chance to develop his fine motor skills.

What we used:
White card
Felt tip pens
Wooden pegs