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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

What better to do on a Sunday afternoon than sit out on the balcony slinging cake bath bombs into the water table and making fizzy, coloured tea whilst wearing an big black hat? That pretty much sums our afternoon today!

Whilst Dooey was napping, I set up Wugs with the dry ingredients for our bath bombs for him to mix together, slowly adding the colouring and oil and pressing the mixture into silicon cake cups. I followed this recipe.

For the "tea", I brought out Wugs' plastic tea set and put droplets of food colouring into the cups, water in the teapot, vinegar in the milk jug and baking soda (which looked like sugar) in a dish.  I gave Wugs step-by-step instructions on how to make the "tea" and (to my surprise, given the amount of excitement on the balcony this afternoon) he followed my instructions perfectly, letting out a big "Wow!" as the vinegar was added and the "tea" bubbled, fizzed and overflowed from the cups.  Eventually all the tea was combined and the concoction looked closer to the colour of coffee than that of tea! 

While all this was going on, Dooey was helping himself to the cake bath bombs that were sitting in the middle of the water table - picking them up and throwing them into the water and stirring the pink fizzy mixture around.  Wugs joined in too, not the least bit disappointed that the cakes were bath bombs and not the real edible thing.

What we used:
Bath bombs
Silicon cake cups
Water table
Big spoons
Tea set
Baking soda
Distilled white vinegar
Food colouring
Note: Be careful what type of food colouring you use.  I had two toddlers with pink hands for a good 24 hours after we did this activity.

For information on the science behind these activities, please check out the following sites:
Baking soda and vinegar reaction
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and citric acid reaction

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Following on from our Milo Dino Fizzy small world play, I put together this simple sensory tub for Dooey. He is approaching an age where he expects to have everything that Wugs has, so I put together a mixture that looks and smells like the concoction in the small world play, but is safe for him to eat.  I used this recipe as a rough guide: Goop Recipe

What we used:
3 cups corn flour/starch
1 cup water
1 tbsp brown food colouring
1/3 cup of Milo chocolate drink powder

I mixed the ingredients in a saucepan over a very low heat and then emptied it into a tub in the bath.  I stripped down Dooey (remembering to put a swimming nappy on him this time - after the little peeing incident during our flour bath play!).  It wasn't long before his big brother discovered us and joined in the fun

Goop can also be an interesting science experiment.  It acts like a liquid when it is poured, but acts like a solid when force is exerted on it.  Here is a site that explains the science behind Goop (or Oobleck - as it is also known).

Milo Dino Fizzy Small World Play

If there is one word that Wugs has pronounced with absolute clarity since he has been talking, it is the word "chocolate".  He absolutely loves it! I have been thinking of ways to incorporate chocolate into a small world play without having a sick child on my hands.  I came up with the idea of using the powder from the chocolate drink, Milo and mixing it together with baking soda, as I wanted the small world to bubble and fizz.  Originally I intended to mix the Milo and baking soda together thoroughly, but where the baking soda was partly clumpy, I left it as it was, as the clumps looked like stones in the ground.  I added some actual stones, vegetation and dinosaurs.

I let Wugs explore his dino world to begin with and then I passed him a jug of water for him to pour onto it. He sloshed the water around making a big muddy mess and then I passed him spoonfuls of vinegar which he added to the mix to create a fizzing effect.

An hour and forty minutes later, he was still standing there working his hands through the chocolatey mud. This must have been his favourite small world play yet!

What we used:
Large shallow container
Chocolate powder drink
Baking soda
Distilled White Vinegar
Plastic vegetation
Dinosaur figurines
Jugs, scoops, spoons

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Flower Suncatcher

Wugs loves flowers.  I remember a time when he couldn't say "flower" and called it "fowwee".  Everytime we walked up the hill from the shops, he would insist on picking a little orange flower from a hedge that hung over the pavement from the condo next door.  Today we picked leaves and flowers all the way home and made this beautiful, flower suncatcher.  The inspiration for this craft came from this site.

What we used:
Paper plate
Contact paper
Flowers and leaves

I cut out a circle in the centre of the paper plate and lay the contact paper (sticky side up) on the bottom of the circle, fixing the paper to the edge of the plate.  Then I placed the flowers in a separate dish for Wugs to decorate.  Once he was finished, I "sealed" the suncatcher flowers by placing contact paper on top (sticky side down) and fixed it around the edge.  (It's not necessary to seal the suncatcher in this way, but as I have a younger toddler who eats everything, I thought it better to seal the flowers inside).  Then I let the suncatcher do precisely that ... soak up the sun on our balcony doors.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Flour Play

This was a very simple flour sensory tub I put together for Dooey today from half a packet of flour. I thought I'd let him have some sensory play time in the bath.  Of course, big brother was there in a flash, but it was nice to see the two boys playing well when the focus wasn't on cars or some of the other toys that Wugs is having to learn to share.

What we used:
Flour, containers and scoops

Note: Put a swimming nappy on the little one next time.  The flour play was shortened by Dooey peeing in the tub!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

"What the Ladybird Heard" Small World Play

In February my sister came to stay for a couple of months with her son who is just 5 months older than Wugs.  She came bearing gifts and this particular gift, the book "What the Ladybird Heard" by Julia Donaldson has become a real treasure in the boys' book collection.  Whether it's the rhythmic repetition of the animal followed by the sound it makes or the little glittery ladybird that can be found on each page, this book has been Wugs' favourite for some time and so I decided to create a small world play based on it.

What we used:
Brown, red and yellow playdough
Craft sticks
Animal and people figurines
Fake flowers (for the tree)
Small shallow dish (for the pond)
Toilet roll (for the dog's kennel)
Small wooden block (one of the cats is sitting on)
Wooden box (for the cow shed)
Milo cereal balls (dung)

The small-world play isn't an exact representation of the picture in the book.  I didn't include the farmer's house as I had limited space in the tub and I wanted to focus on the parts of the story that Wugs pays close attention to - like the vegetable patch with the footprints of the two thieves across it and the dung in the corner.  Our "Hefty Hugh" and "Lanky Len" were two Duplo figurines (of identical proportions!) presiding over their map.

Whilst Wugs played with his small world, I read the story to him.  I'm not sure how much of it he heard as he was busily scooping up oats and emptying them over the tree and munching on Milo cereal balls.