50 Ways to play (part 5)

Mr Men Bus

When children pretend, they’re using their imaginations to move beyond the bounds of reality. A stick can be a magic wand. A sock can be a puppet. A small child can be a superhero.” ~ Fred Rogers

Thank you to Hackney Playbus for their reminders.

In schools it's called 'Bumping into Learning'.

We certainly were bumping into Play..

41. Mirror Play

Playing with mirrors is a great way to explore faces close up with your baby and help them develop their self-awareness. Looking at themselves in a mirror and realising that it is them and you are there too. Isabelle certainly loves this.

She is mesmerised by the little girl before her and as for Nanny! Hey isn't Nanny sitting beside her - she has to have a double take. We wave at each other and check our mirror twin is still there.

(I have mirror wardrobe doors which has always facinated both Alexander but certainly Isabelle.)

42.Peelie Prints

Peelie prints are done with multiple shapes all the same. 

I have used Stars; Leaves; poppies.

orange paintYou will need three colours of paint and plenty of shapes; for peelie leaves I used cut out shapes but have also used real leaves.

First paint the paper all over in yellow (the foundation colour),

Then add your leaves and press them gently onto the wet paint.

Then paint all over with orange, including the leaves.

brown paintThen add more leaves overlaying them onto leaves already there and paint this time in brown paint.

Next you will need to carefully lift the leaf shapes and throw them away.

peelie print leaves - revealThe colours will create an autumnal image.

(Leaves can be lifted by the stalk.Or gently lifted with a paintbrush or glue stick.)

For stars the colours are white ; light blue; dark blue.

For Poppies pink; red; black.)

A lot of mess  but a fun way to create some impressive artwork!

43. Scrap

Re cycle your packing to construct 3D models of anything your little one can imagine! A great way to encourage creativity, engineering and problem solving, exercising those fine motor skills in the process.

44. What's in the box?

A fun game for developing language, you can play this with a bag or a box and any items you have to hand. Let your little one choose something from the box and name it or describe it depending on their age. You can also play this without any objects and make it a sound game instead. We use the rhyme, "Turn, turn, turn it around, open the box and make a sound!" When you lift off the lid make any sound you like and keep going with it until you pop the lid back on, as though the sound comes from the box! It's kinda funny and it helps little ones with their listening and attention skills.

45. Feelie box

Choose some things for children to put their hand in and feel what’s inside.

Soft furry things or solid shapes.

Describe or explain what they think it could be.

Soggy pasta; leaves; gloop.  

47. Have a race!

This a fun physical activity that perhaps surprisingly opens up a lot of lovely opportunities for developing listening, attention and language skills, like waiting for the "Ready, Steady........GO!" Or challenging your little one to run to different spots: "Run to the watering can! Run to the fence! Run to the blue chair!" It's a total work out!

Alexander has recently takne to quickly counting to three and running ahead. Although I do try to do the same to him which does create a few giggles.

48. ready to DANCE!

Dancing fast and furious or having a slow dance and a cuddle with your baby, dancing has all kinds of benefits for us all, big or small.

Dancing expressively to music. How does it make you feel.

Follow my leader.

Do the same together.

Holding hands or on your own.

Sing and rhyme and join in.

49. Play dough

play doughAll children love squeezing and moulding playdough.

Using rollers and cutters.

Plates to add their ideas to. Make cakes and biscuit shapes with old cookie cutters or old kitchen mashers etc.

We loved squeezing the dough through dough syringes with helped make wiggly worms.

My own children would love it when I made the playdough for the bus as they had a chance to play with it when it was still warm.

Make your own playdough

You will need: -

2 cups water

2 cups flour

1 cup salt

2 tbs cooking oil

4 tsp cream of tartar

Food colouring (optional – try different colours)

To make: -

Mix the ingredients together in a pan.

Stir over a low heat until they stick together to form a ball.

Knead the dough until smooth.

Store in airtight container.

You can add food colouring and even glitter to make it pretty.

Alexander and I made a big batch of blue and a bag of yellow so we were able to create our own green.

then he wanted red so now it's more of a muddy brown.

I definitly need to make some more.

50 Preparing snacks

Mashing up a banana and enjoying the texture, or a toddler getting to grips with using a potato peeler, involving children and making food fun can really help inspire children to take a healthy interest in food.

We have got to 50!

(Read part 1 -4)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

But I am sure we could carry on.

Do you have some ideas? Let me know.

Where to get my books

Books are available from the following:   My Books

Amazon.co.uk     Amazon.com     Waterstones    

Barnes&Noble    Foyles (amongst others)

Don't forget to look and ask in your local Museum, book shop or even buy on your Sainsburys on line shop!

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