Sensory play tray: Construction play tray

I was so encouraged by the success of our sensory porridge play tray a while ago that I set up another sensory play tray recently to follow the little ones interest in transport.

I currently care for 2 little ones who both love diggers and cars and can often be heard playing and making a brrrm sound* so I was hopeful that the construction play tray would be a hit.

I had filled the tray with some old ingredients left over from my sons weaning days. I added a number of diggers and sat back and let the children explore.

Whilst observing their play, I could see many areas of learning and characteristics of effective learning taking place.

  • *Early Years Outcomes; Speaking – Uses sounds in play eg. Brrrm for a car (8 -20 months)

Take a look at our other favourite sensory play trays:

Lockdown Activities: Baking

One look at the baking section in our local supermarket, tells me we are not the only ones to have enjoyed a lot of baking during lockdown! We’ve all heard stories in the last few months about the difficulty of getting hold of flour and eggs and baking ingredients. Luckily, on the times we found what we needed, we had fun with the ingredients making some of our favourite recipes.

We all know that cooking is a great learning experience for children which covers a multitude of learning areas, so whilst it may not have been so good for our waistlines, we can be satisfied in the knowledge that the children were learning!

Check out some of our other favourite lockdown activtites:

Summertime!

The blazing sunshine and scorching temperatures this week have certainly marked the arrival of Summer! The children have enjoyed shady, morning, lakeside walks, splashing in our water table, water painting, ice lollies in the garden and fun ice lolly crafts.

We always ensure in high temperatures that we have our sunhats and suncream on. We stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and ensure that we stay hydrated.

Here’s to a great Summer!

Mosaic Kits: Lockdown Activities

I recently wrote about the activities that have kept my 5 year old son occupied during lockdown and next up are these Mosaic Kits.

When they tire of screen time and their school work and your daily walk becomes a chore rather than a pleasure, I have found these to be a really good activity.

We tried some pirate and space themed ones but of course there are all manner of themes to choose from. We got ours from Baker Ross. Each kit includes 4 different design card templates & self-adhesive foam pieces.

You simply stick the coloured self-adhesive foam tiles onto the pictures. Like the Hama Beads, they are another mindful activity and require good concentration and fine motor skills.

If you’re lucky, they may buy you five minutes peace, but should you get roped in to doing them too, they are surprisingly therapeutic!

Hama Beads: Lockdown Activities

Back in March, along with Mums and Dads the world over, I suddenly found myself needing to entertain my 5 year old son for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

There have been a few activities during this lockdown period that have been huge hits with both him and us that have helped him constructively while away the hours away from screens!

First up were Hama Beads…

In those first few weeks of Lockdown, Hama Beads gave my son a real enjoyment and focus. He created endless designs either from themed kits or from the endless characters he realised he could find to copy online which pleased him no end!

A bit like a puzzle, Hama Beads require concentration and mindfulness. Apparently, when children use Hama Beads both sides of their brains are in action at the same time. It is a logical and creative activity, and therefore fantastic for developing young minds. Hama Beads also encourage children to control their fingers and train their hand-eye coordination as they move Hama Beads the correct way to be inserted on to a pegboard. Hama Beads will also help them learn to count, match colours and recognise geometric shapes. It also stimulates their imagination and improves their fine motor skills.

Take a look at some of our other favourite lockdown activities –

Baby Bjorn High Chair Review

We are all familiar with the phrase “Buy Nice or Buy Twice” and that was certainly the case when I purchased high chairs for the children.

Our Baby Bjorn highchair has been in use for the past 6 years and I see no reason why it won’t go on and on. A couple of high chairs I purchased from a leading high street retailer went in the tip after just a few months.

Although the initial price tag was a little eye watering(!) it has proved it’s worth in the long run.

Our Baby Bjorn high chair has seated many happy babies and toddlers over the years and is still going strong.

We not only use it for snack and meal times but its used for many of our activities too. I love that the tray is removable and can be put in the dishwasher and the whole chair is made of plastic so can be wiped down and cleaned with antibacterial spray after each use. Its easily folded for easy storage too. What’s not to love?!

Brands we love…Crayola

As a Mum and childminder, there are certain brands I find myself turning to time and time again. If I want to buy educational, long lasting, high quality games and resources there are certain brands that I know will always deliver on quality. Again, with Arts and Crafts supplies, there are certain brands that produce quality resources that will stimulate, interest and excite the children.

First up, Crayola is a brand that specializes in art supplies. It is probably a brand best known for its crayons, which we of course love but it produces a whole range of arts supplies that we have enjoyed over the years too…

Their first markers are fantastic for little ones and their very first mark making activities…

Prior to lockdown, the older kids were loving these scented pens…

These twistable crayons are fantastic and solve the issue of snapped crayons…

And as you know, we are great lovers of stickers here, fantastic for little ones developing their fine motor skills.

Which brands do you love and why?