Ah, the arrival of summer – long hot days and not much energy (for Mama anyway). The bean always wants to be outside but sometimes it’s just too hot to be at the park and sometimes the last thing this Mama feels like doing is getting everything together and treking to the swimming pool or beach (not easy when you rely on public transport all of the time).
So, we bring the pool to the Bean instead. He loves playing in water, but alas we don’t have a backyard.So the solution? filling up an old baby bath instead with water and toys under a shady carport. I gave him a small watering can, a bucket, some plastic containers and some measuring spoons and he had a fantastic time pouring and splashing . I thought it would enertain him for maybe half an hour, but we ended up playing for 2 hours! He was soaked from head to toe, but as it was 34c, he dried in no time.
Of course, as with any activity involving water, supervision is important at ALL times.A child can drown in 5 cm of water in less than 2 minutes.So PLEASE, please turn off the phone or take your child with you if you really need to answer it or the doorbell. Make sure the bath or bucket you used is empty when you are finished with the activity as children are likely to wander back to play again when you aren’t looking!
This idea can easily be changed according to interests, weather or just what is available. A large shallow container filled with dried lentils, bowls and spoons, dried pasta with scoops, shredded paper with toys hidden underneath or a shallow tray filled with coloured goop (or jelly) and toy cars are just a few ideas.
At home we have a floor length window and the Bean loves nothing more than standing at it and watching the world outside (particularly birds and cars!). So I thought we would make a craft that would give him something new to look at.
suitable age: 15 months +
- clear contact ( easily bought at the newsagent, supermarket, big chain stores or stationary shops)
- tissue paper, cellophane or wrapping paper in several different colours
- scissors (adult use only and are optional)
- sticky tape
- cookie cutters (optional)
Cut out a square of contact (size is up to you) and peel off the baking paper and lay it down on the table, or onto a window ( if you have a floor length one). You might want to stick down the corners with sticky tape or blu-tak just so it won’t move around. You can either cut up the paper into shapes or let your little one help you to rip it up (much more fun!). Then simply scatter or place the paper over half of the sticky side of the contact and then fold in half so that the paper is sandwiched inside the contact. If you like, you can then cut your stained glass window into shapes (hearts and stars are nice – you can use cookie cutters as a template) to make pretty decorations for a party or special occasion.
At first we attempted this on the table and the Bean wasn’t quite sure of what to make of it. But as soon as I taped the contact onto the window instead he immediately got into the swing of things and thoroughly enjoyed sticking on the pieces of paper. He was especially intrigued by the feel of the contact! After I had cut them up into shapes, I then used some sticky tape (rolled into a ball) to stick them onto the window and he happily took them on and off until the tape lost its stickiness! It looked very pretty and I would like to make these as Christmas decorations by hole punching them and threading through some string or fishing line.
The Bean has a variety of toy cars in all shapes and sizes and likes pushing them along the floor and making ‘brmm brmm’ noises. So this is a craft to extend that enjoyment just a little bit further. It is super easy to do but is guaranteed to be a hit with little ones who love anything that moves and like to get messy.
Suitable age: 12 months+
You will need:
- a variety of plastic toy cars, trains or basically anything with wheels
- non toxic poster paint.
- newspaper (lots of it)
- a large piece of paper (A3 is ideal) or a roll of brown paper – both are readily available at the newsagent or the stationary section of the supermarket.
- a plastic tray or a baking tray lined with plastic wrap.
Make sure you put down a lot of newspaper on the floor as well as covering your table or high chair( I find sticking the edges down with sticky tape make it harder for accidents to happen!). Also stick down the corners of your paper to the newspaper so it won’t slide around. Place your paint in the plastic tray or baking tray and then roll the wheels of your cars or trains in the paint. Then let your little one race the cars across the paper to make a wheel print. You can try different colours for a great effect. If you do this on a roll of paper, it will also make great wrapping paper once it is dry. To wash your cars, just let them soak in a bucket of warm soapy water and the paint should come off.
Bean loved this and had a great time running the cars through the paint and onto the paper. We now have a nice stack of wrapping paper to use!
We get a lot of junk mail at our place. Not just a few things a week, but at least 3-4 a day! It has its uses though. We don’t usually buy newspapers anymore ( don’t have the time to read them) so it has been handy for art and craft to cover the table with and it’s great to put under the Bean’s highchair as he is a very messy eater. But, looking at the ever-growing pile the other day, i thought about how else i could put it to good use (apart from putting it in the recycle bin).
The Bean LOVES food. If you are eating something he wants it too. So, keeping in mind how much he also enjoyed making a collage the other week, I though I would combine the two. This is a great craft for older children as well as you can incorporate teaching them about nutrition, different kinds of food and even use it for imaginative play.
You will need:
- supermarket catalogues
- paper plates
- 1 tbs plain flour or rice flour
- 4 tbs water
- large paintbrush
- jar or plastic cup
- scissors ( for an adult to use only)
- (optional) clear contact – for older kids who want to use their plates for imaginative play.
Cut out pictures of different kinds of food. You don’t need to be neat in cutting ( I’m terrible at it). You could have a theme – such as fruit salad or favourite food. Combine the flour and water in your jar to make glue.
The Bean really enjoyed using the paintbrush this time around and also had fun putting his fingers into the glue and tasting it! He was more interested in looking at the different pictures then placing them on to the plate and needed a little encouragement to do so. Once it had dried, we sat down together and i named all of the different types of fruit as well as the colours.
For older children who want to use their plates for play, simply cover the plate (once dry) with a sheet of clear contact cut to the size of the plate.
Well ,for our first project I though the Bean and I would try something that is tried and tested. I have done this craft SOOO many times with kids and it’s usually a hit. It’s suitable for age 1+ and takes about 10 minutes to prep and 5 -10 minutes to do.
- 1 piece of A4 coloured or white paper
- materials newspaper, coloured paper, felt, magazines – whatever you have really
- rice flour or plain flour
- jar or plastic cup
To make a paste, mix about a tablespoon of flour in your jar or cup with a small amount of water until you get it to a spreadable consistency. Then cut up your materials into various shapes (i find squares, triangles and rectangles are fine).
So i taped down some newspaper over the Bean’s table and then placed the A4 on top. He then watched me paint the glue over the paper and then i gave him the brush to have a go on his own. He was a little unsure at first but then got into the swing of things by dabbing with the brush. I then took the brush away and demonstrated how to place a shape on top. The Bean was very eager to have a go and had great fun feeling the paper and felt shapes before placing them down onto the paper. He also had a go at rearranging them by taking them off and placing them in a different place on the paper. Overall, it took about 10 minutes and He really enjoyed the experience so it will be a regular on a rainy day!