Friday, 31 August 2012

Happy Birthday Dear Zoo

'We wrote to the zoo to send us a pet.... They sent us.... an invitation to a party!'

Dear Zoo celebrates its 30th birthday this autumn. We were more than excited to be invited to be part of the celebrations. The book was a firm favourite of mine as a child, I use it regularly in my work as a speech therapist and now enjoy reading it to both 'The Fairy' and 'The Frog'.

Yesterday we went to the HQ of the publishers Pan Macmillan to have a birthday tea with the author Rod Campbell. We had so much fun.

We were treated to a trip to 'the imagination zoo' and a story telling session with Fleur the Zoo keeper.

The highlight of the day for me was having the opportunity to ask questions and meet with Rod. Did you know he used to be a scientist and only wrote Dear Zoo age 37? Or that the character 'Buster' was based on a little boy that lived next door to him? Or even that his favourite animal is a monkey (a naughty one at that)? I think 'The Fairy' was a bit confused that he was allowed to write books - 'But I thought you can only write on paper mummy, not books?!' I loved the fact that he described himself as a maker of books rather than an author or illustrator.

Come back soon for a a review of Dear Zoo Touch and Feel (published by Pan Macmillan on 30th August) and a post about how I use the book to develop communication skills.

Monday, 27 August 2012

How to make a fruit lolly

We love eating ice cream in our house so the other day when we saw some ice lolly moulds on sale (at our favourite blue and yellow furniture retailer) I though we could definitely make use of them.

We took some yummy strawberries

added some other fruit and Greek yoghurt

wizzed them up

put them in moulds and then in the freezer .

the next day we had beautiful ice lollies (well technically frozen yoghurt)

Language Focus: cold, mix, eat, fruit names

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Sensory salt art

One holiday as a child we went to the Isle of Wight, I cant remember much of the holiday, but I do remember making some fab sand art form the naturally coloured sand from the cliffs there. Check out some examples of what I mean here. After a discussion with my lovely friend N, I thought making some sand art would be a great way to use up some of the little baby food jars we have left over from feeding 'The Frog'. We didn't have any coloured sand but after being inspired by The Imagination Tree we decided to make some coloured salt instead.

To make the sand coloured we used the same technique we use to dye rice and pasta for play. Add food colouring and a bit of alcohol gel (to help dry it out) in a zip lock bag and shake/ squidge it around. Remember that because its salt you need to store any left over in a air tight container.

Filling the jar

Plenty of salt left over for some sensory mark making fun.

For some coloured sand fun why not check out the giant rainbow sand pit currently in on the South Bank in London. Yesterday we met up with Imagination Tree, Rainy Day Mum and Taming The Goblin for some colourful sand play. It was great fun.

Language Focus: colours, in, mix, pour, tip

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Edible Mars Rock

Curiosity landing on Mars has caused lots of conversation in our house, from 'Can we go there too?', to 'Is it like going on the bus, is it a long way away?'

The Papa is very into science so was pleased the Fairy was taking an interested in something scientific. The pictures of Mars reminded me a bit of honeycomb we used to make and eat as kids (I know they are not identical but it doesn't take much to remind me of food!)

So we decided to make some. As this recipe requires lots of heat this is more of a recipe for making for kids rather than with kids (children and boiling hot sugar = bad combination). I used this recipe. Having said this recipe is suitable for kids you may not want to make it if you don't like your children having lots of sugar (but I like it and figure treats are OK in moderation!)

the finished result

For more Curiosity themed fun check out Taming the Goblin's post

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Handprint butterfly thank you card

The Fairy has a had a two night sleep over with her Grandparents, so we felt they were very much in need of a thank you card (we were very thankful, as was she!). She wanted to make a butterfly card. Here's how we did it.

Making sure we got the paint the right colour (there are lots of shades of purple you know!)

Painty hands

The butterfly's body

The finished creation with details added

Friday, 10 August 2012

Guest Post

Today my first ever guest post was published over at Growing a Jewelled Rose. It's an amazing blog full of lots of  ideas including masses of sensory play if you've not seen it before, I definitely would recommend a visit. Anyway way I'd love for you to check it out my post, 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Horsie horsie (small world equestrian play)

Today I'm joining in with Kids Bloggers Go Olympics, 18 days of Olympic fun hosted by Rainy Day Mum, and Sun Hats and Wellie Boots (plus many more bloggers who are joining in)

I'm not a massively sporty person but this year I've *really* gotten into the Olympics. You can see our previous Olympic themed posts here- Olympic edible torches and Olympic rings. I'm so proud of team GB! I'm in awe of how hard they have worked and how much dedication they have shown. Watching the show jumping team on Tuesday win the first gold medal for GB in 60 years was amazing. A real 'fairy tale' for the two team members in their 50's (I bet the other two on the team were chuffed as well!)

As you may know, we love small world play and what better way to celebrate the Olympics than a spot of small world equestrian fun.

We started off with a spot of show jumping (I'm not sure equestrian circles would approve of the pedigree of our animals but hey, you can use your imagination). We used cloud dough for saw dust (made by using 4 parts flour to 3/4 parts veg oil).

We took a trip to the library and researched dressage- The Fairy loved the idea that the horses and their riders have to ride in patterns (check out Wikipedia for some more dressage info).

We drew some of the patterns with our finger that the horse then galloped and trotted along.

We even had a crowd of spectators to cheer the horses on

Language Focus:
Vocab: horse, over (when show jumping), fast and slow (when trotting and galloping), shape names (when drawing shapes in the 'sawdust')
Other skills: imaginative play

Why not check out the other co hosts today - more equestrian fun with Creative Playhouse and Martial Arts with Royal Baloo. You can also join up your ideas too

Don't forget to check out what's happening tomorrow - Im passing the torch onto train up a child

Friday, 3 August 2012

Kids Co-op

This week on Kids Co-op I'm featuring Timeless Adventures fab post on making a DIY light box.

The Weekly Kid's Co-op
I've always fancied a light box - there are loads of fun ways you can play with them, but they always seem too expensive. Here is a DIY version - how cool is that (I guess you would need to make sure you turned the lights of when not in use to stay safe).

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Easy no sew tutu

This is the easiest tutu to make- in the world - ever! Its no sew. The Fairy has been missing her regular ballet lessons (as they have a break over the summer), so we've been doing lots of playing ballet instead. Luckily her Nana made her a tutu for her 2nd birthday (using this very method) so she is well dressed for such fun. Teddy (her willing ballet student in said ballet lessons) is not so well attired. So we decided to do something about it

To make the tutu you need some net and elastic. You can choose any colours you like, we choose pink and purple.

Work out how much elastic you need to go around the waist.

Then work out the length for each piece of net - then double it (so it can loop over the elastic). As I knew we didn't want a uniform appearance we varied the width to 1 - 2 cms.

Tie to net on the elastic.You need to tie lots on (in order to hide the elastic and get the 'sticky out effect')

Hey presto - a tutu (and not a needle in sight!) Although we made this tutu for teddy you can make one for a child too using the same method. I think it would make a great fairy skirt for role play too.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Playful Family ebook review

I'm new to the whole world of ebooks. I can't quite believe I held off for so long - I love the physical experience of holding and reading a book. Now I've started I'm quickly becoming a convert, I am amazed at the huge range of books out there in the ebook form (and so many classics available for free, I know its old news but I'm excited!).

But its not just classics that are available, today is the launch of a new ebook by Shawn Ledington Fink (Awesomely Awake), 'The Playful Family'.

It encourages us to stop rushing from planned activity to planned activity and turn of the TV ('for at least an hour') and get down to the very serious work of playing.

Even though I would consider our family to be a 'playful family' I still found pratcical suggestions to engage in play with my children. From being a scary character in role play to mixing up your routine. As well as providing ideas to play and be playful there are also tips to connect- ideas to help you celebrate the everyday and the extraordinary (my favourite being a memory jar).

The books reassuring ethos of  'its OK not to teach your kids something today' and its OK for Mums to have a break combined with practical ideas mean the 35 pages are easily read. The challenges at the end of each chapter encourage you to put the ideas into practice.

The Playful Family can be download for $4.99 from Awesomely Awake at  Considering I would spend nearly $4.99 on a coffee (especially if I got a cake too!) and get much less to think about, I think this book is worth a read.

*In agreeing to do this post I received a free copy of the e book.The opinions expressed in this article are my own and have not been influenced by this*