Rainy Day Activity: playing with rice

This activity is brilliant for all ages, easy to throw together at short notice and gives them hours of fun. My 8month old has just as much fun as my toddler tipping, scooping and spreading it between his fingers.

I have a tuff tray that I lay down on my kitchen floor. Then I tip in a bag of rice and throw in some containers from the recycling box and different sized spoons. You could also use a small blow up paddling pool or a washing up bowl.

Brilliant for rainy days.

What to do with your child’s art work

Since my daughter started Pre School she has come home with many bits of paper covered with her lovely artwork. But who has a fridge big enough to display it all? Obviously some does end up in the bin but here are some other ideas that you can do before you decide to throw it away.

Create an Art Gallery 

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Here I used two ikea picture ledges and framed some of her Early finger paintings. I then screwed in four hooks undearneath and hung string between them. Using small pegs I then just hang up her work as she brings it home.

Create an sign for their room

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I simply cut out letters from her work, backed it in black paper and framed them in an old picture frame.

Stick it to Windows 

My daughter loves creating pictures on contact paper stuck to the windows. I cut the best ones up and keep them stuck on her playroom window. Click to read blog about making these.

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Music and Movement

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This activity is great for baby and toddler.

Your Toddler will learn about rhythm, tempo, the difference between loud and quiet (probably favouring loud) and they will begin to sing and perform simple nursery rhymes.

Your baby will experience an exciting sensory experience using their hearing, sight and touch.

Individual activities

1. Let your toddler select and investigate different instruments. Let them play them as they wish before showing them how to play them correctly.

2. Name the instruments and demonstrate how to play them quietly and loudly. Ask your toddler to copy you or to select certain types of instruments.

3. Play their favourite songs on a cd, iPod etc. Let your toddler choose an instrument and play along to their favourite nursery rhyme.

4. Sit your baby on your lap and show them how the instruments make different sounds. For older babies let them hold them and shake simple rattles or bells.

5. Allow your toddler to dance freely to their favourite songs. Teach them simple actions that they can learn to repeat. Some action rhymes include: Twinkle Twinkle, Wind the Bobbin up and Incy Wincy Spider which are our favourites.

NOTE: don’t worry if you don’t have any child friendly instruments why not make some of your own. Try searching for ideas on Pinterest. Any recycled tub or plastic bottle with a lid can be filled with a bit of pasta and become a shaker.

Heres an idea from kidscraftroom.com for babies

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Baby Sensory: Ribbon Play

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What you need:

  • A baby gym
  • Ribbons (you can buy packs of these from Amazon or any haberdashery)

Simply, thread the ribbons through the holes where you attach the toys. If you don’t have holes in yours you can simply tie them on. We adjusted the lengths and let Baby Thomas bat and grab them. Eventually, he will also be able to pull them out.

As a bonus, my daughter improved her threading skills by helping me make this. She also tested it on her own doll first.

Baby Sensory: Smell

A really simple baby sensory activity that can be done in the garden.

This one focuses on Smell.

Collect together a handful of items from the garden that have strong smells and allow your baby to smell them in turn. If you have a toddler they will love helping to collect items.

For example:

  • Flowers
  • Fresh herbs such as Rosemary or Thyme

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Post 5: Garden Bean Pole Teepee

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Finally getting to use the teepee with my little newborn. He loved looking up at the leaves and it was a fantastic baby sensory activity. I watched him watch the leaves moving in the breeze and while laying on his back he was also able to kick his arms and legs about.

I even have 3 beans so far. Ok so that’s hardly anything to chirp about and half my plants died with the monster slugs munching their way through the plants, but at least I have created a little den that my toddler and newborn can both enjoy; even if it doesn’t look as good as I’d hoped.

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See previous posts on how to make the teepee:

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Baby Sensory – Sound

When I had one child I would spend most of my spare time planning wonderful activities and setting up dens. Now that I also have a newborn, there is no spare time. If I do get a spare ten minutes I am frantically brushing my hair or applying deodorant and so I have been trying to come up with activities that are quick to set up but still as fun for my whirlwind toddler.

Here is an extremely simple activity that involves just Mummy and baby or one that can be developed (if time allows) to include your inquisitive toddler and all you need is a toilet roll.

Mummy and Baby

You will need:

  • a toilet roll

Method:

Simply hold the toilet roll up to your babies ear and whisper strange sounds or words like ‘I love you’.

Watch as your baby turns their head towards the sound.

Repeat for the other ear.

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Toddler and Baby

Let your toddler whisper into babies ear.

This can get rather interesting as they struggle to hold the toilet roll in the right place.

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Extended toddler activities 

Allow your toddler to decorate the toilet roll with stickers. This is a great activity that keeps them entertained at the table while you cook or clean.

If they make a few over a couple of days why not use them as skittles and practise their hand eye coordination.

Never heard of baby sensory? There are some early development practitioners that believe stimulating your baby senses from a young age can help them develop important neural connections that develop future intelligence. But be careful not to over stimulate.

For more detailed information see www.babysensory.com