Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Home made play dough with no pan or microwave.....

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This is the best home made play dough recipe I have ever come across and have been using it constantly for the last eight years plus.  Why?  Because you don't need to stand over a hob with a pan or watch the microwave!

Trust will never look back!


  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Food essence (optional)
  • 2 cups of boiling water from the kettle
Method: (Dry ingredients first)

Put the flour, salt, cream of tartar, cooking oil, food colouring and essence in a large bowl.

Add the boiling water from the kettle and stir with a wooden spoon.  Keep stirring until the dough comes together and away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn out onto a table and knead (careful as it will be hot!)  You may need a little flour on the surface if it feels a little sticky.

There you go....the best ever play dough!  Keep the dough in an air tight container and it will stay fresh for at least a month depending how often you use it.

Please note that this quantity makes enough for a small group of children - you can make smaller quantities or you could just make up a batch and split it into tubs ready to use.

You can add glitter, chocolate powder, lavender....the possibilities are endless....

Sarah x

Dinosaur play dough mats from sparklebox

These play dough mats from Sparkle box are a great addition for any dinosaur topic.  The children love these.

They can also cover counting skills, length, shape, sensory as well as language development.  Pop over to the sparkle box site to see the complete range and to print them off.

Home made play dough is the best dough ever to use and my following post will show you just how easy it is to make without using a pan or a microwave!
Sarah x

I want to be a Dinosaur.......brilliant lyrics in this song to go along any Dinosaur themed project.

I love this song and the children love this can hear the way its sung on the below : )
Music and lyrics: John Rickey    

I want to be a dinosaur
thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.
I want to be a dinosaur
crash, boom, bang, bang, crash, smash!
I want to be a T-rex King
bite, bite, crunch, crunch, roar!
I just want to be a dinosaur
thump, thump, thump!


I want to be a dinosaur
blump, blump, blump, blump, blump.
I want to be a dinosaur
zing, zang, zoggle, doggle, doo, boo!
I want to be a Long Neck too.
chomp, chomp, clomp clomp, roar!
I want to be a dinosaur
thump, thump, thump.

I want to be a dinosaur
ching, ching, chong, chong, chang
I want to be a dinosaur
bing, bang, boom, bash, crash, smash!
I want to be a dinosaur
scratch, bite, crunch, crash, roar!
I want to be a dinosaur
thump, thump, thump.
(Make your own dinosaur noise!)

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I love Dinosaurs!!!!!  It probably comes from having to boys and not being very girly, but I just love all the art and craft activities you can fun with when it comes to them.

Here you will find links to some of my favourites.....

Dinosaur Sock Puppet 1

Dinosaur sock puppets.  Great for developing language, creativity, imagination.  You can find a great link for this and some of the following activities on

Handprint Dinosaur Craft

Handprint Dinosaur.  Great for sensory play and language development.  I love the handprint spikes.

kids dinosaur craft

This tissue paper Dinosaur is better than any stained glass you will see.  brilliant for when the light shines through.

They also have a great salt dough fossil craft activity that will have you wanting more.

I love making paper plate Dinosaurs with the children too.  There are so many different kinds you can make.  Great for making patterns too.  I really love this one which I have copied often from

I adapt this idea by writing numbers on the dinosaurs and asking the children to give the dinosaur the correct amount of spikes to develop number recognition.
This is just a small selection of my favourites.  I will post more soon.
Sarah x

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Number fun in everyday routines

Children learn the names of numbers through repetition and experience of using them, counting stairs, cups or plates, dressing - buttons, socks etc.

Routines such as bath time, dressing and washing the dishes are times when young children learn about the concepts of emopty and full, heavy and light, big and small etc.

Everyday routines offer lots of opportunities for early number language, ideas include:

  • Dressing - lots of number language here, colours and size, order - first, next, ten fingers, ten toes, who's got the biggest feet etc.
Blue high top tennis shoe

  • Bath time - containers which encourage filling and pouring, talking about things that are empty and full, heavy and light, play with bubbles in the bath - big and small.
Close-up of bubbles in a bottle of water

  • Bed time - share a story such as Goldilocks and the three bears, the Hungry caterpillar.  Read the story 'Ten in the bed'.  If you haven't got this story visit the library, it's free to join! Ten in the bed includes counting, ordering, counting back, how many are left in the bed?  You could role play the story with a selection of your child's cuddly toys and a blanket.
Fairy tale scene of Goldilocks in the bed that’s just right

  • Try a teddy bear's picnic - use teddies, different sized cups, plates and bowls for a picnic on the floor with a blanket.  You can talk about the colours, size and shape and use them for a matching game too as well as talking about the picnic food which will have lots of opportunities for number language.#

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  • Make sandwiches and talk about the shape of them.  Are they sqauare or trianle shaoed?  You might even have round bread.  Use a biscuit cutter to make shapes in the sandwiches.
Close-up of a peanut butter sandwich sitting on a plate

  • When you have finished with old clothes pull the buttons off and make a button box for soring and counting.  So much learning can take place just with a button box - big, small, colour, counting, sequencing, making patterns.

Early number language


Talking with our children is something that happens naturally every day, but do we ever stop to think about what we may be teaching our children about early number language as we go along?

  • Colour
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Counting
  • Pattern
  • Counting
  • Pattern
  • Number recognition
  • Weight
  • Length
  • Time
  • Volume
  • Money
The list goes on.  It makes you think doesn't it, but we do this everyday!

Here are some examples of how you can include number language in a child's daily routine:

  • Weight - cooking (weighing the ingrediants), heavy and light shopping items and bags...

Young girl cooking

  • Pattern - wallpaper, curtains, bedding, carpets, clothes, buildings...
Autumn leaves
  • Shape - food packets, dishes, food items, buildings
House with red roof

  • Colour - food, toys, clothes, out and about...
Portrait of fruits
  • Time - routine of the day: breakfast, lunch, tea, bath time, bedtime, school drop off and pick ups....
Kindergarten teacher showing children how to read a clock

Everyday opportunities can offer new number learning experiences for children, so it is really important that we make the most of them.  Ideas include:

  • Visits to the library (you can find lots of different number language books here to loan, e.g. shape, pattern and size)
  • Going to the supermarket (point out colours, shape and size of fruit and other items, money handling)
  • A walk in the countryside or in the town (shapes of buildings and on buildings - windows, doors etc)
  • Helping with the housework (sorting socks provides opportunities to learn about colour, size, pattern, counting..)
The opportunities are endless : )

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Editable Top Trumps

Top trumps....Brilliant resource to keep the children entertained this summer and editable too!

Mini beasts, favourite charaters, family members...the possibilities are endless : )

Editable Top Trumps Templates (Blue) - editable top trumps templates, top trumps, game, fun, activity, play, blue, templates, template, top, trumps, editable,

3 in a Row Activity (Dinosaur)

Thre in a row dinosaurs too, loving this!

3 in a Row Activity (Dinosaur) - 3 in a row activity dinosaur, dinosaur, 3 in a row, row, game, activity, fun, wet play, numbers, counting

3 in a Row Activity (Pirate)

Loving the resources on the Twinkl site.  This three in a row game is fab:
 - Language skills
 - Number development: Counting
 - Social skills: Turn taking
and more.......

3 in a Row Activity (Pirate) - 3 in a row activity pirate, pirate, 3 in a row, row, game, activity, fun, wet play, numbers, counting

Primary Teaching Chest...

Brilliant resources on this site.  Love it all, especially the role play resources.  Take a look!  You wont be disappointed : )

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Words for Life - A parent’s guide to television

Words for Life - A parent’s guide to television

Remote control pointing at TV
Information from the National Literacy Trust

Sock monkeys

Sock Monkeys.....

I love singing the song 5 little monkeys jumpoing on the bed and 5 little monkeys swinging in the trees, shouting hey Mr Crocodile you cant catch me.......

The trouble is I never have enough monkeys for all the children.  So I decided to make some....out of socks.  The great things about these monkeys is that they dont just act as a prop to sing the song, they also act to develop colour recognition, pattern recognition, sensory play and can help to develop awareness of size as you can make them in various sizes.

All you need to complete:
One pair of socks or use two different socks that the washing machine didn't manage to swallow up.  Toy stuffing, felt pieces or buttons and cotton.  You can find many great patterns on the net to follow to cut up your pieces and hey presto... you have the best sock monkeys money can buy as they are cheap to make and can be used to aid many development areas : )



Words for Life - Why reading is good for talking

Words for Life - Why reading is good for talking

Sharing books with babies and young children is a fun way to share talk. You and your child will enjoy the experience, which means there is a strong chance it will become a regular activity.

Parents read book to child

Information from the National Literacy Trust

Words for Life - Top tips for reading stories aloud

Words for Life - Top tips for reading stories aloud

Here are a few ideas that you could use to liven up story time.

Mother and daughter looking at a book and sharing story time

Information from the National Literacy trust : )

Words for Life - One World recipes

Words for Life - One World recipes

Planning to cook a recipe with your children is a great way to help with their reading and writing skills. Choose a recipe together and get them to write a shopping list, ticking the items off when you have found them. Weighing out ingredients and following instructions are all good ways to boost literacy skills – and ending up with a tasty meal!

From the National Literacy Trust

Words for Life - One World activities

Words for Life - One World activities

These fun activities for children should encourage the development of key communication, reading and writing skills whilst learning about the world and other cultures.

From the National Literacy Trust

Early mark making.....Toothpaste!


Children need to develop the muscles in their hands before they can grip writing implements correctly and it's really important that children are given opportunities to do this. 

There are many ways to do this including finger gym, playing with playdough, sensory messy play etc.

Another great way to develop hand muscles is toothpaste!  Yes toothpaste!

Toothpaste comes in a vessel very similar to writing icing......a writing implement ready to go and ready for a good squeeze.

Toothpaste can be purchased very cheaply in supermarkets for this activity.  It makes a great sensory activity as the smell is sublime.  If used on black cardboard it looks amazing and provides another experience for children to observe when it dries into a powdery substance.  Cotton wool also sticks really well to it acting like glue.

You can also use it on a tray to make marks with and practice letter / number formation.

I only use this with older children and have to be very careful of allergies, skin conditions etc.

Brilliant for language development many words can you think of to describe it?
  • Minty
  • Stripy
  • Sticky
  • Thick
  • Smooth..............
Are you ready to give it a go?

Sarah x