Monday, 10 October 2016

Harry the hedgehog

Autumn is a brilliant time of year for craft ideas for children as its such a colourful season.  Here is a really simple idea that can be used time and time again.  

Go for a walk to collect leaves in different sizes, shapes and colours.  Draw a hedgehog outline for your child to fill with leaves that can be glued to make the hedgehog spiky.  Simple and effective.

Here is one I have made using the leaves I purchased from the works.  You don't have to name yours but i thought he looked really cute and decided to call him Harry.

Cute pine cone crafts for children

I have just come across these really cute pine cone crafts for children from 'Two kids and a coupon'.

Pine cones are a great resource because you don't have to buy them.  Just pick them up when you go for a walk in the woods.  If your looking for some really cute ideas then pop on over to find out more.

'Autumn is here' song sheet

This is a really good song sheet that you can print off and use with your Autumn tray.  To make it last longer you can laminate it too.  Pop on over to to print it off and fins other songs and activities too.

Autumn discovery tray

I needed to put together an Autumn discovery tray really quickly for an activity.  I always have a selection of trays I keep including cat litter trays that I purchase as they have a deeper edge for the children to explore further while keeping the contents together.

I printed the picture cards off  a while ago from Sparklebox and use them time and time again for different activities.  Ideally you would add real leaves that you can find with the children but I have to say that I love these that I found in the works for children to sort into colours or use to make pictures with.

I added some conkers from the nearby trees where I live that have them in abundance, a large pine cone that a friend gave me (you can find lots of these too at this time of the year when you go out for walks in the woods etc) and a squirrel and hedgehog finger puppet.  

There are so many other items that you could add including some acorns, apples as its harvest time and maybe a pumpkin too.  

Have fun putting yours together.  There are so many opportunities with this to develop early language skills, early number skills and to have fun together including leaf rubbings.


Autumn activities

I have just come across the most amazing site for lots of fantastic Autumn crafts and ideas for developing early language and number skills through play.  It's called Tishylishy

I particularly love these ideas.  Pop on over to find many more!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Twinkle, twinkle little star activities

A popular well loved rhyme that i use time and time again.  Here is a selection of activities that can be used:

olour of the starts to the paperA good old tried and tested popular activity....potato printing.  Loving the contrast of the stars on the paper from

How about this special glittery playdough with star cutters from

For star related crafts pop on over to  You will find a great selection.

Fancy making some salt dough stars?  Then pop on over to to find the recipe.

There's nothing better that watching a calming sensory bottle.  This is a great 'Twinkle' one from

Incy Wincy Spider activities

Incy Wincy spider is one of my favourite action songs to use with the families I work with.  There are son many activities that you can do with your child that link to this well known rhyme.  Here are just a few:

Pop on over to where you can print out these pictures.  You can cut them out, add to card and laminate them, tape them to some lolly sticks to use as props to sing with.  You could also add some magnetic strip which you can buy in the poundshop to the back of them with some glue, add a flat kitchen baking tray that the magnet strip will stick to and you have a song board to use.

This is a fantastic idea.  Pop some children's sand into a tray or washing up bowl.  Add some pieces of pipe used by plumbers / builders (you can buy bits and pieces of these quite cheaply or ask family and friends if they have any left over pieces from jobs that you can clean and use).

Next you need to add some plastic spiders.  You can buy these in packs for children's party bags etc.

I am loving this Incy spider story box from One Perfect Day.  Click on the link to find out more.

Threading webs using punched paper plates and string is great for developing children's fine motor skills.  This is a great idea from Kidz activities
Don't forget to check out the local library too for the story of the 'Very busy spider'.

Make some paper plate spiders ready for Holloween decorations.  Great idea over at

Spiders in gloop.  Make some gloop using cornflour and water, add googly eyes and spiders and some robust tweezers.......and off you go.  Loving it!

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Printing activities

I have been looking for some simple printing ideas that I can use with paint and chocolate with some of the families.  Here are some fab, cheap ideas that can be used time and time again.  

1. How about this fab rolling pin?  Funky foam shapes have been glued onto an old rolling pin ready to be rolled into some fab messy chocolate or paint.  To find out more about this idea pop on over to Filth Wizardry  Lots of other fantastic ideas too!

2. How's this for a great invitation to have fun?  Lots of recyclable materials instead of brushes etc.  Pop on over to

 Read more about the value of providing "invitations" for children to explore and learn & see all the learning involved in this simple activity. Remember that children need to create and explore, they don't need it to be a specific item at the end. Allow this and don't push them to think they must make something "real.":

3. Bubble wrap painting.  How cheap and easy is this one?  If you havent got a rolling pin you could use an empty drinks bottle and wrap the bubble wrap around it.  For more ideas for this and more pop on over to

kids use their whole body when printing with bubble wrap and rollers:

4. Flower printing.  This is a really cute idea instead of using paintbrushes.  For more brilliant ideas pop on over to Learning 4 Kids

Flower painting activities for kids and toddlers. Perfect for spring and summer!:

5. Bottle top printing.  Recycle bottle tops and glue funky foam shapes to the tops of them. Cheap and cheerful and lots of fun. Find out more over on

6. And don't forget the good old potato printing.  One i remember fondly from my childhood days.    

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Beach scavenger hunt

If your going to the beach while we have some nice weather at last or going on holiday, how about popping on over to and then printing out this fab beach scavenger hunt sheet?  You could even laminate to use over and over again.

Mud, mud glorious mud...

One of my favourite things in the world to play with is good old mud.  I love squelching and squishing in it with my wellies as well as my hands making mud pies.  

There are so many things you can do with mud so you can only imagine how happy I am that I have just come across this amazing lady and her site....Creative Star Learning Ltd with lots of great ideas and information and lots more.

You can find ideas for mud mapping, a dinosaur swamp, drippy castles, smelling mud and wait for it........a mud 'Master chef'!

And who knew that there was an international mud much fun to be had!

picture from

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Learning through play

This valuable information can be found on the 'Family Lives' website

This is a great site which has advice on so many different areas including:
  • Pregnancy and Baby
  • Toddler / Preschool
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Teenager
  • Family life
  • Bullying
  • Divorce and Separation

Learning through play

Play is one of the main ways in which children learn. It helps to build self worth by giving a child a sense of his or her own abilities and to feel good about themselves. Because it’s fun, children often become very absorbed in what they are doing. In turn, this helps them develop the ability to concentrate. Providing children with a range of playthings will help them learn in a number of ways:
  • Sand and water play can be an early introduction to science and maths, eg learning that water is fluid, not solid, and that it can be measured in different sized containers.
  • Playing with dough, drawing and painting pictures, dressing up, playing with dolls can encourage creativity, imagination and expression of feelings.
  • Building blocks, jigsaws and shape sorters can help with recognising different shapes and sizes, putting things in order and developing logic.
  • Playing ball games, dancing, running, climbing all help to develop body movement, strength, flexibility and co-ordination skills. 
  • Games help with turn taking, sharing and mixing with others.
  • Singing, playing simple music instruments help to develop rhythm, listening and hearing.
It's important that learning is fun at this age. It needs to be about doing things with them that they like. They might find unusual ways of doing things - for a toddler, building blocks aren't just for making towers, and paint can be used without a brush! Show them how things work, but if they want to experiment, let them.
Don't push your child too hard. Children develop in their own ways and in their own time. Try not to compare them to other children. You can also encourage reading, by reading to and with them. Look at the pictures together; this will help younger children make sense of the words.
It's also good to talk to them a lot, about everyday things while you are cooking or cleaning. This will give you a chance to teach them how things work and they will be able to ask you questions. Get ready for lots of “why’s?”

Baby and toddler play ideas

I have just come across these fab ideas over on the NHS web page for play ideas for babies and toddlers.  There are ideas for playing safely with water, reading with your baby, play ideas form 4 months to 30 months and some great advice about toy safety.  To find out more head over to the page using the link below.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Glitter and hair gel squidgy bag play

Here's a video of the glitter and hair gel squidgy bag in action.  Very relaxing sensory play!

Hair gel and glitter messy bag

Here's another really easy version to put together for a messy bag without the mess.  

You will need:
  • A zip lock bag (or a sandwich bag with a good seal for a smaller version)
  • Hair gel (I used two pots of the cheaper gel at 50p per pot)
  • A selection of coloured glitter

Firstly add the gel to the bag and close securely.  Smear the gel into all the corners with your hands.
Then open the bag and add the different coloured glitter, seal securely again.

Then have fun mixing the glitter together with the gel in the bag using your hands.  I loved the way that this one ended up looking like a very starry scene as well as feeling so relaxing to squidge the glittery gel around the bag.

Toothpaste messy bag

How's this for a quick and easy idea for a toothpaste messy play bag?  Great too for children who don't like to get messy but enjoy the sensory feel.  Great too for early mark making.  

You will need:

  • A zip lock bag ( a sandwich bag with a good seal will do too for a smaller version)
  • Cheap toothpaste (I used three tubes for this at approximately 30p each)

Squirt the tubes into the bag....and zip it up.

Smear the toothpaste into every corner with your hands.

Then your ready to start making marks........use your fingers or you could use a stick.

Messy play workshop

I had a fantastic time at the Afasic Cymru family fun day yesterday.  Lots of fun had by all. 
Chocolate play, Gloop, home made play dough orange scented and lots more.....I can't wait for the next one.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Fairy play dough

I really want to make this fabulous Fairy Play dough.  Easy and cheap to make and it looks so inviting to play with using only three ingredients.  You can find out what they are over at  

So many other art & craft and sensory ideas plus much more so pop on over and have a look.  You won't be disappointed.

Colour match outdoor hunt

I have just made a quick colour match sheet to take on a walk into the woodland area later.  You don't have to put one together on the computer you could get the felt pens / crayons out and get your child to colour in some areas to make a colour match sheet ready to go.

The good thing about this is that if your going to an area you know quite well you can add colours that know will definitely natch some key finds....leaves, flowers, twigs etc.  Otherwise you can make a general one.

And another 25 fab busy bags

I think I am getting obsessed but here's another link to make many more....

10 Easy Busy Bags

Busy bags

I am a huge fan of busy bags for children.  They are easy to put together and don't cost a lot to make so again we have our low cost / no cost element.  

There are so many different activities you can make to put into the bags.  They are designed to be simple and fun and are fantastic for taking away on holiday, use in the car or take out and about to restaurants, doctors etc.

I have taken these ideas from which is a great site, but if you pop busy bags into your search engine you will find so many more ideas.

To go with these bags there is also a fantastic video from You Tube to show you more.

Sensory Gloop and Ice

Previously we have looked at making Gloop (cornflour and water mix) and Ice play.  So when I saw this I just had to share the idea and the page here for you to visit.......Sensory Gloop and Ice together!!!

Wow...what a fantastic sensory experience for children to explore together.  Pop on over to to find out more and to check out all the amazing ideas that will help you get through the holidays and beyond.

Toilet roll Butterfly

How about making one of these to add to your Fairy village or town?  Or you could hang them up or make a few into a mobile.

This picture is taken from where you will find so many fantastic ideas for much more so pop on over and take a look.

You will need:

  • An empty toilet or kitchen roll tube
  • Paint
  • Cardboard for the wings and antennae (you could also use pipe cleaners for these)
  • Felt tip pens
  • Cut up tissue / craft paper to decorate
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Tape