Saturday, 27 February 2016

Little scientist

Children love to mix things together to make potions.  Provide children with materials to create their own laboratory.  For example: clear plastic pots, plastic bottles, spoons, lolly sticks, pipettes etc.

Possible ingredients:
  • Water
  • Cooking oil
  • Vinegar
  • Baking powder
  • Baby oil
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Ketchup
  • Corn flour
  • Flour
  • Ice
  • Food colouring
  • Bicarbonate of soda
However don't leave your child unattended when experimenting!

Sensory sand ideas

Try the following ideas for some different sensory ideas when playing with sand......

  1. Add a splash of water and washing up liquid for another sensory element.  You can add food colouring too
  2. Add PVA glue and a dash of paint, allow to play on card and then dry to create a longer term creation
  3. Use in a shallow tray.  Add paintbrushes and make marks.  Add glitter
  4. Add metal objects and hide in the sand.  Ask the children to fins the objects using a magnet

Play ideas to stimulate the senses.....

Salt dough

You will need: 4  x cups of salt, 1 x cup of corn flour and water

1. Mix salt and corn flour in a pan
2. Add enough water to form a paste
3. Cook over a medium heat stirring constantly

Sand dough

You will need: 1 x cup of sand, 1/2 cup corn flour, 3/4 cup of hot water

1. Mix ingredients in pan
2. Cook, until very thick
3. Let models dry in the sun for 12 hours

Modelling dough

You will need: 2 x cups of salt
1 x cup of corn flour
1 x cup of warm water

1. Mix in a pan on low heat
2. Model
3. Leave to harden or cook on a low heat

(This is great dough that is very smooth and soft.  Hardens quickly and paints well)

Clean mud

You will need: 1 x bar of dove soap
1 x roll of toilet paper
1 x gallon of water

1. In a large tub, layer up toilet roll
2. Grate the soap and sprinkle over the paper
3. Add warm water
4. Leave over night, use to make models

Shaving foam - Use Sensitive Only

Spray the shaving foam onto a tray or a table.
Allow the children to spread around and draw patterns or letters with their fingers.
Add powder paint and mix the colours.
Take prints of their pictures by putting paper on the top.

Cloud dough

You will need: 8 parts of plain flour
1 part baby oil

1. Mix it together. 
2. It will be soft but also hold together like wet sand
3. Add a splash of food colouring

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

How to make a drum

Making a drum is so simple and doesn't have to cost a penny.  You can use different sized saucepans, plastic containers or tins of different sizes.  I have to say though that one of my all time favourites that I use with the families I work with is made out of a milk tin!  Add a couple of metal and wooden spoons or just use your hands and away you go. 

After cleaning it out you can decorate it with wrapping paper or similar.  I tend to cover the wrapping paper in sellotape to make it both wipe able and to last longer.  You can also glue the lid on with a glue gun.

Great for:
  • Developing hand / eye coordination skills
  • Developing listening skills and rhythm
  • Listening to different sounds, especially as one side is plastic and the other side is metal making both soft and hard sounds

                                                            Picture taken from Pinterest

Thursday, 18 February 2016

'Cuddle' rhyme

This is a very poignant rhyme in the technical world we live in with lots of tv, computers and tablets. 


I’d rather have a cuddle than a video

I’d rather have a cuddle than anything I know

I’d rather have a cuddle than ketchup, chips or peas

A computer can be lovely

But – a cuddle’s what I need

Image taken from:

'When Goldilocks went to the house of the Bears' rhyme

This is one of my all time favourite rhymes.  I like to sing this one with the families during our 'the importance of books and stories week' as I use the Goldilocks prop bag which I have put together using items from around the home..... 3 x teddy bears, a doll, 3 x bowls in different sizes and 3 x spoons in different sizes.  I have also added some picture of the chairs and beds in different sizes which I printed off from the internet and laminated to make them last.  Remember if you don't have a laminator you can use sellotape to cover them to make them last too.   It doesn't have to cost anything to make a prop bag just a good search around your home to see what you can use.

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears

Oh what did her blue eyes see?

A bowl that was huge, a bowl that was small

And a bowl that was tiny and that was all

She counted them 1, 2, 3

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears

Oh what did her blue eyes see?

A chair that was huge, a chair that was small

And a chair that was tiny and that was all

She counted them 1, 2, 3

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears

Oh what did her blue eyes see?

A bed that was huge, a bed that was small

And a bed that was tiny and that was all

She counted them 1, 2, 3

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears

Oh what did her blue eyes see?

A bear that was huge, a bear that was small

And a bear that was tiny and that was all

They growled at her ‘Grr, grr, grr’

'Hands on shoulders' rhyme

Hands on shoulders, hands on knees

Hands behind you, if you please!

Touch your hips and touch your nose

Bend way down and touch your toes

Hands up high now, in the air

Down at sides and touch your hair

Hands up high as you did before

Clap your hands: one, two, three, four

'Roly poly play dough' rhyme

This is a great rhyme to use with the children when you have the play dough out....

Roly poly play dough

Roly poly play dough

What can you make?

A big fat sausage

A flat pancake

Roly poly play dough

Roll a round ring

A necklace for a princess

A crown for a king

Roly poly play dough

What can you make?

A bendy banana

A long thin snake

'Wiggle your fingers high' rhyme

This is another really great interactive action rhyme that I use often within my work.  Try it for yourself and see how much fun it is.  The children laugh so much when we go fast.....

Wiggle your fingers high

Wiggle your fingers high

Wiggle your fingers low

Wiggle your fingers really fast

Wiggle your fingers slow

Slowly, slowly till they stop

Then down into your lap they drop

'With my hand' rhyme

This is a beautiful interactive action rhyme that can shared again and again....

With my hand

With my hand

I can turn on the tap

With my hand

I can give you a clap

With my hand

I can scratch my nose

With my hand

I can tickle my toes

With my hand

I can scoop up sand

With my hand

I can hold your hand

With my hand

I can squeeze very tight

With my hand

I can switch off the light

With my hand

I can point to the sky

With my hand

I can wave goodbye!

Taken from ‘Bouncing Ben’

3 sticky lollipops fixed on sticks

Here's a great song for repetition for developing early language skills through play...... 3 sticky lollipops fixed on sticks.

Make some lollipop props that can be added to a song box that you can easily make out of a shoe box and decorate / personalise with your little one.

           3 sticky lollipops fixed on sticks            
                Take a sticky lollipop and lick, lick, lick                

2 sticky lollipops fixed on sticks
Take a sticky lollipop and lick, lick, lick

1 sticky lollipop fixed on a stick
Take a sticky lollipop and lick, lick, lick

No sticky lollipops fixed on sticks
 No sticky lollipops to lick, lick, lick

Incy Wincy Spider extra verses

We all love the rhyme Incy Wincy spider.  But have you ever come across these extra verses which I just love.....

Incy Wincy Spider

Incy Wincy spider climbed up the water spout

Down came the rain and washed the spider out

Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain

So Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout again

Incy Wincy spider climbed up the tree

Down came the snow and made poor Incy freeze

Out came the sunshine and melted all the snow

So Incy Wincy spider had another go!

Incy Wincy spider climbed in the bath

Along came a rubber duck and made the spider laugh

Then came the water and washed him down the drain

So Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout again

Don't forget you can make your own Incy Wincy Spider prop.  Put Incy Wincy Spider in the search bar at the bottom of the blog page and previous posts will pop up with ideas on how to make one using a kitchen roll and another using a wooden spoon. 

Mothers day poems

Mothers day will soon be here so here are a few beautiful poems that you can add to home made cards and pictures.  Add your little ones painted handprints and you will have a precious work of art to keep forever.  Also a lovely surprise that you can make for Grandma or your little ones Godmother.


There used to be so many

Of my fingerprints to see

On furniture and walls and things

From sticky, grubby me

But if you stop and think a while

You’ll see I’m growing fast

Those little handprints disappear

You can’t bring back what’s past

So here’s a small reminder

To keep, not wipe away

Of tiny hands and how they looked

To make you smile some day


“Walk a little slower Mummy,” said a child so small
“I’m following your footsteps and I don’t want to fall

Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they’re hard to see;
So walk a little slower Mummy
For you are leading me

Someday when I’m all grown up,
You’re what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child
Who will want to follow me

And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true;
So, walk a little slower Mummy,
For I must follow you

Here's a little handprint

Here’s a little handprint

Just to recall

How my little hands looked

When I was very small

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Supporting early learning

Learning about shapes, numbers, colours and letters is important for young children, however early learning is about much more than this.  It's about:
  • Exploring
  • Finding things out for themselves
  • Problem solving
  • Watching, sharing, being with other people
  • Communicating their thoughts and feelings
  • Talking, practising, listening and repeating (lots of repetition)

Children usually love real life activities such as shopping or helping with the household chores which are safe for them to join in with.  This is a good way for children to learn by being activate doing real things and finding out more about the world they live in. 

These experiences enable children to make positive decisions and learn from their mistakes all of which help children  as learners.

Sometimes children need adults to join in as they need support with what they are wanting to do as long as the adult knows when to stand back and not do everything for the child.  But most of all its about having fun together and making precious memories.....priceless!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Michael Rosen performs We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Another of my favourites.  Try acting the story out like this with your little ones.  Great for language development due to the repetition all the way through the story.  Brilliant too for developing creativity and imaginative skills as every other page is black and white.  The sky isn't always blue and the grass isn't always green........come on.....join in the Bear hunt!

Picture Book Guess How Much I Love You ~

One of my all time favourite books all about love.  A must!

Valentines day ideas

OK so valentines day is once again nearly upon us and so I thought I would share some links to fabulous ideas.

One of my favourite things at this time of the year is chocolate play dough.  The Imagination Tree has a fantastic no cook recipe for chocolate play dough as well as ideas for playing with it.  I especially like the added idea of the cholate box container.  Pop on over to to find out more.

Or pop on over to to find out more about chocolate and strawberry play dough.  Almost good enough to eat.

Chocolate Shop Homemade Play Dough Activity

Hot Chocolate Paint recipe

Cloud Dough Exploration

Here's something different to play dough for a great sensory play experience.....Cloud dough!
Pop on over to: to find out what you will need to make it.

'Have you heard of it? Neither had I—and I thought I’d heard of everything kid-art related! A friend introduced me to the recipe, and I knew my three-year-old would love it. The consistency of the dough is lovely to feel and hold. It can be powdery like flour one moment, and mouldable (like damp sand) the next. This brought HOURS of fun to my home, and maybe it’ll do the same for yours!'

cloud 1 467x267

Sensory Play and Early Child Development

Sensory Play and Early Child Development

Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. Sensory activities and sensory tables facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore. Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.

Sensory worms

The green grass spaghetti for the farm play the other week went down so well that I have been looking for other great ideas to use spaghetti.  How about this idea from

Cooked spaghetti, sand, compost, tray, tweezers, container to put the worms in, magnifying glass......
Brilliant activity to develop:
  • Fine motor skills
  • Muscles in the hand
  • Mathematical skills - counting and measuring
  • Communication skills - talking, asking questions, new vocabulary
  • Social skills - playing together, taking turns in conversations
So easy and cheap to put together quickly.  Children will love it and I cant wait to try it this week with the families I work with.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Chocolate gloop

If you have been following me for a while you will see I use gloop a lot with the families I work with.  For those of you who are new, its cornflour and water mixed together which provides and amazing sensory experience for children.  Its hard to pick up and then pours like a liquid out of their hands or off their fingers.

I always like to add different textures to the gloop too such as glitter or sand but this is one of the best mixed gloop ideas I have seen from

Pop on over there to find out more.....

Dragon sensory play

I am always looking for new sensory play activities for the families that I work with.  I cant wait to try this one.  Sensory Dragon play from

Glass pebbles, shaving foam and some amazing small world play dragons.  Pop on over to the nurture store to find out more and see some fantastic pictures of it being played with for more ideas.

Ocean sensory bag....

Wow, just look at this fabulous Ocean sensory bag from

You will find a list of everything you will need to make one as well as some fantastic pictures of it being played with.  You could make a farm animal one using green food colouring and adding some farm animals or how about the same one but adding some ducks for 5 little ducks or frogs for 5 little speckled frogs?

Take a look at this great idea from

Brilliant idea to boost language and communication.  It can be personalised to any experience....holidays, trips to the sea side, farm, park.  It can include all family members or favourite characters.  Pop on over to Twodaloo to find out more.

How nursery rhymes can help children learn

00:00, 11 Oct 2011. 

Are you like the one in four UK adults who are unable to remember a whole nursery rhyme? Have you ever wondered about the significance of nursery rhymes to a child in the 21st century?
Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers and spellers in their class by the time they are in Year 3.

Why is this?

1. Nursery rhymes are a great way into learning early phonic skills (the ability to hear, identify and manipulate letter sounds).
Most schools use phonics as one of the main ways to teach reading.
2. Nursery rhymes give children practice in pitch, volume as well as in language rhythm.
Think about how your voice sounds when you ask a question or when you retell an event to friends – children need to learn these language variations.
3. Nursery rhymes expand your child’s imagination.
Nursery rhymes allow you to take your child to an imaginary world where blackbirds are baked in pies and vinegar and brown paper are a remedy for a cracked head! They transport children to a world of fantasy and play and can really develop your child’s visualisation skills through the use of actions.
4. Nursery rhymes follow a clear sequence of events.
Although short, nursery rhymes often tell a story and contain a beginning, middle and end. Whilst this may be a compact way of storytelling, these will be some of the first stories your child will be able to follow and understand. An engagement with a sequence of events will be a skill they need when reading.
5. Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, so they become some of a child’s first sentences.
Children start to speak by using single words, ‘car’ and eventually put these together to express meaning, ‘Me go.’. Nursery rhymes allow even very young children to speak and understand in full sentences; this is a skill they will need before they are able to read.
6. Nursery rhymes improve a child’s vocabulary.
Children hear and use new words that they wouldn’t come across in everyday language, for example, ‘Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water,’ or ‘when the bough breaks’ from Rock a bye Baby.
7. Nursery rhymes are an early form of poetry.
Your child will have to read, analyse and write about poetry throughout their school career and will be examined on their understanding of poetry in both GCSE English Language and English Literature. Why not give them a head start?
8. Nursery rhymes contain sophisticated literary devices!
Think of the alliteration in ‘Goosey, Goosey Gander’ or the onomatopoeia in ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ and rhyme in: ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are.’
Nursery rhymes are a powerful learning source in early literacy. They enable children to become interested in the rhythm and patterns of language in a way that listening to stories does not provide.
9. Nursery rhymes are fun!
Quite often nursery rhymes make no sense or have unexpected endings – this is something your child will enjoy. Have a look at one of the lesser known verses of ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’:
Round and round the mulberry bush. The monkey chased the weasel. The monkey stopped to pull up his socks. And Pop goes the weasel.
Unusual? Yes. Funny though!

Start with simple rhymes that are not very lengthy. Try ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’, ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ and ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Once I Caught a Fish Alive’.

Use actions, facial expression and vary your voice to capture their interest.

As your child becomes more familiar with the rhymes, encourage them to join in and say parts of the rhyme themselves (it will take a while before they can recite whole rhymes independently).

Remember that nursery rhymes are portable, they can be enjoyed anytime, any place, anywhere! Share them at bath time, when getting ready for bed, whilst cooking tea or in the car (and remember they can be fantastic tantrum diffusers as often children cannot resist joining in!).


1. Miss out rhyming words: encourage your child to finish the line.
2. Change words to make your own personalised rhymes, for example, ‘Nye and Jill went up the hill’ or, ‘One for the master, one for the dame and one for Nia Hopkins, who lives down the lane.’
3. Devise your own actions for nursery rhymes. Let your child suggest suitable ones which they’ll be more likely to remember.
4. Clap along and establish a steady beat.
5. Say the wrong words and let your children correct you!
6. Make a nursery rhyme ‘prop’ box by collecting items that feature in your favourites.
7. Paint/draw pictures of your favourite scenes or characters in the rhyme.
8. Visit the library to loan nursery rhyme books to extend your repertoire.
9. Buy a CD or download a selection to play and sing along with in the house or in the car.

Website links: : games, illustrations to colour in and the top twenty rhymes : games, illustrations to colour in and the top twenty rhymes

4 DIY Activity Boards for babys and toddlers | mamiblock

I am loving these ideas.  They are now on my to do cheap and easy to make.

Spaghetti play

This week I have been giving the families I work with ideas for linking activities to books and stories linked to the farm yard.  One of the activities I have used this week is spaghetti play.  I wanted to add a sensory experience linked to the farm yard story we were sharing together in the session.

I cooked the spaghetti according to the instructions adding green food colouring to the water to dye the spaghetti green.

Once the spaghetti was drained when cooked, I then popped it back into the pan and added some extra green food colouring.  This made the strands of spaghetti go different shades of green.

By the time I got to the session the spaghetti was cool and ready to be played with. I popped it into a clean shoe tray (which I use a lot as its long and shallow allowing a number of children to play at the same time.  I also placed some farm animals along side the activity so that the children could choose what they wanted to do with the spaghetti and add the animals only if and when they wanted to.

Due to the nature of my work I am unable to add photos here.  However I have found this photo which is very similar to the activity that was on offer taken from: