Swing park slide toy racing

Age: from around 18 months old

Time: just a couple of minutes (but potentially longer if your child gets more into the game)

Needed: two or more toys which can easily go down the slide at the swing park.  Especially for older toddlers it’s a good idea to have different weighted a day sized toys so they go down at a different speed and way (eg: a small toy car / a teddy / a ball, etc)

Development: helps your child learn about movement and anticipation.  They also might find it funny if an item does something unexpected.

Make sure you bring 2 or 3 different toys next time you go to the park ( choose ones which can take a bit if a bashing!).  You can surprise your child by showing her how one of the toys goes down  the slide.  Depending on her age, you could do it again /little ones love repetition, after all),  20150515_110457or produce the other toy and ask which she thinks might go faster. If the toys are small enough (or the slide is wide), you  an try putting both down at the same time for a race.

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Collage with a toddler

Age: from around 18 months

Time: 5 to 10 minutes (or longer if your child concentrates on one activity for longer)

Needed: large piece of paper or card, cut up images from magazines (I stuck to circles, but will change it next time to vary the activity), plus crayons / pencils / sequins if desired, glue stick

Development: helps your  child express their creativity, make their own choices, lean about playing alongside you (so they’re having to do some sharing), and develop fine motor skills

This is a pretty simple activity once you’ve assembled all the bits and pieces, and the clean up is minimal which is always a bonus!

The key thing is to encourage your child to do as much as they can themselves, and make sure they get lots of praise for sharing or taking turns.

Hope you enjoy it!  🙂

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Game: shredding tissues

Age: around 12 to 18 months old

Time: around 5 to 10 minutes

Materials needed: some (clean!) tissues, and a box or tub

SSkills used: helps your child develop fine motor skills and practice enclosing

Who knows why but lots of toddlers seem to go through a stage when they like to shred up tissues or toilet roll!

You can provide your toddler with some tissues and show her how to rip them up, then put the ripped parts into a tub. This could be the first step to encouraging her to help tidy up as well!

Thid simple and cheap activity can keep some toddlers engrossed for long enough for you to enjoy a hot cup of tea 😉

Hope you enjoy it!

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Texture books

Age: from around  3 or 4 months old (older children will be able to get more involved in making the book, as well as enjoying looking through it afterwards)

Time: 10 minutes (or longer if you’d like to make something more complicated)

Materials needed: thick paper or card (A5 size is good), scraps of material / coloured paper, sequins, bubble wrap, non-toxic  glue, plus anything else you might have to hand)

Get all your materials ready and allow your baby, toddler or child to explore the different textures.

You can then go “freestyle” and stick things here and there all over the pages, or try to use scraps to firm shapes of things such as: a flower, simple animals, clothes, or a house.

I’d advise being wary when your younger children is playing with this as he may rip things off! For that reason, I avoided using buttons, but they would be a lovely additional for an older child who’s less likely to rip them off and put them in their mouth.

Once the book has dried, you and your child can enjoy it together by feeling the different textures,  making up stories, finding things of the same colour or shape, etc.

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There was bubble wrap glued above the fish, but *someone* popped them all then ripped it off.  😉

Hope you enjoy making good your texture books!

Craft: footprints

Age: from birth

Time: 5 to 10 minutes (depending on how wriggly your child is!)

Equipment needed: canvas or thick paper / card,  paint (choose a kind which will wash off skin and clothes), paint brush,   newspapers or old shower curtain to protect the area, plus any ribbon, stickers or sequins you want to add

Choose a colour of paint you like and brush it on to your child’s hand or foot, then gently and evenly press their hand /foot on to the canvas.  You might have to try more than once.

You can then add ribbon, sequins, stickers or writing to make a personalised gift. I think these are especially popular with grandparents 🙂

Don’t  forget to add your child’s age 20150506_145522

Game: teddy disco

Age: around 12 – 24 months old

Time: 1 minute to set up, around 5 for the activity

Equipment: your child’s favourite teddy, dolly or other toy with arms and legs

Have you noticed that your child seems to have a favourite song or type of music he likes to dance to?  How do you think he woukd react if his toys started “dancing” to it as well?

Grab a doll or soft toy, then either sing or put on some of your child’s favourite music and make his toys dance along – they might leap, spin around or do a Highland jig!

Your child might find this very funny and may start to join in with his own toy.

It can be a great game to use as a quick distraction for a toddler who might be getting a bit grumpy or tired.

Hope you and your family enjoy it 🙂

Rainy day activity: living room den

20150428_144802Age: suitable from around 12 months old and beyond

Time: 5 minutes to build, then as long as it holds you child’s attention for!

Equipment needed: cushions, blankets, scarves or throws, chairs or sofa, some stuffed toys or dollies, and anything else you might want to add

When it’s too rainy and miserable to go outside, building a den indoors  can be a fun way to give your child a different environment to play in without actually leaving the living room!

You can get as creative as you like with this, but as a base you can use the a chair or sofa as the walls of the den, then add cushions around the sides and drape throws, sheets or blankets over the top to create a roof.

You can add sparkly scarves to create a tactile door and put teddies or other soft toys inside to make the den feel more magical and inviting.

Some children, especially younger toddlers, might be a little reluctant to go inside the den, so let them explore in their own time – you can also encourage them by getting inside yourself!

Don’t leave your child unattended near lengths of material in case they become entangled or wrap them around their neck  – this is an activity to enjoy together.  🙂

Game: copy cats!

Age: suitable from around 9 months and beyond

Time needed : under 5 minutes

Equipment needed: nothing!

Sit face to face with your baby or toddler (just after a meal can be a good opportunity if your wee one is in a high chair as you’ll be at the same level).

Say something like “copy cat!”  and start to mimic what your child is doing – facial expressions, hand movements and any noises or words she says.

It might take her a little while to realise what you’re doing! Lots of toddlers and babies find this simple game very funny, and some might start to copy you back.

Hope you and your family enjoy it 🙂

First blog post

On this blog I plan to share some fun ideas for families and carers with babies, toddlers and young children:

* games and activities

* arts and crafts ideas l

* stories and songs to share together