Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Toddler Book Club - session 1 "Elmer"

I've recently started a "book club" for toddlers in our home (you can read more about how it works/the schedule here) and would love other bloggers to join in - so if you fancy reading the book and then doing a related activity (either what we do or something different), let me know.

If you'd like to join in without blogging just leave a comment, or if you blog about it, give me your URL and I'll update the post to include your link :)



Preparation the night before :)

We love Elmer the elephant (you can read more about how much and why in this post "A week of Elmer") - not only does the book have a lovely message, but the illustrations are bright and colourful and the jungle scenes are full of animals to talk about/copy noises etc.

Elmer is a multi-coloured elephant who gets fed up with being different. He tries to disguise himself so he fits in with the herd better but soon realises that standing out from the crowd isn't always a bad thing.

Snack: Rainbow platter
You can see more details in this post but here was the snack before the kids demolished it :)

Activity: Elmer painting 
This craft was super simple. I printed off an Elmer outline and then drew a few more with a Sharpie, laid out some paints and crayons and we were all set. As D is still a bit little to draw proper lines, I drew a rough chequerboard on Elmer in pencil - not that he stayed inside the lines at all but they acted as a prompt for him to think about different colours and what to put where. D really enjoyed this and did a mixture of paints and crayons and even came back to it later in the day to add some more details to it!

How did it work?

Not bad for our first session I think :) D was a lot more interested in listening to the story and doing the activity than the other toddler (we only had 2 this week). I'm not sure if that was because he knew the story, because it was me reading/setting up the activity or because it was being held at his house (and the other little guy was too distracted by all the new toys in our house!). 

But we survived 2 toddlers, a crawling baby and a rolling baby... and had fun with Elmer along the way. D even insisted on having his face painted again to really get into the mood :)


At our next book club we're reading "The Cat in the Hat". If you've done any Elmer-related activities I'd love to hear below. Or if you're planning to join in next time it'd also be great to hear from you :)

Monday, 23 March 2015

How to make tummy time fun... and sociable

And get your baby to create their first masterpiece at the same time :)

To be honest having strict "tummy time" doesn't really happen here anymore as Iz can roll whichever way she wants but she definitely prefers sitting or lying on her back so I'm always looking for ways to make her enjoy being on her tummy more.

This play has a super simple set up. Just place a piece of paper in a ziplock bag, squirt in a few blobs of paint and tape it to the floor/mat/whatever - I used our tuff spot (although think it probably wasn't the comfiest surface for tummy time!). That's it :)

What's he doing?

Smooooosh the paint

Ooooo paint circles

Crikey, he's still going strong....

Iz and D both really enjoyed this activity. I loved how she watched to see what he was doing. And he had so much fun talking about the colours, mixing them together and then tracing different shapes in the paint (he's just learnt shape names in the last few weeks). I was actually surprised at how long this kept D's attention and he even went back to it twice more later in the afternoon.
Busy busy busy

Love watching them interact together

Stamping is just as fun
And at the end you can carefully peel back the plastic bag, let the paint dry and there you have it, your baby's first masterpiece!

So proud of Iz's first picture :)

It's not always easy for toddler and baby siblings to do exactly the same activity so I loved watching them side-by-side doing this. Have you got any ideas for play that could involve them both? I'd love to hear more suggestions :)

Friday, 20 March 2015

Music play

This is the third in my baby sensory play series - this is the noisy one :)

You can read my other posts here:
Ball yoghurt painting
Ribbon play for babies

Do you have a budding rockstar?

It also has the simplest set-up and you won't need to buy anything at all!

What you need:
- Collection of saucepans, plastic bowls, Tupperware containers
- Wooden spoon,metal spoon plus anything else you fancy 
- A baby

That's it. Surround your baby with your homemade drumset and you'll be amazed how long they stay playing for :)
Bang bang bang

Oooo this one makes even more noise!

Loving the whisk :)

It's me!!!


Have you made musical instruments with your little ones? That's our next plan - to make some homemade shakers and string instruments :) 

Who needs expensive toys like this?! (this was at our hairdressers!)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A week of Elmer


An elephant load of mess...

This is another one of our "Week of Elmer" activities but this one was so fun (and messy!) that I thought it needed a post of it's own :)

This was a variation on the ball yoghurt painting Iz did a few weeks ago. I wanted to do an activity linked to Toddler Book Club that was suitable for babies to join in with and came up with this...

Giant Elmer Yoghurt painting 

Awesome right?! So if you want to try this, here is what we used:
- tuff spot/tray (LOVE this for indoor messy play)
- large plain paper
- yoghurt paint (see here how to make it)
- paintbrush (optional)
- a good cleanup plan...

Step 1:
Make your yoghurt paints. D loved helping with the mixing and seeing the colours develop. We stuck with red, yellow, green and blue. I know Elmer has a lot more colours but I thought 4 was probably enough. And when I later saw how much mess 4 made I was even more glad I hadn't laid out a whole rainbow ;) we also made the paints a few hours in advance and just put the bowls back in the fridge - so they were ready exactly when we wanted them.

Taste testing...

Step 2:
Get the largest piece of white paper you can find and draw a big Elmer on it. My art skills are pretty rudimentary but luckily Elmer is quite easy to draw! Then tape it to your tuff spot with masking tape.

In the end I got them to share an elephant rather than having one each

Step 3:
Assemble children on tuff spot. The important bit here is not to even blink... I turned around for about 3 seconds to get my camera and when I looked back Iz had already dived straight in and was covered in yoghurt!

Still relatively clean...
This was after about 30 seconds!
Step 4:
Sit back, relax and embrace the mess...

Arghhhh she got yoghurt on my leg!!

Love his dedication to the painting even when she had the pot!

Face of innocence...

Yep a ball got involved again :)

Iz has a snack, D stays focused on the task at hand...

D really enjoyed the painting and this activity kept his attention much longer than other ones have. He made sure he used every colour and was careful to make sure he painted all of Elmer. I was impressed at his dedication - even as Izzy was tearing at the paper, he still carried on painting!
He's not looking too impressed by her destructive streak here...
The colours didn't translate particularly well on the paper (they'd probably look brighter with more food colouring) but D still enjoyed telling me which colour he was using/wanted and it didn't dampen his enjoyment.

Concentrating hard :)

Now I should point out that I LOVE messy play and don't mind my kids getting super messy. But even I was surprised at just how messy (and how fast!) Iz got. She loved it though and had so much fun, but this may not be the best activity if you are not a fan of mess...

But so happy with it!


Have you ever done a giant yoghurt painting? Do you think you'll try one? I'd love to hear about it :)

The fastest six months...

Time flies when you're having fun?
Blink and you'll miss it?

We've all heard sayings like this, but I've found its never been truer than the last 6 months.

Time with any baby whizzes past but when you have a toddler whirlwinding around the place, it seems to pass even quicker with baby number 2.

Iz, I don't want to miss a moment of you growing up, and I have loved watching you every day over these last 186 days xxx
At the start...



Where has my baby gone?!?

Saturday, 7 March 2015

What Iz loved - February 2015

Only a week late, this is a record for me I think :)

Here is what Iz loved this month...

1. Swinging, casually
2. Wearing dresses (even if she doesn't look that happy in that pic! Lol)
3. Sitting
5. First holiday at Center Parcs (and first grown up swimming costume!)
7. The ball pit
8. Discovering spaghetti


If you want to do your own "What baby/toddler loved" then link up with Rachel @dinkythinks - you can see her latest post here :)