As the nation celebrates its 49th year of Independence, plenty of families use this time to recuperate after the beginning of a hectic term. The third term is always busy – exams, tests, end of year productions at schools, and just that general end of year feeling! We’re recovering from winter with a nasty 40 degrees “spring” and I don’t know about you, but it’s certainly taking its toll on me.
This September long weekend is a great time to connect with your child as you can both relax and play at home or while away on holiday.
Here are 10 playful suggestions for you:
1) Roll up with a kitchen favourite – homemade play dough. This was such a hit at our SensoBaby Make and Make Believe class last week.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup salt
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
- Food colouring of your choice (For Independence Day themed play dough, make one batch blue, keep some in its natural colour and mix red, green and blue together which is as close as you will get to black).
Method: Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and cook on low heat. Stir continuously. It should eventually thicken into one lump, at which point it can come off the stove. Turn it out into a large bowl and knead it once it cools down.
2) When it’s too hot to be outside, grab your children by their brains and engage in some ‘Brain Box’ activities: This include stories, puzzles, threading and beading, drawing, colouring, sequencing games, shape sorters, and other ‘traditional, school-style’ learning tasks. Make sure they are age appropriate and challenging at just the right level though.
3) Sensory Baskets: Create various baskets filled with interesting items for baby/toddler to explore. For example, coloured baskets – 3 or 4 baskets, each filled with items of various textures, shapes and sizes but all in the same colour. Alternatively, you can do a ‘soft’ basket, a ‘fluffy’ basket, a ‘rough’ basket, a ‘gooey’ basket etc. You could also create Treasure Baskets filled with shiny or special objects where each one has a story; shells, mirrors, treasures from travels abroad and more!
4) Sorting trays… you don’t need to go out and buy one, just use a cupcake tray! Have various objects that your little one can sort through such as numbers and letters if they’re in preschool already or coloured rice/pasta shells for the younger ones.
5) Make some Rainbow Soap Foam Bubbles from Fun at Home with Kids.
6) Go on a Nature Walk, pick some fruit if you have some growing in your garden and squeeze it out in water. Let your baby engage in water play outdoors exploring textures, colours, nature and their senses. Or collect some leaves and make this gorgeous mask.
7) Messy play may sound like a pain to mummy but it’s such fun for baby! Make some Goop like we did at SensoBaby:
- 1 cup corn starch
- 1/3 cup water
- Food colouring of your choice
Method: Mix all together! Add more water if not runny enough and ENJOY! ☺
8) It’s HOT so water is a cooling play activity for the little ones… Here’s another water play idea: make a water sensory bin. In a large enough tub that would fit baby (or an inflatable baby pool), fill it up to the same level you would a bath. Drop in some cups or a little jug (to encourage pouring), some rubber ducks or other bath toys, squirty bath books, beach toys like a bucket, spade, rake and sand shaping toys such as shells and star fish, safe kitchen items like a plastic sieve through which baby can explore water pouring out… use your imagination! ☺
9) Paint with edible finger paints. Another star recipe from our Make and Make Believe Classes:
- ½ cup corn starch
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- Food colouring of your choice
Method: Mix all ingredients except the food colouring together in a saucepan and cook on low heat. Stir continuously until thick. Take off the heat. Add more water for a more runny consistency if you want. Divide into jars to store and use and add a different food colouring to each.
10) Another fantastic messy play one – use all your senses to engage with Rainbow Spaghetti and make it a treasure quest. Boil spaghetti until cooked. Separate it into 3 or 4 different bowls and add different food colouring to each one. Toss together into one big bowl and hide some treasure objects between it all… You can hide small plastic animals, Lego pieces or characters, plastic fruit (available from EduToys) or even little flowers picked from the garden in there.
Let us know what you tried at home this week and how it went for you! Share your pictures and experiences with us too; we would love to hear more.
Have a Happy Independence Holiday… PULA!