Latest Ideas

Counting cards

Number line

This was a great way to engage E in some counting and number sequencing.

Home made number cards

I lowered our washing line so she could reach it and gave her some number cards and clothes pegs.

Strengthening fine motor skills and coordination

E really enjoyed the physical challenge of using the pegs and moving the cards around to make the 1 to 10 sequence.

Later on we used the number cards again to set counting challenges. We hid lots of small toys in the tub of soapy water and had to fish out the number of toys shown on the card. E really liked searching for the toys with the scoop (a spoon would work just as well) and getting a bit wet.

Play in a tray

Water play

We’ve been enjoying all kinds of play in a tray. These storage ones from IKEA make such simple and easy opportunities for sensory play. On a hot day we filled one with water and another with bath toys, animals and jugs. E loved role playing with the animals and getting a bit wet in the garden.

Petals and leaves

On another day I filled a few toy buckets with things from around the garden – fallen petals, leaves, grass and mud. E helped and enjoyed this exploration of the garden and the texture they added to her water play.

Messy mixture

Once the mud was added she had a really fun messy mixture which we pretended was soup, a spell and medicine!

Tea party

Another simple idea is to have a tea party in a tray, this allows for using real water in the tea pot and doing lots of pouring without the water getting everywhere. This is a good option for a little bit of water play inside the house, especially good if you don’t have access to a garden or it’s too cold to go outside.

Writing letters

This writing activity was great, E really liked using ‘grown up’ stationery, pencils and post-its.

I included some old envelopes and stamps which encouraged E to think about writing letters and the process of preparing an envelope with an address and stamp. This was a fun role play that helped her learn about writing letters whilst at the same time practicing her pencil grip and mark making.

Making playdough

Making playdough with an easy no cook recipe is a great activity on a rainy day!

E loves the process of making the dough and then playing with it in different ways, such as pretend baking, making figures and just exploring using different tools.

1/2 cup salt
1 cup flour
2 table spoons of cream of tartar
1 table spoon of oil
1 cup of water – boiled in the kettle
Food colouring – gel is the best as it’s so vibrant

Just mix all the dry ingredients, add the oil and slowly add the water. Stir together and add a big squirt of the food colouring. Once it’s started to bind together knead it with your hands. Add flour if needed. Store in an air tight container for several weeks (I wrap in cling film or sandwich bags first)

Sparkly sea creature

A cutting and sticking activity, great for strengthening fine motor skills. I cut shapes out of old food packaging for E to decorate.

She then cut up some shiny paper, which is a skill she really enjoys practicing at the moment. She then used children’s PVA glue to stick paper and sequins onto the card cut outs.

I always save wrapping paper and ribbons from gifts to reuse in our craft activities, cutting them into really little pieces is a great way to make a sparkly collection for collages like this.

E was really pleased with the final result and so proud to put it up on the wall!

Little ladybirds

Model making insects with recycled materials

We’ve been having fun making model ladybirds from old food packaging.

Using old egg cartoons for the body, E took the lead painting them red.

Meanwhile I drew and cut out the heads and legs from another recycled box. It was easy to stick the prices together using sellotape.

E painted the spots once the red paint had dried. We enjoyed talking about how many spots ladybirds have and reading more about them in our bug book.

Once the paint had dried I taped all the pieces together and then we could play with them. E loved finding places for them to hide around the house and garden.

Music sessions

Using instruments along with pots and pans

We’ve been joining in with ‘Little Star’ free online music sessions with the wonderful Curly Cath!

She has been uploading music and movement sessions to her YouTube channel during the lockdown. We have really enjoyed singing, dancing and discovering new ways of making music.

We’ve had fun trying some of her ideas for homemade instruments, such as using an old tin can and a pencil to make a great guiro.

Painting shapes

Cardboard shapes for painting

E really enjoyed this new way of painting on cardboard shapes. These came from a craft shop (but we have since made our own, see below). Using little paint pots and a little brush really encouraged her to paint delicately and concentrate on detail. Old yogurt pots would work well for paint pots too.

E particularly liked painting the figures and we decided to make extra clothes, hats and sunglasses for them to wear which we cut out of cardboard and glued on to the figures.

Here I have used old food packaging such as biscuit or cereal boxes and used the card to make our own shapes for painting. This is a great way to recycle stuff at home rather than having to buy paper or card for painting.

Mud kitchen

Mud kitchen in the garden

We had fun setting up a mud kitchen in the garden today. It worked really well having a few different areas E could move between – I used an old plant tray and some buckets for the mud table and some jugs and plastic pans on the water table. I filled a large bucket with water so E could just re-fill her jugs and pans as she needed.

Messy mixing

E liked mixing the mud and water together and doing lots of stirring as she imagined being in a kitchen.

Decorating mud pies

We enjoyed going around the garden to collect leaves, fallen petals and stones for decorating the mud pies!

Front room circuits

Front room obstacle course

This has been a great way for E to burn off energy during the recent weeks at home. We have made various circuit challenges that include crawling, climbing, jumping and running all within our front room.

Here we are making use of pop up tunnels, cushions and furniture and encouraging E to go as fast as she can!

We’ve included a balancing challenge to the circuit. Here we are using yoga blocks spread out so E has to take big steps whilst trying not to touch the floor. You could also try cushions or fabric on the floor instead of the blocks.