Rose Petal Playdough

RosePetalPlaydoughAt the moment, Little Pea is fascinated by flowers. Her favourites are dandelion clocks, which she loves to try to blow, closely followed by dandelions which make her giggle loads when she feeds them to our twitchy nosed guinea pigs.

Roses are great in her book, because they smell nice and the petals are silky when you pull them off. They are also a win in my book because they are edible and we have a rampant dog rose that flowers wildly with pretty tatty looking petals, so I don’t mind picking them and letting Little Pea do her worst.

This rose playdough contains rose water to echo the smell of the flowers themselves.

Ingredients:

  • Two cups of white flour
  • Half a cup of vegetable oil
  • Half a cup of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of rose water
  • Gel food colouring
  • Optional organic rose petals to decorate
  • Optional edible glitter

I began by mixing the flour, vegetable oil and rosewater in a mixing bowl but found that the oil and rosewater combination meant that the dough was very crumbly and didn’t combine properly, so I stirred in hot water (about half a cup) until it achieved a consistency that I was happy with. I then worked some Wilton’s food colouring gel through the dough.

I laid it out on a plate with rose petals and edible glitter for Little Pea to play with which she seemed to find very exciting, she approached it very cautiously, checking that it was okay to touch and play with the petals before getting stuck in with wild abandon. Without the rose petals, I think that this would keep very well for a few days in the fridge. But a word of warning, with the rose petals, the dough became a bit of a sticky sappy mess by the next day so I decided to dispose of it. On the whole though, it was definitely worth it because Little Pea loved poking the petals into the dough and pulling them back out.rose petal playdough

Incy Wincy Spider Rhymer

Incy WincyRhymer

I looked after my friend’s little girl for an hour the other day while her mother went to an appointment, and while we were doing some drawing we made this Incy Wincy Spider Rhyme Wheel which Little Pea has been loving ever since (she points at it and shouts Dee Die Der!).

You will need:

  • Two paper plates
  • Crayons/Pencils/Felt Tips
  • Split pin paper fasteners
  • Scissors
  • Some sticky tape to secure the back of the split pin

By cutting a section out of a paper plate and drawing four scenes from Incy Wincy Spider on the paper plate underneath, the top plate can be rotated to show a different picture for each key moment in the rhyme: the spider climbing the spout, the rain falling down and washing the spider away, the sun drying up the rain and the spider recovering from its ordeal.

paper plate incy wincy spider

This worked really well for a nursery rhyme storyboard but I reckon the idea would be great for illustrating the changing seasons for an older child as well. Can you think of any stories or concepts that would work well in paper plate form?

Edible Sand Sensory Bin

A little while ago, it seemed like it was raining all the time so I decided that Little Pea and I needed a beach holiday. Lacking any money because, maternity leave, and being more than a little pale of skin anyway, a winter sun break was out and we had to improvise.

I knew that Little Pea loved a sand pit because there was a great one at a community farm we visited with her older cousin a few months ago. However, since then Little Pea has been actively teething and everything goes in her mouth so I needed to make sure the sand was edible. I came across a great recipe for edible play sand at Clare’s Little Tots and it couldn’t be easier to make. All you need is five parts wholemeal flour (I used some bread flour) to one part vegetable oil, mix them up until you have a crumbly texture and, hey presto! You have edible sand which is safe for babies to play with.

edible sand for babies

I popped on a seaside playlist that I’d made on Spotify to create the mood, and Little Pea loved pushing the edible sand around with her fingers and feet, as well as burying her toys and digging them back out. She tasted a little bit of the sand, but on the whole was more interested in scooping, spooning and throwing it, so I was happy to keep it in a bowl in the fridge for a week and to keep adding it back into the sensory bin when we were ready to play with it again.

This did leave a slightly oily residue in the base of the sensory bin when it was cleaned out, but a little duck water play with lavender bubble bath cleaned it out with lots of fun and no effort at all.

Edible Sand Box Wish You Were Here

 

Five Little Ducks Wet Play Game

Five Little Ducks Game Wet Play

Little Pea’s favourite thing in the whole world is splashing in water. Whether it’s in the bath or in a pool of water she’s tipped from her sippy cup, if there’s water she loves it. She also loves ducks. It didn’t take a huge mental leap to know that she would love a chance to play Five Little Ducks in her sensory bin.

five little ducks wet play

I put warm water, lavender baby bubble bath and a tiny drop of dark blue food gel into the sensory bin (a 32 litre storage box that I repurposed for such things) and set this up on her oil cloth with a towel to catch any drips. As well as the five rubber ducks and their mother, I added paper straws for interest.

We had a great time singing Five Little Ducks and I think having the ducks in the sensory bin helped Little Pea make the link between the abstract words of the rhyme and the concept behind it, as we removed a duck for each verse and then I counted them while handing them to her to start the new verse. I think Little Pea was even more relieved than Mother Duck when all of the little ducks came back!

She also loved watching me blow bubbles into the water using a paper straw and got bold enough to touch them with her toes and then her fingers.

Five Little Ducks wet sensory play

Ten Minutes to Baby Safe Play Dough

Edible Play Doug (1)When I was looking for recipes for a baby-safe play dough for Little Pea, I found a lot of recipes that were technically edible but had a crazy high salt content- not great for babies and their little kidneys, so I decided to try making a baby safe version based on my favourite oil based cookie dough.

By swapping the dry ingredients for flour and leaving out the eggs and almond extract, I ended up with a two ingredient play dough which can easily be mixed up in ten minutes, less if you’re not adding colour.

I used four cups of white flour (this was a mixture of strong white flour and self-raising because I had bits to use up in the cupboard) and one cup of organic rapeseed oil but any vegetable oil would do. Once you’re happy with the consistency of the dough- adding more flour if you want it to be a bit firmer- you can divide it into balls ready to add the colour. I flattened mine into sheets before adding Wilton’s gel food colouring, just a splodge in the middle before folding it in. Once it’s incorporated into the dough I don’t find that it stains, but it can mark your skin if you get it onto your hands before then.

I was pretty pleased with this as an emergency, wet afternoon plaything. Little Pea loved watching me measure out and mix up the ingredients for an easy two ingredient, ten minute edible baby play dough. By the time I put her down on her oil cloth to play with it she was bouncing around with excitement and coupled with some “baking tools” it easily held her attention for fifteen minutes of baby-led play with lots of poking, pulling, tearing and mashing- really working those little fingers! After that I couldn’t resist any longer and had to join in.

While this was a fantastic dough for Little Pea’s needs at the moment, for an older toddler who has advanced their fine motor skills to moulding and shaping I would probably experiment with a stronger mixture which holds its shape better.

The Baby Dream House

It started with The Baby Dream House.

One day, after an IKEA delivery, I was left with a large cardboard box and decided to build a den for Little Pea while she napped. A scissors, some packing tape, a silk scarf that I’d picked up at a flea market and never done anything with, a blanket, a sheepskin rug and the Christmas fairy lights that I’d forgotten to pack away and I was pretty happy with my efforts. So it seemed was Little Pea. A comfy place to snuggle, play and hide.

Yes

I moved it into her bedroom, and though we played in there before bed most evenings I didn’t think too much about its role in her development until I was singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star during a nappy change and when she suddenly shouted her no noise and crawled to the dream house. Looking at me to make sure she had my attention, she pointed up at the star-shaped fairy lights and started signing the twinkle twinkle hands to show me that she knew what they were.

It made me think then that a lot of the time when we sing nursery rhymes, though it’s done with lots of gestures and expressions, for babies, these are still pretty abstract concepts so aren’t linked to concrete ideas that Little Pea can grasp hold of. I quickly gave the floor a make over with some animal greeting cards from a charity shop transformed into a lino floor with some sticky back plastic, and added other nursery rhyme characters (like this sticky felt Baa Baa Black Sheep, Mary’s Little Lamb and a Hickory, Dickory Dock clock and mouse).

collage
This has left me with a fascination as to how I can make play experiences more rewarding for Little Pea. Having read lots of inspiring ideas on other blogs while researching this idea, I’m looking forward to sharing our fun here.