Papier mache craft is one of the cheapest and easiest activities to undertake with the kids - it might be messy, but make your own paste and it is perfectly safe! It's also a great activity to bear in mind if you suddenly get caught out on a rainy day with a depleted craft cupboard; you'll probably have the resources required in the home.
Make a child-safe paste by mixing one part flour to five parts water. Place it in a saucepan, bring it to the boil and then simmer for 3 minutes. Allow it to cool and you have your paste.
For paper, simply use old newspaper. Cut it into strips, dip it in your homemade paste, then stick it onto your surface. To apply, take each strip of paper, dip it in the paste to cover it completely then apply it to your mould or over the previous layers. Add about three layers at a time then allow to dry - of you add too many layers at once it will take much longer to dry. Build up to as many layers as you need to give the required thickness.
So, what to make? If you have a balloon then use this as a mould. Cover the balloon all over with papier mache, when all your layers are dry burst the balloon and you're left with a terrific head to paint and add features to. To make a mask, just cover one half of the balloon and remove the balloon when your paste has dried.
Why not make a scene? Take a large piece of cardboard, create some texture by scrunching up bits of paper and laying them onto your surface, then apply your papier mache. When the paste has dried, paint it and add other features. Use leaves and twigs from the garden or park to create a country scene, paint it blue and add plasticine ships to make a turbulent sea!
Try making a monster, or an elephant? ...build a park, with a pond, for children or a treasure island?! The possibilities are limitless; enjoy craft at its easiest and your kids will love to create!
Texture - funny old word, but the world is full of different ones...everything we feel and consume has texture, and babies and toddlers are fascinated to be able to explore the world of textures around them. Babies need little encouragement to feel different textures from an early age - they learn through touch so exploring textures is both a natural desire and an important part of early development.
Most toys and books aimed at babies and young toddlers are designed to stimulate the sense of touch - they might have bumpy, crinkly, shiny, soft, furry, rough or smooth surfaces and children will delight in feeling the different materials.
Besides commercial goods, there are lots of activities that you can undertake to encourage exploration of textures. Collect items from nature outside - crinkly leaves, shiny nuts, spiky seed pods, rough bark, smooth stones and so on. Hunt for as many different textures as you can find. If the weather's poor, explore craft materials with different textures; soft tissue paper, corrugated cardboard, smooth ribbon, shiny foil, smooth plastic bottle caps and so much more. Take your collected items and create a collage, make a picture by sticking your objects to a sheet of stiff paper. You'll end up with a great touchy-feely picture and your babies will have learned lots about different textures along the way!
You might think that ToucanLearn is just another activity site, but what we offer is a unique learning program for preschool children. The program is made up from activities, games and crafts, but each activity is categorised for a very specific moment in the development of your babies and toddlers. As soon as you have registered your children's name and date of birth, you can get access to loads of activities that challenge their capabilities. Each activity is focused on one of four key skills in making, moving, learning and speaking which correspond to fine and gross motor skills, thinking and language development. As your child grows older, so the selection of activities changes so that you will only ever see activities appropriate to the capabilities of each child. The best thing is that you can use all of this for free - if you pay premium membership then you receive even more activities, and some other benefits, but if those don't appeal, you are welcome to use ToucanLearn without paying at all!
Babies spend an awful lot of time lying in their cot, staring at the ceiling! Give them something to stimulate their senses and hang a mobile for them! You can readily buy wind-up or battery operated mobiles that turn and play tunes, but if you don't want to buy a mobile, why not make one for your baby instead? Make brightly decorated disks from cardboard and suspend them above the cot using thread. Make sure that it is securely tied and well out of reach from your baby so as not to present a hazard. High contrast colors will stimulate your baby's senses and relieve the boredom of staring up to a plain ceiling!
Have you noticed that when your baby receives a wrapped gift, they are often more enthralled by the giftwrap than by the present itself?! A piece of paper can keep a baby entertained for ages, exploring the texture and sound that crinkling it can make. As your baby grows older, you should keep all sorts of discarded packaging to hand to use for 'craft'. Plastic tubs, drink bottles, different types of paper and cardboard can all be turned into playthings for toddlers and children. You'll find all sorts of 'Making' projects in ToucanLearn. Give your rubbish a new lease of life and give the kids a treasure chest of craft materials!
In a world full of electronic toys, gadgets and goods, it's easy to give the children something with buttons on that will keep them occupied for hours. There's certainly a place for these in a world of diverse experiences, but at ToucanLearn we offer more traditional activities and pursuits to fill your time. We give you a range of fun games and activities to do with your babies and toddlers that will help them explore and learn about the world, and give you the opportunity to develop with them.
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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!
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