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Tags: sand



Letter Stones Hidden In The Sand!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Kids Art and Craft, Kids Activities , Tags: exploring, letters, sand, sounds, stones

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Now that summer is here, sand and water play are back on the agenda, plus lots of outside games.  Here's a simple activity to encourage letter recognition and exploring.

  1. Go out and find lots of pebbles and little stones.  Wash them together and clean them up. Dry them in the sunshine.
  2. Once dry, mark each one with an indelible pen with a lower case letter of the alphabet on one side.
  3. Once the ink is dry, select a few pebbles that make up some easy words: pig, dog, cat, cow.  Head off into the garden or sand pit and hide the pebbles.
  4. Ask your little one to try and find them and name each of the letters.  If they are good at this and recognise the letter, see if they can name the letters and make the sounds.
  5. Show how the letters make up the words and eventually they will be able to do this alone!


Sand, Boxes, Spoons and Maths!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Kids Activities , Tags: mass, maths, sand, toddlers, tubs, weight

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Maths for toddlers isn't difficult numbers and hard sums... it is much more fun than that!

Take a box of sand, some old cartons or tubes such as toothpaste cartons, little cereal packets, or stock cube boxes.  Take some spoons such as tea spoons, wooden cooking spoons, dolly sized spoons.  Ask you little ones to fill the tubes and boxes with their hands and with the spoons.  Then get them to empty the contents or transfer from one box to another.  Show them how to do it.  Make piles of sand, squash the sand and fill the boxes.  Then, ask them:

  • Which box is the biggest, the fattest, the tallest?
  • Which holds most?
  • Which spoon holds most sand?
  • Which spoon is best to fill the big box or the small box?
  • Ask which is heavier and how they feel when full and empty?
  • Explore and play together

This is the beginning of learning about mass and weight... its also great fun!



Start Mark Making with Messy Play

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Kids Activities , Tags: flour, fun, jelly, mark making, messy play, pasta, sand, water

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Messy Play is a fun and important part of play - babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers are always delighted to get their hands stuck in to some messy play.  They get to feel and touch items and substances they wouldn't normally handle.  But, it is also useful for the beginnings of mark-making and ideal for observing their world and how different ingredients change when mixed up.  Most importantly - it is fun!

Get a large tray such as a baking tray with fairly deep sides to use when doing messy play. Add some ingredients to the tray and encourage the little ones to mix and feel and play with the substances.

  • Flour: Place some flour on the tray.  Get some small toys to drive through the flour to make tracks.  Mix with spoons and sprinkle with glitter to make it sparkly.
  • Flour and water: Add some water to make it slushy and really messy!  Great fun!
  • Oats: Add three spoon and bowls and some washable teddies and act out the tree bears story!
  • Shaving foam: A cheap can of shaving foam can be sprayed on the tray and used to make patterns and marks with spoons and tools etc.
  • Jelly: Make up some different colours and cut them up with blunt knives, mix them and squelch them together.
  • Pasta: Different shaped pasta and rice can be mixed, sorted and sprinkled.  Let the children use their imagination. Make  necklace by threading onto string if you have time.
  • Cornflour: Mix cornflour and water to make a heavenly gloopy, sticky messy substance to play with. 
  • Sand: Make a beach, add water in a bowl for sea and mix it all together.  Make letter shapes and patterns in the sand or drive through some favourite toys or cars.
  • Water play: Put some water in a sink or old baby bath and use it to play!  Fill containers, make showers, sprinkle with glitter, use spoons and ladles and have fun!  Add ducks or some dolls to wash.

Remember to protect clothing, floor, tables and keep any valuables away from the mess.  Have fun!



How To Make A Wormery!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Kids Activities , Tags: bugs, garden, insects, mud, sand, soil, wormery, worms

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Some children love bugs and worms, but others are scared or nervous around them - this is a great activity to enthrall those who are interested, and gently introduce worms to those who need some encouragement!  By setting up a wormery, you get to see what happens underground.  It's clean for us, safe for the worms and very interesting for the children.

You need to find the following:

  • one large plastic drinks bottle - the bigger the better, the  2 litre ones work well
  • one smaller plastic bottl
  • water
  • some clean sand (horticultural sand not the coarse DIY sand)
  • some peat free soil

Steps

  1. Poke some holes in the bottom of the large bottle so the water can run out.  Also, cut off the top of the bottle so you can place the small bottle inside.
  2. Fill the smaller bottle with water and place it in the big one.  (This keeps the worms cool)
  3. Fill the outside bottle with alternate layers of sand and soil so each layer is 4cm deep.  Pour in some water so it is damp.
  4. Hop out to the garden and search for some worms.  Dig up a bit of soil and you should find some.
  5. Put them carefully into the soil/sand area of the bottle and pop it somewhere dark (shed or under an empty bucket) for a couple of days.
  6. When you get them out to take a look, you should see that all the soil and sand have been mixed up as they tunnel around.
  7. After a few days let them out again, and then you can start again with some different worms.


Mark Making Ideas

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Learning Play, Child Development, Preschool Children, Kids Activities , Tags: chalk, crayons, drawing, finger paint, ideas, mark making, messy play, paper, pencils, sand, writing

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It may look like scribbles, but from a very early age, the marks that children make on a page are an important step towards learning to write and communicate.  Through their marks children are communicating their ideas, showing us how they feel and developing their own imagination.  They are also being creative no matter how messy or scribbly their picture or words look to us when they have finished.

Give your child regular opportunities to make marks, draw, scribble, make lines and create pictures - at home, in the garden, in the park, at the restaurant, in the car.  There are lots of times you can settle them down to draw and write and keep themselves entertained at the same time!

From the moment a baby holds a crayon and makes their very first mark on a page, their journey towards writing had begun.   It may not be a conventional pencil used to write on a clean sheet of paper, but there are all sorts of other ways to get babies and toddlers used to the idea of mark making.   Here are  a few ideas to begin with:

  • Salt Tray: Sprinkle salt into a tray and let your child make swirls and lines and marks. Put some tools in there too so they can use those.
  • Cornflakes: A tray of cornflakes makes a crunchy media to play with and make marks in. Listen to the noise as you crunch them and let them fall between your fingers.
  • Flour: A tray of flour is great for mark making as the lines remain. When they want a clean tray to write in, just shake it flat. Or add water making it gooey and slimy. Great fun!
  • Textured messy play: Add lentils, beads, pasta to wet flour and make it more textured.
  • Finger paint: Draw pictures and make marks with finger paints.
  • Sky write: Get children to make letters in the sky.
  • Back writing: Draw shapes on a child's back and see if they can make it out.
  • Sand tray: Draw a shape or letter in a tray of sand and get your child to trace over it.  Shake the sand flat to start again.
  • Chalk: Draw letters and patterns on a chalk board or pavement
  • Pencils and crayons: Get lots of different and fun crayons and pencils for your child to experiment with.  Each feels different and makes different marks.
  • Paper: Get different types of paper, colours, textured, lined etc and have fun working with each sort.


Simple Toddler Toys

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, Learning Play, Toys and Games, Child Development, Kids Activities , Tags: bricks, building, clay, equipment, outdoor play, sand, toddler, toys, water

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Once your child becomes a toddler a whole new world of toys are suddenly available to them.  They can shake and hold, throw and grasp, walk and run... it's a very exciting (and challenging!) time for parents and carers.  But, how should a toddler's home or setting be equipped?

Toddlers basically play with whatever is available to them. They need stimulus and an actual 'thing' to play with but at this age it doesn't really matter if it's from an expensive toy shop or your kitchen drawers!  They don't know if something has been passed down from an older cousin or if it's brand new.

It is, of course, difficult to put down exactly which toys your toddler needs, because it depends largely on what they like to do and what they already have, but as a rough guide, the types of toys for toddlers should probably fall into the following areas in order to give them a wide ranging and exciting choice.

The Natural World

In order to teach your toddler about nature and the world they need to learn about the natural materials available to us.  Whether you live in a house with a garden or a flat without any outside space, there are so many ways to introduce the natural world.

Activities:

  1. Go explore the park or woods and find lots of different things made from different materials.  Find sticks, stones, leaves, grass.
  2. Go to the green grocer or market and look at all the different vegetables and fruits on offer.  Look at the colours, textures and shapes.  Even try one you've not have before and eat it together.
  3. Talk about your food and where all the things come from.

Water Play

Fill a basin or an old baby bath and splash around with plain water, water will bubbles, warm water and cold water. Find spoons and sieves and all sorts of things to play with in the water.

Activities:

  1. Add a few drops of food colouring to water and play with coloured water.  Mix the colours to see what happens.
  2. Wash a doll or teddy.  Splash around with bubbles and soap and have lots of fun.  Dry them and at the end wrap them in a towel.
  3. Get various objects from round the house and see if they sink or float; whether they get wet (like fabric) or go slippery (like plastic).  Fill and empty things and see that large beakers have more water in them than small beakers.

Messy Play

Buy some modelling clay or play dough, or make your own (log into ToucanLearn to find recipes) and just have a squidgey time!  Make mud pies and mountains and get really messy.  (Just make sure you protect your clothes, surfaces and floor!)

Activities:

  1. Make shapes and roll the clay into balls.  Squash it; pound it; prod it and see what happens.
  2. Add rice or lentils too and knead it into the clay to make it textured.
  3. Make pretend clay people,  or food or animals.  Snip straws and stick them in to make antennae for clay insects or arms for people.

Sand Play

Get a sand pit or go to the beach and build castles, make tunnels or simply add water and change dry sand into sopping wet sand.

Activities:

  1. Make some sand mounds and stamp them flat.  Count them as you go.
  2. Build some roads for toy cars or animals and put them in the sand.  Drive them around.
  3. Wrap some stones with silver foil and bury them in the sand.  Then try and find the buried treasure!

Building blocks

Try and include some building blocks in your toddler's toy box.  They are great for building a make believe train, or a castle.

Activities:

  1. Count them; sort them, build with them.
  2. Make a long line with them, match them and roll them.

Here we've offered just a few basic ideas.  Toddlers with even some of the above stimulating equipment will have lots of brilliant experiences.  Have fun!



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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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