Don't be horrified by the idea of messy play, it gives young children the opportunity to explore materials in a unique way and reaches out to all their senses. Buy a 'messy tray' that you can use for messy play and carry out these fun activities outdoors or on a tiled floor in the kitchen or a conservatory:-
Yellow Brick Road
Buy a cheap roll of wallpaper or lining paper from a DIY store and roll it into a long 'road' in the garden. Roll up trousers and prepare plastic plates of finger plates. Have your little ones step in the paint and then walk down the road creating a footprint collage. Use sticks and other implements to make other marks.
Buy some plastic creepy crawlies and make up a jelly, inserting the creepy crawlies while it is still setting. Give the bowl to your little ones and have them look at the creepy crawlies and dig in with their hands to pull them out. If your little ones won't like creepy crawlies then use other small plastic toys.
Repeat the jelly game but using a packet mousse instead. This time your little ones won't see the toys hidden inside so they must do everything purely by touch. Help them squidge the mousse through their fingers and even let them taste the mousse so that they use all their senses.
On the Pulses
If sloppy is too messy for you, encourage playing with pulses and pasta. Mix together dried beans, lentils, pasta and rice and encourage tactile play. Sort the foods into shapes, types and colours. Make a collage by gluing the dried foods to paper.
Cook up some spaghetti and add a small amount of cooking oil to it to prevent it from sticking. This makes a great treat to play with - try combing the spaghetti like hair, separate strands out, or bend them into pictures.
If you've managed a trip to the cinema recently, you might have noticed some recent releases have taken classic fairy tales to a new level. Both Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman retell parts of the Snow White story.
This is just the beginning of a Hollywood obsession with fairy tales - over the next 4 years over fifty films based on classic tales are set for release, including Cinderella (2), Peter Pan (4), the Wizard of Oz (7 plus a TV series and a silver screen adaptation of the musical Wicked), Hansel and Gretl (3), Sinbad (4) and many more.
Some may sink without trace, but if you enjoy a good old fairy tale, look forward to being indulged over the coming years. Don't expect to take the children along to enjoy these films though, many are being rated PG, 12 and higher, as the various twists make them too black for youngsters, include modern vices in contemporary settings, or have underlying themes of wickedness!
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