Easy Advent Activities

easy advent activities

We love our advent calendar.
Each year it has pride of place and the children eagerly wait to open a draw. With three children we have three different Advent calenders. To further complicate it the children rotate, their idea, of course, so no one advent calendar belongs to them.

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10 fun places to read aloud with the kids

10 fun places to read aloud with the kids

Cuddled up on the sofa is our best place to read aloud together. But as they get more wriggly and jiggly we’ve discovered some other fun places to read aloud.

  1. Bathroom– got to love the echo and the chance to ham up your story telling. Whether clothed and bringing in chairs or a bathtime treat.

Bathtime

    • Local park– sitting on the rug surrounded by openness and a good book. Beware you’ll attract new curious listeners.
    • [Read more…]

Collage and sculpture inspirations

Collage and Sculpture

 

On a recent visit to an Art Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic. I was delighted to come up against these wonderful collages or sculpture by Shalom Tomas Neuman.
Love how everyday toys, electronic items are used to create really zany pictures.

You can see more about the work here,
Collage a

Art at home does not’ have to be about pen, crayons and paper. Hope you’re inspired from your environment too.

What art work have you taken your little ones to see that you would recommend?

 

If you enjoyed this post make sure you are subscribe to my mailing list with encouragement and ideas for Simple Parenting.

 

25 Rainy day activities for kids

It’s raining; it’s pouring.
The old man is snoring.
He went to bed and bumped his head,
And he couldn’t get up in the morning

This was the song I could hear being sung early morning on Sunday. Yes! I had planned some outdoor activities and No. I hadn’t remembered to check the weather forecast. Otherwise I would have known it did say showers all day. Lying in bed I had moments before the children would bound in to tell me the news. I could tell from their song that plans would have to change. What do you do when you find yourself with a rainy day and children?

When you’re surprised by a rainy day it’s just the hardest thing to think about how you’ll get through the day. You’re a little sad and they certainly are too so moods often reflect the overcast day from the get go. I started making a list of activities to do for rainy days to overcome that sinking feeling and offering alternative solutions pretty quickly seems to keep everyone from slipping into a despondent mood. Nothing is worse than moody children who when given choices are too fed up to make them Nothing is good enough.
Making this list helped us keep upbeat.

We are in for a lot more rainy days in the future.

1. Water races on the window

Choose a raindrop both of you really quickly. See which one rolls down the window the fastest.

2. Playing in the bath

Bath time is not always about getting clean in our family. It’s a good opportunity for play. Without the pressure of getting clean and getting into bed- your imagination can really get going. There are the usual traditional bath toys but don’t forget foam for your latest masterpiece and making stories with stickies.

3. Sink and water play

Photo credit: unclebo

Along the same lines as No.2 Bathtime play. When you have time you can have fun with Sink and Water play. Oftentimes, this type of play is an activity they do while we are in the kitchen. So they are “helping” us. It’s a quick activity that ends because dinner is done or you have to leave for an errand. Think of all the things you can do with sink and water play when you have oodles of time. Raid the utensils, blocks, cars. Clean them, wash the dolls hair; colour the water or scent the water. Let both your minds enjoy the creativity that comes with a large sink of water and ample time and a houseful of versatile equipment.

4. Post it note ABC

What to do with the no running rule during a wet day? We try to discourage running in and out of the doors mostly because we have little people of all sizes around. Usually the worst accidents are excited brothers knocking over another brother. But on a wet day there has to be a way to get rid of this excess energy. I’m all for energetic games and running activities but when we all know that’s what’s happening. Post it note ABC works on various levels. We’ve just introduced sound ABC as the MO is learning his sounds using the Jolly phonics program. I must admit it does make us smile seeing them running around the house saying, “MMMMMmmm.” and rubbing their tummy. We like competition but this game is easily changed to collaboration with each child told to bring a different letter. ( Mine actually help each other)

5. Shaving cream

6. Tracing finger on track

Glue doesn’t take long to dry. This is activity can be small scale or on a large scale as well as being totally resuable. Squeezing the glue and concentrating on getting a line or zig zag take plenty of concentration. What child doesn’t like squeezing glue. Here is a legitimate reason for them to squeeze glue while getting in some muscle work and fine motor pracitse. Sssh don’t tell them.

7. Create a sensory tub

Photo credit: Counting Coconuts | Photo credit: No Time for Flashcards | Photo credit: Little Coqui

We have a lot of fun with our sensory tubs at home. They are super easy to make from things you can easily find around the home. This creative

8. Bake

Whether it is the instant cookie dough you have frozen for the friends who pop by or you are a from scratch baker, the smell of baking does wonders for the mood and the belly. If you can keep the staples in your house then this instant mood lifter will cheer everyone up on a damp and dreary day.

9. Make hot chocolate

Learn to make Italian hot chocolate Learn to make Mexican Hot Chocolate

Cocoa powder and warmed milk whipped. Let the kids add the mini marshmallows or squirty cream. Plus a few sprinkles. The start of your very own Hot chocolate menu. Yes it is easier to buy the ready made hot chocolate that you just add water or milk. But making this simple drink from scratch and having the chance to make a signature hot chocolate drink always gets the boys in our house excited with new ideas. Hot chocolate is made so differently around the world. Spice up your hot chocolate by choosing a new style.

10. Combine all the puzzles in a big heap and make them all.

I’ve talked about our love of puzzles and how we love to get them all out and spend an afternoon fitting them altogether. It’s not as easy now with an active toddler but it’s something we’re trying to encourage him to do as well. This activity has benefits all around. Firstly the children love the mess and chaos of 15 or more puzzles in a massive heap on the floor. They also love the challenge of finding the puzzle and working on several at a time. There’s also the competition that naturally happens and that you can have puzzles that are toddler puzzles up to 50 piece puzzles.

The children can really choose which puzzles to work on. We tend to have music in the background but an audio book works just as well or a podcast. The big bonus I’ve found is that doing this regularly means we find out they have lost X number of puzzle pieces but they also are aware of the lost pieces scattered around the house. We end up with a parade of puzzles which we move through making our very own puzzle gallery. Before each one is destroyed and put back.

11. Make a boxasaurus

Photo credit: Michelle | Wee Folk Art Publisher

Dip into your junk box and find those boxes from the shed or attic you have been saving and have fun making something big. You’ve got the time!

12. Write a story & 13 Tell a story

 

Photo credit: Childhood 101 | Photo credit: Frugal Family Fun | Photo credit: nurturestore

14: Act out a story with props and puppets

15: Cornflour /paint/gloop

Photo credit: muminthemadhouse

16: I’m bored Jar

Make a jar of activities.

17. Create thumbprint pictures

These are such fun.

Photo credit: The artful parent

18. Listen to audio stories and make your own

With smartphones, and computers it’s really easy to say your own stories or make your own.

Watch and listen to http://www.smories.com/

 

19. Get out the Manipulatives and create something that combines 2 or more elements

 

20. Just let them play by themselves

It’s one of those times when they can just………………play by themselves.

21. Cutting paper

That big pile of Sunday papers or recyling comes in really handy here.

22. Recycling art

 

23: Puddle jumping

Photo credit: One little room

If you can beat the weather then go out in it.

24. Go out and spot rain soaked spiderwebs

25. Get crafty and find a Play Activity

Photo credit: NannaX3

Search for activities

What do you do on a raining day?

Best of 2010

Play everywhere- Play-Activities.com/blog

This year has been another busy year of play. Has it been for  you?

If you are new here welcome and here’s a chance to explore some of my favourite  play ideas and activities we’ve had this year. We don’t record all our play moments and activities.But we use this space to journal our play activities using mostly things you would find around the home.

We started the year with 1.5, 4, and 6 year old boys.

January starts with a play evaluation via Raising Playful Tots Podcast. We look back at our finances and plan our holidays but do we look at play for our family. Is  play on your priority list this year? I talk about how we can ease play into our lifestyle without having to buy lots of things. After an article and discussion about young boys and writing we had a lovely fun afternoon of mark making

February is my first trip to Blissdom where I meet some amazing blogging friends. We work on an ABC spy bottle, and with a birthday comes the nod to the boys current obsession with superhero activities. We celebrate our 18month old with a range of activities he loves.

We worked on finding extended periods of time to play with building in time of unstructured play and teaching children perseverance during March. The  winter weather often gave us long periods of time to fill.

With the weather changing we were travelling more in April and visiting restaurants. We also joined the fun meme We Play =8 things to do when stuck in traffic with the kids We Play 6 boredom busters when waiting for food to arrive

During May we experimented with play activities from around the web and mused over perhaps having a left handed child.

It’s almost time to move so lots of packing going on in the background.  However there’s time to appear on the TV and a contest.
As well as  start a the RPTI . A  quarterly look at a collection of 100 amazing play blogs who share inspirational play activities for the under 8s from around the world. Where can I find play activities I can do with my kids? ( RPTI)
With Summer well and truely here we experiment. 3 summer places to visit.
With Mr Playactivities deploying shortly; family vacation we spent most of the month offline. I was very grateful to guest posters who shared some great play activities.
July is full of lots of family holidays and vacation time. Special thanks to guest posters
We’ve relocated but without all our household goods so our activities focus around settling in offline in August Shame old lady 5 ways to calm the unsettledness of moving with children
School starts for two children so more adjustments, uniforms and routines to establish. There are always a lot of moments to play in September 9 must haves for your dressing up box Play newsletters you should know We make time to do special individual activities; Make special lemonade

We reflect on   The power of influence in the Early years and how we all can grow during the Early years.
During October we move yet again  but only 200 miles but again with the packing there wasn’t so much time to post online our play activities but we were busy Developing confidence in the Early Years and making Miniature Gardens with little ones
It is fitting to end with  Play anywhere which highlights our year.
No matter where you are and what’s happening there’s always a chance a way to play. We just have to look for play in all that we do.
Wishing you all the best for 2011.
Thanks for stopping on by and don’t forget to come visit us again
Play on………….

5 ways to reuse Christmas wrapping paper

Christmas has come and gone but most likely you have a huge pile of wrapping paper to recycle. Dig them out and start a tradition.

What shall we do with all this wrapping paper?

5 ways to reuse Christmas wrapping paper

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12 days of Christmas family activity

The popular song at Christmas is  the 12 day of Christmas .From what I understand, the song was said as a round during celebrations after Christmas. Each person had to remember to add a new verse and remember what came before. If you forgot you had to do a forfeit. Sounds like a fun game!
During the long days of Christmas holiday we’re looking for a together family activity. There’s a lot of imagination at Christmas time with Santa, Christmas movies that many things seems magical to the little ones and perhaps a little far away or beyond them. They are creative too and we can encourage them by providing fun opportunities to be silly as well as use their environment.
It’s that looking at everyday things around us  and playing with them in our homes and area that we want to cultivate in our children. Let them problem solve by finding things and using them/seeing them for use in other ways. [Read more…]

Christmas activities that promote family time

I’ve talked before about squeezing in family time, play and routines during the Christmas or holiday season. Yes there are so many more things to fit into our day but it’s also a great time to add in activities that everyone can do together. Christmas holiday time is also the time when there are many more people around.

Photo credit

Here is our list in no particular order of family time activities that we make sure we stop and do during the holiday time.

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Share your Christmas Activities

Do you remember ?
Nativity blocks  were a lot of fun to  make and can be handled. Compared to a lot of Christmas work this is perfect for the under 5s. Learn how to make your own nativity scene.

Share your best Christmas Activities in the linky below.

Play anywhere

Never think that the kids will not find something to do after the say, “I’m bored!” “There’s nothing to do!”

My kids were feeling exactly this way as we packed up to move countries in July. Mum and Dad were a little bit preoccupied with cleaning the last little bit so we could leave. There was nothing in the house. This was a huge draw to be able to run, scream ( echo) throughout the house.

To save our harried nerves of recleaning and get rid of channel this energy we banished them outside like thousands of other parents have before. We stopped short of locking them out there as it was still hot. There was plenty of shade, garden, hose and lots of water what more can you need.

Still we got…………… There’s nothing to do out there. Now admittedly they really wanted our attention. It was day 3 of cleaning living in a hotel and they wanted something to do that was specifically for them. We were hurrying to finish to do exactly that. So there was anxiety on both sides.

Now we had silence for a while we peeked out the window and saw they were busy running around the garden we just couldn’t hear them. So we went downstairs to check………… and this is what we found.

They were really pleased with what they had made. This person was reconfigured many different ways and this is the one they asked for a picture to remember.

Here you are literally nothing to play with and they find this.

We had a good hour of cleaning before they came in soaked from the sprinklers which was enough time to finish and be leaving.

Pretend play and water fun

It’s a great memory of the last day in our American house.

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