Posts Tagged ‘toddler’

Playgroup Craft – Valentines

February 12, 2012

Possum is 5 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 7 months

Little Princess is 1 year 1 month (13 months)


Most weeks we attend a playgroup for 0-5 year olds.  Each week one family brings morning tea for everyone and another brings a craft activity for any of the kids who would like to do it.

Craft is my thing.  I can prepare it before hand.  I have enough trouble getting our mob into the car and there on time without having to cut up fruit and bake muffins!  Fortunately, some of my playgroup friends love doing this and would hate to do craft.

Playgroup craft is aimed at approximately 2.5yos, but there are kids much older and much younger in the group, too.

This week I am doing a Valentine’s Day craft.


Now I have done collage activities with my kids before for Valentine’s Day, and have happily cut out hearts, hearts and more hearts freehand, but this time, I wanted them all the same shape so that they would go together nicely.  My first idea was to try and find some cookie cutters (er, I mean biscuit cutters, DH!) and trace them.  Then I had a much smarter idea – I found a heart template.

It is more than I would spend if I was doing this activity just at home, but as I was making 30 sets of these for playgroup, it seemed worthwhile!

Then I had the clever idea of using one of those shape cutters.  I couldn’t find one in the shops easily (always the way, isn’t it?  I am sure that I have seen them everywhere previously!) and I convinced myself it was a luxury, anyway.  On the off chance I asked my friend Sam-O if she had one.  I am so glad that she does, even if I might need to buy her a new blade.

I am linking to this tutorial, because the written instructions had me going crazy.  It is, however, really super-dooper easy to use.


Soooo…. back to the craft.

Cut out your hearts in various colours and sizes.  (I used cheap wrapping paper, mostly.)


 IMG_3784 IMG_3785 IMG_3786 IMG_3787 

Have your compulsive counter count the total number of hearts over and over and in various ways, just for a bit of fun…


Gather a set of hearts of each size.  Here you can do a sorting exercise if you want with the kids or you can just do craft – they sort them anyway, even if you don’t do it formally.

Glue them one on top of the other, from largest to smallest.  (Note- it is less messy to put the glue on the back of the top piece rather than on the front of the bottom piece.)





So now you can leave it as it is, write a message on the back, punch a hole and thread a ribbon, stick it on the front of a blank card….

Happy Valentine’s Day with the Little Ones.


Eddie’s Garden

November 6, 2010

Possum is 4 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 4 months

Reading "Eddie’s Garden" by Sarah Garland with the boys gave us a great opportunity to get out of the house again – always a nice thing to do as the weather warms up in the Spring time.

This is quite a long book with a complex story line, especially for Bandicoot, and it had been suggested to me that we could read it almost as a chapter book over a few days.  However, the boys were not having that!  They wanted it read to them complete and more than once, too.

It is the lovely story of a boy, his little sister and his Mum planting a garden.  They discuss what to grow, purchase the items they need, prepare and plant, tend the garden, harvest and have a picnic in the yard.  The pictures are a lot like real life, too – dirt, random diggings, immature plants dug up etc.  I think the boys could really relate to the goings-on in the book.

And, this followed quite nicely from "Pumpkin Day", too, as Eddie’s little sister, with a great lesson in patience, grows a pumpkin which the family make into a pumpkin pie for their picnic.

Another lovely thing that the children in the story did was build a bean tee-pee.  They planted beans in a circle, leaving a space for an entrance and staked the planted to join in the middle, making a tent. I thought that this would be a fun thing to do, perhaps with sunflowers…

But in the meantime, it was time to return to one of our favourite play things –SEEDS!  We had lots of new activities this time.



First we sorted different kinds of seeds into ice cube trays…






The idea had been to use tweezers to do this…





…but fingers were a bit easier (I love this picture of Bandicoot’s fingers!)





Actually sorting the the seeds was a bit too much for Bandicoot, but he enjoyed transferring them back and forth.



It was a different matter for Possum:

He even enjoyed discussing the different seeds – identifying them, discussing their attributes and those of the plants into which they grow.  I was very impressed!  It was interesting that evening when DH came home and stepped on a rogue seed on the floor.  "What’s this?" he asked.  "A beetroot seed, Daddy" answered Possum.  DH laughed but indeed it was.  (And if you are interested, that seed in the second compartment from the left is a betroot seed.)

After we finished sorting seeds, Possum extended the activity by counting the different ones on a 10 x 10 grid.  (Apparently this does all sorts of things like introducing base 10, working on fine motor skills, developing concentration etc etc.  Or you might just consider it fun…)

And then, once you are finished playing with all those seeds, what do you do to keep them from making a terrible mess from then after?  COLLAGE!!!

Possum decided to make a dinosaur, and he used puffy paint for the legs and spikes.

When we went out into the garden, we did a fun, quiet time activity.  I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to get the boys engaged in it, but once they were, they really enjoyed it.

First we sat very quietly with our eyes closed and listened.  We discussed what sounds we could hear – insects, traffic, a lawn mower, the wind in the trees…

Then we lay on our backs and looked up to see what we could see – clouds, blue sky, aeroplane, trees, birds…

Then we used magnifying glasses to look into the grass.  We looked at the different blades of grass, at the creatures living in the grass, at the weeds, at the dirt (yeah, that bit was a hit!)

After that we went and drew some nature journal pictures.  They didn’t complete the sheets quite the way I had planned, but they completed them in their own spirit of the activity, so that is enough for this teacher.

This is Possum’s.  He drew a big gum tree.  The roots go all the way down into the ground to drink the water.  He also drew a rain storm (it had been raining a lot just before we did this activity.)  Finally he drew a butterfly.

This is Bandicoot’s.  He drew lots of grass and lots of rain.  Then he asked me to draw him an ant, a bee and a butterfly.  He coloured in the butterfly, but was content to leave the others.

Finally, as an extra activity, I pulled out this game.

It is a perennial favourite around here.  The boys will play it over and over again, and they love playing it together, too, which is always a bonus.

Oh, I do love to be beside the seaside! (Picture heavy)

October 16, 2010

Possum is 4 years 5 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 3 months

The beginning of October saw us taking a break from our Garden Unit as we spent a two week family holiday at the beach.

I had been excessively enthusiastic preparing materials and activities for this break – who doesn’t get excited about a beach holiday in Spring time?  As it happens, this was not in vain…  Of the two weeks we were away, we only had three "beach" days!

Here are some of the activities that we did:

This was the activity table we had set up.  I was so excited to have the space to actually set up a table like this.  Looking around the table, this is what is displayed:

  • Sea-shell mandalas to colour (the boys ended up not doing this, but I sure enjoyed it!)
  • Our ice-cream shop (We had planned this as our holiday location had a fantastic gelato shop.)
  • Bottle-top fishing
  • Sand playdough
  • Wind-up fishing game
  • Sealife sticker album
  • Teddy bear foamies (I had thought that they would like to do this with their big cousins, but we didn’t end up using them.)
  • Umbrella poke (also unused and ready to pull out one day in summer)
  • Sea-shell counting
  • Sea creature gems

So here we go with the adventures!

This was another idea I had.  I had seen it on quite a few sites, mostly with Montessori influence.  Unfortunately, Possum was not interested in the closed-end nature of the activity (although he had been very excited to learn it involved marbles).  He only did it once.

THIS, however, was a WINNER.  Amazing what you can get for just a few dollars, sometimes.  Both weeks of the holiday were spent at places known for fishing, and Possum especially had been very excited to give it a go.  They had new rods and all sorts of goodies – just no weather to do it in.  (And all the rain was making the run of the fish in the rivers unpredictable.)  This game was played until it fell apart.  Then we bought a baby size screw driver, fixed it, and it was played some more!

Fishing with Nana (my Mum)

Possum catches a fish…  And so does Bandicoot!

Here is one that Bandicoot loved.  He kept coming back to it time and again:

The idea was that they could sort the shapes into the bowls by colour or shape.  He just loved playing with them, spreading them out, pouring them.  Who can blame him?  Don’t they just look lovely?

Setting up with cousin Mel  Loading the tip truck   Pouring.

I was especially happy with this one.  I made my own number cards for counting with sea-shells (I managed to get the bags of shells at a $2- shop).

Possum really enjoyed it.

And how about this idea?  Jellyfish!  While we were away with the extended family, it was my Parents’ Wedding Anniversary.  My Dad passed away many years ago, but we still feel it is important to celebrate.  My parents taught us that it was about the beginning of our family unit, not just about them.

Anyway, having celebrated with the most delightful strawberry sponge sandwich from the local bakery, we were left with two white circles of cardboard.  My sister picked up some crepe paper streamers and look at what she made with the boys!

Did somebody mention playdough???

My boys are absolutely nuts for playdough.  I decided to make some "sand playdough".  They have had a lot of fun with it, but I am really not happy with the texture.  It just seems a bit too sticky to me, especially if we have humid or wet weather.

Still, it isn’t stopping the boys!!

This game:

was an absolute hit!  It is so simple, but so much fun.  It is also easy to take on holidays because you only need to take the bottle caps – a holiday house will provide a bowl and some kind of a slotted spoon.






We didn’t get around to this one during the first week, but, as you can see, the holiday house we had during our second week had an almost purpose built location for this game.

(Yes that is a magnificent beach directly across the road.)

These sticker albums also did not get used until the second week of the holidays.  We opened them as a "cafe activity" one day when we went out to lunch.  The boys really had fun with them.   Having the album was great for Bandicoot, too.  He is really just getting in to stickers.

They enjoyed discussing all the different sea-life.   (Especially Possum, who then enjoyed explaining to Bandicoot.)  They were also excited that there was a squid sticker, as they had just discovered that they are mad for Salt and Pepper Calamari!

Oh, and I nearly forgot to explain the winner amongst winners – the Ice Cream Shop!  How can kids have so much fun with something so simple?  Three months later and they are still mad for it!

Well, it does look intriguing, doesn’t it?

Oooo!  And all those pretty colours!  (The coloured pom-poms have sparkly bits on them, too.)

It can be hard work getting that ice cream in the cone, but oh, so satisfying when you’re done!  Here’s one for you! 

Mr McGregor’s Garden

September 14, 2010

Possum is 4 years 3 months

Chicken is 4 years 1 month


This is a craft activity that we enjoyed after reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

I drew up a walled garden and we made several copies of it for the boys. Then we let them loose with garden and flower stickers so that they could make their own gardens.

These are the two that we did at home. I love the way Possum has put a motorbike in the shed. Really, anyone who knows us realises that motorbikes feature in most learning experiences.

You can also see how much Chicken was into this activity at the time!

However, this is Chicken’s second picture.  We all went out for a coffee one Saturday morning and I had a few garden and sticker sets in my bag. He sat there for ages producing this one – he really loved doing it! All about the timing.