Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Discovery Basket: threading

A very similar basket as the circular and ring things one I put together a few months ago now has a totally new meaning and a new learning and play opportunity. 

L was recently the subject to an "on a mission dad". He wanted to teach her how to thread onto a counting frame we have had for a while and purchased from Sainsburys. He succeeded and L mastered the skill in a day and would happily sit and concentrate on her threading task. 

On a particularly snoozy and lazy day I managed to cobble together by chance an extended threading activity using avaliable toys and things from our sensory play basket. I was rather pleased with it and so was L!

Our counting tower is joined by the plastic stacking rings toy and the wooden kitchen roll holder. 

In our discovery basket we have the wooden flat beads, the rings, some bangles from my jewelry box and hair rollers from the pound shop. 

It was interesting to watch L figure out that some of the things didn't fit on particular sticks and then change the order of her threading to suit her wants. 

L spent some time putting on and taking off the rollers and bangles and changing the order of then. She watched as the larger bangle went over the holder and the rollers because it was larger. 

L used the counting frame for the rollers as well as the beads. 

L also discovered that the different sized rollers fitted into each other.

This activity is great for hand eye coordination and motor skills. It's a very precise action and the varying sizes of objects to be threaded challenge L to begin thinking of spacial awareness in its most basic and emerging levels. L also began exploring how the rollers threaded inside each other and how the shapes slotted together of the different objects. There was also lots of rich language talk, on, in, on top, inside, small, long, thin, big, fit and thread. 

I was chuffed that on a day fueled by chocolate and caffeine I actually came up with something pretty worthwhile to extend L's play and learning. Also proof that it doesn't take more than five minutes to do something different for your littles ones.  

Monday, 5 May 2014

Wooden Wonders

I love wooden toys. They feel nice, they look nice and last for future generations. 

After L's baptism she was incredibly lucky and many of our guests had been very generous with gifts. I used some of L's gift fund to purchase some new toys. 

I wanted some wooden toys to add to a growing collection of plastic toys. I am not completely anti plastic, it serves a brilliant purpose in toys and many other things but variety is the spice of life! I had seen a few Bigjigs toys via their twitter feed and went over to their website to buy direct and see the full range of toys. 

I wanted something which L could play with now as well as stay with her in the coming months and years. I chose three things including this Animal Boat Rocker.

It is a beautiful boat with threaded beads on the top making the boats mast and sails. The beads are themed to suit the boat and include an anchor and smiling sun. There is a fish track on the front of the boat which can be easily moved along by small fingers. Great for fine motor control and cause and affect as she watches the beads fall or has to push them to move.  

The boat has four animal passengers each on a different shaped and coloured base. These shapes slot neatly into awaiting holes on the boat. There is a frog, duck, mouse and either a goat or giraffe depending on who you ask. L's absolute favourite is the frog. This is a great opportunity for L to develop her fine motor control and will promote talk about shapes and hopefully some trial and error learning. She already attempts to place the animals carefully in the boat but finds it a bit tricky currently.

The boat gently rocks from side to side on the smooth edges of the boats base. Its a great toy to play with as you sing Row Row Your Boat, although I have had to try and think of different reactions to the animals on this boat and deviate from rhymes on occasion. Because the boat rocks it will be a great toy to introduce the idea of balance through, if the animals are unevenly sitting in the boat it leans to either side. A great toy to support this idea.

It is well made and put together making it feel sturdy and able to stand up to excitement and curiosity of a medium sized baby. The colours are bright but do not disguise the natural material the boat is made out of. It still looks appealing when alongside to our plastic toy collection.

Not only is this now a favourite toy  of L's it also looks beautiful on the bookshelves in her room, although it has been constantly played with since it arrived and isn't often left on the shelves.

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, 2 May 2014

Day on the Farm

We had a slight home emergency two weeks ago which required L and I to leave J in a floorless home and move down to my parents for the foreseeable future.

The massive upside to this was that we got to spend Easter Weekend in Suffolk with my family. Lovely. We took advantage of a nice looking day to head to the farm on the Saturday and visit Jimmy's Farm. This is really close to my parents and we have eaten there a few times but never visited the animals. 

Today we rectified this and paid the wholly reasonable sum of £10 for two adult tickets and two bags of feed, under 2's are free. This price includes entry to the nature trail, woodland walk, butterfly house and all the animals, feeding time or petting specials and two fantastic adventure playgrounds. There is also a large picnic area and giant sandpit which I think L will love when she is a bit bigger or less sleepy as she was today. Brilliant by my books. If you are a family of two adults and two paying children there is a family ticket option as well as an annual charge which I think would be well worth it if you were going to be visiting regularly. 

We ate in the outside cafe because the main restaurant was fully booked, much to our disappointment, but were speedily served burgers and chips and were able to borrow a highchair from the main restaurant for L. The burgers were meaty and the chips crispy. L enjoyed some of each and loved the floured bap! A quick look round the farm shop found some sweet treats for afters in the shape of fudge and cookies! We have previously brought sausages from Jimmy's and been really chuffed with them, and the pork pies look fantastic today. 

After filling our tummies it was onto the main event! The queue was short and quickly dealt with meaning we were in and ready to meet the animals in about five minutes.