Tag Archives: messy play

Spring Roundup

Spring is such a busy time for me.  As usual I’ve been collecting pictures to use in blog posts but not leaving myself enough time to actually write posts 😦

So, here is a roundup of what should have been three posts;

I made a batch of homemade glue for an art project but then realized the recipe made much more than we needed and it doesn’t keep for very long. So, I dumped it in a big bin along with paper bits from the shredder, wool scraps, glitter and paint powder.  The children enjoyed mashing it all together – no pictures of that part because it was way too messy to have a camera nearby.

Initially the mixture was extremely sticky and some of us were not impressed by the sensation of having our hands coated in the goo.  Eventually the paper absorbed enough of the glue and made the mixture easier to handle.

Later each of the children took a portion of the mixture to work with;

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Or form into mini balls and throw around the room;

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They pressed the mixture into the shape of the bowl and then we let it dry;

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It took a lot longer than anticipated – nearly a week before they were dry and ready to take home;

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Outside, now that the snow is gone, the boys have been begging for me to open the ‘summer toys’ bin. So far I have resisted – knowing there will be a big issue over who gets the one Batman figure (which may mysteriously disappear).  They’ve managed to keep themselves busy with the loose parts and eggs;

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The longer periods of outdoor time have meant some are very tired by nap time (or earlier).  One however, has been using quiet time to become a jigsaw puzzle expert. He has now completed ALL of my 100 piece puzzles several times and can finish two of them in one afternoon.

I decided maybe we should try something a little more challenging – so I brought out a 500 piece puzzle.  This part took him two days with no assistance from me;

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He did find the trees and mountains a little more difficult so I assisted with sorting some of the pieces. He is persistent and refuses to give up without finishing.  By the third week – after about 12 hours of actual work – he had done this much;

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I think that is very impressive for a four year old 🙂  I’m not the only one who has been busy.

 

My Problem With Winter

I have a problem with winter and it may surprise you that my problem is related to the weather.  I know, that statement makes me sound like a hypocrite since I so often promote outdoor play in all types of weather.

Yes, we do play outside every day and we love it – climbing, digging and building with snow and ice.  However, we spend considerably less time outdoors in winter than we do in other seasons like summer when we spend the majority of our day outdoors.  There are parts of our program that I’d prefer to do outside but in winter we need to keep them inside.

So, my problem with winter isn’t really our time outdoors, it is the increased time indoors.  Day after day with extended periods of time playing indoors and I begin to remember all the things I wanted to ‘fix’.  All those parts of our indoor environment that were bothersome last winter but I put off tackling.  Once spring arrived we again spent more time outdoors and all those thoughts faded away.  Now it is winter again and I remember.  With prolonged time indoors the space issues are becoming apparent again.

For example, the sunroom;

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The sunroom is where we do art activities and other types of messy play.  I can easily move the small toddler table and then there is a 8′ x 8′ open space where I can put down a tarp for messy play activities.  During quiet time when the little ones are napping in the playroom the older children play and do art in the sunroom.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is the wall opposite the windows.  The wall that is home to the dog bed and the green house.  The problem is that I have four infants and toddlers who love painting, and playdough and sensory bins – and the dog bed.  The toddlers love every activity that I set out on the table or in a bin for them but after a few minutes one of them decides that it would be even more fun if they moved it to the dog bed and soon everyone wants to join in.  Playdough and dog hair, paint and dog hair, bird seeds and dog hair – everything is better with dog hair! Hey, what if we add it to the dog’s water…

Here’s another ‘before’ view that includes the green house;

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The green house is where we are supposed to put the things we plant but mostly it just collects ‘stuff’.  In the above picture I’ve already started the ‘reno’ so the miscellaneous stuff is all over the room – just like the way the toddlers prefer it.  The green house is actually pretty easy to assemble and disassemble so I’ve decided to put it away until we actually have plants to put in it and that way the empty shelves won’t be tempting me to fill them.

So now the sunroom looks like this;

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There is still enough open floor space for a tarp and messy play but there is no dog bed – I love how the sunlight shines on the toddler’s art table here;

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The dog bed is now on the other side of the filing cabinet by the back entrance – the back entrance area now has more space too – bonus!

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So now we have a better space for art and messy play until the weather improves and we can move all our activities outdoors again – and I can paint that filing cabinet.  The green doesn’t match anything else in the room but I can’t paint it inside and it is too cold to paint outside….

What a Mess

I love messy play but prefer to keep our really messy activities outdoors – easier to clean up and sometimes Mother Nature sends rain to help out.  Last week we tried to make a different type of play dough.

First we sorted fruity O cereal according to colour – some got eaten.  Then the children tried to crush the cereal using hammers, blocks of wood, and rolling pins.  Sorry, no pictures of this part as the children were working in various areas of the yard and I was busy trying to keep little hands from grabbing about-to-be-crushed-cereal.

The cereal proved to be much more difficult to crush than we had anticipated.  Certainly I could have tossed it in the food processor and made a fine powder but this was supposed to be an activitiy for the children.  They were content with the somewhat lumpy texture of partially crushed cereal.

Now we added some baking soda and water and mixed;

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At this point I thought it looked like the stuff I clean off the floor after my cat eats her food too quickly.  Judging by the comments the children were making they were thinking the same thing;

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From this point on I left it up to them what to do with their concoctions.

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Interestingly, the toddlers were reluctant to participate.  The would occationally gently poke the gooey mess but then spend several minutes trying to remove the sticky goop from their finger.

I had just cut the grass the evening before so there was plenty of loose grass which I picked up and put on a tray.  The toddlers liked this;

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The older children then began adding the grass to their goo – and the little ones were hooked;

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This activity had the children engaged for nearly two hours and the results are still visible in my yard.  Seems the recent hot dry weather has baked the sugary creations into some sort of concrete.  Our own form of Oobleck coating the yard.

Now we have to experiment to discover how to get rid of this mess.

 

Watercolour

Last February when I attended a workshop on messy play I noted that the presenter, Lisa Murphy – The Ooey Gooey Lady, often used liquid watercolor in many of her activities.  I was excited when I discovered that Cre8tive Art Supplies carried a similar product.

Recently I’ve used it in several of our summertime activities – like painting sticks to decorate the garden.  First we went on a walk through the neighbourhood to collect the sticks.  Then we sanded them;

I added the liquid watercolor to some shaving cream foam to use to paint the sticks;

I loved the vibrant colors that were created by using just a few drops of liquid watercolor.

The baby had no interest in painting sticks but she did like mixing foam and watercolor;

As the children finished painting each stick we stuck them in the bare spot of the garden;

Once the foam paint dried there was no color left on the sticks?!?!?  It was somewhat disappointing.

Another day we tried using the liquid watercolor with water and bath puffs to add color to the deck;

Again, beautiful bright colors but they didn’t show up much on the deck even when it was wet and there was no color visible once it dried.

I gave the children some white paper to see if that worked better;

We placed the dripping wet paper in the sun to dry and watched as all the color disappeared too. 😦

Next I’m going to try using the liquid watercolor to tint some playdough.  Good thing these activites are about the process not the product!