Cutting Straws

I have seen this done with painted pasta, but straws come pre-coloured, perfect for lazy Mums like me! I took a load of straws (£1 for a gazillion) and chopped them up in to various sizes. I also cut varying lengths of string for them to thread the straws on to. I did have to wrap a bit of sellotape around the ends to stop them fraying.

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I did discover that the straws were ever so slightly frustrating for George, so I cut some extra thick straws up for him too. And Hannah loves her stylish new necklace!

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Hungry Caterpillar Story Sack

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a theme. And the Hungry Caterpillar is a fantastic story, a favourite of both of the kids.

I needed a bag to start with, so I sewed some green and red circles to a plain tote bag. Actually, I wonderwebbed the green ones because sewing by hand is yawnsome.

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As well as reading the book, we had a few activities inside the bag. Hannah’s favourite was feeding the various cut outs of the food in to my home made caterpillar. So as I read out the food, she would search through the pile, and post them in its mouth. The caterpillar was simply a Tupperware tub, wrapped in some green felt, and then red felt across the mouth.

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George liked the masks. Fantastic role play, pretending to change in to a butterfly! Downloaded from the web, I backed them on to some cardboard. And then stuck some lolly sticks to them.

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Hannah is very interested in recognising words, so I bought these flash card templates on eBay. I suppose you could make your own, but it was beyond my skills! So as we read through the story for the gazillionth time, Hannah would try and pick out the correct word. Now, she is only 3, so can’t actually read. But if I said a couple of the letters, she generally picked out the right words! Quite impressive to watch.

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Next we did some face painting. Now I have to admit, I am no artist. In fact, my butterflies were rubbish. But the kids didn’t care one jot. They just pranced around smearing cheap face paints on my walls.

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I gleaned my next idea from Pinterest. Cardboard wings. You do need quite a big piece of cardboard though. I cut my wing shape out, and let the kids paint kind of symmetrical shapes. I say kind of, Hannah didn’t quite get mirror image, but she tried to match each side. The genius bit is using two stretchy hair bands to attach the wings.

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I have never ever ever mixed play doh colours in 3 years. But I decided to suck it up, and we made red and green play doh caterpillars. All good fun, but I died a little when the play doh turned brown.

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And then we did some painting. I remember doing folded butterfly prints at school, but the kids weren’t really interested. They were just thrilled that I was letting them paint in the living room instead of the cold kitchen. But I had fun doing MY butterfly, and that’s what matters, right?

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But they did enjoy potato painting some caterpillars. Again, only mine resembled a caterpillar, maybe I had set the bar too high?

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They ask for the bag out quite often, so it’s very easy to keep adding new ideas in. And as they get older, I can find more challenging activities. Or just prefect the dratted butterfly painting?

Ice Cream Play

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I was surprised at how realistic this looked! I mixed some cheap shaving foam with red and yellow food colouring, and used cocoa powder for the chocolate ice cream. Left in an empty ice cream box overnight in the freezer, this is what we had to play with!

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I set the kids up with big spoons, little spoons, bowls and enough sprinkles to feed a small army. I showed them how to scoop little balls out, but they just preferred to dig about, or in George’s case, tip sprinkles everywhere.

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It took a while longer than actual ice cream to melt, and the texture was quite strange (yes, I had to have a go). And once the sprinkles were mixed in to the melted ice cream, it made for quite a sensory experience indeed!