Homemade Playdough

For Christmas Amelia got some Play-Doh and she loves it so I thought I would give it go and make some myself. It’s really easy to do, really quick and makes lots!

Thought I would share the recipe with you guys in case anyone wanted to try it:

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The  only cream of tartar I found was in sachets and one sachet seemed to do the job for each lot! I got a bit carried away and made 3 colours, but I love how bright they came out.  (This recipe makes one ball shown above!)

  1. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and stir until combined add choice of food colouring.
  2. Put over the heat and keep stirring until you feel the texture change.
  3. Take off the heat and keep stirring until one big lump attached to spoon.
  4. It will be quite sticky so you’ll need to work it with your hands until it isn’t.
  5. Store until cool for use – always keep air-tight so it doesn’t dry up!

There are lots of different ways of making playdough you can do it just by adding boiling water which might save on washing up! You can also use wholegrain flour for a different texture, glycerine to give it a shine, glitter for fun, or different scents and if you use self raising flour it makes it super stretchy!!

The only down-side is you don’t get the amazing smell of shop bought play-doh (or is that just me?!)

Hope this is useful and thanks for reading!xx

Baker Baby

Baking with a baby; probably not the easiest thing or the cleanest but pretty fun and cute to watch! Wednesday afternoon I thought it would be nice to bake something with Amelia and we had plenty of ingredients to make vanilla cupcakes with a chocolate ganache to go on top. Nice and simple.

Amelia’s not actually got fully involved with baking before so I was really interested to see what she would do plus it was an afternoon away from toys and doing something new.

Before I let Amelia get involved I weighed all the ingredients out in bowls and melted the chocolate for the ganache and had that setting in the fridge.

We have the cutest apron and bakers hat from My 1st years that I obviously had to dress Amelia up in. She looked so so so cute although she didn’t keep the hat on for very long. Its just a little fabric apron and its gone in the wash and come out looking brand new again so I’m pleased with that. You know how much I love personalised items and when they look this cute it really is the perfect accessory for your baking friend!

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I think when baking with a baby/toddler it is important not to expect too much! I love my baking and I’m quite a perfectionist and a bit of a control freak in the kitchen (as in if I’m not cooking I don’t like watching someone else cook in a different way) so I thought I would actually find it really hard to watch Amelia splattering mixture everywhere and rubbing chocolate covered hands into the cakes but it was so nice watching her get involved and seeing how much she could do. I also only let her do things that I knew she could do and jobs that she could be pleased with finishing.

First of all she put the cake cases in the tin. Amelia was really good at this and she could choose which cases she wanted and put them where-ever she liked in the baking tray.

I let her do lots of stirring and tipping ingredients into different bowls and turning the dials on the mixer (just to get rid of any left over lumps!) She loved stirring and peeping in to see all the different ingredients. We talked through what it all was too with Amelia repeating the odd word I said.

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I then put the baking tray onto a chair and the cake mixture bowl on the floor and let Amelia fill up the cases. I showed her how to do it and just pointed to different cases and she filled them up. This was the messy bit!!!! Mixture went all over the chair and floor but sometimes you just have to let them get messy. It was so cute watching her puzzle out where to put the mixture and looking at her concentrating face.

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Thankfully she didn’t even think about putting the spoon in her mouth until right at the end. And obviously had to give the dog some too!! Don’t fret the spoon got taken straight away once the dog had licked it and I put the rest of the mixture in the cases that were lacking some.

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Once they were cooked and cooled I got Amelia set up to decorate them with the chocolate ganache and some sprinkles.

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This was the bit that didn’t go down so well…after decorating about 4/5 cupcakes Amelia decided that the ganache tasted too good to put on the cakes and that she would just eat it instead, including what was already on the cakes. This quickly turned into a nightmare meltdown situation of a screaming Amelia with chocolate covered hands running around the kitchen because she wanted the chocolate. I had to finish decorating them myself when she was calming down in the lounge.

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Minus the meltdown it was really fun to get her as involved as possible and I was surprised with how much she could do. It’s really important to give babies and toddlers the opportunity to experience new things and tasks that involve a bit of mess.

Amelia was very excited when it came to tasting her product after dinner (sharing with Mummy!)

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Do you brave baking with your little one?

Thanks for reading!!xxx

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#playathometuesdays
BakedPotato Mummy

Big Girl Painting

 

For Christmas Amelia got her first paints and paint brushes. We’ve used odd bits and bobs before but she has never sat up at the table like a big girl and just experimented!

A perfect addition to painting or any kind of messy activity is Amelia’s new painting apron. It’s another one from My 1st years, who I have mentioned before. It’s wipe clean and has large velcro on the sides making it adjustable. It is a tiny bit big for Amelia but is so great to put on when doing messy things! Plus how cute is it!!

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She had different sized brushes and a few different colours but her favourite were the sponges. These were in the shapes of different animals but Amelia just loved dipping them into the paint then wiping them across the paper.

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Her knowledge of understanding sequences has improved recently; she knew she needed to go paint brush- paint-paper-repeat. It was interesting to watch her figure out and see what she would do next. We did go through lots of sheets of paper as after a while there was just too much paint on the paper.

It made for a lovely Sunday afternoon and she concentrated for about 30minutes which I was really impressed with! I could tell she lost focus when she started screaming with excitement and scooping the paint up with her hands…That was when I feared for a paint covered toddler running around and decided to stop.

It’s so fun now Amelia is big enough to enjoy and start to do things like this learning and exploring as she goes! You could really see the concentration and determination in her face, so cute!!

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I know painting can be messy but I just laid down some newspaper and the table was protected and then 5 minutes of washing up afterwards. The painting apron just wiped clean and managed to get most of the paints off of Amelia’s hands and arms with a quick wash in the sink.

I don’t know about you but I think I’ve got an artist in the making…

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Thanks so much for reading!xxx

Play At Home Teacher

Christmas Stocking Ideas…

Its another Christmas themed post I’m afraid! I have been much more organised with Christmas shopping this year and this has actually worked out really well. Most of Amelia’s presents this year have been bought when there were sales on or with discount codes etc which means I’ve spent less…well not entirely it means I’ve bought more. I think its fair to say I have gone maybe not overboard but I’ve definitely bought enough presents for Amelia this year. But her birthday is a long way off so she needs enough bits and pieces to keep her going. I’m finished with Amelia’s Christmas sack/stocking so I thought I would share with you what I have got and it can hopefully give you some ideas if you are stuck or after some inspiration.

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What I really like this year is that the presents can be separated into groups of things; bath stuff, educational toys, books and arty/messy play supplies. I can’t remember the price of each item but I will include where I bought them; some bits were from actual shops and some online.

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Arty Supplies:

  • Giant colouring book – ASDA
  • Painting Tub- ASDA
  • Play Doh – Lidl
  • Paint brushes- Net price direct
  • Water colour paints- Net price direct
  • Chunky crayons- Net price direct
  • Washable Markers- Net price direct
  • Chunky pencils- Net price diret

I’m so excited for these bits to be opened and used. If you frequently read my blog/follow us on twitter you will know that I love doing crafts and messy play activities with Amelia and all of these bits will come in handy for that. This is Amelia’s first colouring book and something like crayons and pencils make for excellent stocking fillers. I found this site Net Price Direct and have actually bought a few bits off here. The prices are quite a discount for what you might spend in shops and they have some really fun bits (especially the wooden toys!)

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Bathtime/bedtime bits:

  • Alphabet foam bath letters – Sainsburys
  • Bath Crayons- Sainsburys
  • Gruffalo socks- Sainsburys
  • Peppa Pig slippers- Next
  • Minnie Mouse Cuddle robe- Home Bargains

I’ve wanted the bath crayons for such a long time but thought it was best to wait until she would use them properly and I think foam bath letters are present in every household bathroom if you have children! I love the Minnie Mouse bath towel and its an actual Disney product from Home Bargains and I think it was something like £1.50, could be wrong but it was super cheap. Amelia is a huge huge Peppa Pig fan so pretty sure the slippers will go down well plus they are fur lined so will keep her feet super toasty. The Gruffalo socks were a little extra and come in a pack of three!

 

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Educational toys;

  • Gruffalo puzzle- John Lewis
  • Seashore threading fun- ELC (Mothercare)
  • My complete learning pack cards- ELC (Mothercare)
  • Star links- ELC (Mothercare)
  • Wooden stacking train- Lidl
  • Wooden animal skittles- Sainsburys
  • Stacking cups- Sainsburys

These are the bits I’m probably most looking forward to using. I absolutely love wooden toys and when we were away glamping they had a skittle set that we taught Amelia to play with so I think she will really enjoy these plus she loves throwing and rolling a ball. She has a set of four stacking cups and can stack them but I think this set comes with 10/12 so she can get better at balancing things. This puzzle is great as each one has an extra piece so one is 2 pieces the next is 3 etc etc. She is starting to be able to push pieces together plus who doesn’t love the Gruffalo. The cards are more for introducing words to Amelia being able to point to the picture on the card and say the word so she can start to copy. I’ve seen a lot of threading and cotton reel sets but they are quite intricate but this set comes with thick laces and chunky wooden characters with large holes to thread through. The star links will also be good for concentration play to learn how to push them together and pull them apart. I know babies learn through all of their toys but I don’t see the harm in introducing some educational toys especially when it is as subtle as this!

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Books and extras; 

  • Goodies selection box- ASDA
  • Milkybar buttons tube- Lidl
  • The Highway Rat & Zog Multipack- Tesco
  • Peppa Pig Little Library- TK Maxx
  • My first books set of 4-  TK Maxx
  • Sofia board book- G&T’s

Who doesn’t love books! She has got a few other books coming as under the tree presents but these were all my bargain books! We love Julia Donaldson books and have most of the collection with Axel Scheffler but when I saw the multipack for just £5 I had to get it as you can normally only grab one board book by Julia Donaldson for that price. Amelia loves Sofia and although this book only has a couple of pages I think it was £1 and I’m sure she will like it as she will recognise the characters. We already have the original Peppa Pig little library so when I saw the fairytale version I had to get it; plus they are small books which are easy to keep in a bag whilst you are out and about. The set of my first books were an absolute steal for the price. They were £3.99 for the four and are bright, colourful and will be great when Amelia starts saying more words. I haven’t bought books from TK Maxx before but I would definitely recommend having a look as they have lots of great pack’s and sets for really discounted prices.

I have also been pretty eager and wrapped these bits already to get a head start…

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So this is it bar the odd present I may just HAVE to buy in the next couple of weeks. I had an entire roll of the brown tree wrapping paper from last year that I thought I would do the stocking bits with and I’m hoping to get some Peppa Pig wrap or something fun for her presents under the tree.

What do you think are great stocking fillers?

Thanks for reading!xxx

Jelly on a plate!

Messy play is a really good way for babies to learn new things so it has always been something I’ve enjoyed doing with Amelia and it is so fascinating watching her face explore the new textures.

We haven’t done a messy play activity so decided that we would have a fun jelly filled afternoon. I haven’t used jelly before as I didn’t want Amelia to just eat the props, which she probably would have done when she was younger!

I got some jelly from the shop which was super cheap it cost me £1 for three different colours and I made it up in the morning and put it in the freezer and it was set fine by the afternoon.

I used one tray from her sand and water table to put the jelly in, set it up at the table and put an overall on Amelia.

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To begin with Amelia wasn’t sure as it was a new texture and quite cold! After a little while she was really enjoying picking it up squeezing it through her fingers and using her mini rake bashing it as hard as she could. This was probably our most successful messy play task from an attention span point of view. Not sure whether it’s because she’s that little bit older but she played for 30 minutes before she started to lose interest.

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I could tell that Amelia was losing interest once she started to put her fingers in her mouth to taste it and ten she started licking the rake (haha). She did not like the taste as the green jelly which there was the most of was lime flavoured and it made her shudder. Pretty amusing to watch as she re tried it multiple times….yes Amelia it is still that flavour!

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Thankfully most of the mess was contained and I’ve got half of the jelly unused that I can use next time and I definitely will do it again. Next time I would maybe add some different textures in amongst the jelly so that she can feel the difference or let her be able to put her feet into it and see what she thinks of that!

Messy play is always much less hassle than I think it’s going to be and this was simple and fun!

What messy play have you done or have you ever tried jelly with your little ones?

Thanks so much for reading! xxx

Messy Monday

If you have read my blog before you will know that I really enjoy doing fun messy play activities with Amelia. Here is our latest…

So the idea started as being frozen chalks but ended up becoming frozen water cubes with different things frozen into them.

I literally mixed half a cup of cornflour with half a cup of water and added a choice of food colouring. This amount made enough for about 6 cubes of each colour and I put these into an ice cube tray and into the freezer! I also have this silicone cake pop tray (pretty sure its Christmas shapes but hey!) that I used one side of (the side without the hole after flooding the kitchen surface once..oops) and just put some water into. I then delved into the baking cupboard and sprinkled into the water a selection of different hundreds and thousands and little sparkly cake bits. I then put these into the freezer too.

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It only took a couple hours for them to be solid so I popped them into a bowl and got set up. It wasn’t that sunny today but it was quite mild so thought it was best to do this kind of activity outside. I again used our trusty blue paddling pool and filled it with a little warm water. I put Amelia into a swim nappy and costume and we got started.

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Just to warn you the pictures aren’t that great and it does look quite gross. Once the cubes started to melt all the different colours mixed together and created a rather unpleasant murky water but who said messy was going to be pretty?!

When the cornflour cubes melted they went to a really strange texture and Amelia’s face was brilliant she was rubbing the cubes in her hand and was so intrigued watching them get smaller and smaller until she was left with a solid lump of cornflour. She really liked picking up the different colours and chasing them round the water with her hands, this did let out a few screams and squeals of excitement when she managed to grab one.

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The frozen water with the sprinkles inside were great too. Once they melted all the sprinkles and shapes were floating in the water or appeared into Amelia’s hands once she had watched the water melt and I think she was also pretty fascinated by this!

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As there was water involved Amelia obviously splashed so much that I may as well have been sat in the pool next to her I was that soaked! It was a really fun play activity that developed from one idea and became our own (I’m sure someone has done it before but I thought of putting the cake decorations into water without using google!) She played for about 20minutes and it was a different experience for her to learn from and enjoy. There was different textures as the water melted away leaving the shapes and the cornflour.

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From a safety point of view I wouldn’t use sprinkles and things like cake decorations if your baby is just going to eat them; I thought Amelia wouldn’t but literally the first frozen cornflour cube she picked up went straight into her mouth. I think it was a little shock as it was so cold and she didn’t do that again! But it could be a choking hazard so be careful! Again messy play always calls for an impromptu daytime shower so be prepared for that too!

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It was really easy to clean up as I just tipped the paddling pool water away and washed the ice cube trays and bowls. If I was planning to do this again I would probably use something bigger than ice cube trays and freeze bigger things inside the water for Amelia to find.

Have you done something similar before?

Thanks for reading xxx

SAM_2241

Spaghetti Fun

I love the idea of messy play and have lots of different things I would like to test out with Amelia but I do tend to put it off. So when I saw this Beebies post on messy play it gave me the kick up the bum I needed to do another messy play activity.

http://www.beebiesbabystore.com/#!-we-love-beebies---Some-exciting-news/c21m/219FAF6E-0DA2-4A7A-8E24-DA7CC0F54D57

Make sure you give them a vote for the’Best Independent Retailer’ category in the Loved By Parents Awards here

 Over the weekend we had the paddling pool out for water fun which you can see here and previously we have made cornflour paints which you can read about here.

Spaghetti is a really great idea to use for messy play and it’s so simple. I got one pack of spaghetti from Tesco which was 20p (don’t need the fancy stuff for messy play) and just cooked it as I would normally. Once cooked I ran through with cold water and poured a little olive oil over it to stop it from sticking together when it began to cool. I then divided it into bowls and added 5 different food colourings. I think I mentioned in my last messy play activity post that I love these colours as they come up so bright!

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I decided to keep this messy play as contained as possible so used the paddling pool. Paddling pools are good ideas for messy play as you could do it indoors but as it was sunny we did it outside!

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I put Amelia in an old vest that no longer fits to save washing or ruining any of her nice clothes but the none of the food colouring came off the pasta (think this was because I left it for about 40minutes whilst we had lunch). I also decided to cut up some straws and put them amongst the spaghetti to add a different texture to the pool.

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To begin with Amelia was a little grossed out and was just poking at it but she soon got stuck in. She was concentrating so hard to pick up individual strands and liked transferring from one bowl to another. I blew some bubbles for her which she enjoyed popping whilst sorting out the spaghetti. Amelia also liked picking up the straws from the piles of spaghetti and putting them to the side or trying to eat them once she had found the. By the end she was having so much fun; she kept her attention really well as usually she gets bored super quick.

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We also had some company…

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Archie, thinking it would be a great snack to eat the spaghetti!!

I gave her a quick shower off afterwards popped her in some fresh clothes and she fell straight to sleep. I think that is the sign of an activity going down well, job well done.

I put the spaghetti into some freezer bags as we might use it again tomorrow or Sellotape the bags shut and have them as feeling bags rather than throwing it out immediately.

Messy play is a fun activity to do for babies or toddlers or children you can simply adapt it to make it age appropriate. Amelia wasn’t too interested in trying to eat it but it is only spaghetti so it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if she had. As it was fairly contained it wasn’t that hard to clean up.

Don’t forget to check out the Beebies website or get involved with this messy play task!!

Have you done any messy play recently?

Thanks for reading xxx

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Spontaneous Pool Session

Wasn’t expecting much sun today but it’s turned out to be a lovely afternoon so got some water in Amelia’s paddling pool and had some fun! A great easy way to entertain babies. Amelia loved it and enjoyed a huge sleep afterwards! As you can see from the pictures Amelia didn’t like keeping her hat on, nightmare baby. And obviously was in need of big cuddles with Nana to warm up afterwards. xx

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Cornflour Paints

Ok so just to clarify this ended up more like cornflour gloop but still gave the same effect as finger painting! So if you do this be prepared to get VERY messy!!

I had seen the idea from Instagram and thought it was great to do something homemade with paint or messy play. The great thing is that they are just made from cornflour and water with a drop of food colouring so it really wouldn’t be the end of the world if your little one put their fingers into their mouths!

Recipe:

  • Mix one cup cornflour with one cup cold water.
  • Add your choice of food colouring and mix (I have the gel so you literally need a tiny tiny amount).
  • Place over the hob on a low heat and one at a time add three cups of boiling water.
  • Keep stirring as it will thicken all of a sudden and take off the heat. It goes to a thick custard-like texture.
  • You can add more water to make it thinner if you like. When it came to using it I did thin it out slightly.

SAFETY: Make sure you let the paints cool before use!!

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This was my finished product I made a pink, green and a blue paint. I wanted to do yellow but didn’t have the food colouring, something I must invest in! I like how bright they came out and was pleased with the contrasting colours.

I put down a wipe clean mat and decided to put on an old vest on Amelia that was too small rather than bothering with an overall as it was only cornflour and water it wasn’t likely to agitate her skin as there is nothing toxic about it!

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Something to point out: make sure you dress yourself in something you don’t mind getting mucky I didn’t and at the end had to pick up a messy baby and covered myself in gloop!

I took the paints out of the glasses and into bowls and masking taped some sheets of paper to the mat which made it so much easier rather than it slipping around.

To begin with Amelia was a bit grossed out with the gloopy paint but soon got stuck in. I attempted foot prints but they didn’t work out so great and the hand prints turned into more of a rainbow! She played for about 20minutes and loved having the paints between her toes!

I then rushed her up to the bath (as you can imagine I was doing that awkward holding baby as far away from my body as possible slight run up the stairs) gave her a quick shower off and got her wrapped up in a dressing gown! The vest she wore I threw straight out and began work to clean up, as this did create a huge huge mess!!!

Here are some photos of the messy paint play in action:

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As you can see we had a great time and definitely something I would do again. Maybe next time I will invite some of her friends over for a messy play date!!

I would definitely recommend you have a go at. It’s super easy and creates a good afternoon of fun! I felt at ease letting her squish it in her hands and over her skin knowing that it wasn’t full of chemicals!

Have you ever done anything similar? Would love to know some more messy play/homemade paint activities!

Thanks for reading xx

Binky Linky