First attempt at Fancy Dress – 18 months old

I’ve been thinking for a while that it may be a good idea to start a fancy dress box with Monkey. Another way to have some fun when we are stuck in the house more over the winter, and I hope it will also help with teaching him how to get dressed, maybe! haha But I hadn’t got round to doing anything and I wasn’t 100% sure how keen he would be.

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A week or two ago, daddy had a meeting and came home from work a bit early (yay), he kicked his smart shoes off in the lounge and sat on his laptop to do some work (boo). To make Monkey laugh I put Daddy’s shoes on, which are huge. He is a size 12, whereas I am a size 5 1/2.  Monkey giggled but then to my surprise he came and tried to put them on him! So we did and he was loving walking around the living room in them, and he really started to get the hang of stepping in and out of them, it was so cute.

 

Then a couple of days later, round at Uncle Simon’s house with daddy, Monkey was having great fun putting Uncle Simon’s gloves on and off!

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So I thought that maybe it was time to start a fancy dress box for him. I had a box of stuff in the loft from the parties I had in my wilder, pre children days so went to have a nosey and see what was in there. I found a couple of wigs, some glasses from a harry potter costume, and then got a random selection of old scarves, gloves and other big t-shirts from the bag destined for the charity shop.

We got the box out one afternoon and had a bit of a giggle with it, but it wasn’t hugely successful. He had the most fun with glasses and wigs, and a scarf stayed on for a few seconds, but I didn’t even attempt Tshirts or bigger items, not on the first try. It was fun but I think it’s something he’ll enjoy more as he gets older.

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He still likes shoes though, and tried putting mine on when we went for a walk this afternoon! I’m sure I will get the box out again over the winter months and hopefully he will get more adventurous the more we do it.

Do your little ones like fancy dress?

Gloop – a very messy playtime idea! 18 months old

With it being so cold and blustery outside at the moment I have been trying very hard to keep Monkey entertained without leaving the house… and without boredom creeping in. We have his trains, duplo, car and garage, crayons, play doh, puzzles, books, stacking rings, shape sorter, kitchen with tea set, honestly the list is endless and yet within about half an hour he seems to be bored of all of these things and driving me round the bend by throwing everything around the room! I have actually decided it is time to put some toys away for a week or two, then we can rotate some in and out, we shall see if that works.

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In a bid to occupy him for more than a few minutes I decided to give Gloop a try. I have read about this quite a few times but been a bit wary of giving it a try as I know what Monkey is like and I was concerned about the mess. But this week I decided we should go for it, so set off to the kitchen.

 

What is Gloop?
If you haven’t heard of it before, basically when you mix Cornflour and Water together, at a certain consistency it becomes a very weird texture, whereby it is solid when you are holding it and squeezing it around, but if you stop moving, it turns back to liquid. You can see in this short video what I mean.

 

Monkey really enjoyed himself, but oh my goodness the mess! I should have thought about it before, but whenever Monkey has something stuck on his hands, food, stickers, anything, he gets a bit frantic and shakes his hands all over the place in a bid to get it off. Well you can imagine what he was like with the gloop, so it went everywhere!!

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He also decided it was really fun to pour it all over his trousers. Then he decided he wanted to grab me so both our clothes were actually covered – thankfully being just cornflour and water it came out easily. I have read before where people use food colouring too to make it the sea or something, but I am very glad that at this age I didn’t go with the food colouring option – I may wait till he is a bit older before I try that!

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My big mistake of the day was to have a jug of water with us. The idea was so he could dip his hands in to wash off some gloop (and therefore limit the amount of gloop flying around the kitchen when he shakes his hands about) but in reality all he wanted to do was tip the water all over the floor and then stamp in the puddles left. D’oh! Completely my fault as I should have known but I still got a bit cross.

He very much enjoyed himself though, and it certainly kept him occupied for a while which was the main thing!

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Have you ever tried gloop? Was your house as messy afterwards as mine?

 



Play doh playtime and threading cheerios on spaghetti – 18 months old

Monkey has been enjoying playing with play-doh for a while now but I realised I hadn’t mentioned it in my blogs for a while. Ages ago I made some home made play doh but then Grandma found some on offer and we have been using the bought stuff ever since. We  started off very simple, rolling balls, cubes, just pulling it around, rolling it up, it is a great way of keeping him entertained. It can be messy though so iti si an activity that is very much restricted to the conservatory! He has lots of fun at Grandma and Granddad’s too, as Grandma has found lots of fun stamps and things on ebay which are great.

At home though I have been trying to come up with things that we had around the house already to use to make the play doh playtime a bit more interesting. So this week we used a sieve he had for playing in the sand, some cookie cutters, a rolling pin and a baby comb, which he mainly used like a knife.

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But sometimes even the simplest things still work, as I made a bridge and a ball that he was pushing through, then I made a stick man but his head fell off, oops!

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Something else that I have wanted to try for ages, is threading cheerios onto spaghetti. I’ve waited mainly because of Monkey’s age, but also just because I haven’t got round to it. I got the idea from this lovely website. As we had the play doh out I thought we should give it a try. I was slightly concerned that Monkey would just want to eat the cheerios (another reason I haven’t tried it with him before) and I was right!! haha straight away he was like ooh yummy yes please, haha! He also very much enjoyed playing with the spaghetti, and to my surprise he can actually thread the cheerios on to the spaghetti! I wasn’t sure if he would be able to as it is quite fiddly, but he did do it a few times… in between eating most of the cheerios! haha

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He did seem to enjoy himself though, as well as flexing those fine motor controls, which is always the most important thing.

More Autumnal Fun and kicking up leaves – 17-18 months

The clue is in the title really but Monkey loves kicking up leaves! My regime of making sure I tire him out enough to nap well and sleep well is working and involves a lot of time wandering about outdoors.  Actually I think that was just a blip as his naps are basically back to normal now, yay! Sorry, sidetracked, yes lots of time walking outdoors. When my mum (Nanny) and I first showed him kicking up the leaves he looked at us like we had gone mad, but lately he loves it! As you can see in the pictures :)

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Not much else to say about it is there really! So cute though! In fact I am finding this to be such a cute age. I have pretty much thought that at every age but his personality is really developing now and he is such a funny little monkey. He’s playing so much more independently, babbling away constantly (though still no words) and just chuckles and grins all the time!

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Posting pipe cleaners – 17 months old

I’ve seen this activity or similar activities on a number of blogs and have been waiting to try it out! One of my favourite Stay at Home Mummy blogs does it here. The basic idea is that you post pipe cleaners in the holes of a colander. So I bought some pipe cleaners and got out the colander so Monkey could have a play.

 

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He loved playing with the pipe cleaners, waving them around all over the place, although they were longer than I thought, they were all folded over in the pack so they looked short. They were too long for him to post through the holes really, as he was holding them at one end and when he tried to push them through the holes they just bent over. I tried it too and if you held them like that even I couldn’t get them through the holes! He did manage to post them through if I got him to hold it half way down or near the bottom, which I was really impressed at, but he just kept trying to hold them at one end and it led to quite a bit of frustration so we put it away for another day.

Try, try again though! Because it was the length that was causing him problems I decided to cut a few of the pipe cleaners to see if he had more luck when they were shorter. One day when Nanny was here we got them out, had another go, and he loved it! It was still a bit of a challenge for him to get them in the holes, but that’s good for him you know, helps with those fine motor controls! He did manage to get them in the holes sometimes which I was really impressed at!

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Hopefully as time goes on we can use longer pipe cleaners and it will help with problem solving skills too :)

Monkey-led play – 17 months old

I realised a few days ago that I haven’t had to come up with many new play ideas recently – and the reason is this: Monkey decides what we play with most of the time these days. He is growing up in front of my eyes and has a mind of his own. I don’t want to stifle that so most of the time our playtime is very much Monkey-led. We are still out and about and busy a lot so when we do have playtime at home, it is very much up to him what we do.

We have different things in different areas, all of his brio wooden train stuff is in a red box under a chair, which he can pull out. (He can’t actually build a track yet but he loves playing with his trains on the track) We also have an area behind the sofa with a lot of toys, and they are divided up so he can get his duplo, or his cars etc. He is just learning to put his duplo bricks together now, and he loves cars. There’s a drawer in this area with his puzzles in and another little cupboard with musical toys. I have to say I find having the different areas is such a help when it comes to tidying up at the end of the day! A good way of keeping all the little bits of toys together! I got the idea from a friend who had something similar at their house and it makes life so much better, we are lucky we have the space for it I know. What storage solutions do you have for toys?

Then we have the conservatory where there are crayons and chalk for drawing, and then in a corner of the dining room is his kitchen, we recently got the smallest, cheapest tea set we could find and he is loving learning to pour the tea and stir the tea :).

So it is pretty much up to him. Obviously he is still little, so sometimes I lead him in one direction or other and help him out. The funniest things and the things that keep him the most entertained, are the random toys, which aren’t really toys. When we were clearing out some junk the other day, we randomly found a pack of jumbo playing cards. I think these must have been Hubby’s as I had never seen them before, but he doesn’t remember them either! Anyway they have become one of Monkey’s random fave toys. His favourite game is the 52 card drop haha!

He also, absolutely LOVES putting the cards back into the box for them. I think they call this fine motor skills or something, but whatever, I love it as it shows how good his coordination is getting these days! He can do this for ages (well, ages in toddler-time anyway, we aren’t exactly talking hours :)). I’m also using them to talk about numbers and shapes. He may not understand this much yet but I don’t think it hurts to start early.

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The other day monkey managed to find a new box of crayons that I was keeping for him, but I didn’t mind because actually he spent ages with his granddad putting them back in the box neatly, taking them out, and repeating. Kept him entertained for ages which is always brilliant :) They are quite good crayons too actually as you don’t have to put a lot of pressure on them to use them. I thought they may be a bit old for him but actually they seem perfect for him at the moment.

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He got into my wool bag the a few days ago too, and although my immediate reaction was ‘noooo!’ I soon relaxed as he found a ball that was already a big jumbled tangled mess, so actually I didn’t mind him playing with that too much. As it was he had great fun pulling it apart and playing with it, very cute :)

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There are a few playtime things I want to try out with Monkey, but for the most part he is so happy with choosing what he wants to do that it’s nice to encourage his independence and ideas of his own!

Aaah back to normality and some muddy autumnal fun

Much as I love my husband and loved him being at home last week, it was nice to get back to normal this week. Last week didn’t exactly go as planned, and with us both feeling so poorly we were shut up inside the house more than we would normally be, so by Sunday we were getting on each others nerves a bit (especially with a healthy dose of PMT added to the mix!). I think if we had been able to get out and do all the things we planned last week it would have been different, but as it was, by Monday morning it was nice to get back to normal.

Monday is normally a Nanny day (and Grandpops if his shift pattern allows) and we went for a lovely autumnal trip to a local play area, which was great fun. Mummy and Nanny were having lots of fun kicking up leaves, though Monkey didn’t really see the fun in that as much as we did! hehe

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Tuesdays was tumbletots, which he loves, and then just some general playtime and a trip to the shops. Wednesday we were supposed to meet some friends at a soft play place, however one of my friends little girl has chicken pox! She is a year older than Monkey and we did consider a chicken pox party so he could get it out of the way, but I am sooo not ready for him to have it yet. My other friend’s little ones are also poorly and they were off to the doctors so we had to come up with another plan.

It was a bit grey and gloomy but not too horrible out so we made an impromptu trip out to a local country park to have a run around, and bumped into Grandma and Granddad! Which was a lovely surprise! We had lots of playtime with them, a nice cup of tea in the cafe when it got a bit cold, and some running around in the mud. After deciding to sit down in a big muddy puddle Monkey was very muddy by the end of it but lots of fun was had so that’s all that matters.

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Thursday another friend and I took our little ones to a soft play centre we hadn’t tried before, and although Monkey was nervous and clingy to start with (as he can be in new places) we had a really love time. Monkey warmed up and started playing by himself so my friend and I got to have some good mummy chats which was very much needed for both us, so it was really lovely. Her little ones really enjoyed it too .

Friday is a day with the grandparents which is always lovely and a really nice way to end the week. Nice to all be well and happy and just generally, back to normal! :)

Playing with a Pringles tube and much happier mealtimes 16-17 months

This was another idea I got from Pinterest actually, but again I cannot find the place where I found it initially. So annoying as I don’t want to take credit for other people’s ideas! Oh well though anyway, the idea is that if you take a Pringles tube, (or any other tube of crisps, with a lid) and cut a rectangular slot through the lid so that business cards etc. can be posted though. This helps with fine motor skills apparently! Monkey loves it though anyway, he loves it putting the cards in the slot, and he really loves shaking the tin around afterwards!

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He pretty soon discovered how to take the lid off the tube and that it was much easier to get the cards in… and lots of other things.

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He basically loves this tube, but he also loves posting thing everywhere. He has a tunnel that granddad made for the brio train set, which he loves posting things through, and he spent ages posting crayons down an old wrapping paper tube with his Nanny the other day!

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He also loves to post things under the sofa, behind cushions, under my legs, behind my back, through the bars of the door-gates, through the fire guard… you get the idea! The good thing about the Pringles tube though is that it is handily arm sized so he can get things out again, some of his other posting favourites lead to a lot more frustration, so I try to give him the Pringles tube whenever he is in a posting mood hehe!

In other news we have had a whole week of Monkey eating his dinner! Woohoo!!! I know that these things can change at a drop of the hat  but please, please, pleeeeease let him be growing out of that phase! Even if not though I have enjoyed this week as it has made it so much less stressful that he has eaten his meals. Don’t get me wrong I have had to put in a lot of effort to get this to happen but at least it has paid off, so I am v happy :)

Stacking bricks and shape sorting, but still no talking – 16 months

Kids develop at their own pace, we all know that, but as a parent you are still looking out for those milestones and wondering when certain things will happen. It starts with the first smile, then the giggle, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking and talking. I think that covers most of the biggies, but there are smaller steps too with their coordination and motor movements, waving, clapping, stacking bricks etc.

Monkey was quite early with some things, as he was walking at 10 months. But talking, he is definitely not early with. My friend’s little boy was talking at 10 months but at the moment, at 16 months old, we have not even had a mama or dada yet. I mean he does say them, but he doesn’t seem to connect them with us in any way. My mother in law is convinced he says “all gone” but he makes loads of noises and yes, sometimes it is possible that they coincide with something happening that matches up…. but for every one of these times, there are hundreds more times where the same noise relates to absolutely nothing.

I try not to worry about it, because kids do develop at different times, but I can’t help keep all of the niggles at bay. I’m not worried about his hearing or his understanding as he definitely understands a lot of what we say. He can respond to simple instructions – such as ” where’s you ball? Go get your ball.” or “can you bring mummy the blue block” sometimes it takes a few goes but he definitely understands a lot of what we say. We try and encourage him to talk by labelling things and talking through what we are doing, and he does watch us intently sometimes and occasionally makes the sound of the first consonant but that is it. We don’t want to put too much pressure on as he is still young and I know he’ll get there when he is ready. Another friend’s nephew wasn’t talking until he was around 2 so I know we aren’t alone.

Sometimes though, it would just make life so much easier if he could talk. The other day he was screaming for ages and I had no idea why. It was really out of character for him and I was trying to ask him what hurt but nothing. Very frustrating! On the other hand though, he is so cute with all of the noises he makes that part of me doesn’t want it to change, as it means he is growing up. He does have other ways of communicating things with us even though he isn’t talking. He takes our hands and pulls us around places. He takes us to the kitchen or the table if he is hungry, he brings us our shoes if he wants to go out. He’ll get his postman pat toy out when he wants to watch the telly. He knows out to communicate with us, but just not with words. On the other hand he tries really hard and babbles away to us with such concentration on his face, usually something like  ga gu go ga gu, and I feel bad that I have no idea what he wants to say!

He is developing really well in other areas though. He built a brick tower with 5 bricks yesterday, which I was really impressed with as normally he is clumsy and knocks the towers over at around 3 or 4 bricks. He has also suddenly got so much better with his shape sorter toy now. Whereas for ages we have been giving him the right hole for each block, he can now find the right hole to put them in, which I was pretty amazed by! He doesn’t get it right 100% of the time of course but he does get it right more often than not which I am really impressed with.

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I’m sure that one day he will just come out with a word, and then there will be no stopping home. I’m sure that one day I will be reminiscing about these cute pre talking times but right now I can’t wait to hear his little voice say something, and for him to be able to talk to me.

Playing with Cloud Dough – 16 months old

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been searching for playtime inspiration, largely on Pinterest, lately. So this is the first post of ideas inspired by things I have found on Pinterest – Cloud Dough!

Now I have never heard of this before but it is genius and fills a hole in our playtime perfectly. With the change of the weather and the rain recently Monkey’s sand table was getting really gross, so it got washed out last weekend and we haven’t bought any replacement sand for it, but you can see he misses it. Whenever we go out in the back garden to run around and chalk he goes to where the table was and looks lost for a few seconds before moving onto something else.

So anyway, I came across this stuff called Cloud Dough. Simply you mix 8 parts flour with 1 part baby oil, until it is like the consistency of breadcrumbs. What you are left with is flour that is quite silky and resembles wet sand, in that you can press it together and it stays a bit firm.

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When Granny came around the other day I decided to give it a go with him. I had thought it may be ok to use indoors but I am soooo glad we decided to use it in the garden! Thankfully the weather has been a lot warmer the last few days too so he is really enjoying it.

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As you can see in the pictures, he loves it!! Yes our garden is a mess and flour now seems to be infiltrating every part of our lives but he is loving it. Having said that if we still had the sand pit I am sure he wouldn’t need this. Makes a change though. Oh and he is very much in a transporting faze, which means he picks things up and then drops them somewhere else! I think when he is a bit older it may work more indoors as he may not be so intent on carrying it around with him!

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We’ve also had fun burying toy dolphins etc. so he can find them, and all the usual things sand is great for :)