Bubble Painting – 3yrs 10mths

This is an activity I have wanted to do with Monkey for a long time but have wanted to make sure he was ready for it. I remember doing it as a kid and thinking it was brilliant, and we’ll let’s face it what kid doesn’t like blowing bubbles in their drink when using a straw?

I wanted to make sure Monkey fully understood the difference between sucking and blowing though so that he didn’t swallow a shed load of paint… As I’m sure that would not be good for him! After a bit of practice blowing into a cup of water it was clear he was ready and we set to it.

You don’t need much in the cup, just a couple of squirts of paint, a squirt of washing up liquid and a splash of water and you’re off. Bubble blowing time!PhotoGrid_1459933958055

I had the feeling this activity was going to get a bit messy so we moved onto a waterproof mat. Normally this would be a tuff spot activity but ahem I may have been a lazy mummy and the tuff spot may be in the garden full of sand and um rain water. Ahem. So thank goodness for a waterproof mat. It is safe to say that Monkey absolutely loved this activity. He thought the bubble blowing was brilliant.PhotoGrid_1459934009852

I love the effect you get when you print the bubbles onto the paper.PhotoGrid_1460122103905

In truth though it was mainly me which liked actually making pictures with the bubbles… Monkey was content just blowing bubbles and then rubbing his hands in the bubbles haha. He looks so happy though don’t you think?PhotoGrid_1460376305705

We did have one sucking incident which was my fault, I was trying to explain that he should take a deep breath and then do a big blow, but didn’t quite understand and ended up with a bit of a yellow mouth! Bless him we got it out straight away but he said it didn’t taste very nice!

Other than that though it was very successful and the most fun Monkey and I have had the two of us in ages. Lovely to see him so happy.

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Tap Time – Water Play at 12 mths

A couple of weeks ago we were at a friend’s house when LM climb herself up their step stool and started splashing at the sink. My friend was happy for her to do so with us keeping a close eye and said she did ‘tap time’ play with her little girl. For so long LM has been content to potter and while we do little activities it made me realise she was ready for more. So this week we have been having a lot of wet fun at our kitchen sink.WP_20151112_08_17_29_Pro

And it has been so so lovely to see her having so much fun exploring the water, pouring and splashing. She gets water absolutely everywhere but she has so much fun doing it.taptime 1

Don’t get me wrong seeing her up the steps tool terrifies me slightly and unfortunately she has fidgeted and sidestepped off a couple of times. I felt awful but she wasn’t hurt as I was there to catch her and she was just desperate to get back up to the sink again. She now loves this and wants to do it all the time. The low point being when she slipped mid climb up and though I tried to catch her shecut her lip… but after a few years bless her she was right back up those steps determined to get to the sink and splash!

And who am I to resist when it makes her so happy?

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Simple playtime ideas really are the best sometimes and it is lovely watching her concentrate and knowing she is learning while she is enjoing herself so much.

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Making Music together – 8mths and 3yrs old

I love it when my two siblings play together. Most of the time they don’t, the play alongside each other or Monkey plays while LM watches adoringly or let’s face it, gets in the way! Pulling up train tracks to chew, pulling her big brother’s hair, crashing into him in the walker. Babies and toddlers are rarely on the same page when it comes to playing. But, just occasionally, they are. Usually because Monkey decides he wants in on whatever it is that LM is up to!

That is what happened recently. LM was in a bit of a grump and to give us a moments peace (?? probably not the best word as you will see) I set her up with a good old fashioned activity. Making “music” with cake tins, wooden spoons and some jangly spoons. She loved it, and as soon as Monkey saw/her what she was up to he just had to join in!

makng musicSuch a simple easy activity, that took very little involvement from me, but kept them both happy for ages! Evn if it was seriously noisy!!

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WOW Toys Review & Giveaway

We were contacted recently and asked if Monkey would like to review some WOW toys and I have to admit that we jumped at the chance. We regularly visit a few garden centres stocking WOW toys and Monkey absolutely loves playing with the ones they have on display. He also has one at his Nanny & Pops’ house which he loves so we know what great toys they are. So we are thrilled to be able to review this great set and even better, we have a fantastic giveaway so you can see how great they are for yourself!

WOW Toys are designed for pre-schoolers with some toys from 12 months and many from 18 months plus.  They are safe, durable and don’t require batteries to make them work. They are perfect for firing little one’s imaginations as we saw when we reviewed the Police Patrol Pals set.

This set comes with both Charlie the Police Car and Pete the Police Plane, along with 2 policemen and 2 police dogs. Monkey loved them as soon as he saw them and was immediately flying Pete the Police Plane around the room.

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We then drew a very basic road and runway on a big piece of paper so Monkey could let his imagination run wild and he spent ages nee-naw-ing the police car and vrooming the plane

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The toys have great little details, such as the stickers showing the policemen’s equipment, notepad, torch, and of course supplies for their doggie friends! Monkey also loved the fact that the roof of the police car flips up when you press the petrol cap. In fact he spent the whole weekend showing everyone we came into contact with “look, it does this!” and flipping the top!

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They are such fab toys and you have a chance to win one via the fab giveaway below! They are also available on Amazon, which you can reach by clicking my Wow blogger buddy badge in the sidebar. They are available at a variety of independent shops too so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

On to the competition, good luck! (Competition opens 00:00 16/06/15)

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Herby the Hedgehog

Meet Herby the Hedgehog.

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Herby is a real family friend of ours. He was hubs’ toy when he was little (he can’t remember not having him) and he is now firm friends with both Monkey and LM.

When Monkey was little I invented the following little ditty:

My name is Herby and I like to dance,
I like to dance and tickle my friend Monkey,
Dance, dance, dance
and tickle my friend Monkey

I make Herby dance for the dancing bits then of course he goes in for a tickle at the tickle bits. Monkey always loved this and we had so much fun with Herby when he was a baby. Sadly I don’t have many photos of Monkey with Herby, I wasn’t a blogger back then and clearly didn’t document every second of our lives the way I do now ;) but here is a little snap.

Monkey and Herby

Now it is LM’s turn and the ditty has returned, and has all the fun. I love this little video of some of the fun I have been having with Herby and LM recently. She adores him! (Oh and yes that is Monkey singing the bob the Builder theme tune in the background bless him!)

Obviously any hand puppet would work in the same way but in our house it is all about Herby. I love watching the anticipation,the confusion when he goes away and the glee when he comes back.

I have mentioned (more than once, I know) that I find baby days so hard and that I prefer it when they are older. Sometimes it is hard to put my finger on why but here it is. Watching them learn is so much fun, as everything is a learning experience. You get to see the world through their eyes and enjoy it with them.

We really are entering the fun times with LM now and these little moments amongst the hard work really make me smile, and make it all worthwhile.

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5 fun ways to play with Pom Poms

What small child doesn’t love playing with little fluffy pom pom balls eh? They are widely available, pretty cheap and, I have found, really quite versatile. Here are just a few of the simple fun activities we regularly get up to with the lovely fluffy things.

WP_20140625_08_46_01_ProSort them by colour

When we first started doing this colour sorting game, Monkey was a bit haphazard and certainly couldn’t name all of the colours. Now he knows all of the colours and will sit quite happily organising them into muffin tray holes without any involvement from me :).

 

The downside being that because he finds it quite easy it doesn’t keep him occupied for long… hence the creation of this list of activities!

Make a pom pom rainbow (sort of)

We don’t have all the colours of the rainbow but after sorting them into colours he likes lining them up, to make a ‘rainbow’

pom pom rainbow

Roll them down a tubepom pom tube

 

As a fun way of putting them away I used a kitchen towel tube, otherwise known as “Monkey’s telescope” to roll them back into their container – which of course became a fun game all in itself.

WP_20150407_10_22_17_Pro“Post” them in a tissue box

 

Monkey still wasn’t done with the pom poms though and found that an empty tissue box made a great receptacle for them to be posted through. I am sure he is not alone but this little lad loves to post things!

Play Pom Pom Football

Running out of ideas for things to do with them, I cut the tissue box in half, stuck each side on the tuff spot and created a mini game of pom pom football. I wasn’t sure how effective it would be but Monkey absolutely loved this. His aim was rubbish, poor thing, but he had great fun knocking it about all over the place and I am sure that he will improve over time! The downside of this particular activity is the high probability of pom poms ending up all over the living room… but it could be worse, they are only pom poms after all :)

pom pom football

So there we have it, 5 fun ways to play with pom poms. You can of course always get crafty with them. So far the only crafty things we have done with them is stick them to a piece of paper (and they usually fall off) but I have seen some quite clever crafts with them too. But the best thing about the activities above, is that you can do them over and over without having to buy more. We all know how kids love repetition!

Do you have any other fun ways to play with pom poms?

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Making some positive changes

Positive changesRegular readers will know that I didn’t have the best week last week… by a long shot. I was feeling lower than I have felt in a long time and couldn’t see what my next step should be I felt I was sinking fast but a bit of a breakdown including much crying, and a very cathartic blog post… and I feel much better.

Friday was a pivotal moment. I got so angry with Monkey about not eating his lunch and really flew off the handle, which just isn’t like me at all. Hubs came home in the midst of this and took Monkey to playgroup, at which point I sat and sobbed as I felt awful. I didn’t like my behaviour at all and I think I knew I couldn’t allow myself to be like that all of the time.

I think it was a bit of a shock for hubs too seeing just how upset and angry I was and he really realised how much I have been struggling recently. Since then my mood has gradually improved and all I can say is that I don’t feel the same. I feel lighter and much more positive.

I have to give a huge thank you at this point to all of you wonderfully supportive readers out there. You have to take a lot of credit for helping me put things in perspective. I am so so grateful for the support of the blogging community and I don’t know where I would be without my blog. The tips, advice and just moral support I received from everyone has buoyed my confidence and helped me move on from the hole I was in.

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Water Bead Play – 35 mths old

About a year ago I tried some water bead play with Monkey as I had seen so many great examples from other bloggers, but he just wasn’t that interested in it. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when we tried again, and he had a whale of a time playing with them. Just goes to show that just because they aren’t ready or don’t enjoy something once, it is always worth trying again. I set up the Tuff Spot with the water beads and a few other bits and bobs from the kitchen.

So, what did Monkey get up to with them?

He started by scooping them  and pouring them.

water bead play 1

At which point we discovered they bounce! They are funny and plasticky but also wet and slippery feeling which makes it great as sensory play. He had great fun picking them up and dropping them to watch them bounce!

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He then decided a car needed to drive through them (?)

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Before having more fun bouncing them again!

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Then Monkey decided it was great fun to squish them, first with his fingers, then using a rolling pin,

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Then with his fingers again. Check out the glee on his face?!

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I’m not sure how to describe what he did next, he poured the beads back into the muffin tray and started wiggling his fingers around to make the beads bounce around all over the place! Which he really enjoyed :)

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Whatever makes you happy Monkey!

As you can see, Monkey absolutely loved our free play session with water beads in the good old Tuff Spot :)

Do your kids like playing with water beads?

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Tuff Spot Play with Water

Tuff Spot Play with Water

Much as I love doing more structured activities with Monkey, to make cards, or pictures or baking, some of my favourite activities are a lot more free play based. Activities I can set up pretty simply and then leave him to it. Watching where his imagination takes me always cracks me up and it’s also great to literally watch him learning as he plays.

Since LM was born and with all of the illness we have struggled with this year, I have gotten a bit lazy with regards to setting up activities, mainly out of fear. Fear of the mess I have to clean up. Fear of how stressed I am going to get dealing with him and the baby at the same time. I have pulled myself together a little though and one day decided to get a job done that has needed to be done for ages, and involve Monkey in a bit of free play at the same time.

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Chocolate Easter Nests

I remember making chocolate easter nests year after year as a child and it is a tradition we have carried on with Monkey, and will with LM as she gets older. It is such a great fun, quick, and easy make that kids of any age can join in with.

Easter Nests fun for all ages

Monkey did it first 2 years ago at about 10 mths old, then last year at just under 2 and again this year. He still needs quite a bit of help but I imagine he will less and less help as he gets older.

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