It never fails to amaze me that with kids, most of the time, simple things are the best. Last week I got a new toy – a lovely big food processor. This meant Monkey als got a new toy – a lovely big cardboard box. He had so much fun in there and just made me laugh so many times throughout the day.
To start with it was a den – I love his cheeky face poking out
Then I laughed out loud to see his feet poking out the top when it was a bed
It was a bus for a while
Then he had so much fun making it a den again this time with just a blanket over the top and playing peepo.
Especially when the box then fell over with him inside!
Then LM had to get in on the action – she wasn’t quite as sure about being covered with the blanket
Then it became a climbing frame (it was getting a bit squished by this point)
And finall a great hiding place (can you see his fingers on the top? The only clue I had to where he was lol!)
When I knew that we were soon headed to London to see the Sensational Butterflies exhibition I knew I wanted to do some related crafting with Monkey in preparation. So I googled a few things and got some lovely inspiration from Twitter (thanks guys!) and then gave Monkey the option of making butterflies or caterpillars. He chose caterpillars so I showed him a few pictures online of different ones we could make – finger painting, pom poms etc, but he chose the ones made from egg boxes and tissue paper.
So I duly cut up an egg box (we have the big long 12 egg boxes and I’m not sure they are the best ones for the job as they were slightly one-sided caterpillars but it sufficed anyway) and some tissue paper, dug out some googly eyes from the bottom of the craft draw and we set off doing Monkey’s favourite thing – gluing and sticking!!
As mentioned I don’t think our egg boxes are the best ones so we tried making them two different ways – first with a long caterpillar but with holes down one side, and second with a short one as I folded the row in half and then taped it together. I’m not sure which is best or if it makes much difference actually, Monkey loved making both!
The first I chose the colours (note The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme) but the second one was Monkey’s choice and it had to be all red (his favourite colour).
Googly eyes were stuck on, and apparently they needed to have a smily face too, and I wasn’t sure what to use so I just grabbed a couple of pipe cleaners, snipped short lengths to be bent into shape and we glued them on, which I don’t think looks too bad really!
We did then go on to do a bit of butterfly craft too, in Nanny’s birthday card. It was the first time we had done the traditional, paint one side and fold together, butterfly painting, but actually he did really well with it! He painted in the lines I told him too and splodged some lovely patterns on the right hand side and it looked lovely after folding toegther. then of course we had to do some more gluing and sticking with sequins and give it a smily face using some glitter glue 🙂
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.
Sort 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’
Roll them down a 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.
“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 🙂
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?
I’m not sure where it comes from but Monkey has a little love of Pirates. It could be from a pirate episode of Postman Pat or that pirate programme on cbeebies Swashbuckle (does that do anyone else’s head in?) or it could just be because he has loved looking through cardboard tubes for a long time. We call them telescopes and his Nanny and Pops say things like “I don’t see no ships” in a piratey voice whenever he has one. Maybe it is a combination of these things but wherever he has got it from Monkey likes all things pirate.
So for a while we have it in mind that we would like to do some pirate themed fun and on one weekend recently we had some spare time and Hubs decided he and Monkey would make a treasure chest and some treasure.
They had great fun painting the chest and making treasure out of tin foil and painting those.
Then another day in the week Monkey and I drew a treasure map. Monkey told me where to put the cross and he drew some ponds… then I had to go get LM and came back to discover there was some lakes added on too and the X is now at the bottom of a lake 😉 whatever you say Monkey! I drew on some trees and then was instructed to draw peppa pig and her house – so that is what the red and pink bits in the top corner are supposed to be lol! Hmm maybe Peppa Pig has something to do with his interest in pirates?
To continue the piratey fun we then made Monkey his own pirate hat.
He loved running around with his hat and telescope, but the treasure map held very little interest for him. The real winner with this activity is the treasure chest and treasure. He absolutely adores his treasure chest and can spend ages in the conservatory (excuse the mess, this is the messy play room/laundry drying area) putting the treasure in and taking it out, posting his treasure through the telescope, and collecting it all in one of his treasure cups.
The hat and telescope often end up in the treasure chest too bless him! It has been great fun doing all of the pirate activities and best of all it is an activity that lasts as he loves playing with his treasure!!
It’s the first time we have really done a themed week of activities, but I think we will again.
With the weather getting warmer there has been one activity I have been really keen to have a go at with Monkey – outdoor painting! Obviously with it being outdoors, the idea is that kiddies can be a bit freer to get really messy, but in all honesty I was still a bit worried about the mess! With all of the hard work that has gone into making our garden a much nicer place to be, I wasn’t particularly keen on paint going all over our lovely new patio. Even though the paint is supposedly washable, I was concerned about stains – as I know some of Monkey’s clothes have ended up a little stained from them!
Last weekend, we did something very grown up. We *gasp* bought some garden furniture! The set we had previously hubby had inherited from a friend and it was very weather beaten and wobbly. It didn’t really match our lovely new garden. We have had in mind we wanted some for a while but they have all been so expensive. On a trip to our local garden centre however we found a lovely set, heavily reduced in the sale and, well, we snapped it up!
It took a couple of trips to get it home in the car, and hubby had to tie the table in on the last leg as it didn’t quite fit, but we managed and it is now set up and looking lovely in the back garden. I’m not sure why, I mean we have a house, a toddler and a baby on the way, but for some weird reason, buying garden furniture feels like a very grown up thing to do. And I really don’t feel like a grown up!
Another bit of inspiration from Pinterest today, although randomly I can’t find the page I found it from! Anyway, as I may have mentioned, Monkey loves colouring at the moment, so this week, when I got a new hoover (which, by the way, is brilliant) I thought we should put the box to good use.
The idea is simple – let them draw in the cardboard box. What happens is hilarious and keeps him entertained for ages!
We also then had great fun by opening up the box so he could use it as a tunnel, hilarious! Especially as it isn’t that big, and definitely not sturdy so it kept collapsing on him, which he actually quite enjoyed. Anyway lots of fun with this activity.
I mentioned before that Monkey has a slightly longer attention span now, and, well he is also getting a bit more independent! Which I love! Yesterday afternoon I was able to sit in the conservatory and write the baking blog, while he played around in the garden with his chalk and the dirt, and he popped in now and again to play with his box and a sheet that he draws on, then went out again. We played peepo behind my laptop screen a few times and generally he was just totally fine!
Then even better than that, the other day we were playing together in the conservatory when I realised I needed to go and make dinner. So I told him I was going to make dinner, that he should stay here and I would be right back. I have tried this soooo many times and normally he just makes his “I’m not happy about this” noise and runs after me. But this time, he stood up, looked at me and then waved! I went off and popped back and he was so happy. I did it a few times, popped in and out to check on him and it was just no problem at all! Brilliant!
Lovely boy, playing all by himself 🙂
It is good timing as Monday I start Jury duty… I just hope that doesn’t set him back as we have come so far and he is much less clingy now… anyway more on that in another post!