Sometimes, its the most simple and basic of ingredients or items found already in the home, which make for the most absorbing and fun activities… This one is an easy, quick to set up activity perfect for some quiet concentration on a rainy day.
Take table salt, a pretty dull but staple pantry item, and one that you would not readily assosiate with children (!!) but oh! The fun they can have with it! (supervised… of course!) Ok yes, they will at some stage probably stick a wet finger in and then lick it. They are children after all, and it looks so temptingly similar to sugar… But if that’s the only way to learn that it doesn’t taste good then its not something to get too stressed about!
For this activity you will only need table salt and a deep sided tray. I used a large oven baking try. Then you can use your imagination as to what you provide your child to play with (or indeed, theirs) My son chose a few toy cars at first, and made tracks in the salt, pretending it was snow. He was quite excited by the tracks that the cars were making, and then he started to draw in it with his finger, so I gave him a chopstick to use which he just loved.
My son is quite (I think) talented at drawing and yet it is not something he will generally choose to do, he would much prefer a construction activity over sitting at the table with paper and pens, he gets too easily frustrated when the drawing goes ‘wrong’ and not how he wants it to look. However, he loves this activity – salt drawing is more of a tactile experience then ordinary drawing, and mistakes can easily be shaken away. He makes me take photos of his ‘best work’ so that it can be treasured forever.
So give it a go! And if you are the type of parent that feels like the ought to do more ‘creative stuff’ with your little one, but just can’t face anythig that will result in sticky mess, ease your conscience and reach for the salt! It will only require the most minimal clean up (at worst a simple bit of sweeping that you can even encourage your child to do) and they LOVE it. It will keep them engaged far longer then a magnetic doodle board, or the TV, and encourage their imagination and fine moter skills, whilst you can pat yourself on the back for being a ‘creative mother’. Yay! x
Not really fireworks at all. Just a simple experiment ulitising the properties of oil and water, and the beautiful result of food colouring unfurling and spreading wonderful patterns and colour in front of your astonished child (and your own) eyes.
Note – before you start, explain carefully to your child that there will be no real fireworks invloved, just an underwater display similar to firewrks. That way you won’t have a sulking toddler on your hands. Just saying…
You will need:
- Glass jar,vase or similar (Taller and slim is better that a bowl)
- 2 tablespoons oil – any veg oil will do
- Red, yellow, blue food colouring – no more them 3 drops of each colour
- small measuring jug
- measuring spoon
Fill you jar/vase 3/4 full with water
Pour your oil into a small, easy pour jug. Add 2-3 drops of each food colouring no more then this, LESS IS MORE! (*note, we first did this with 3 colours, the second time with just two. I actually preferred only 2 colours as they mixed to form a secondary colour i.e. yellow and blue made green, the 3 colours together ended up a brown shade which wasn’t so exciting. Too much food colouring won’t give you good ‘fireworks’) Let your child to stir the oil and food colouring into the jug to break the droplets apart, they won’t mix.
Give it a good stir!
Tell small person to carefully, slowly (s.l.o.w.l.y….gahh we had one big mess when it all overflowed) pour the oil mixture into the water. Now wait…it takes a little bit of time…but sit back and watch with fascination as the oil and water separate, and ‘ta-daaaah!’ there you have it, underwater fireworks!
We repeated this a few times till they got bored, (which usually takes S about 5 minuts) It was really was interesting seeing the different colour combinations and wacthing the colours slowly unfurl in the water, just a little bit magical. I’m not sure if ‘fireworks’ is the best term for this underwater display, but it kind of adds to the drama so I’m going to stick with it!
Oh S wanted me to stir the water too and it created a whilrpool, which was fun to watch and another learning moment! A quick and easy indoor activity. x
So this month in New Zealand it’s the Maori celebration of Matariki to mark the start of the Maori New Year. S loves space. Actually he’s pretty much just obsessd with it. We talked about the stars, the constilation of Matariki (also known as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters) and the Solar System. Learning whist playing is by far the best way to learn! So to tie the two together what better then a good old bit of playdough. Any excuse to get glitter invoved as far as I’m concerned, yay!
This is by far the easiest (and I think best) playdough recipe I have tried (and I have tried a LOT of recipes…) simply because it uses minimum ingreadients, is a no cook recipe i.e. less washing up (fist pumps), and makes the perfect amount.
Best ever, basic NO COOK playdough recipe:
- 1/2 cup of table salt
- 1 cup of plain flour
- 1 tablespoon Cream of Tatar (find in baking section)
- 1 tablespoon any veg oil
- 2/3 – 1 cup on boiling hot water
- food colouring
- foil confetti, glitter, small glitter stars, small balls etc
Method – Place first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Boil kettle and fill cup almost full and add as much food colouring as required For a strong colour about 2 dessert spoons. Add most of the water to bowl and stir thouroughly. If mixtures seems dry add rest of water. If too wet, add about a tablespoon of flour. Take care as mixture will be hot, but kneed until dough forms a ball. Allow to cool. Store in airtight container when not in use. Keeps for 1-2 months.
For SPACE-DOUGH you will need black food colouring (duh) and I used foil confetti (from $ shop) plus regular glitter, and some larger glitter stars, the type you get in the craft section. Add the glittery stuff just before you kneed it. Save the balls to give to the little peeps, I gave the boys small bouncy balls for planets (again, from $ shop) and marbles too. In the photo you can see beads but I actually decided against using these in the end.
It was so much fun to play with, yes I totally got involved, and S even chose different marbles and balls to represent the ‘solar-system’ – see top photo (Only about 1 million questions asked) I happen to randomly know the order of the planets off by heart…phew. But if you don’t after the Sun it’s:
- Pluto – Yeah no longer classed as a planet but, anyway.
Happy Matariki! x
More science fun with kids. Yay!
Two of my fave things to keep S entertained have to be vinegar and baking soda (I always make sure I have some in my cupboards!) One of his favourite things – volcaones.
I saw this ‘experiment’ on, where else – pinterest, so had to give it a go and it was a hit. All you need is…
- baking dish or tray with sides
- vinegar + small bowl/cup for it to go in (any vinegar woill do but I used white)
- baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- pipette or medical dropper
- food colouring (optional)
Pour a layer of baking soda in your chosen dish. It needs to be about a fingertip deep so first make sure you have enough of the white stuff (or behold the meltdown when you have to abandon the experiment before you have begun..) I mixed a little food colouring in 3 small dishes so we had 3 colours to work with. The experiment is still fun with just plain old vinegar though. Next hand over to your child the pipette (bought mine from a chemist) and watch the joy on thier face as they drop the vinegar onto the baking soda and wacth the ‘volcanoes’ erupt!
J was well into it too! This is great for fine motor skills, concentration, learning about reactions and colour mixing, but best, its pure magical fun for the kids. Of course by the end it was one big colourful mess but hey, no harm in that and it was super easy to clean up.
Definately one will be doing time and time again! x
An easy way to get creative with your kids using items that are probably already in your home.
you will need:
- food colouring
- container for food colouring and water
- dropper, plastic syringe or with adults help, a small spoon
- drinking straw
Simply dilute a few drops of food colouring into a small amount of water in a cup or jar and hand kids the dropper (or similar) to allow them to put a few drips on the paper. Yes you will probably end up with one peice of paper that gets a drenching but that is all part of learning! Then they just need to blow (for little ones they need to know how to blow, not suck! You will probably have to ‘model’ the process on your own piece of paper. S knows how to blow but still ending up witha green tongue…at least it was food colouring though!)
Let them add hand drawn or googly eyes with the ink is dry if your child likes spotting aliens in their artwork!
J managed and he had only just turned two.
“Every child is an Artist” – Pablo Picasso