Iced Flowers Sensory Bin

Iced Flowers Sensory Bin is not just full of fun to slide around, feel and melt, but it is truly a feast for the eyes. The best thing about this sensory bin? It’s penniless! Everything we used was from nature and the water in our taps. A fantastic activity for your Little Feet to get absorbed into, especially when the weather begins to lift.

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Rainbow Unicorn Rice

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This is such a fun little sensory hack that I have seen previously on Pinterest...obviously. Such little effort with maximum effect. Everything you need will be in most peoples kitchens, especially if you are a baker. If not, then it is easily accessible from any supermarket and can be bought with ease with your weekly shop. 

The main ingredients needed are rice, food colouring, malt vinegar and sandwich bags. The malt vinegar bizarrely helps the food colouring coat all the rice. I was inwardly chuckling the whole way through this process. The last time my mother came to visit, Patronus B was still suffering from severe eczema and the doctors and us as a family were struggling to get to the bottom of what was causing it. We had bought special sensitive clothes detergent to wash her clothes in but my mother went out and bought two huge bottles of malt vinegar. Apparently it's great for washing clothes in?! Anyway, we never ended up using them and they have just been sitting unloved in the kitchen cupboards like some Michael McIntyre sketch, for going on 5 months. So, I FINALLY had a reason to use one and it just made me laugh to think it still wasn't being used for eating. So, Mum! We've finally opened one! 

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Pairing craft activities with books 

For some activities, if I can, I like to pair the crafts we're doing with a book we might have. It helps create a story line and further encourages imaginative play, giving it an additional dimension. If you haven't read, 'Sugarlump and the Unicorn', it is written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks and I'm pretty certain it only came out at the beginning of the year. It is a really fun book and is full of raised glitter detailing on each of the pages. Patronus A is 3 years old but one of the reasons she loves this book is running her fingers over the pages and finding all the bumpy glitter. I must admit... I am significantly older then she is and I have to on ocassion have to stop myself from running my fingers over them when I'm reading it to her!  

I just wanted to briefly mention that imaginative play does not always come naturally to kids, it is something that should be encouraged and allowed have space to do. It is so important for children's development to do it and actually you will be doing yourself a favour. The more they use their imaginations, the more they can entertain themselves. Patronus A often goes off chatting to herself and whoever is having a 'picnic at the time. I would add, that when she was younger she would have some weeks where she really struggled with imaginative play, while some weeks she would spend hours playing by herself. Encourage, encourage, encourage! 

Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get your everywhere.

Albert Einstein 

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All you need is:

  • Rice

  • Food colouring (we used Milton as it's thicker and not liquid)

  • Sandwich bags with twists or zip locker bags
  • Baking tray
  • Baking pape   
  • Malt vinegar 
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Instructions:

  1. Choose your food colour dyes and get as many sandwich bags ready. Poor equal amounts of rice in them.
  2. Pour a lids worth of Malt vinegar into the rice in each of the bags.
  3. Using an impliment dip some drops of food colouring into each bag (each bag with a different colour). 
  4. Close the bag and mush it all about moving the food colouring around. Patronus A loved seeing how the colour spread. 
  5. Put them on the side and leave them be for a few hours. After perhaps, 3 hours, gently pour each bag out onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and gently pat them down, spreading them out so that any that still need drying will dry quickly. 
  6. Once all dry, mix them altogether and enjoy!
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Patronus A played with them for ages with the unicorn toy in it and generally feeling the rice between her fingers. I popped the rice in a glass bowl so you could see them from the outside. 

For those with younger children and babies, there is nothing stopping you from following all these instructions and then pouring them into an empty plastic bottle for them to shake. Remember to always super glue the lid back on. Make sure it is securely fastened otherwise this could easily become a choking hazard. 

Another idea that we'll probably test out tomorrow is hiding small things in the rice and play digging for gold. Or how about actually creating a piece of artwork using PVA glue to stick them down onto paper. Really the options are endless! 

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Grain, Grain Go Away...

Island living... 

in a house hiding from the rain.

We're moving.

In just under a week now. The jitters have started to appear.

The house is a bomb site as we slowly put things into piles for packing, giving away and selling. This is been happening for months but it has turned into a bit of a frenzy, with time quickly slipping away like sand falling through fingers. We have done lots of talking with Patronus A about the move. She is moving away from everything she knows and we are away of the effect this will have on her emotionally. The last three days she has woken in the morning to tell us she dreamt about moving again. In light of this I am trying, in between packing and napping Patronus B to do fun activities with her. 

This particular one helped me out as well. I was going through the larder and was finding almost-empty packets of grain - cous cous, bulgur wheat, pearl barley, candid peel (I know that's not a grain, but subsequently realised it had expired about a year ago....), rice and any other grain you can imagine. I had them all. All of them have not enough in them to serve up with any meal. So,  instead of using them, they have been sat lonely in the larder while I just time and again bought more new packets.  And so the cycle continued... 

We had visited a beach in Whistable about two weeks ago with Grandparents and had picked up some fun pebbles and shells. I had been deciding what to use them for and when I came across the grains. An idea began to formulate. 

All you need:

  • Shells
  • Pebbles/stones
  • Grains - any available ones
  • Something that can be used as a spade 
  • Lego people
  • Cocktail umbrellas 
  • Large tupperware/bowl/baking tray (anything to put the grains 
  • Blue paper
  • Felt tip pens

Instructions:

  1. Place your bowl on top of the blue paper. Using your felt tips talk with your child about what lives in the sea and start drawing them together. 
  2. Let them pour out the different (or just one) grains into whatever bowl you have chosen. Allow them time to play with them, this is good sensory play for them. 
  3. Let your toddler put the shells and pebbles into the bowl. Mine spent some time scooping the grains with the shells and then burying them. 
  4. With your spade (we used a scoop that comes with a formula milk tin) let them have fun with it. I got a little over excited with this and went about bought cocktail umbrellas and Patronus A's lego people. 

Patronus A played with this off and on for 48 hours, which I would say is a roaring success! What with the last three weeks poor weather record, it was fun to pretend to be in the sun again... 

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